Three Manitoba singer-songwriters are finalists in this year's illustrious International Songwriting Competition and many more made the semi-finals.
Scott Nolan's song "You Rock, We Roll", from his 2011 CD Montgomery Eldorado (Transistor 66 Record Co.) is a finalist in the Americana category.
Here's Scott Nolan with the amazing story behind "You Rock, We Roll".
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My song " You Rock We Roll" is a tribute to the late great Ernie Blackburn. Ernie owned a backline company, and the song title was his company motto.
Ernie Blackburn (provided by Nolan)
My friendship with Ernie began more than twenty years ago at the old Blue Note Café. He was one of my biggest supporters, and a lot of the gear in my studio came as gifts from him. In his career he had worked with the Guess Who and BTO, and then became my tour manager.
I was heading out on tour supporting my friend CR Avery and I suggested Ernie for the tour manager gig and they accepted, then Ernie passed away suddenly the night before the tour was to begin.
I was in shock, sitting with my friend Zapp and Ernie's mother Sylvia I commented that I no longer wanted to go on this tour. Sylvia looked across the table at me and said, "take your pity party and get out on the road".
After three hours sleep and heading into terrible weather I drove to Black Diamond Alberta that night. I stopped for gas in Headingley, full service was closed, I stepped out of my van, looked down and saw an employee name tag, Ernie! The R was crooked on the tag, I picked it up and put it in mypocket.
Throughout the 16 hour drive I wrote the verses in myhead, things Ernie had said, or simply things that reminded me of him. The tour was long and hard on me, I assumed Ernie's job on top of opening all the shows.
When I returned to Winnipeg I was helping with Ernie's estate, lots of music gear that needed a new home. We found another backline company to buy it all thanks to James Creasey and Zapp just leaving a few precious pieces.
I bought Ernie's beloved 1973 Martin D-18 acoustic guitar. I just couldn't let anyone else own it. When I got home with it I opened the case and picked it up. I had all the verses written and a basic melody for the song, but no chorus yet.
When I started strumming this beautiful old guitar it just came instantly, no re writing, no edits, just a one shot deal. This is a dream for writers and does not happen all the time.
Before I recorded it I performed it at a number of Canadian festivals and the response was always really great. Maybe its just my best effort at trying to honor one of my best friends. He deserves it.
NOTE: You can get in on the International Songwriting Competion
action by voting for their favourite songs until March 31. Winners will be announced in late April or early May.
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Scott Nolan - "You Rock, We Roll" | Americana
Jaylene Johnson, Sharlene Loveless, Jolene Keats - "When It All Goes South" | Country
Ruth Moody (The Wailin' Jennys) - "Storm Comin" | Gospel/Christian Music
Avery Eramchuk - "The Right Track" | Teen
Desiree Dorion, Arun Chaturvedi, Bart Dupas - "Turn To Me" | Country
Jon Plett, Sean Vidal, Keli Martin, Shaun Gibson (The Details) - "Weightless In The Dark" | Rock
Ken Pinchin - "Don't Cut My Claws" | Comedy/Novelty
Keri Latimer - "Kindred Spirit" | AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
Matthew Moskalyk (Carjackmatt) - "I Fall Down" | Rock
Owen Dacombe Steel - "Twig Eater" | Folk/Singer-Songwriter
Ray Martin, Chris Freeman - "Days Like This" | Country
Ruth Moody (The Wailin' Jennys) - "Cold Outside" | Folk/Singer-Songwriter
Shea Malcolmson (Abstract Artform) - "Things Aint What They Used To Be" | R&B/Hip-Hop
Tom Racine - "The Hunting Song" | Comedy/Novelty