Straight from the heart
Cape Bretoners net 14 nominations at this year’s ECMAs
At least two Cape Breton groups will tug on your heartstrings at this year’s East Coast Music Awards to be held in Saint John, New Brunswick, April 2630.
And they couldn’t be more different. The Blues Merchants were nominated in the Blues Recording category for their heartfelt tribute to a bandmate who died in a tragic car accident, while the Eskasoni Schools were nominated in the Indigenous Artist of the Year category for their powerful songs reflecting their pride in their heritage.
They join a small group of other talented Cape Bretoners lucky enough to garner a total of 14 nominations this year out of a possible 211.
“The Blues Merchants nomination in the ECMA Blues category is especially satisfying because the CD is the culmination of a project that along the way saw us lose our guitarist Dave McKeough and his wife Donna in a tragic car accident,” said band member Fred Lavery shortly after the nominations were announced Tuesday in Saint John.
The McKeoughs were killed in a collision near Millville in June, 2012 that also claimed the life of the driver of the other car. The band had just started working on its CD when the accident occurred. Eventually, the group returned to the project and ended up calling the CD “Davis Street,” in honour of where the McKeoughs lived.
“The CD is dedicated to them,” said Lavery. “There are many emotions involved today as we remember the amazing musical contribution Dave made on this recording and how proud he would be of the band.” Lavery’s studio, Lakewind, was nominated yet again for studio of the year and the studio’s engineer, Mike (Sheppy) Shepherd was also nominated for studio engineer of the year.
The Eskasoni Schools nomination shows what happens when local musicians work with students in school music programs. The nomination is for a body of work that singer/songwriter Angelo Spinazzola has done with students as well as the Gentle Warrior project led by school music teacher Carter Chiasson.
Kalolin Johnson sings while Thunder Hearney dances during a performance of the “Gentle Warrior” at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre. The song, produced by the Eskasoni Schools, received an East Coast Music Award nomination in the Indigenous Artist of the Year category on Tuesday.