Joel Plaskett Emergency cleans up at ECMA
FREDERICTON – A rocking song about fashionable people doing questionable things led a parade of awards for Halifax band Joel Plaskett Emergency, which cleaned up at the East Coast Music Awards on Sunday night.
Plaskett and his band won six awards related to their album “Ashtray Rock,” a semi-biographical look at the world of Clayton Park, a sprawling Halifax suburb that overlooks Bedford Basin.
Plaskett, along with drummer David Marsh and bass player Chris Pennell, creates a narrative on the album about three friends growing up, falling in and out of love and playing music.
The hit song from the album “Fashionable People” was named group single of the year and also won for best video.
“I want to thank all of the people who turned out for the video shoot – both the fashionable and the unfashionable,” Plaskett said as he accepted the best video award.
As well, Plaskett won the prestigious songwriter of the year award for the bouncy tune filled with beat changes and background vocals.
“Ashtray Rock” also took group recording of the year, rock recording and recording of the year.
Nova Scotian performers took the lion’s share of awards at the gala in Fredericton.
New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island also had several winners, while performers from Newfoundland and Labrador were shut out.
Plaskett has been nominated for a Juno Award, and “Fashionable People” recently received first-place honours in the pop song category of the 2007 Billboard Magazine World Song contest.
Although the lanky Plaskett just completed a whirlwind tour of Australia, he said nothing would keep him from the East Coast Music Awards – the annual, dead-of-winter tribute to Atlantic Canadian music and culture.
“The awards have always been a big part of my year,” he said shortly after he arrived in Fredericton.
“The ECMAs mark a kind of beginning of a new year, but it’s also an acknowledgment of what you did in the past year.”
Plaskett had seven nominations heading into the gala. The only one he missed out on was the coveted entertainer of the year award, which once again went to Nova Scotia country singer George Canyon.
It was the fourth-consecutive win as entertainer of the year for Canyon, the square-jawed singer from Pictou County who came out of obscurity by finishing second on 2004’s “Nashville Star” TV talent search.
Canyon was unable to attend the awards ceremony.
The gala awards show in Fredericton on Sunday capped four hectic days of showcases and stage events held at various venues around the snowy New Brunswick capital.
A snowstorm that moved in Sunday wasn’t enough to discourage more than 3,000 people from attending the ceremony, held in a large hockey arena.
For the first time in more than a decade, the awards show wasn’t broadcast live nationally by CBC-TV.
Citing award-show fatigue and facing stiff competition from the Grammy Awards, which also were held Sunday, CBC decided on a different format this year for the East Coast extravaganza.
The CBC will air an hour-long, condensed version of the awards’ performances on March 2, with host Steven Page of the Canadian band the Barenaked Ladies.
Dave Gunning, The Rankin Family and Jamie Sparks each picked up two awards. Other Nova Scotian winners included rising star winner Stephanie Hardy.
“I’ll just keep doing it as long as I’m able to do it,” said Gunning after he received the award for male solo recording of the year.
“This is an incredible pat on the back from the industry and all of the people who voted.”
New Brunswick winners included Thom Swift, who won for blues recording, and the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, which won classical recording of the year.
The Divorcees from Moncton, N.B., won country recording of the year.
The top bluegrass recording went to the lively Saddle River String Band from Prince Edward Island.
Also from Prince Edward Island, Nathan Wiley won alternative recording of the year for “The City Destroyed Me.”
“Every little bit helps,” Wiley said. “It’s recognition. It feels good to know people are listening.”
Congrats to them all!! Love that East Coast music!!
Joel Plaskett Emergency cleans up at ECMA