Pop-country band Emerson Drive steered its way to three awards as the Canadian Country Music Association handed out its top prizes in Regina Monday night.


Host Paul Brandt performs at the Canadian Country Music Awards in Regina. ((Troy Fleece/Canadian Press))

The smooth-sounding sextet, who got their start in Grand Prairie, Alta., took home the awards for song and video of the year for their hit Moments, which they performed to kick off the show, as well as for group of the year.

"The last 2½ years, there have been so many people who have put in a ton of effort to put out the countrified CD," lead singer Brad Mates saidas he accepted the award for group of the year, which the band also won in 2002 and 2003.

"First and foremost, obviously, the fans that have really jumped on board this year. Thank you so much," he said.

The ballad Moments hit No. 1 as a single on the Billboard country music charts south of the border earlier this year. The song peaked at No. 4 in Canada.

The group includes guitarist Danick Dupelle, drummer Mike Melancon, David Pichette on fiddle, Patrick Bourque on bass and Dale Wallace on keyboards.

Veteran Canadian country act Brad Johner impressed fans in his home province, picking up the first award of the night for male artist of the year.

Johner, who got his start with his brother Ken as The Johner Brothers, was born in Midale, Sask., about 150 kilometres southeast of Regina.

"Well, that makes for a good beginning doesn't it?," Johner said as the crowd screamed.

Alberta singer-songwriter Carolyn Dawn Johnson — a perennial winner at the annual awards show — won female artist of the year honours, but was edged out for the fan's choice award by another Alberta songstress, Terri Clark.

"I must be really tired because I'm feeling very emotional," Johnson said, holding back tears.

"I love music so much," she said as someone in the crowd yelled back: "We love you!"

Mitch Merrett, Aaron Pritchett and Deric Ruttan won the songwriter of the year award for the irreverent hit Hold My Beer, which Pritchett recorded himself.

Album of the year honours were taken home by the Manitoba group Doc Walker for its self-titled release.

2007 Canadian Country Music Association award winners
Fans' choice Terri Clark
Single of the year Moments, Emerson Drive
Album of the year Doc Walker, Doc Walker
Songwriter of the year Mitch Merrett, Aaron Pritchett, Deric Ruttan for Hold My Beer
Video of the year Moments, Emerson Drive
Female artist of the year Carolyn Dawn Johnson
Male artist of the year Brad Johner
Group of the year Emerson Drive
Roots artist or group of the year The Corb Lund Band
Rising star Shane Yellowbird

The Corb Lund Band won the award for roots group of the year, while Shane Yellowbird of Hobbema, Alta., took home the rising star honour. Yellowbird, whose debut album is Life is Calling My Name, was nominated for five awards overall.

Nova Scotia's George Canyon was also nominated for five awards, but failed to take home any hardware.

Awards show host Paul Brandt, whose long-awaited new album Risk comes out Tuesday, was also shut out in the four categories in which he was nominated.