East coast adds up

Chris McCluskey holds his own awards show.

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Consistent with enduring east coast character, the wealth was spread around at the East Coast Music Awards on February 18. A pair of artists, and an additional couple of bands, attended various post-ceremony festivities having garnered three trophies apiece. Country favourite George Canyon was the highest earning representative of the Scotia diaspora, being honored with Entertainer, Video and Country Recording of the Year awards. Halifax ambassadors of rock the Joel Plaskett Emergency walked off stage (three times, all it was nominated for) as Single, Songwriter and DVD of the Year winners. Likewise, In-Flight Safety was 2007’s winner of Group, Rising Star and Alternative Recording of the Year honours. Rounding out the lucky four was the (evidently genre-transcending) JP Cormier who took Folk, Instrumental and Bluegrass Recording of the Year awards back to Cape Breton. Jill Barber was the only other multiple-earning ECMA winner as Female Solo and Recording of the Year recipient for For All Time. In awards based on my own observations, Ontario’s Gordie Johnson trounced Ron Hynes and George Canyon for Looking Best in a Cowboy Hat, Mary Walsh upset Peter MacKay for Most Outrageous Sound Byte and The Stance won for Most Sought-after Band who Didn’t Apply for a Showcase.

BA showered (with praise)

Not even the ECZEMA Gala Awards show can stop In-Flight Safety. Coinciding with the ECMA award show, hosted by The MaynardsHeath Matheson at Gus’ Pub, the event honoured its version of the best of last year. In-Flight took a Rita MacNeil Rising Star Award to match their ECMA of a similar name—but Plaskett, Cormier and Canyon were all shut out. Among the other awards doled out were Risky Business for the Chucky Danger Award for best dressed band, BA Johnston for the Sloan/AV/Matt Mays/Trews Award for the band who moved away to make it big and Dale Fahey (of Vampire Bats) for Best Appearance by a Local Musician in a Film.

Amped up

Those who caught Pink Floyd and Kiss producer Bob Ezrin’s speech at the Delta Halifax on February 17 reaffirmed their need to strengthen the region’s sense of community. Entrepreneurs Steve Brazil and Richard Hoque were way ahead of us, launching www.TheAmpLive.com which aims to promote a connection between local music and those who support it.

“When I was home in Dublin last May I got talking with a few guys over a few drinks about what I was doing in Canada with my business Bruised Promotions, and some projects I was working on. We also talked about websites for bands and how big the social networking sites have become,” says Brazil about how they hatched the idea. “TheAmpLive.com is a one-stop shop where artists can keep their fans informed of new releases and upcoming shows.”

Brazil says www.TheAmpLive.com offers something unique in comparison to MySpace and Sonic Bids, which are seen as vital promotional avenues for bands, and believe the website will work great alongside other organizations aimed at promoting the arts.

“I see TheAmpLive.com site as an addition to an already very vibrant Atlantic music scene,” says Brazil. “If bookers, agents, managers and music directors are looking for Atlantic Canadian music they can find it straightaway.”

Found some music? Email straightaway: scene@thecoast.ca

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