Juno Award for Car­bon­ear’s Duane Andrews

Swing­ing Belles re­turn from Calgary with hard­ware

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON edi­tor@CB­N­com­pass.ca

Duane Andrews has at­tended plenty of award shows over the years, but the gui­tarist from Car­bon­ear might have just claimed his big­gest prize yet.

The Swing­ing Belles, a group fea­tur­ing Andrews, his wife Erin Power and Laura Win­ter, claimed the 2016 Juno Award for Chil­dren’s Al­bum of the year. All three were in at­ten­dance to claim the award ear­lier this month in Calgary, where the event rec­og­niz­ing the achieve­ments of Cana­dian mu­si­cians was held.

“Def­i­nitely shock,” said Andrews when asked about his im­me­di­ately re­ac­tion to hear­ing they’d won. He had not been up for a Juno Award prior to this year, but he did per­form at a Juno Awards show­case when the event was last held in St. John’s

“I’ve been in­volved with a few dif­fer­ent awards over the years, and still, you never know, re­ally, what’s go­ing to hap­pen from my ex­pe­ri­ences. And I’ve seen not just my­self. I’ve seen oth­ers as well. It could be cat­e­gories where you as­sume that per­son has to get it, and it doesn’t hap­pen. And some­times some­one who is com­pletely un­known comes in and gets the award.

“At least for me, es­pe­cially from the music side, I still ap­proach it the same way as I do with any of my other music that I make.” Duane Andrews

“Even though it’s com­pletely un­pre­dictable, it’s al­ways a rush and a thrill for sure.”

Billed as a swing band for kids, the St. John’s-based group re­leased their de­but al­bum “More Sheep, Less Sheep” in De­cem­ber 2014. It fea­tures orig­i­nal songs steeped in swing music, coun­try and jazz.

The group earned ac­co­lades pre­vi­ously at the 2015 Cana­dian Folk Music Awards, claim­ing Chil­dren’s Al­bum of the Year.

In Andrews’ view, peo­ple mak­ing music for chil­dren of­ten look to sim­plify things in or­der to make songs pal­pa­ble for kids.

“I think for us, we take a dif­fer­ent ap­proach,” he said. “At least for me, es­pe­cially from the music side, I still ap­proach it the same way as I do with any of my other music that I make. In the end, it’s just about want­ing to make great music, and the Belles do a sim­i­lar thing when they’re work­ing on lyrics and dif­fer­ent ways of in­ter­act­ing with chil­dren.”

Andrews’ bread-and-but­ter re­mains his pen­chant for tak­ing tra­di­tional folk tunes and other num­bers and giv­ing them a gypsy jazz makeover in the style of leg­endary French gui­tarist Django Reinhardt. He’s won a slew of awards over the years and toured ex­ten­sively.

The Swing­ing Belles will play around the is­land reg­u­larly this sum­mer. Andrews is cur­rently tour­ing At­lantic Canada with Nova Sco­tia fid­dle player Don­ald MacLen­nan, and when he re­turns to this prov­ince he’ll be ready to record with Fret­board Jour­ney — a quar­tet com­prised of New­found­land gui­tarists Andrews, Sandy Mor­ris, Gor­don Quin­ton and Craig Young. He ex­pects that al­bum will be ready for the fall.

Be­yond the ex­pe­ri­ence of win­ning an award, Andrews ad­mits to be­ing sur­prised by how much he en­joyed Calgary in gen­eral.

“I don’t know why that was a sur­prise, but the city it­self was fab­u­lous. There’s lots of good, sort of pro­gres­sive ideas with the pub­lic arts. They’ve got bike lanes go­ing ev­ery­where.”

They also man­aged to meet Calgary’s pop­u­lar mayor, Na­heed Nen­shi.

“We met him a few times ac­tu­ally over the week­end, and you re­ally do get a feel­ing from him that he’s got a good sense of di­rec­tion.”


New­found­land group, The Swing­ing Belles, took home a Juno Award ear­lier this month. Mem­bers of the band are, from the left, Laura Win­ter, Erin Power and Duane Andrews.

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