Sat, Sep 14, 2013.
The Kendra Gale Band from St. Andrews, NB, is the latest winner of the Galaxie Rising Star contest at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. The group took the crown Friday afternoon in a battle of the bands show held at the Barracks Stage before a strong crowd for the matinee event. The group grabbed a great payday, a cheque for $2500, but even more important, the bragging rights and the recognition that goes with the award.
There's certainly a fair amount of prestige that goes with winning the contest. Since it's very first year in 2001, the Harvest contest has attracted an exceptional amount of talent. The initial winner was the group Flattop, featuring a young Matt Andersen. Other winners over the years have included Andy Brown, Ross Neilsen and Keith Hallett. And each year, organizers are overwhelmed with applicants for the contest.
This year four finalists were selected: Gale, Andrew Hunter and the Gatherers from Florenceville, Jimmy Lingley from Miramichi, and Mike Trask and the Precious Memories, featuring members from St. Andrews and Saint John. Each group gave a twenty minute performance before the judges and audience. Earlier on-line votes had already been placed, audience members were then asked to text their votes, and the panel of six judges added their say, which counted or 50 per cent of the vote.
Lingley took home the $500 prize for on-line voting. The Gale group also was given a mainstage showcase later in the day, opening the show in the same venue a few hours later that featured headliners Radio Radio. Also, the group will have its music played on one of the Galaxie TV channels and be featured on galaxie.ca.
Speaking after the contest, Kendra Gale confirmed the cash prize would go towards moving the band forward. In the next few weeks she and drummer Warren Beatteay (I kid you not) will go into the studio with a batch of songs already written. The producer will be Moncton's ECMA winner Chris Colepaugh, and the sessions will start when Colepaugh gets off the road from his duties as Roch Voisine's guitar player.
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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).