by SaskMusic

October 1, 2012 in SaskMusic News


The 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards were handed out this past weekend in Regina. SaskMusic is pleased to congratulate The Deep Dark Woods, who received the award for Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year (“The Place I Left Behind”).

The Northern Pikes were honoured as the recipient of the 2012 Hall Of Fame Award. Formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in early 1984, The Northern Pikes recorded a string of hits including “Teenland,” “Wait for Me,” “Let’s Pretend,” “Hopes Go Astray”, and their biggest hit, “She Ain’t Pretty”. The Pikes have recorded 11 albums to date and remain an active touring band.

Other awards of special recognition were presented to Eduard Minevich - The Heritage Award, an award bestowed on a musician or group who has had a profound and lasting impact on the Western Canadian music scene; and to Louis O’Reilly, the Industry Builder Award, presented to one who has contributed greatly to the development of the Western Canadian music industry.

The artistic awards, which recognize the achievements and contributions of artists from across Western Canada in the past year, were handed out a ceremony on September 30 at the Casino Regina Show Lounge (hosted by CBC’s Grant Lawrence), while the industry awards, recognizing the achievements and contributions of music industry professionals from across western Canada in the past year, were presented on September 29 at the Regina Inn. The artistic awards featured performances by Regina’s Rah Rah and Jason Plumb.

We also acknowledge the hundreds of music industry professionals and artists who visited our province for this event. Saskatchewan artist with official festival showcases this year performed in a wide variety of genres, and included Alexis Normand, Belle Plaine, Blake Berglund, Castle River, Dean McNeill, Fur Eel, Foam Lake, Fountains Of Youth, Indigo Joseph, Jason Plumb and The Willing, Jeans Boots, Jeff McLeod, Jeffery Straker, Library Voices, Michel Lalonde, Rosie and the Riveters, Scott Benson Band, Shuyler Jansen, Slow Down Molasses, Smokekiller, Sound Society, The Lonesome Weekends, The Steadies, Val Halla, and Zachary Lucky.

The Western Canadian Music Awards are the finale of BreakOut West, an annual event celebrating the music of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. BreakOut West includes a music conference, a music festival showcasing 50 Western Canadian artists, and the creative and industry WCMAs. The event travels to Calgary AB in 2013.

For more information on BreakOut West and the Western Canadian Music Awards, including a complete list of award winners, visit www.breakoutwest.ca.


Eduard Minevich was born in the U.S.S.R. and studied violin at the prestigious Leningrad Conservatory. Upon graduation he joined the Leningrad Concert Orchestra as a soloist and concertmaster. He also gave solo recitals and performed with a leading quartet until his immigration to Canada in 1975. In 1976 he became Concertmaster with Orchestra London Canada, a post he held for eleven years. During that time he performed as soloist on numerous occasions, and toured Canada and South America with the award-winning Canadian Chamber Ensemble.

In 1987 Mr. Minevich was appointed Concertmaster of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and was first violin with the Canadian Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Minevich was frequently featured as a soloist with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and made several CDs with the orchestra and Canadian Chamber Ensemble. In 1988 he was appointed Adjunct Professor of Violin at Wilfrid Laurier University.

In the early 1990s, Minevich developed a pops program, “From Jazz to Gypsy,” which he has performed across Canada. His second production, “Romancing the Violin,” has also been performed nationally. In 1994 Mr. Minevich released a crossover CD with Canadian country fiddle champion Frank Leahy, entitled “Bending the Bows.” In September 1999 Eduard Minevich accepted the position of Concertmaster with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, and has since retired. He currently performs with The True Jive Pluckers, based in Regina.


During his post-secondary education at the University of Saskatchewan, O’Reilly mixed music with study as he played keyboards in a band and drums in the legendary U of S Intensely Vigorous College Nine troupe. Along the way, he started purchasing home recording equipment and producing local music. After graduating with a degree in Economics, Mr. O’Reilly’s friendly and helpful disposition would draw him not first to the music business, but to the life of a missionary. Compelled to help those in need, the couple worked for 10 years as missionaries for CCO Canada (the last 5 as President of the organization).

In 2000, their missionary service came to an end when O’Reilly was asked to manage The Johner Brothers. As most entrepreneurs do, he jumped in with both feet. In 2001, based in Saskatoon, he formed O’Reilly International and signed The Johner Brothers. Brad Johner was later launched as a solo artist and blazed a path of success that saw 3 album releases, 10 music videos, over a dozen top 20 and top 10 singles including the Canadian #1 “Free”, 2 Juno nominations, and scores of other award wins and nominations.

That success quickly attracted artists including Shane Yellowbird, Patricia Conroy, Victoria Banks, and Brett Kissel. The 306 Records label was added in 2005, with a second label, On Ramp Records, in 2007. O’Reilly opened a Nashville office in 2008 and signed Buddy Jewell. O’Reilly’s label roster quickly swelled to over 20 acts including Aaron Lines, Deric Ruttan, Crystal Shawanda, Sean Hogan, and Jaydee Bixby. The success for O’Reilly has personally resulted in numerous SCMA awards, CCMA wins and WCMA nominations. He also developed and launched TraxReport.com, a Canadian country music chart, and MusicMax.ca in 2005, an ecommerce solution for artists. Mr. O’Reilly has also been a long time volunteer on various boards, and has relished supporting and growing the local music industry.


The Northern Pikes were formed in Saskatoon in early 1984. The original lineup consisted of Jay Semko, Merl Bryck, Bryan Potvin, and Glen Hollingshead, who left the band in 1985. The following year Don Schmid joined to make it a permanent quartet. The combination of exciting live performances, well-received indie albums and the continuous stream of demos caught the ear of Doug Chappell, President of Virgin Records Canada, and The Pikes signed to the label on December 18, 1986. Their first Virgin release, “Big Blue Sky,” hit the streets in June of ‘87 and featured the hit singles “Teenland,” “Things I Do For Money,” and "Dancing In A Danceclub," introducing the band to a wider audience and expanding the touring range to all of North America.

Over the years the group went on to release numerous albums (“Secrets of The Alibi,” “Snow In June,” “Neptune,” and “Gig”), filled with well-known singles such as “Wait For Me,” “Hopes Go Astray,” “She Ain’t Pretty,” “Girl With A Problem,” and "Dream Away.”

After 10 years of intense road life and non-stop travelling, 8 Juno award nominations, 4 Gold records and 1 Platinum record, the band elected to go on hiatus in 1993. Six years later, all original members reunited to assemble a greatest hits package for Virgin Records, “Hits and Assorted Secrets”, which led to the decision to record a new studio album, “Truest Inspiration,” released in 2001. Jay, Bryan and Don, have continued touring as a power trio until the present.

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For more information, please visit www.breakoutwest.ca.