Country queens lead list of local nominees

PAT ST. GERMAIN

, Last Updated: 2:40 AM ET

Juno Awards suspense wasn't exactly killing 'em at Amanda Stott's house in Brandon yesterday morning. The 18-year-old singer and parents Tiena and Cyril didn't even know nominations were being announced until her manager phoned to say she's up for best new solo artist this year.

"It was a total shock to me this morning, I wasn't even expecting to be nominated," says Stott, who immediately shared the news with her mom.

"She was actually pretty shocked because we weren't expecting to be nominated at all. And my dad came in about an hour later and I said, 'Guess what, Daddy? I got a Juno nomination.' And he said, 'Yeah, right.' "

That's OK. Stott says she loves to sing and the Juno nomination is "just the cherry on the cake.

"I watch them every year. It's definitely been a dream of mine to be nominated, it's incredible."

Stott, who's planning a followup album to her self-titled debut, is among nine Manitoba nominees in categories from classical, gospel and jazz to alternative rock and aboriginal music.

Roblyn, Man., chanteuse Tara Lyn Hart -- a double nominee last year -- is up for best country female honours again; klezmer outfit Finjan has a second nomination for best global album for Dancing on Water, and The Weakerthans are up for best alternative album for Left and Leaving.

1997 Juno winner Steve Bell has another shot at best gospel album for his Simple Songs, Knut Haugsoen is up for best contemporary jazz instrumental album for Step and a Half, and C-Weed are tapped for best music of aboriginal Canada for the album Run as One. In classical categories, Tracy Dahl is among the honourees for Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Millennium Opera Gala, and James Ehnes is in the solo category for Bach: The Six Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin.

Manitoba Recording Industry Association executive director Sam Baardman says the local crop of nominees is a testament to the variety and quality of home-grown talent.

"Manitoba has always had a really vibrant musical scene here and it's no surprise to see such a large, diverse group of artists being nominated for Juno Awards."


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