Folk singer Dave Gunning of Pictou, N.S., walked away with two major East Coast Music Awards Sunday night at the P.E.I. Convention Centre in Charlottetown.
Gunning was first presented with songwriter of the year for These Hands, which was also last year's ECMA song of the year.
In accepting the award, Gunning gave a shout-out to the song's co-writer, George Canyon, and to his children and wife Sara.
"I want to put a plea out to the ECMAs that they should have a spouse of the year award. Really. Why not?" he said.
P.E.I. Olympic gold medallist, Heather Moyse later handed Gunning his second award — solo recording of the year for his tenth album No More Pennies.
"This is unreal. I want to thank the Royal Canadian Mint for helping to publicize the record, I guess," he said.
Gunning was referring to the controversy raised over the album's cover, which bears the image of the now-defunct Canadian penny. The mint wanted to charge Gunning a copyright fee for every album he issued, but later reversed its decision.
P.E.I.-born, Halifax-based Jenn Grant won song of the year for I've Got Your Fire.
"This is blowing my mind. I wasn't expecting that at all," said Grant.
Unfortunate bathroom break
Grant dedicated the award to her mother Heather and thanked her husband Daniel Ledwell for producing The Beautiful Wild, the album on which the song was recorded.
Tender is the Night by Old Man Luedecke from Chester, N.S., won both album of the year. The album also was awarded folk recording of the year earlier in the week.
Cape Bretoners Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac won group recording for the Celtic album Seinn.
In one of the more amusing parts of the evening, Lamond, who was on stage accepting the ECMA, said, "This is unreal. Wendy just went to go pee."
Lamond eventually accepted the award solo.
"I can't believe she missed it. It's been a great year for us and we really love playing this music,"
Fan's choice video of the year went to New York City by The Town Heroes from Halifax.
Fans also voted the Cape Breton Celtic group the Barra MacNeils as entertainer of the year.
Legendary Cape Breton singer Rita MacNeil, who died last April, was honoured with the director's special achievement award.
The musician's achievement award went to Jay Smith. The 35-year-old guitarist with the Matt Mays band died in March 2013 while the band was touring in Edmonton.
"My boy is smiling tonight," said his mother Nancy Smith, who accepted the award. "Thank you for remembering our son."
Carmen Townsend, Gordie Sampson, Carleton Stone, Steven MacDougall and members of Rock Ranger performed a tribute to Smith.
Next year: St. John's
Dr. Helen Creighton lifetime achievement award — recognizing an individual or group that has had a profound and lasting effect on the region's music industry — went to the Chaisson Trio. The group has been performing for 40 years in P.E.I. and around the Maritimes.
The members were emotional as they remembered Lemmie, the band's singer and guitarist, who died a year ago. They were accompanied on stage by Lemmie's wife Judy, who said, "I'm still holding his hat," as she showed his signature cap to the crowd.
Paper Lions, David Myles, Amelia Curran, Les Hôtesses d'Hilaire were among the performers at the gala, which was hosted by broadcast journalist Seamus O'Regan of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The gala capped off a week's worth of events that brought musicians from across the region and industry professionals from around the world to P.E.I.
Next year's East Coast Music Week will be held in St. John's, where this year's action was supposed to take place. Although usually rotated through the four Atlantic Canadian provinces, officials gave the go ahead for P.E.I. to host the event a year early so it could be a part of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.
The awards were formed 26 years ago in a Halifax basement bar by a small group who wanted to draw attention to the musical talent in the region.
Old Man Luedecke is from Nova Scotia, not New Brunswick as this story previously stated.Apr 07, 2014 6:55 AM AT