Get to know Juno breakthrough group nominee James Barker Band

The Ontario band has had four top 10 singles — and don't even have a debut full-length album yet.

The Ontario band has had 4 top 10 singles — and don't even have a debut full-length album yet

(Courtesy of Universal)

The Juno categories of breakthrough artist and group of the year have gone through a few different identities in their 44-year history, but what's never changed is the incredible pedigree of the categories' winners. A veritable who's who of now-established and future Canadian music industry icons have taken home these coveted Junos.

Breakthrough artist winners include Burton Cummings, k.d. lang, Colin James, Alanis Morissette, Jann Arden, Avril Lavigne, Michael Bublé, Feist, Drake, the Weeknd, and Alessia Cara. The list of breakthrough group winners is equally star-studded: Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Rush, Glass Tiger, the Tragically Hip, Nickelback, Alexisonfire, Said the Whale and A Tribe Called Red.

This year's crop of nominated artists and groups features an exciting and diverse array of musicians. From Toronto-based R&B singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez and Montreal-based electro-pop singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin to the Iqaluit-based folk-rock act the Jerry Cans and the Regina-based bluegrass band the Dead South, almost every music fan will find something to love in the nominees.

Think of the Junos as an opportunity to survey just a little bit more of the country's music scene, its depth and breadth, and then keep checking back every Thursday and Friday as CBC Music posts its handy primers for each artist and group, as well as some context to help deepen your appreciation of these great musicians.

Who: James Barker Band.

Where: Lindsay, Ont.

Sound: Country with some rock influences.

Why they're nominated: Since winning the Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist showcase in 2015, the band has earned a reputation as one of the country's best live acts, and racked up four top 10 singles. This is all based off the success of the James Barker Band's debut EP, 2017's Game On — the band doesn't yet have a full-length studio album.

Previously: James Barker learned to auctioneer from his father. Connor Stephen and Bobby Martin have emergency services diplomas in police studies and pre-service firefighting, respectively. Taylor Abram was a working musician, producer, engineer and — according to at least one old Tweet — a wedding singer.

Fun fact: On the band's first trip to Nashville, they all got tattoos.

Quote: "The one artist we'd like to do something with because he's a big inspiration to everybody in the band would be Eric Church, because his stuff is so definitive and it's so country-meets-rock-and-roll in such a cool way. He's probably one of the kings right now, and it'd be great to collaborate with a guy like that. Especially because you know they're so actively involved in the creation of their music and their live performance. You can tell it's not some sort of a cookie-cutter thing, he's the one making the decisions, and we'd love to work with someone like that." — The Chronicle-Herald, 2018

'Lawn Chair Lazy' (2016)

'Chills' (2017)

'Just Sayin'' (2016)


Get to know Juno breakthrough artist nominee Allan Rayman

Wherever you are in the world, you can watch the 2018 Juno Awards broadcast live from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver on March 25 at cbcmusic.ca/junos.


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