The country music community was happy to meet again on Sept. 14, 2022, for the return of the Gala Country, held this year during the Festival Western de St-Tite. This 9th edition highlighted the work of the artists and artisans in the Canadian Francophone country-music community. Hosted for the very first time by Richard Turcotte, the gala gave out 14 “Willie” awards to projects that stood out in the past year, in addition to offering a variety of musical performances.

SiriusXM offered a $3,000 cash prize to the winner of the song of the year (“Contre vents et marées,” performed by Paul Daraîche and Renée Martel) as well as $500 to the other four finalists: Wild Ouest, Nathalie Lord, Martin Duford, and Dave Harmo. SOCAN, involved with the gala once more this year, presented a $1,000 cash prize and a one-week stay at the SOCAN House in Nashville to Ghys Mongeon, winner of the SOCAN Songwriter of the Year Award. SOPROQ offered him a $1,000 cash prize for Original Song Album of the Year, for Chasser l’ennui.

Mack & Ro, René Turgeon, Les filles de, Nathalie Lord, and Ghys Mongeon performed an opening number in homage to the pioneers of the genre, while the Deraspe brothers, from Sept-Îles, presented their song “Le vieux pêcheur,” and Beauséjour offered a touching rendition of “Lucille Starr.” A new generation of country musicians was also present, with Montréal’s Brittany Kennell singing the title song of her album I Ain’t a Saint and Gabrielle Goulet, playing her bilingual new release “Cliché Heartache.”

The complete list of winners is:

English Album of the Year
Matt Lang (More)

Television show of the year
Simply Country (Season 3, with Guylaine Tanguay)

Original Song Album of the Year
Ghys Mongeon (Chasser l’ennui)

Group of the year
Lendemain de veille

Album of Re-interpretations of the Year
Guylaine Tanguay (Country)

Female Performer of the Year
Nathalie Lord

SOCAN Songwriter of the Year
Ghys Mongeon

Male Performer of the Year
Laurie Leblanc

Discovery of the year
Wild Ouest

Show of the Year
Patrick Groulx et les bas blancs

Show of the Year presenter
Jam Country Lanjeu

Song of the Year
Contre vents et marées
Performers: Paul Daraîche and Renée Martel
Songwriter: Nelson Minville

Radio Show of the Year
En route vers l’ouest avec Véronique Labbé

Public Choice Award
Sugar Crush