First NB ECMA Awarded to Joel Miller

More trophies were handed out at the East Coast Music Week in Halifax Friday, included the first one for a New Brunswick artist. Saxophonist Joel Miller of Sackville took home the Jazz Recording of the Year award for his album, Swim. It was one of eight awards presented. Other winners included Lone Cloud, who received the Aboriginal Recording of the Year for their album We Are Medicine People. Cam Smith was the winner of the African-Canadian Recording of the Year award for his album Ocean Blue. Nova Scotia's powerhouse Charlie A'Court's Triumph & Disaster earned him two ECMA's, for Blues Recording of the Year and R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. RyLee Madison was the winner of the Country Recording of the Year award for her latest, Where Does The Time Go. Charlottetown's English Words were honoured with Electronic Recording of the Year for their album Red Potion. And Ben Caplan was awarded the Rising Star Recording of the Year award for his album In the Time of the Great Remembering.

578470_10152678420045574_632991039_n.jpg CHRIS KIRBY, KIM WEMPE, CARMEL MIKOL
It was a night that saw the ECMW go from simply busy to chaotic, with clubs, ballrooms and bars from downtown Halifax across to Dartmouth packed full, with lineups of at least an hour at some venues. I was able to witness some tremendous performances, but still only catching a tiny few of the dozens of sets being performed. The Soul Food Kitchen Party was a first-time free event, put on by ECMA nominee Chris Kirby of Newfoundland, and featuring sets from his musical pals, folks he's been writing with, and producing over the past few months. One artist would come up, and different combinations of the others would back them up on instruments and vocals. The lineup including Keith Mullins, Charlie A'Court, Kim Wempe, guest Diesel, visiting the ECMA's from Australia, and of course Kirby himself. Of special note was a new perfomer from St. John's, Brianna Gosse. She's just started to demo and write with Kirby, getting her pro career started, and she did a killer set, really impressing all who heard her, with a big voice and strong material You can expect to hear lots from her in the future.

It was a late night for your intrepid reporter, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to give you the lowdown on the hot new acts. Plus, the regular great groups continue to turn heads. Moncton's Backyard Devils are playing several shows this weekend, bringing their mix of outlaw country and bluegrass virtuoso playing to Halifax, which is still getting to know the band. As is usually the case, even the jaded industry types at the Member's Lounge at the Delta Halifax had their heads turned to the band, watching their infectious stage show. Just another night for one of the hardest-working bands on the East Coast.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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