Rocky Harbour—Two artists picked up four awards each, but one had a bit more stage presence than the other Sunday night.
Juno award-winning Amelia Curran walked up the steps of the stage to accept her four MusicNL awards at the gala which included Album of the Year for “Hunter, Hunter,” Female Artist of the Year, Folk/Roots Artist of the Year and SOCAN Songwriter of the Year for “Mistress.”
By the time her hands grasped the last of four awards, coming back on stage after just receiving the penultimate minutes before, Curran was obviously shaken.
“I hope it’s obvious to you because I’m not going to put it well that it means so much to me to come home. ... This means an awful lot to me,” said Curran.
Matthew Hornell and the Diamond Minds also were awarded four awards, but the band is currently touring. A message was read to the audience in case they did win any of the five awards for which they were nominated.
“We wish we could be there with all of you, but we are on the road sharing our music with the rest of Canada,” it stated.
Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case brought the house down just as the curtains opened at the beginning of the evening, getting the audience tapping their feet and ready to have a good time.
Later in the show, the crowd made no secret of its support at seeing the Corner Brook-based musician pick up Male Artist of the Year.
“I hope it’s obvious to you because I’m not going to put it well that it means so much to me to come home. ... This means an awful lot to me.” - Amelia Curran
“Wow. The first one. It’s pretty cool to be up here and be in front of so many talented musicians. It’s overwhelming the support we’ve been getting from the province this year and of course I’m playing with a great group of friends,” Downey said.
The audience got some one-on-one time with songwriting legend Roy Payne as he took the stage for a set of three songs, including longtime favourite “There’s No Price Tag on the Doors in Newfoundland” before accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I’ve never been much into awards. When I write a good song, I know it. If I sing a good song, I know it. This, this is different. This is home,” said Payne.
Gros Morne Academy’s auditorium was always filled with roaring laughter as the McDonald brothers lived up to their familiar silliness and banter. From instructing “ooohing” responses from the audience to Mike attempting to rap with electronic sounds from a cellphone as he presented the next performer, the atmosphere was light and every face in the room wore a smile.
Presenters and organizers speaking at the gala all reiterated the fact that although the last time the MusicNL awards were in Rocky Harbour was a blast, this year’s event takes the cake for new talent, old friends and great music.
The Western Star