Oshawa artist wins country music award

Oshawa artist Brandon Heard is the winner of the Canadian Country Music Award for best album design for his work on The Boom Chucka Boys’ Ramble. Heard was also nominated in the same category for his work on Chad Brownlee’s The Fighters.


Securing two of the five nominations in his category was a good sign that Oshawa artist Brandon Heard was going to come away a winner.

Heard was bestowed the honour for best album design for his work on The Boom Chucka Boys’ album Ramble at the recent Canadian Country Music Awards in Halifax.

The Oshawa-based artist was also nominated for his work on Chad Brownlee’s The Fighters.

Heard wasn’t the only Oshawa resident to be nominated for an award, with KX96’s Peter Walker receiving a nomination for musical director of the year for a small or medium market. That award went to Paul Ferguson of Belleville’s Cool 100.1 FM.


Port Hope artists gets CCMA nomination

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

PORT HOPE – The Canadian Country Music Association Awards have a category honouring excellence among those behind the music.

When the CBC airs this awards show from Halifax Sept. 13, a Port Hope artist will be among those nominated for album design of the year.

Sheila Hash is on the list for her design work for Kelowna artist Chad Brownlee’s release The Fighters.

“I love what I do, and obviously it’s a huge honour to be nominated — and very humbling. It’s nice to be recognized by our peers in the industry,” Hash said in an interview.

“And of course, I couldn’t do it without the artists.”

This is her fourth year being nominated for this honour, and she hopes the fourth time is the charm.

Originally from Ottawa, later from Oshawa, she and her husband Brandon Heard moved to Port Hope in recent years, bringing along their business Media Vandals.

The glory days of album art for the larger canvas of an LP is past, except for those rare artists who want to press on vinyl. Those opportunities are fun, Hash allowed, but there’s more to CD design than just the art on the square in front.

“I think in the majority of albums, the major aspect that catches people’s attention is always the cover. But for art lovers, obviously, it’s the overall design once you open up the album and see both sides and pull out the layout and look at the lyrics,” she said.

“Myself, after I get my hands on a CD, I am always looking at the art.”

The rise of mp3s has been unfortunate in their taking away of this wonderful outlet, she said.

“I’m not a digital person — I love to get that finished artwork in my hands and look at it. I’m still thankful for that.”

Though nominated four times, she only attended her first ceremony last year. It was in Edmonton, since locations rotate. Next year it will be in London. This year it will be in Halifax.

“It will be my first time there since I was a child, so we will make a bit of a vacation out of it,” she said.




Oshawa artist up for country music award

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Country music fans may be a fan of his work, but not know his name. However, they may get an introduction to Oshawa’s own Brandon Heard at the upcoming Canadian Country Music Awards next month.

Heard has been nominated not once, but twice for best album cover.

“It’s huge. It’s one of the best honours in the industry,” Heard tells The Oshawa Express. “It means I chose the right calling and being recognized for it. It’s pretty awesome.”

Heard has his name listed twice in the best album art category for his work on Chad Brownlee’s The Fighters and The Boom Chucka Boys’ Ramble.

While this is the first time Heard has been nominated twice in one year, this will mark his fourth year in a row that he has been up for a Canadian Country Music Award.

“It was 2012 for Chad Brownlee’s last album Love Me or Leave Me. Year after that, we got nominated for Hey Romeo’s Twist of Fate. Last year was Jess Moskaluke’s Light Up The Night,” he says. “But this year is two nominations on two different labels. It’s kind of neat. I guess I’m up against myself in the final balloting.”

Heard first got into the world of designing albums back in 2009, joining Sheila, now his wife, who had been to school for music business management, going to work for MDM Recordings, an independent Canadian label that focuses on country music.

Heard’s work with MDM Recordings saw him working with various Canadian country music artists, including those for which he received CCMA nominations, such as Chad Brownlee and Jess Moskaluke.

However, as Heard’s name became known in the industry, other labels came calling.

“Since then, it’s been one after another. And it’s awesome,” he says.

The award for best album art will be presented at a lunch ceremony on Sept. 11 during Country Music Week in Halifax, ahead of the main awards show on Sept. 13.