by Charlie Hansen
This month we have lots of things to talk about with the ECMAs just over and more new albums hitting the street the country/bluegrass music sector is alive and well.
First I'd like to congratulate all the Island ECMA winners on a job very well done. In particular congratulations go to Rik Barron for his award as children's entertainer of the year. That award is long over due and very fitting. Rik's latest album, Make Hay When The Sun Shines, is great and his ability to take songs that are not generally known as children's songs and mould them so that they fit the occasion is uncanny.
Congratulations, also, to Gordon Gallant, a long time local entertainer, for capturing the "Stompin Tom" award. Gordon has been around the local entertainment scene for a long time and I'm sure it was a thrill for him to take this award home from Sydney.
We all look forward to next year when we will have the ECMA awards right here in Charlottetown. Let's really put on a push to get lots of PEI entertainers nominated.
A couple of new albums have surfaced in the last little while and they both come from the western end of the island. Wayne Brown has put together an album of bluegrass standards and original material called Wayne Brown and Friends, Home Coming '97. This effort was recorded at Sandcastle Recording Studios in Borden and features an all Island cast of musicians, including, Dave and Joy Murray, Mike Arsenault, Ed Hodgson, Serge Bernard and Wayne Brown, himself, on vocals. Wayne has been a fixture on the bluegrass scene on the Island for a long time now and has finally taken the plunge into recording. Wayne wrote five of the tunes on this CD, including the title track, "Home Coming '97" and "Daddy Was A Good Man." To get a copy of this CD contact Wayne at P.O. Box 4, St. Louis, PEI C0B 1Z0 or phone (902)882-2203.
The next album that I'd like to mention was also recorded at Sandcastle and it features a group of folks that call themselves Gypsy Rovers. These folks are jammin' buddies at a lot of bluegrass festivals and events around the region and decided to take the fun that they get from their music to the studio. The result is a collection of good old standard bluegrass tunes. This group includes Joe Casey, Dave & Joy Murray, John & Cheryl Currie, Leonard Perry, and Wayne Brown. The music tracks on this CD were handled by Serge Bernard, Ed Hodgson, Steven Arsenault, Mike Arsenault, and David Albert. I'm sure this recording effort will give them lots to talk about around the jam circles at bluegrass events here there and everywhere. To get a copy of this CD contact Joe Casey, P.O. Box 12, Tyne Valley, PEI C0B 2C0 or call (902)436-4800.
Until next month don't forget to support live country and bluegrass music and listen to Bluegrass Island every Wednesday evening at 8 pm on CFCY.