As far as excuses go, Hey Rosetta!’s seemed pretty reasonable.
The St. John’s-based band won two East Coast Music Awards Sunday night but weren’t around to accept them, since they’re in Paris, having wrapped up a European tour with a sold-out show there Saturday.
The band members accepted the award for Album of the Year via a recorded Skype message, thanking a long list of industry representatives, funders, and “all the bands we’ve met and seen and who’ve inspired us.”
Hey Rosetta!’s Group Recording of the Year award was accepted by Justin Tracey, a member of the group’s management company.
“They’re doing great, not just in Canada and on the East Coast, but all over the world at this point,” he said.
When asked if the band would be taking a break any time soon, Tracey replied, “Never. Are you kidding me?”
Hey Rosetta! has been touring almost constantly since the latest record, “Seeds,” was released last year. The band’s hard work has been paying off, and in addition to four ECMA nominations, the group was nominated for a JUNO for Group of the Year.
St. John’s native Kim Stockwood was presented with the ECMA for Roots/Traditional Solo Album of the Year last Thursday for “Back to the Water,” and she told reporters after Sunday’s gala that, even after a career that has spanned two decades, being recognized in that way is still inspiring.
“I could have retired maybe a few years ago, and luckily I didn’t; my manager wouldn’t let me,” she said. “I’ve won a few things throughout my career, and I have to say that the award I won on Thursday is the sweetest thing I’ve ever won.”
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The title track on “Back to the Water” is the only original song on the record; the rest are Stockwood’s versions of traditional Newfoundland songs and local favourites like “Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s” and Ron Hynes’ “St. John’s Waltz.”
“When I made (the record), I truthfully made it for me and in a way for my kids to know where their mom came from, and I wasn’t sure it would ever really leave my house, but then it did and people seem to like it,” Stockwood explained. “I’m really happy about where this album is right now.”
Other Newfoundlanders who won ECMAs this year were graphic artist Chris Smith, who won the Graphic/Media Artist of the Year Award, Steven Bowers, who won the award for Children’s Recording of the Year along with Keith Mullins and Thom Swift for “The Wood Buffalo Youth Song Project,” Dave and Geoff Panting of Rawlins Cross, who won the award for Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year, and The Trews drummer Sean Dalton is from St. John's — they won the Rock Recording of the Year award.
Other ECMA winners include blues artist Matt Andersen and folk musician David Myles, who each won two awards, George Beliveau, Carmen Townsend, BLOU, Catherine McKinnon and Jimmy Rankin.
“I was up for eight awards, and this is the only damn one I’m going to get. I figured I’d better show up,” Rankin told the media, laughing.
Sunday night’s gala capped off five days of wall-to-wall music in Moncton, with musical performances happening all over the downtown area at any given moment between 10 a.m. and four the next morning. Hundreds of Atlantic Canadian musicians took part in showcases, seminars, panel discussions and networking events, and had opportunities to meet one-on-one with music industry representatives.
Acadian JUNO-winning singer/songwriter Roch Voisine, who was presented with the Director’s Special Achievement Award, hosted the gala event and spoke at the industry awards brunch Saturday morning, in a keynote interview with CBC’s Jim Corcoran. Maestro Fresh Wes, best known for his song “Let Your Backbone Slide,” spoke on the Hip-Hop Beats and Tweets panel along with East Coast rappers Classified, Ghettosocks and Muneshine, acknowledging challenges he faced when breaking into the music business as a hip-hop artist in the 1980s.
Newfoundland and Labrador was well-represented at the ECMAs by musicians in all genres, with dozens of local acts — including Andrew James O’Brien and the Searchers, Ian Foster, Dan Bursey, The Navigators, Sherman Downey and the Silver Lining, Lindsay Barr, Repartee, Damhnait Doyle, Mark Bragg, The Keats, The Long Distance Runners and Shanneyganock performing at official ECMA shows around downtown.
The 25th annual ECMAs will happen in Halifax next May.
See www.thetelegram.com for a full list of 2012 ECMA winners as well as pictures and video clips from the weekend’s events.