Island musicians 'pumped' to get ECMA party started

Island musicians participating this week at the ECMAs are excited to get the party started this coming Wednesday in Saint John, with 19 music award nominations and a dozen nods in industry categories. 

The awards show is being held at 8 p.m. Thursday at Harbour Station, hosted by comedian James Mullinger. P.E.I. acts Paper Lions and Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys will be featured as part of the gala, which will be live streamed on the ECMA website as well as on Bell Aliant TV1.

Paper Lions leads all P.E.I. acts with four nominations, for Group Recording of the Year for Full Colour, as well as for Songwriter of the Year, Fans' Choice Entertainer of the Year and Fans' Choice Video of the Year.

"We're performing publicly at least four times, and on top of that I personally already have over 20 meetings scheduled," said drummer David Cyrus MacDonald.  "It's fun, exciting, and calls for a day off or two afterward to recover."

About half of the awards will be handed out during Thursday's gala and the rest at showcases throughout the weekend. 

Lennie Gallant is nominated for Folk Recording of the year for Searching for Abegweit, as well as Entertainer of the Year. He'll also showcase at the event. 

Dylan Menzie is nominated for Pop Recording of the Year for Adolescent Nature, as well as Entertainer of the Year. 

"There are so many friends that I only get to see during this week." Menzie said. 

Menzie will also perform several showcases.

"The one I'm most looking forward to is the Pop Rock Stage on Friday night. It's the only showcase with the band this year so we're going to play a few new songs," he promised. 

FWLR and KINLEY are nominated in the Dance Recording of the Year category for Never Coming Home. 

"It's the first dance song I have ever written and I am so happy it made the cut!" raved Kinley Dowling, who will participate in three showcases this weekend. "We had so much fun making it that we made a music video for it as well."

The duo will also compete with "Lonely Kid" Mark Skinner of Bonshaw and his electronic album For Your Happiness.

"I'm really excited to be nominated and going to ECMW for a second year given that now I understand how to make the most of the week's opportunities," said Skinner, adding that last year's conference was a big success.

"Most of my collaborative releases in the last year were from artists I met at ECMW that I hit it off with!" 

'An amazing honour'

War Horses — Islanders Tian Wigmore, Chris Corrigan, Remi Arsenault and Nat Lamoureux — are up for Indigenous Artist of the Year for their eponymous 6-song EP War Horse. Wigmore is a status native with the Norway House Cree Nation.

"To be nominated is an amazing honour. So I am pumped!" said Wigmore. He was awarded three official showcases this year, but can't participate because of scheduling conflicts. 

"Being in the music industry, most of us need to travel non-stop to make a living. So having an event focused on celebrating East Coast music and culture is a great way to catch up with friends and colleagues. ECMAS has always been one of my favourite times of the year," Wigmore said. 

Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys also received a nomination in the Roots/Traditional Recording of the Year for Laugh, Dance and Sing, as well as a nod for Entertainer of the Year.

Charlottetown-based Christian rockers We the Rescued — Chris Burke, Josh Docksteader and Eli MacDougall — are honoured to be nominated for Gospel Recording of the Year for Living Proof. 

"We're also very excited to play a showcase on the gospel stage on Sunday April 30," the band said.

Ten Strings and a Goat Skin are nominated in the Roots/Traditional Recording of the Year category for Auprès du poêle, as well for Entertainer of the Year.

Atlantic String Machine received a nomination for Classical Recording of the Year for Lost Time, and composer Sean Kemp was also nominated for Classical Composition of Year.

The East Pointers — fresh off a Juno win a few weeks ago — are also nominated for Entertainer of the Year.

Showcasing their stuff

Several Island artists have been chosen to perform showcases this week, including Andrew Waite & the Firm, Coyote, Dennis Ellsworth, Lonely Kid, The Royal North, Sorrey, and Vishtèn.

Fro more information, check out

Charlottetown will host the East Coast Music Awards in 2019.

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