Stockwood, Rawlins Cross early winners

Tara Bradbury
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East Coast Music Association kicks off annual awards weekend

Five awards; two won by Newfoundlanders — not bad for one day at the East Coast Music Awards. Kim Stockwood was awarded the Roots Traditional Solo Recording of the Year award for her album “Back to the Water” in Moncton, N.B. Thursday night, while the members of Rawlins Cross won the award for Roots Traditional Group Recording of the Year for “Heart, Head, Hands.”

Like last year, ECMA organizers have decided to spread the awards presentations out over various times on performance stages and the Industry Awards Brunch throughout the week, culminating in a gala event at Casino New Brunswick Sunday night.

Other awards presented Thursday were Rock Recording of the Year, which went to The Trews, Folk Recording of the Year, which was given to Catherine MacLellan, and Pop Recording of the Year, which went to Ria Mae.

Though they’re a little disappointed they didn’t win the rock category, St. John’s band Long Distance Runners say they knew their competition was tough, and are content living on the high of the nomination and participating in ECMA Week. The band has had a successful year, having been nominated for five MusicNL awards last October, and is about to embark on a tour of Eastern Canada in support of their first full-length record, “Tracks,” set to be released April 17 on CD, vinyl and iTunes.

The award presentation over with, the guys — Chris Picco, Matt Hender, Dicky Strickland and Adam Cardwell — can relax and focus on making some new connections over the course of the weekend. They’re also performing at four seperate showcases, including on tonight’s Breakout Stage. Artists were invited to apply to be a part of the stage last fall, and a panel of judges narrowed applicants to 12 participant. The successful artists will have the chance to benefit from pre- and post-ECMA development programs, mentorship with an industry representative, among other things. Fellow Newfoundlander Lindsay Barr also made the Breakout cut.

“To be honest, the performances and showcases seem just as important as the awards,” drummer Cardwell said. “It’s a big deal to be recognized by your peers and industry professionals, but we’re trying to focus on the year to come and promoting the new record. We really just want to play some good shows and hopefully leave an impression.”

The awards are just one aspect of the ECMA Week, held each year in a different Atlantic province. Until Sunday, musicians and music industry representatives will gather in Moncton for performances, workshops, seminars, meetings and networking events, including about 50 high-profile international delegates as well as buyers and supervisors from the film and television industry. Musicians will have the opportunity not only to showcase their work, but to sell themselves to agents and managers in one-on-one meetings.

“It’s a good time to see old friends and make new contacts,” Cardwell explained. “It’s also great exposure. We’re going to try and get in whatever workshops we can.”

“We’re really excited to be here,” added pop recording award nominee Andrew James O’Brien. O’Brien and his band, The Searchers, who earned four MusicNL awards last fall, will perform on the Rising Star stage tonight and the Bluebird North stage Saturday night. “ECMAs are always a great opportunity to meet with and watch artists that you only get to see at events like this. Getting a chance to play with the Searchers and cheering on our Newfoundland pals is awesome.

“I was certainly honoured that the record had been considered for the award. That said, we’re here to play and that’s the priority. We’ll do our best to perform and represent MusicNL. That’s the goal.”

Cape Breton singer/songwriter Jimmy Rankin is leading the award nominations with a total of eight. Nominees from this province include Hey Rosetta!, Ron Hynes, Colleen Power with Crooked Stovepipe, Dan Bursey, Newman Sound men’s choir, Tara Oram, Ian Foster, The Navigators, Mark Bragg and The Flummies. The awards gala will feature performances by Kim Stockwood, Matthew Hornell, The Once, Jimmy Rankin, Tim Chaisson and Morning Fold and Roch Voisine, among others.

The East Coast Music Association has developed a free web-based app that will give users constant updates on artists and showcases, available online at The Telegram will be on location in Moncton this weekend and updates, photos and video from the ECMAs will be posted online at Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: The East Coast Music Association, ECMA Week, Roots Traditional Group Recording

Geographic location: Moncton, Eastern Canada, Newfoundland Cape Breton

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