Fri, Mar 8, 2013.
The first awards of the East Coast Music Week were handed out Thursday night. Like many awards shows of late, the ECMA's has picked up on the trend of spacing out some of the genre-specific trophy presentations throughout the event. This makes the showcase performances a little more exciting, and helps clear up the traffic jam of awards that used to come during the actual main show Sunday night.
Thursday featured the annual Roots Room, a concept first debuted at the Saint John ECMA's years back, created by the Port City's Brent Mason. Mason, himself a fine singer-songwriter, and a previous winner of the Stompin' Tom Award from the ECMA's, came up with the idea to showcase more folk, country and traditional performers, rather than the rock acts that were grabbing much of the attention. The small room in Saint John has blossomed into a major stage over the years. Tonight's performers included Ennis (Karen Ennis acted as MC for the evening), The Dardenelles, Dwayne Cote and Duane Andrews, The Navigators, Ben Caplan, Dennis Ellsworth, Carmel Mikol, and the duo of Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac.
LAMOND & MACISAAC
Four awards were presented during the Roots evening. Folk Recording of the Year went to Rose Cousins, with We Have Made A Spark. The Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year went to Newfoundland's The Once, for Row Upon Row Of The People They Know. Roots/Traditional Solo Recording of the Year was picked up by PEI's Tim Chaisson, for this album The Other Side. And the Traditional Instrumental Recording of the Year was picked up by Natalie MacMaster, for Cape Breton Girl.
Meanwhile, a fifth award was handed out across town. The pop recording of the year went to Jenn Grant for her latest, The Beautiful Wild. That was presented during the Pop/Rock showcase at the Palace Nightclub. More awards are going to handed out Friday night.
Meanwhile one of my favourite venues of East Coast Music Week got underway Thursday evening. The Members' Lounge is a quieter stage, away from the showcases, and set aside as a venue where you can get an acoustic taste of some of the best artists in town for the event. It runs again Friday and Saturday evenings, starting at 7:30. New Brunswick and PEI are sharing the bill Friday, and the lineup includes Irish Mythen, Pascal Lejeune, Dennis Ellsworth, The BackYard Devils, Ten Strings and a Goat Skin and more. That's award show-worthy right there, and best of all, there's nobody taking tickets at the door, or checking for passes, so you can just stop by, dart in and out at will, chill out if needed, and still see some of the very best. Stay tuned for more reports from the ECMA's in Halifax!
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Bob 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).