I miss the East!

Great Big Sea grabs seven ECMA noms
HALIFAX — Perennial party staple Great Big Sea will be the great big favourite heading into the 2003 East Coast Music Awards.
In nominations announced Wednesday, the rollicking Celtic rock band from Newfoundland led the way with seven, including album of the year and entertainer of the year.
The awards show, to be hosted by comedian Rick Mercer, will be held Feb. 16 in Halifax’s 10,000-seat Metro Centre and broadcast live on CBC-TV.
Mercer, a former This Hour Has 22 Minutes star, said he’s thrilled to be at the helm of the annual show, which began 15 years ago in a tiny Halifax club and has grown into the region’s hottest ticket each winter.
“Backstage at awards shows there are a lot of people who tend to be arseholes, I think, is the word,” Mercer said during a news conference.
“But you just don’t find that at the East Coast Awards. It’s about as much fun as you can have on television.”
Great Big Sea’s popular blend of traditional music and pop-rock has made them one of the most successful acts in the country in recent years.
A five-time winner of the ECMA’s entertainer of the year award, the band dominated the nominations on the strength of their most recent album, Sea of No Cares.
Great Big Sea is also nominated for single of the year, songwriter of the year, best video, pop artist/pop group of the year, and group of the year.
Singer-songwriter Lennie Gallant took five nominations while Newfoundland’s the Ennis Sisters, Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, and P.E.I. singer-songwriter Nathan Wiley each snared four.
Charlie A’Court, a 24-year-old blues artist from McCallum Settlement, N.S., was thrilled with his nominations in the blues and new artist categories.
“To me it means an extraordinary opportunity to branch out and be in front of a larger fan base,” said A’Court, who performed an acoustic blues number from his album Color Me Gone during the nominations ceremony.
“It really allows me to get out there in full focus so people can really see me in my light, in what I do.”
Anne Murray, the matriarch of the East Coast music scene, received two nominations — female artist of the year and country artist.
There was no word on who will perform during the awards show, but Mercer promised it would be good.
“If the federal government decriminalizes marijuana fast enough, the light show’s gonna be spectacular,” he said.