Southeast country artistDan Cugnet is looking forward to attending the Saskatchewan Country Music Awards event this June in Lloydminster, after being nominated for three SCMAs - one for Emerging Artist of the Year, as well as two for Alternative Country Album of the Year for his albums, 'Badlands' and 'Badlands II'.

Cugnet said he attended the SCMAs for the first time in 2023, after being considered for Emerging Artist of the Year, as well as Best Alternative Country Album of the Year for his first two albums, 'Rodeo Cabaret' and '45'.

He said last year's experience in Assiniboia was fantastic, as it included some songwriter rounds during the day on Saturday, where he got to know some of the other musicians.

"It was a great vibe last year. Quick Dick [McDick] was the emcee for the cabaret that night, and the next day I was in the songwriting round with Tommy Ehman, Adam Johnson, and Jeffrey Straker. That was neat, getting to meet them, and I ended up having lunch with Quick Dick and Jeffrey Straker, which was just a lot of fun. They're both lovely guys." 

Cugnet shared that the town of Assiniboia and its state-of-the-art Southland Co-op Centre were wonderful, and he's excited to take advantage of the songwriters getting together at the Vic Juba Community Theater this year.

"I think it is just a good thing for the community, and I think it's a good thing for people that are creating," he noted.

"I think you create something not to hopefully be awarded or recognized for it, but you want people to listen and hear. But it's still a good way to showcase Saskatchewan talent and people that are doing this stuff and celebrate each other, getting to hear what other people are doing, writing and creating. I'm not too concerned if I get an award. It's really neat that it's been acknowledged and recognized and hopefully, it just finds a few more ears. That is really the whole point, to just enjoy it."

As for the music on his latest albums, 'Badlands' and 'Badlands II', Cugnet said Alternative Country is a broad, catch-all term for anything Americana, folk, or traditional.

Cugnet said his music ranges from pop and rock elements to blues, folk, and 70s outlaw country. 

"So it's kind of all over the map. Some of it sounds more modern," he added. "So it's always really neat to be nominated, recognized, but until it's kind of gone through the iterations of the different votes and stuff, that's when it's like, 'okay, well, I'm actually up for this'. So it's a pretty neat thing."

The SCMAs will run from June 20th to 22nd, with the hardware being distributed on the 22nd.

Read more in the related article link below about some of the other local musicians up for 2024 SCMAs.

Cugnet said his summer is filling up with shows, including one tomorrow night alongside Brayden King and Karissa Hoffart.

"This Saturday I'm actually playing a show at the Mac Murray Theater in Arcola, which I'm really excited and looking forward to, so if you're not doing anything this Saturday, it's going to hopefully be a great crowd out there in the small little iconic theater, and Arcola, is such a neat to town to go explore." 

He said he plays with, "such a great bunch of players and band, Dion Hrynewich on the drums, Todd Milleker on bass, and Morgan Turk on the guitar. We've played enough gigs now all together that it's getting pretty tight - not that I don't think it sounded good before, but I think we've got a pretty good product. So as far as southeast Sask goes, I kind of feel like I got a super band actually."

Tickets are $25  for that show, which Cugnet said will include some songs, some stories, "and hopefully a couple of laughs. I'm going to play a couple of tunes that I've actually never played live before. So looking forward to that and lots of originals and a couple covers in there." 

In addition to the SCMAs, Cugnet will be playing the Saskatchewan Oil & Gas Show here in Weyburn on June 4th, as well as some festivals, including just announced today, Cugnet will be playing the Gateway Music Festival in Bengough in late July.