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Time is finally right for Calgarian Lindsay Ell as she wins first CCMA award

Calgarian Lindsay Ell won her first Canadian Country Music Award Saturday, winning Single of the Year for "Right on Time" (Photo: X@LindsayEll) Calgarian Lindsay Ell won her first Canadian Country Music Award Saturday, winning Single of the Year for "Right on Time" (Photo: X@LindsayEll)

Former Calgary guitar star Lindsey Ell isn't an artist who doesn't win awards anymore.

The 34-year-old country singer and Canada's Got Talent show host got a shock Saturday night, when her song "Right on Time" won Single of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards in Hamilton.

Ell looked stunned as she accepted the award.

"This is the first time I’ve gotten to accept an award on TV and I’m holding it upside down," she laughed.

The 34-year-old thanked many of the people who helped her succeed, including rock legend Randy Bachman. The "Takin' Care of Business" songwriter met Ell at 13 years old and helped foster her early career.

Backstage, Ell broke into tears as the moment settled in.

"For the longest time, I thought I was an artist who didn't win awards and I could just congratulate all my friends doing incredible things," she said.

But she added this win, in particular, has offered perspective on the road to success:

"A lot of times that journey looks a lot different than you think it should," she said.

"There's a beauty in accepting the order that things fall into place."

On her Instagram page, Ell said "Last night my life was forever changed."

After describing the rollercoaster ride of emotions that she went through upon hearing her name called, including delivering an accidental 'F Bomb' on the live broadcast followed by doing a 'happy dance' across the stage, Ell summed about the experience.

"While I was dancing across the stage last night, it hit me: all of my work has not been in vain. Decades of sacrificing so much of my life, taking chances and hoping that I was making the right decisions landed me here. A winner on the CCMA stage.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lindsay Ell (@lindsayell)

"I couldn't think of a better way to wrap a rollercoaster of a year, which started with the release of a song that has now changed everything for me – Right On Time (Written w/#JordanSchmidt and @geoffisbae).

"It's an anthem for anyone who is worried that their timeline is different than everyone around them.

"Let me tell you from personal experience, your timeline will get you where you need to be when you are ready to be there."

TOWNES, EAGLESON BIG WINNERS

Canadian stars Jade Eagleson and Tenille Townes added three trophies each to their growing collections at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards on Saturday.

Both tied as the top winners at this year's celebration of homegrown country music, with Eagleson landing both the entertainer and male artist of the year on the broadcast. He picked up another award at an industry gala held on Friday.

Townes made history by winning the female artist prize for the fifth consecutive year.

"I feel so much joy," Townes exclaimed backstage at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton.

"I love these nights. I love seeing everybody; I love celebrating a year of so much Canadian music."

Earlier, Townes won songwriter of the year and country music program as host of a Christmas TV special.

Her latest wins push Townes' career tally to 17 CCMA awards, more than half the number of her idol Shania Twain, who has 33 in total.

Presented with the possibility of moving closer to Twain's position, Townes recalled how important the "Any Man of Mine" singer was to her start. At nine years old, Townes was pulled on to the stage by Twain at one of the superstar's concerts.

"It put such a fire in me to chase this crazy dream," said the 29-year-old after her wins.

"It’s my dream now to keep that spark going."

Sibling duo the Reklaws kicked off the night as hosts by challenging viewers to a drinking game.

“Any time you hear the word beer take a big ol’ sip, because all you country fans want to hear is songs about beer," said Jenna Walker, who alongside her brother sings the sudsy hits "11 Beers" and "Can't Help Myself."

The Reklaws then charged into a performance of a song about beer written for the show.

Beer came up a bunch more times. Dallas Smith gave viewers another opportunity to chug when he performed his track "Singing in a Beer" and Tyler Joe Miller and Matt Lang sang "Never Met a Beer."

Other big winners at the show included James Barker Band of Woodville, Ont., who took home best group or duo, as well as the fan choice award.

Meanwhile, Josh Ross, the Burlington, Ont., singer-songwriter whose hit single "Trouble" helped catapult him to fame, was named breakthrough artist.

A few pop-country duets ignited the show, including newcomer Sacha who joined Tyler Shaw on their track "Confident," before Shaw wandered to a piano to play his own track "Love You Still."

Townes brought on stage Pat Monahan of the pop-rock band Train to perform their new single "I Know." Then the pair took on a rendition of "Drive By," a 2012 radio hit by the band also known for "Drops of Jupiter."

A lively performance of "On the Water" by James Barker Band and Dalton Dover came to its big finish when the Reklaws bounded onto the stage in shark outfits as confetti rained down.

With files from The Canadian Press