OK, let’s go: Here are 10 reasons to the love The JRLMAS…

Also known as The Jack Richardson London Music Awards or the only not-for-profit recognition of our musical excellence in London, Ontario.

My volunteer involvement as a member of the JRLMA board and steering committee makes it tough to stop this list at 10. But, that’s love (or bias, or both) because I never want to limit passion for something as beautiful as the London music community.

Wanna show and feel some London music love? Make sure to vote at jrlma.ca and here are some reasons why you absolutely should.

1. Basia Bulat. Lido Pimienta. Shad.

That’s like three reasons, but oh well. All these Canadian music aces were JRLMA noms when they were starting out in London back in the 2000s and each played at the big Jack’s gala as part of the free show.

Shad at LMH
Shad at LMH in June 2016. Photo by Ryan Labreche

2. The 2017 edition is bigger than ever

Eight days (that’s like eight reasons). It opens April 2 at Aeolian Hall (free) and wraps up on April 9 at the London Music Hall (also free). Visit jrlma.ca for the details on Jack Richardson London Music Week, or JRLMW.

3. The late Jack Richardson

The legendary Canadian record producer and Fanshawe College professor honoured us by allowing The Jacks to use his name. He participated at many JRLMA events. Every year, we are inspired by the man who believed Canadians could rock the world, and his legacy continues.

4. Jack’s London Crawling

Pretty kewl brand for a night of multiple bars and multiple acts starting on April 5 and ending early April 6. There must be hundreds of London musicians rawkin the night away. My one reason for Crawling above all the others is the chance to experience Black Donnellys’ guitarist Jade Mitchell (Rum Runners) … unless it is Jessica Allossery (Winks) … or Rose Perry (Richmond) … or, you get the idea.

5. Joey Hollingsworth

The singer, dancer, actor and writer is a 2017 Jack Richardson London Music Hall Of Fame inductee. He knows all about the man he calls Jackie Richardson. He met Jackie (as Jack was known on the Toronto jazz scene in the 1950s) when Richardson was the bassist with CBC-TV star Billy O’Connor. Joey met O’Connor who was gigging at the Western Fair … and that led Joey to Ed Sullivan and Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood and, at last, the JRLMA-helmed Hall of Fame. Joey Hollingsworth is to travel from Hamilton for the April 9 gala. Recommendation: you need to meet him.

Joey Hollingsworth
London native Joey Hollingsworth. Photo by Brian Thompson / QMI Agency

6. Alexandra “Alex” Kane

Alex is the JRLMA gala producer for 2017. She does a helluva job gala after gala. As a fellow board member, I am in awe of AK’s vision, energy and attention to detail. She is helming the Classical and Jazz Gala on April 2 and the April 9. Two more terrific reasons.

7. The mom factor

Back in 2003, at the first gala in an event that is now the JRLMA big night, the mother of one member in the hip-hop trio Triad, was sitting beside me. Triad was up for an award. When that category was about to be announced the Triad mom took my hand (…for luck? To calm her nerves?) and gave it the sweetest squeeze. Triad won and my hand was released as she high-fived the Triad team  and everyone celebrated. Fourteen years later, proud moms (and dads) are still, and always will be, a part of JRLMAs.

8. Keegan Marshall and the late Ken Palmer

The Beal secondary school grad was the first recipient in 2016 of a JRLMA-tied bursary for young music students. In the same year, Ken Palmer was inducted into The Jack Richardson London Music Hall Of Fame as a member of bluegrass aces Dixie Flyers. Okay, so Ken and Keegan are two excellent reasons.

9. The Jack Richardson London Music Hall Of Fame

Every year, outstanding London performers have been inducted into the Hall through the JRLMAs. Now it actually exists in the former Nash Jewellers downtown store at 182 Dundas St. Come and see Guy Lombardo’s red jacket, Jack Richardson’s gold records, boots worn by Kittie, the “Wookie” top, and more.

The brand new Jack Richardson Music Hall of Fame in Downtown London, ON. Photo by Nicki Borland

10. Mike Manuel and the London Music Hall family

So many wonderful sponsors, supporters, and allies have helped make the JRLMAs happen over the years. But without Mike and Demetri Manuel and their team welcoming the JRLMAs (and the Jack’s Hall of Fame) into their world-class entertainment complex  all the other reasons here (and a bunch of others that could be) wouldn’t be factors. Yep, #LondonProud at its best.

Which reminds me. Most of the 2017 hardware is handed out at the London Music Hall on April 9. I better vote at jrlma.ca right now.

See you April 2-9 during the amazing JRLMW. Follow JRLMAs on Facebook for the latest news!

James Stewart Reaney keeps James’s Brander Newer Blogger at LondonFuse.ca as part of his volunteerism and reverence for London A&E. He recently retired from The London Free Press after more than 30 years covering everything from A — The Alcohollys — to B: baseball’s 1986 World Series. Follow his Twitter #ldnont thoughts via @JamesSReaney

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