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Life Doesn’t Get Better Than This

Sunday morning was my birthday and rumor had it the ECMA was throwing an awards show for me…LOL

Anyway, I celebrated by sleeping in.  There were no more volunteer shifts, which was strictly coincidence but very serendipitous indeed.

I didn’t surface until the Socan Songwiter’s Circle at 2:30PM which was more than worth waking up for.  Hosted by the giant talent that we know as Ron Hynes, the circle was joined by Maureen Ennis, Dave Carroll, Chris Colepaugh, and Steven MacDougall.

It was the first time I’ve seen Maureen perform.  It was a lovely performance full of sweet sentiment and raw emotion.  After watching Chris the other night rock out with the Cosmic Crew his versatility really shone through in this fabulous acoustic performance.  Steven was a nice surprise as I’ve seen Slowcoaster many times and would not have expected this based on their rock shows.  But as they say, it all starts with a song, pared down and acoustic.

I have never doubted the power of music to heal your soul and thank Dave for helping me to realize that on my birthday in Cornerbrook, many miles from home, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  He sang a song called “Now” and the lyrics resonate so true…if there is no way out, there is still a way through.  It is a song about living in the present and not wasting time on the past and the future.  If you know me, you will know I wasted a lot of time last year, but I learned my lesson and if you haven’t learned yours yet just listen to Dave’s song.  Birthday tears of realization will always be my most memorable moment from the 2009 ECMA.  You never know where life will take you but if you can find the right path you’re halfway there.

Ended up back at the Crown and Moose for supper with Shelley and some of the international people and then went with them to the Gala.  Had planned to catch the pre-show, which is the part before the telecast, but it was better to have some time for supper as it was the only chance I had to eat it turned out.  The gala was great, albeit anticlimactic.  The tributes are always my favorite part of the gala so I really enjoyed the tribute to Dick Nolan.  His wife accepted his award for him as Dick is no longer with us.  She was very emotional and cut her speech short and his sister stepped up to the mike and gave a perfect speech that summed up the spirit of Newfoundland music, and the heart of the island.  All the performances were fantastic…perhaps you caught them on CBC?  The one addition to the live show was Damhnait Doyle’s performance.  They ran out of time for her during the taping so she didn’t make it to the TV broadcast but because she loves her fans and loves to perform she still did her song.  She is a great gal and the people of Newfoundland are super proud of her.  She is always happy to greet a fan to have a picture taken or just make some conversation.  I remember way back in my days at Sam the Record Man when Damhnait had just been signed with EMI and she used to come in to chat with us.  We all thought what a spectacular personality she had and it’s awesome to see she hasn’t changed a bit.  You deserve every bit of success you have girl…good on you!

And that brings me back to the last time I volunteered with the ECMAs four years ago.  Things are exactly the same I discovered and I’m only sorry I stayed away so long.  The musicians who rise to the top of the pile are always the ones with the best attitudes, smiling faces, and joyful hearts.  It’s not really about winning awards; they all feel privileged to do what they love the most.  They feel thankful for what they have.  They are proud of one another and support one another.  It’s incredibly infectious and it will be some time before I come down off the high of being surrounded by that energy.

After the gala we wandered into the post awards party where there were bands playing yet again and mummers dancing in the lobby.  Mummering is an old tradition of Christmas in Newfoundland where people disguise themselves in costumes and visit their neighbours.  It’s kind of like Halloween at Christmas except they sing and dance when they visit instead of asking for candy.

I heard later on that the party went late and was lots of fun but I only stayed for about an hour as I was eager to get back to the Crown and Moose where I knew the best show of the weekend was going to take place just after midnight.

Bruce Guthro and Friends was hosted by Stanfest so all the musicians came to play.  It was so much fun.  It’s hard to remember everyone who played but I remember Dave Gunning, Ian Sherwood, Ron Hynes, David Myles, Damhnait Doyle, and Aislin House.  When David did “when it comes my turn” everyone sang along.  I was standing with a lady who told me that her friend had just died of cancer and they had played this song at her memorial service.  She had requested that before she passed away.  How powerful.  I’m sure many other people had their own stories to go along with this great song.  A chap from indieTV Toronto I had met the day before leaned and said to me “life doesn’t get better than this”.  Jeff you got that right buddy…how lucky we were to be in that moment.

I know many others took the stage but I honestly can’t remember all of who took their turn as I was having a great time talking to friends both old and new, drinking more Guinness (I am thankful it’s a Molson product here) then I should have, and not looking forward to packing for the trip home.

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