Cape Breton content is piling up for the ECMA weekend in Saint John at various official and unofficial venues.
Carrying on the tradition of providing an opportunity for bands who fall outside the boundaries of ECMA Officialdom, a tradition established in Sydney during ECMA 1995, The Sinkin’ Dory Awards are Saint John’s version of the no-cases. Performances are scheduled by RUDY HUXTABLE PROJECT, ANDREA CURRY, 3 PIECE SUIT and AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL. The Sinkin’ Dory Awards are produced by ROUTE 66 PRODUCTIONS, a Saint John-based organization dedicated to operating all-ages concerts, acting as agent to help out indie bands and promoting music recordings.
SLOWCOASTER and ROCK RANGER kick off the weekend with the Below Me Music Jungle Jam on Thursday night. Below Me Music is the Halifax-based independent record label owned and operated by South Bar native Craig Mercer, whose JIMMY SWIFT BAND will be performing at the Jungle Jam on Saturday night and the Gala Awards Show, broadcast on CBC radio and television, Sunday night. The Awards Show will also feature nominees NATALIE MACMASTER, BRUCE GUTHRO, JIMMY RANKIN and comedienne BETTE MACDONALD hosting and performing during the show.
A few acts from Cape Breton have signed up for the ECMA Jam, a non-stop, four day, 72 hour session taking place at South Market Billiards. They include THEO POPMA, ADAM COOKE, FACE DOWNE and ANDREA CURRY. With a few timeslots still open, and so many Cape Bretoners on the loose in Saint John, there’s a good chance that more locals will be adding themselves to the list.
Much Music is getting in on the action this year by sponsoring a stage. The Much Music Dog and Pony Show is set up as an Official No Case of sorts and ROCK RANGER is scheduled to perform there Friday night. FanFest is a five-hour event set up by ECMA which offers an interactive forum for top East Coast artists and their fans by combining a short performance with “a coordinated autograph session”. Cape Bretoners JIMMY RANKIN, GORDIE SAMPSON, and BRUCE GUTHRO will be among the celebrities included. The performances are free, but $5 buys you into the autograph session which follows the music.
These three well known Cape Breton songwriters will also be participating in the popular Sunday afternoon Songwriters Circle. Hosted by Rankin and Guthro, the writers in the round session will include Country Artist of the Year nominee JOHN GRACIE from Glace Bay and Cheticamp native RONALD BOURGEOIS who is nominated for Francophone Recording of the Year and will be performing Thursday night at the Imperial Theatre in Unisong, a multi-cultural presentation during this year’s ECMA Concert Series.
SLAINTE MHATH will once again showcase on the mainstage at ECMA 2002 Friday night at the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre, following an afternoon appearance at Music World. Saturday night finds the BBC Radio 2 award nominees at the Gothic Arches where they’ll be performing with The Irish Descendants, Rebeka Reed and Banshee.
New Artist of the Year nominee CARLO SPINAZZOLA will be keeping busy during the weekend. Thursday and Saturday, Spinazzola will be performing at O’Leary’s in downtown Saint John, Friday afternoon he’ll be at Music World on Westmoreland Road and Sunday night he’ll be bluesin’ it up at the Post-Awards Show party.
And if it’s the blues you’re looking for, Blues Artist/Group of the Year nominee the JOHN CAMPBELLJOHN TRIO will take part in the Jazz, Blues and Classical Series at the Imperial Theatre on Thursday night. The Sydney River native is also on the bill Friday night at The Waterfront Lounge.
DOUGBILL PLATYPUS are hitting the road to Saint John to take in the festivities and play some music. They’ll be playing two shows during the weekend, Friday and Saturday at O’Leary’s.
SOCAN Songwriter of the Year nominee and past ECMA winner GORDIE SAMPSON will be popping up here and there during the weekend. In addition to the Songwriter Circle and Fan Fest, expect to see Sampson accompanying Kim Stockwood during the Concert Series Saturday night at the Imperial Theatre and sitting in on the SOCAN panel Writing Great Lyrics.
New this year to the ECMA is The Roots Room at the Hilton. This showcase of acoustic music is hosted by Roots/Traditonal Solo Artist of the Year nominee MARY JANE LAMOND on Friday, which will also be broadcast on CBC Mainstreet. Instrumental Artist of the Year nominee JENNIFER ROLAND is featured on Thursday.
And gig slut of the year goes to Howie Centre native KEITH “have drum will travel” MULLINS, who at last count had amassed more than a dozen gigs during the weekend, including five appearances on the Awards Show alone.
For a full listing of events visit www.ecma.ca. If you want to check in on how things are going over the weekend, go to www.whatsgoinon.ca for regular updates.