Wed, Oct 16, 2013.
This is Music New Brunswick week, the annual awards show, conference and performance time that sees musicians from all over the province gather to honour the best of the past year. It's the fourth time for the event, which has galvanized the music scene in the province, giving it a much-needed kick in the pants to get on par with other music associations in the region. While the awards are nice, what's really important is to raise the profile of the musicians here, and help them along in their careers. That's where the workshops and networking comes in handy, as artists learn from their peers about the do's and don'ts in touring, promotion, getting airplay, recording, all those important topics.
For the first three years, the awards were held in Moncton, which was home to the Music New Brunswick office, and it was easier to get the ball rolling there, and to solidify the system for each year. That was always the plan, and now that it's a going concern, the organization felt comfortable enough to move the event around. So this year it's in Saint John, and that city is about to get four music-filled days, which the public can experience as well, starting Thursday. There are plenty of concerts and showcases, culminating in the Awards themselves, the gala being held at the Imperial Theatre Sunday night. There are plenty of performances that night, including Andy Brown, Samantha Robichaud, Danny Boudreau, and Jessica Rhaye doing a tribute to Saint John's own Ken Tobias, who is receiving the first-ever Director's Lifetime Achievement Award.
The rest of the shows are all modestly priced, including the ever-popular free ticket. That's how things start on Thursday, when Adam Washburn and Ryan LeBlanc take the stage at noon at Market Square. Things get classy on Thursday night, with a performance at Centre Samuel-de-Champlain, called Symphonic Unison, which features Symphony New Brunswick in performance with Jessica Rhaye, Lina Boudreau, Thom Swift and Pascal Lejeune. There's more free music at noon Friday at Market Square, this time with Andy Brown and the Kendra Gale Band. Then the showcases begin at various spots in the city. These are certainly value-for-money events, with several groups in each venue over the evenings, including Sissy & the Hobos, Danger Cat, Lovestorm, Backyard Devils, Mike Biggar, Brent Mason, Les Paiens and many more, just check out the Music NB website to find out a good place and time to catch some of these performers.
One guy coming on the scene this year is Jimmy Lingley, from Miramichi. He's having double fun this week, with his own showcase performance, plus he's been nominated for an award too, for Emerging Artist of the Year. It's been a pretty good year for Jimmy. Earlier in the summer, he released an EP of songs called The Definitive Superhits. While that title is typical of his humour, it is a compilation, made up of cuts that had been on a couple of previous releases, the idea being to send out the best of these and broaden his base. He's certainly done that, hitting the live circuit this summer, including an August stop at the Dooryard Festival in Woodstock where I first heard him, and then being selected as one of the finalists at the Galaxie Rising Star Showcase for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. He has a wicked sense of humour, you never know where he's going to go with it between songs, which is a big part of his performance, but on disc he's all business, with some strong pop and singer-songwriter material.
You can catch Jimmy Lingley Friday night at the Sanctuary Stage showcase at InterAction School of Performing Arts on Germain Street, part of a bill also featuring Sissy and the Hobos and Clinton Charlton, and that starts at 7 PM.
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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).