Entertainment

Gordie Sampson, Matt Mays, El Torpedo vie for ECMA honours

Cape Breton singer-songwriter and producer Gordie Sampson and Halifax rockers Matt Mays and El Torpedo top a list of Atlantic Canadians vying for trophies at the 2009 East Coast Music Awards.

Cape Breton singer-songwriter and producer Gordie Sampson, and Halifax rockers Matt Mays and El Torpedo top a list of Atlantic Canadians vying for trophies at the 2009 East Coast Music Awards.

Nashville-based Sampson — who has made a name for himself writing hits for the likes of Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill and Bon Jovi — scored five nominations, including best songwriter and recording of the year for his latest solo album For the Few and Far Between.

Matt Mays and El Torpedo also netted five nominations, with the band's album Terminal Romance to battle Sampson in categories such as songwriter and recording of the year.

Rounding out the best recording category are Halifax's Jill Barber for Chances and two Newfoundland acts: Damhnait Doyle for her album of covers Lights Down Low and Into Your Lungs (and around in your heart and on through your blood) by indie rock outfit Hey Rosetta!

Besides Sampson and Mays, other best songwriter contenders include Asif Illyas for U Dream (performed by Halifax pop group MIR), Tim Baker for New Goodbye (performed by St. John's-based Hey Rosetta!) and Halifax's Christina Martin for her song Two Hearts.

Other artists who picked up multiple nominations include David Myles, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Troy MacGillivray & Shane Cook, Hot Toddy and Vishten.

The mix of nominees reflects "the vibrant musical diversity among East Coast artists, from well-established and popular bands and musicians to fresh new faces and sounds," ECMA chair Wade Pinhorn said in a statement.

A complete list of nominees is available on the East Coast Music Association website.

The roving East Coast Music Association industry conference and awards will descend on Corner Brook, N.L., for its next edition, which gets underway Feb. 26 and ends March 1.