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The Heroes of 2020
He’s a rising star at 20 years old, but hardly ‘Breaking New Ground’
There was a time not too long ago when guitarist Nick Earle played his gigs with a note tucked in his pocket: a permission slip from his parents, as proof that he was allowed to be in a blues bar even though he was well underage.
Though he took home the MusicNL Award for Rising Star of the Year Tuesday night, Earle, now 20, is hardly “Breaking New Ground,” as his latest album title proclaims, with his stardom. He’s been working hard at his career since before he was a teenager.
“You know what they say: it takes 10 years to be an overnight success,” Earle told The Telegram with a laugh. “It was pretty amazing to be nominated, and that’s a victory in itself. To walk away with hardware is an incredible honour.”
The award was one of three Earle won at Tuesday night’s MusicNL awards presentation in St. John’s: he also took home the awards for Rock Artist of the Year and DC Design House Male Artist of the Year.
Walked away with 3 @music.nl awards tonight. So full of love❤️. I have the best band 🤘🏻💀and I’m beyond grateful for...Posted by Nick Earle on Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Earle’s not a stranger to accolades, by any means. As a member of Stompbox NL with Joe Coffin, Nick Bendzsa and Jacob Cherwick, and later as part of duo Earle and Coffin, Earle’s achievements include two Canadian Folk Music Awards, MusicNL Awards, various festival showcases and a plethora of East Coast Music Awards, Maple Blues and MusicNL nominations.
Tuesday’s recognition was his first as a solo artist, for “Breaking New Ground,” released last June.
Earle is a rock/blues guitarist first and foremost, inspired at age nine by a Stevie Ray Vaughan DVD.
First recognized for his precise left-handed technique, he’s now equally known for soulful vocals.
Making a career of music has been his goal as long as he can remember, and he’s been making it a full-time endeavour for the past couple of years, writing and playing shows and recording as a session musician for other artists. He is his own manager and has picked up the business and marketing side of a music career as well.
He can see himself one day producing albums for fellow musicians.
“It’s definitely not a stretch,” he said. “To have a part in someone else’s sound and then to see what happens with it is really cool.”
The next time you hear from Earle may be as part of a group once again. He and The Reckless Hearts — Clare Follett and Dan George, both established musicians — will release their first album together at the Rockhouse on George Street on April 24. The debut single, “I Wanna Know,” will drop around Valentine’s Day.
“Folks can expect a kind of continuum from what I’ve been doing,” Earle said of the new album. “There’s a bunch of bangers on it, blues-rock tunes, and we’re super proud of it.
“There’s a very positive environment right now in the local music community,” he continued. “It’s definitely exciting and very nice to see it grow.”