Vince’s vision Indian City’s Juno nod a testament to late frontman’s dedication

It was a proud yet bittersweet moment Tuesday morning for Vince Fontaine’s family and Indian City, his musical family.

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It was a proud yet bittersweet moment Tuesday morning for Vince Fontaine’s family and Indian City, his musical family.

The folk-rock group, which Fontaine led until his death just over a year ago, earned a Juno Award nomination for contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year.

The band’s latest album, Code Red, which includes collaborations with Winnipeg-born pop star Chantal Kreviazuk, Blue Rodeo vocalist Jim Cuddy and local country singer-songwriter Don Amero, first came out late in 2021 but was re-released last fall after Indian City signed a record deal with a major label, Warner Music Canada.

Gabrielle Fontaine, Vince Fontaine’s daughter, who also sang on Code Red, says the project was dear to his heart.

“When I first heard the news we got the nomination, I was just so incredibly happy, but at the same time I just really wish that my dad were here because his hard work is paying off,” she says. “He had tried so hard to make it in this industry and his work is getting the recognition it really deserves.”

Vince Fontaine suffered a heart attack Jan. 11, 2022, and died shortly after. He was 60 years old.

“When he passed, it was so hard to look at that album,” Gabrielle Fontaine says. “It was hard because he put all of his work, he put all of his thoughts and values into that album and he never got to see it really bloom and grow and get the recognition it deserves.”

Juno nominees 2023

TikTok Juno Fan Choice: Avril Lavigne, Lauren Spencer-Smith; MacKenzie Porter; Preston Pablo; Rêve; Shawn Mendes; Tate McRae; the Reklaws; the Weeknd; Tyler Shaw

Single of the year: Bite Me, Avril Lavigne; Flowers Need Rain, Preston Pablo and Banx & Ranx; When You’re Gone, Shawn Mendes; she’s all i wanna be, Tate McRae; Sacrifice, The Weeknd.

International album of the year: =, Ed Sheeran; Harry’s House, Harry Styles; Montero, Lil Nas X; Midnights, Taylor Swift; Red (Taylor’s Version), Taylor Swift

Album of the year: Who Hurt You?, Ali Gatie Warner; Love Sux, Avril Lavigne; Demons Protected By Angels, Nav; I Used to Think I Could Fly, Tate McRae; Dawn FM, the Weeknd

TikTok Juno Fan Choice: Avril Lavigne, Lauren Spencer-Smith; MacKenzie Porter; Preston Pablo; Rêve; Shawn Mendes; Tate McRae; the Reklaws; the Weeknd; Tyler Shaw

Single of the year: Bite Me, Avril Lavigne; Flowers Need Rain, Preston Pablo and Banx & Ranx; When You’re Gone, Shawn Mendes; she’s all i wanna be, Tate McRae; Sacrifice, The Weeknd.

International album of the year: =, Ed Sheeran; Harry’s House, Harry Styles; Montero, Lil Nas X; Midnights, Taylor Swift; Red (Taylor’s Version), Taylor Swift

Album of the year: Who Hurt You?, Ali Gatie Warner; Love Sux, Avril Lavigne; Demons Protected By Angels, Nav; I Used to Think I Could Fly, Tate McRae; Dawn FM, the Weeknd

Artist of the year: Avril Lavigne; Lauren Spencer-Smith; Michael Bublé; Shawn Mendes; The Weeknd

Group of the year: Arcade Fire; Arkells, Billy Talent; Metric; The Reklaws

Breakthrough artist of the year: Dax; Devon Cole; Preston Pablo; RealestK; Rêve

Breakthrough group of the year: Banx & Ranx; Harm & Ease; Rare Americans; Tommy Lefroy; Wild Rivers

Songwriter of the year: Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd); Faouzia; Tate McRae; Tenille Townes; TOBi

Country album of the year: Way Back, High Valley; Honkytonk Revival, Jade Eagleson; Bronco, Orville Peck; Masquerades, Tenille Townes; Good Ol’ Days, the Reklaws

Adult alternative album of the year: Born Losers, Altameda; The Garden, Basia Bulat; Being Somewhere, Dan Mangan; Colder Streams, the Sadies; How Is It That I Should Look at the Stars, the Weather Station

Alternative album of the year: Blue Rev, Alvvays; Duality, Luna; Sewn Back Together, OMBIIGIZI; The Unraveling of Pup the Band, PUP; Tongues, Tanya Tagaq

Pop album of the year: In the Meantime, Alessia Cara; Love Sux, Avril Lavigne; The Loneliest Time, Carly Rae Jepsen; I Used to Think I Could Fly, Tate McRae; Dawn FM, the Weeknd

Rock album of the year: Otherness, Alexisonfire; Crisis of Faith, Billy Talent; Get Rollin’, Nickelback; Outta Sight, the Sheepdogs; Explosions, Three Days Grace

Vocal jazz album of the year: Featuring Caity Gyorgy; blue, Diana Panton; Venez donc chez moi, Laura Anglade and Sam Kirmayer; Nikki By Starlight, Nikki Yanofsky; The Ostara Project, The Ostara Project

Jazz album of the year: Joy, Ernesto Cervini; A Little Louder Now, Lauren Falls, El Tinajon, Luis Deniz Modica; Rumba, Rafael Zaldivar; Kinds of Love, Renee Rosnes

Jazz album of the year (group): Semantics, Andrew Rathbun Quintet; Talk Memory, BadBadNotGood; The History of Us, Carn Davidson; Desert Bloom, Florian Hoefner; The Dragon’s Tail, Mark Kelso & the Jazz Exiles

Instrumental album of the year: Canadiana, Canadian Brass; Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More, Esmerine Constellation; Iguana, Hard Rubber Orchestra; Aubades, Jean-Michel Blais; Lionheart, Stephan Moccio

Album francophone de l’année: Medium plaisir, Ariane Roy; Mercure en mai, Daniel Bélanger; Pictura de ipse, Musique directe; Crash, Les Louanges; Chiac Disco, Lisa LeBlanc

Children’s album of the year: Nice to Meet You, Beppie Platoon; Say Hello, Jeremy and Jazzy Hidden Pony; I Am Love, Splash’N Boots; Walk off the Earth & Romeo Eats, Vol. 2, Walk off the Earth and Romeo Eats; Maestro Fresh Wes Presents: Julia the Great, Young Maestro and Keysha Freshh

Classical album of the year (solo artist): Winner of the 18th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition Warsaw 2021, Bruce Liu; Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1, David Jalbert; La Zingarella: Through Romany Songland, Isabel Bayrakdarian; Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, James Ehnes; Fables, Philip Chiu

Classical album of the year (large ensemble): Clara — Robert — Johannes: Lyrical Echoes, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Shelley Analekta; Handel: Messiah, HWV 56, Ensemble Caprice, Ensemble Vocal Arts-Quebec, conducted by Matthias Maute, featuring Karina Gauvin; Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen – Arvo Pärt: Symphonie No. 4, “Los Angeles,” I Musici de Montréal, conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni; Viola Borealis, Orchestre de l’Agora, conducted by Nicolas Ellis, featuring Marina Thibeault; Radiant Dawn: Music for Advent and Christmas, the Elora Singers, conducted by Mark Vuorinen.

Classical album of the year (small ensemble): Nagamo, Andrew Balfour and Musica Intima; Hemsi: Chamber Works, ARC Ensemble; Vagues et ombres, collectif9; Early Italian Cello Concertos, Elinor Frey and Rosa Barocca, conducted by Claude Lapalme; De la cour de Louis XIV à Shippagan! Chants traditionnels acadiens et airs de cour du XVIIe siècle, Suzie LeBlanc, Marie Nadeau-Tremblay, Vincent Lauzer, and Sylvain Bergeron.

Classical composition of the year: An Overall Augmented Sense of Well-being, Anthony Tan; Bestiary I & II, Bekah Simms; The Black Fish, Keyan Emami; Prayers for Ruins, Nicole Lizée; Supervillain Études, Vincent Ho

Rap album/EP of the year: Gonzo, Boslen; Retrospected (Acoustic), Classified; The Fleur Print Vol. 2, Jazz Cartier; Demons Protected by Angels, Nav; Shall I Continue?, TOBi

Dance recording of the year: Afterglow, Bob Moses and Kasablanca; Shinigami Eyes, Grimes; These Nights, Loud Luxury; CTRL + ALT + DEL, Rêve; Spiral, Rezz

Contemporary R&B recording of the year: When Flowers Bloom, Adria Kain; If I Get Caught, dvsn; No Longer in the Suburbs, Dylan Sinclair; Yessie, Jessie Reyez; WTF, Savannah Ré

Reggae recording of the year: Water, Ammoye; Like A Star, Celena; Jah Love, Exco Levi; In the Streets, Kairo McLean Soul Survival; Reggae Party, Kairo McLean and Finn

Contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year: Watin, Aysanabee; Zhawenim, Digging Roots; Code Red, Indian City; Beyond the Reservoir, Julian Taylor; The Crossing, Susan Aglukark.

Contemporary roots album of the year: O Glory, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings; That Was You and Me, Fortunate Ones; Hold on to Love, Shakura S’Aida; Come Morning, The Bros. Landreth; House of Dreams, The East Pointers.

Traditional roots album of the year: Hurricane Clarice, Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves; 20 printemps, Le Vent du Nord; Narrow Line, Mama’s Broke; Tell ‘Em You Were Gold, Pharis & Jason Romero; The Empress, the McDades.

Blues album of the year: Long River, Angelique Francis; Midnight Blues, Crystal Shawanda; Thanks for Tomorrow, Harrison Kennedy; Preach To My Soul, Spencer Mackenzie; Live at the King Eddy, The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer

Contemporary Christian/gospel album of the year: Into The Wild, Dan Bremnes; Trust, Daniel Ojo; Jordan St. Cyr, Jordan St. Cyr; Only Ever Always, Love & The Outcome; The Church Will Rise, Tehillah Worship

Global music album of the year: In the Footsteps of Rumi, Ghalia Benali; Thieves of Dreams, Lenka Lichtenberg; José Louis And The Paradox Of Love, Pierre Kwenders; Vox.Infold, Ruby Singh; Tradisyon, Wesli

Jack Richardson producer of the year: Akeel Henry; Banx & Ranx; Kaytranada; Mike Wise; Murda Beatz

Recording engineer of the year: Derek Hoffman; George Seara; Gus van Go; Jason Dufour; Serban Ghenea

Album artwork of the year: Emy Storey, Becca McFarlane and Pamela Littky; Ian Ilavsky, Maciek Szczerbowski; Jud Haynes; Kee Avil, Lawrence Fafard; Lights, Virgilio Tzaj, Matt Barnes

Music video of the year: Fraud, Emma Higgins (Jessie Reyez); Unholy, Floria Sigismondi (Sam Smith and Kim Petras); Have Mercy, Karena Evans (Chlöe Parkwood); Different Than Before, Mayumi Yoshida (Amanda Sum); Remember Me for Me, Sterling Larose (SonReal and Lily Moore)

Electronic album of the year: Not OK, Mecha Maiko; Spectrums, Odonis Odonis; Nightmare on Rezz Street 2 Mix, Rezz; Synthetic Season One Rich Aucoin; Interior, Teen Daze

Metal / hard music album of the year: Psychic Jailbreak, Cancer Bats; Merciless Destruction, Get The Shot; Paid In Full, Skull Fist; Synchro Anarchy, Voivod; Thought Form Descent, Wake

Adult contemporary album of the year: Adventure Book, Francois Klark; Descendant, Jann Arden; He Sang She Sang, Marc Jordan & Amy Sky; Higher, Michael Bublé; A Tyler Shaw Christmas, Tyler Shaw

Comedy album of the year: Let Me Hold Your Baby, Courtney Gilmour; Splash Pad, Jackie Pirico; A Person Who Is Gingerbread, Jon Dore; Here Live, Not A Cat, Matt Wright; Things Black Girls Say — The Album, Zabrina Douglas

Traditional R&B/soul recording of the year: Please Do Not Lean, Daniel Caesar, feat. BadBadNotGood; Palisade, Jon Vinyl; All I Need, Safe; Last One, Savannah Ré, feat. Dylan Sinclair; How to Make Love; TheHonestGuy

Rap single of the year: Alejandro Sosa, 6ixbuzz and Pengz; Been Himma, Dom Vallie; Wrath, Freddie Dredd; Twin Flame, Kaytranada and Anderson Paak; Wrong Decisions, Nav.

Underground dance single of the year: Debonair, Bensley; Aye Aye, Blond:ish and Cameron Jack; The Time Is (Now), Fred Everything; I Knew Techno, Greg Gow; Easy, Tiga.

Traditional Indigenous artist or group of the year: Kâkîsimo, Cikwes; Katajjausiit, Iva & Angu; Mikwanak Kamôsakinat, Joel Wood; Ôskimacîtahowin: A New Beginning, Northern Cree; Unbreakable, The Bearhead Sisters.

It’s the second Juno nomination for Indian City, which began in 2012 as an offshoot from another band Vince Fontaine led, Eagle & Hawk, Juno winners in 2002 in the same category Indian City earned its honour on Tuesday.

Edmonton hosts Juno week, with the festivities coming to a climax with a televised gala hosted by actor Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Kim’s Convenience) March 13.

“It’s the vision that Vince wanted, but it’s without Vince,” says Lawrence (Spatch) Mulhall, who performed and recorded with Vince Fontaine for 20 years with Indian City and Eagle & Hawk. “We wish that Vince was here, so it’s bittersweet that way.

“To me, it’s the acknowledgment of being nominated that’s always been important to me, not the victory as much. We’re up against some pretty stiff competition, some great artists.”

Also nominated in the contemporary Indigenous artist category are: Inuit singer-songwriter Susan Aglukark, a three-time. Juno winner who was born in Churchill and grew up in Arviat, Nunavut; Oji-Cree singer Aysanbee, from Sandy Lake First Nation near Thunder Bay; Toronto-based duo Digging Roots and Toronto singer-songwriter Julian Taylor, who is of Mohawk and Black descent.

Indian City’s remaining musicians and singers waited until last March to perform again, and have continued on, hoping that the Juno recognition and the record deal will lead to festival appearances in 2023. They began writing new songs last week they plan to combine with songs Fontaine had written before he died on a future album.

“In honour of him and in the spirit of him, we’ve carried on, trying to realize the collective vision, but primarily his vision,” Mulhall says.

Other artists with connections to Manitoba who also earned Juno nominations Thursday include:

• Pop starlet Faouzia, who grew up in Carman, was nominated for songwriter of the year, for the singles Anybody Else, Puppet and RIP, Love.

• James Ehnes, the violin virtuoso formerly from Brandon, earned his 31st Juno nomination, this time for classical album of the year (solo artist) for his record Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin.

• Love & the Outcome, the Winnipeg husband-and-wife Christian pop duo of Jodi King and Chris Rademaker, who live in Nashville, were nominated for contemporary Christian/gospel album of the year.

• Niverville-born singer-songwriter Jordan St. Cyr’s self-titled album earned him his first nomination for contemporary Christian/gospel album of the year.

• Allison de Groot, a Winnipeg-born clawhammer banjo player, earned a nomination for traditional roots album for Hurricane Clarice, her album with fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves.

• Winnipeg folk-blues duo the Bros. Landreth, who won a Juno Award in 2015, earned a nomination in contemporary roots album of the year for the release Come Morning.

“We were so lucky we won a Juno eight years ago for our first record, but we didn’t know what it meant,” Dave Landreth says. “We didn’t expect to be nominated and we certainly didn’t expect to win, and the whole thing launched us on this adventure.

“This time we’re going in with our heads up and our eyes open and it makes us appreciate the process a little more, what goes into it and the impact it can have.”

Finally, Cree composer Andrew Balfour, who leads the Winnipeg choral group Dead of Winter, earned a nomination with Vancouver’s Musica Intima for classical album of the year (small ensemble).

Balfour, who grew up in Winnipeg, lives in Toronto, but returns to the city often for Dead of Winter concerts and other classical events. He attended the announcement ceremony at CBC’s studios, crossing his fingers for the recording Nagamo, which he composed for Musica Intima.

Nagamo means “sings” in Cree; Musica Intima sings in Cree and Ojibwe to medieval, renaissance and baroque choral music that is performed usually in Latin or English.

“I felt like a real fish out of water this morning. The Junos are about Avril Lavigne or Nickelback, the big rock stars, and classical music gets second stage or third stage, and I get it,” Balfour says.

“Once we were nominated, I did a little dance, and a couple behind me, they didn’t know who I was, but they were happy for me and congratulated me, and it felt good.”

Lavigne received five Juno nominations, as did singer-songwriter Tate McRae, but both were eclipsed by pop superstar the Weeknd, who earned six Juno nods, including single of the year, album of the year and artist of the year.

Twitter: @AlanDSmall

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Alan Small

Alan Small

Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.

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