This award is given to a roots artist whose music is based on traditional country styles, but through innovations and originality is different from what is considered mainstream country. Roots music embraces a multitude of musical styles, including, but not limited to: Alternative Country, Bluegrass, Celtic, Country-Blues, Folk, Gospel, Hillbilly, Honky Tonk, Rockabilly and Western Swing. This award is based on the performance of the artist either on record or in person within the eligibility period.
- The current eligibility period is March 1, 2014 through to April 30, 2015;
- The act must be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant. Within a group or duo at least 50% of the members must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants;
- All final nominees are required to be members of the CCMA (industry level) in good standing. Within a group or duo, 50% of the contributing members must be members of the CCMA.
Roots Artist of the Year follows a three (3) step selection process:
- (first ballot) – Each eligible CCMA member may propose ONE, AND ONLY ONE contender in each category. The ten (10) contenders receiving the most mentions in each category will appear on the second ballot, providing they meet the eligibility requirements, as determined by the CCMA Awards Verification Committee;
- (second ballot) – From the list of contenders supplied, each eligibleCCMA member may select ONE, AND ONLY ONE contender in each category. The five (5) contenders receiving the most votes in each category will appear on the third ballot as nominees;
- (third ballot) - From the list of nominees supplied, each eligible CCMA member may vote for ONE, AND ONLY ONE nominee in each category. The nominee receiving the most votes will be announced as the winner.
- The Roots Artist of the Year Award is presented at the annual CCMA Gala Dinner & Awards during Country Music Week;
- One (1) award is presented to the act, courtesy of the CCMA. In the case of a group or duo, one (1) award will be presented to each core member of the group/duo.