The Western Swing Authority Wins Big at the Country Music Association of Ontario Awards

Some local musicians are working their way to a big win.

The Western Swing Authority (WSA), a group from the Waterloo region, took home the Roots Artist of Group of the Year at the 10th annual Country Music Association of Ontario Awards this past weekend.

Fiddle player Shane Guse said the band was “very surprised”.

“We didn’t expect that at all,” he says.


Guse said he couldn’t help but think back to where it all started 13 years ago at the Commercial Tavern in Maryhill, Ont.

Although all seven members of the band had successful music careers before WSA was formed, they wanted to create something unique, describing their music as a combination of “traditional country music with swing and jazz and blues mashed together”.

The Western Swing Authority on the red carpet at last year’s awards ceremony. (Facebook/The Western Swing Authority)

“I called the owner of Commercial Tavern and I was like ‘hey, this is what we wanted to do. Do you think you can give us a bad night?’ Guus recalled: “We played every other Tuesday for seven years in the Commercial Tavern. And that’s how we built the band.”

Paul Weber, the bar owner, said they became like family.

“Once they got together, we knew what was up and it was magic,” said Weber, who had a feeling they would win the group of the year. “I was not surprised at all. I was very proud of all of them. I love them.”

Guse is married to band member Stacey Lee who does vocals. Lee said that when they started WSA, it was a passion project with no expectation of fame and success.

“Because it was made purely out of love and pure joy to do it, there was absolutely no expectation about what the result should be,” Lee said.

The Western Swing Authority is gearing up for Kitchener Bluesfest this summer and will release their sixth album in 2023.

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