Aaron Allen of London wins grand prize at Ontario Country Music Awards

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As it turns out, Aaron Allen’s Highway Mile is paved with gold.

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The London singer-songwriter walked away on Sunday with the Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for Highway Mile at the Country Music Association of Ontario awards party at the Ancaster Fairgrounds in Hamilton.

“Miracles are coming,” said Allen, who also sang his latest song, Just Getting By, with his wife Aimee moments after the album of the year was announced.

“I was tuning my guitar and Aimee told me to let go because the best album award was announced and I said, ‘No way. And then they announced Highway Mile. I had to go up there and play and my hands were still shaking.

Meghan Patrick of Bowmanville – who has topped the awards in recent years – has won three awards, including Female Artist of the Year, Video and Fan Choice.

The only other artists from the region to be nominated this year were Kelsi Mayne of Windsor, who was shortlisted for Female Artist of the Year, and songwriters duo Mike Ure and Aidan Johnson-Bujold, known under the name Buck Twenty, who hail from the towns of Harrow and LaSalle near Windsor and won the Group or Duo of the Year award.

To make Allen’s victory even more enjoyable, his producer, Jeff Dalziel, took home the Producer of the Year award for his work with Aaron Allen, David Boyd Janes and River Town Saints.

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The awards, with 17 categories, were curated by country star Jason McCoy and Beverly Mahood. The performers at the drive-in were also Susan Aglukark, Buck Twenty, David Boyd Janes, Owen Barney, Reney Ray, Tim Hicks, Robyn Ottolini, Kelly Prescott, Sacha, Elyse Saunders, The Redhill Valleys and the CMAOntario Awards house band The Western Authority Swing.

Last year, when the awards were held at the Western Fair Raceway in a drive-in format, Allen was nominated for Male Artist of the Year and Rising Star, which he won, his premieres industry nominations (outside of Forest City London Music Awards) in his 20 years as a performer.

Other nominees for Album of the Year include Nicole Rayy’s All Woman, Jade Eagleson’s self-titled album, Kelly Prescott’s Love Wins, and Robyn Ottolini’s EP But I’m Not Always Hilarious.

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Other nominees in the male artist category include Andrew Hyatt, Darcy John, David Boyd Janes and Tim Hicks, who has performed several shows in the London area over the past two months.

“Each of these artists that I respect so much. I never thought I would have a chance, ”Allen said. “It’s just amazing. It’s crazy. I never thought that would happen. I am still shocked.

Eight songs that Allen wrote or co-wrote in the past year have been released by other artists. He also signed a deal with the Arts and Crafts publishing label, whose stable includes the late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, Sarah Harmer, Feist, Molly Johnson and the groups Said the Whale and Broken Social Scene.

Highway Mile has been streamed over three million times, and Allen was named Apple Music Artist of the Week April 24-30, 2020.

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Twitter.com/JoeBatLFPress

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