Jade Eagleson talks past mistakes, musical inspiration ahead of CCMA Awards

·3 min read

CALGARY — Jade Eagleson is hoping to get a second chance at giving an acceptance speech at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards this weekend in Calgary.

Although the Bailieboro, Ont., native says he tried to speak from the heart when accepting the CCMA Rising Star award in 2019, there was one glaring omission.

"I got up there and I thanked everybody — nailed it. (But I) forgot to thank my wife," Eagleson said in a phone interview, speaking from Nashville where he lives.

"I may have a cheat sheet this time. I will never forget that Rising Star award. I think it's actually more special because I did it badly."

Eagleson, 28, has two nominations in the single of the year category — one for his solo track "All Night To Figure It Out" and another for "More Drinkin' Than Fishin'," a collaboration with Dean Brody. He's also up for fans' choice, album of the year, video of the year and top male artist.

Eagleson is most excited about being nominated for album of the year for "Honkeytonk Revival" because it represents a collection of his work.

Still, despite recent successes including a Juno nomination last year for country album of the year, the six CCMA Award nominations were a shock.

"Absolutely. I honestly was hoping to have maybe one this year and when I heard I was like enamoured with the honour. My wife, too. That's awesome but it's crazy to see."

Eagleson trails only Tenille Townes in the number of nominations.

The Nashville-based singer-songwriter from Grande Prairie, Alta. emerged as the leading contender with nominations in seven categories. They include both single and music video of the year for "Girl Who Didn't Care."

Eagleson's booming baritone voice and traditional delivery is not unlike Calgary's Paul Brandt, who enjoyed international success and reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

"Paul Brandt? Growing up listening to him. I think of 'My Heart Has a History' — that CD got worn right out. When it comes to artists he has probably been the biggest influence on me," Eagleson said.

"He always got a bad rap for being a pop country artist but I would laugh at that because the people who were saying it had not even half of the country influence in their music that he did. I say he is a country crooner and I would say the top country crooner this nation has put out."

Coming back to Calgary for the awards show is a bit of a homecoming for Eagleson. When he was 19 he moved to Alberta to learn a trade as a back-up plan because there's "not a lot of money in music."

"But halfway through I kept getting this call to do music and I said, 'I gotta take this chance,' and so I did," he said.

"I packed up the truck and I moved home halfway through this really great apprenticeship. I worked a job back home doing 40 hours a week and I got to a place where I was a little more stable financially so I could go out and do the bar gigs at night."

Other major contenders include James Barker Band with five nominations while Brett Kissel and Brody each have four.

The CCMA Awards will take place at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary and broadcast live Sept. 11 on Global.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 5, 2022.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press