Robyn Ottolini, Nate Haller, Karli June, Graham Scott Fleming, Sacha, Elyse Saunders and More to Perform at 2023 CMAOntario Awards

The CMAOntario Awards, presented by Slaight Music, take place on Sunday, June 4 at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, ON.

Manus Hopkins
April 20, 2023

The Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAOntario) is proud to announce the first wave of performers for the CMAOntario Awards, presented by Slaight Music, taking place on Sunday, June 4 at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, Ontario.

The 11th Annual CMAOntario Awards Show, hosted by Jason McCoy and Shannon Ella, will include exciting performances by: Robyn Ottolini, who is nominated for five CMAOntario Awards this year; Nate Haller, Karli June, and Graham Scott Fleming, nominated for three CMAOntario Awards each; plus Sacha and Elyse Saunders, nominated for two CMAOntario Awards each. Additional performers will include: Vincent Bishop, nominated for Francophone Artist or Group of the Year; Jason Blaine, nominated for Album of the Year; Genevieve Fisher, nominated for Female Artist of the Year; Andrew Hyatt, nominated for Male Artist of the Year; Ryan Langdon, nominated for Music Video of the Year; Owen Riegling, nominated for the Rising Star Award; and Julian Taylor, nominated for Roots Artist of the Year. Tickets for the CMAOntario Awards Show are on sale now.

The CMAOntario Awards Show will also include the Impact Award, which recognizes an artist, group, industry personality or organization that has left an enduring and indelibly positive footprint on the landscape of country music in Ontario. The 2023 Impact Award will be presented to Family Brown.

Family Brown, led by patriarch Papa Joe Brown, his two daughters Lawanda and Tracey, and son Barry, and musicians Ron Sparling and Dave Dennison, and in later years, Gary Spike Spicer, and Randall Prescott, became the most awarded act in Canadian Country music. The Ottawa-based band had a 22-year career bridging several generations of country music and entertained Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast. And, in particular, played hundreds of communities across Ontario.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Family Brown recorded 14 studio albums for RCA Records, along with two greatest hits albums. The band had 43 charted singles with 24 Top Ten hits. Over those years, Family Brown won more than 50 national awards, including three Juno awards, and numerous RPM Big Country awards and Canadian Country Music awards.

The band hosted their own syndicated television show for 13 seasons across most of Canada, and had guest appearances on Tommy Hunter Show, Grand Ole Country, Nashville Now, Hee Haw, as well as hosting their own BBC-TV specials in the UK.

After Papa Joe Brown passed away in 1986, the band gave their final performance in 1990. Three years later, Barry, Tracey and Randall re-grouped for another two albums for Sony Music.

Over the past 25 years, Barry, Lawanda and Tracey have held an annual fundraiser at the limestone church in Wilton, Ontario in support of the cemetery board, which maintains the cemetery where Papa Joe Brown and his wife Flora rest, with many other family members. As well, Tracey and Randall have directed the operations of the CP Rail Holiday Train, which raises funds and awareness for local food banks across Canada.

Family Brown had a camaraderie with their fellow Canadian artists and bands, with many musicians feeling like they were a part of the extended family and looking upon Papa Joe as a father figure. To this day, Family Brown remains one of the most influential acts in Canadian Country music ensuring they will always be remembered, and proudly leading to their induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997.

The CMAOntario Award Show is preceded by a weekend of activities as part of the CMAOntario Festival & Awards Weekend, June 2-4, 2023. The CMAOntario Festival & Awards Weekend will include Songs & Stories: Songwriters in the Round, R2i TuneUp Conference, PierJam, Bonfire and Tailgate Party. Additional details, including performers, will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Manus Hopkins

Manus Hopkins is the Assistant Editor of Canadian Musician