Many local performers among ECMA noms

Amy MacKenzie
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Dave Gunning is one of many Pictou County artists nominated for ECMAs this year. He’s up for song of the year, folk recording of the year and fan’s choice entertainer. PHOTO SUBMITTED

HALIFAX – The nominations have been announced and Pictou County’s musicians are among those recognized for this year’s East Coast Music Awards.

Wintersleep, which has two band members hailing from Stellarton, has the most nominations of any band or musician. Dave Gunning, The Stanfields and George Canyon received multiple nominations and Fleur Mainville, Gabrielle Papillon and Jim Dorie received one nomination each.

Loel Campbell, who plays drums in the band Wintersleep, which is up for six awards, is from Stellarton along with Mike Bigelow who plays bass. Campbell said although the band has plenty of nominations, they’re not getting their hopes up that they’ll win any awards.

“It's awesome to get nominations, but the last time we got near this amount of nominations was five in 2008 in Fredericton. We went to the ceremony, but we ended up not taking home any in 2008,” Campbell said. “So, nominations in our case doesn't necessarily mean we're going to bring home any awards, so we're pretty realistic about it, but it's nice to be received positively by your peers.”

Wintersleep is up for group recording of the year for its album “Hello Hum,” songwriter of the year for “In Came the Flood,” album of the year for “Hello Hum,” fan’s choice entertainer, fan’s choice video of the year for “In Came the Flood” and rock recording of the year for “Hello Hum.”

Campbell said the band is pleased to see “Hello Hum” doing so well. The band will be touring in the U.K. prior to the awards but will be back on March 2, four days before the ECMAs begin. Members are unsure whether they will play because they haven't been asked yet. Campbell said the band will discuss playing the ECMAs if they are approached.

The Stanfields also have two band members from Stellarton: Jon Landry, vocals and guitar, and Mark Murphy, drums. The band is nominated for fan’s choice entertainer, rock recording of the year and group recording of the year for its album “Death and Taxes.”

Pictou County-based musician Dave Gunning is nominated for song of the year for “These Hands,” folk recording of the year for his album “No More Pennies” and fan’s choice entertainer.

Gunning had just returned home from his tour in Australia when he found out about the nominations.

“This is great,” he said. “This is the first official recognition, locally (for ‘No More Pennies.’) We’ve been just really blown away by how well the record has been received.”

Gunning said he will be attending the March 6 to 10 event in Halifax and is looking forward to it.

“It’s the only time when all these local musicians get to hang out together, so I look forward to that,” he said.

Jim Dorie of New Glasgow said he was surprised when he saw that his album, “Ghosts of Pictou County,” was nominated for roots/traditional solo recording of the year.

“I was stunned. It’s a very wonderful feeling. I knew the nominations were coming out today and I wasn’t expecting a nomination but I was on (the ECMA website) wondering who I knew that would be nominated. I was quite surprised,” he said, adding that this is his first ECMA nomination. “I started this as a retirement hobby. I’m 62 so it’s very untypical I think for someone my age to start this as a post-retirement career and actually start making some waves and getting some recognition.”

Dorie said he is glad to be nominated in the same category as artists he knows and respects such as Bruce Guthro.

Fleur Mainville, a Pictou-County based fiddler and singer, is nominated for roots/traditional solo recording of the year for her album “Once.”

“I’m really thrilled. It’s quite an honour, especially this year with it being the 25th anniversary of the East Coast Music Awards and to be nominated with folks such as Bruce Guthro, Tim Chaisson and Jim Dorie,” she said. “This is my first time being nominated since 1997 when I was with the group MacKeel. It’s my very first album where on the eleven tracks I’m singing, it’s not an instrumental album.”

Mainville said she will be attending the awards and will be both representing herself and East Coast FM, the radio station for which she hosts the show East Coast Road Trip.

George Canyon, originally from Pictou County, is nominated for fan’s choice video of the year for “Saddle Up” and fan’s choice entertainer. “We are extremely honoured to receive the ECMA nominations,” he said in an email. “Congratulations to all the nominees and we're especially proud of all the very talented Pictou County artists and groups who received nominations as well. It's been a fantastic year for east coast music."

Pictou County artist Gabrielle Papillon also received a nomination for her album “Little Bug,” nominated for folk recording of the year.

The nominations were announced at Casino Nova Scotia Tuesday morning and a full list of the nominees is available at

– With files from Christopher Cameron

Geographic location: Pictou County, Stellarton, HALIFAX Fredericton U.K. Australia New Glasgow

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Recent comments

  • Frank Rizzo
    January 16, 2013 - 08:50

    Also "Sp00nfed" (AKA. Donovan Morgan) formally of NG, nominated for Electronic Recording of the Year.

  • Barb
    January 16, 2013 - 04:25

    Leeboy was born and raised in Pictou County and is also nominated for Blues Recording. This is his first Nomination. Leeboy (Liam Brophy) released his first CD in 2012 at Captain Helms in New Glasgow.