Strait area well represented among ECMA nominations

STRAIT AREA: Several local musicians are looking forward to representing the Strait area at the 2018 East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs) this May.

Mary Beth Carty of Lanark, Antigonish County said she was very excited to be recognized with a nomination for Francophone album of the year for her debut solo recording, Les Biens-Nommés.

“It’s out of all the Atlantic provinces, so I feel very, very lucky to be nominated,” said Carty.


The singer, songwriter and instrumentalist grew up in a family of musicians that includes well-known traditional performers such as Troy MacGillivray and Cassie and Maggie MacDonald.

“It was definitely a musical environment growing up,” said Carty.

Carty recorded most of the album in her flat in Lanark overlooking the Antigonish Harbour. Although she plays a great deal of Celtic and pub music, she says Les Biens-Nommés has a sound reminiscent of a French cafe.

“I play guitar and piano, but my passion is the accordion,” said Carty. “I wanted to make an album that’s based around that instrument. I kind of started my music career in Quebec, so I wrote a lot of songs in French for this album.”

Carty now lives in Sydney and has just finished recording a new album with New Waterford fiddler Gillian Head.

Mabou vocalist Heather Rankin will also be representing the Strait area at this year’s ECMAs. Her recent project “Titanically” directed by Thom Fitzgerald was nominated for Video of the Year. She told The Reporter the project was a labour of love.

Heather Rankin

“There’s definitely a connection with grief and the ocean and I think that played a role in the writing of the song and certainly in the making of the video,” said Rankin, who co-wrote the song with David Tyson

“The song is about the journey of the violin. We gave it a soul and imagined its journey of grief after it was recovered from the ocean and its longing to return to the ocean where the souls of so many departed and the soul of the person who cared most about it was lost.”

Rankin said the filming process involved rolling in the cold mud flats of Hantsport, Nova Scotia, as well as lip-syncing underwater in a Halifax swimming pool wearing a full-length gown.

“It looks like fun, but it was hard work,” Rankin said. “I’m not a swimmer, and you learn so much when you try to do something like that.”

Multi-ECMA winning alternative rock group, The Town Heroes have received a nomination Fans’ Choice Video of the year for their video for the song “Thought Police,” which was directed by Cody Westman of Newfoundland.

The Town Heroes

“He came up with the idea for the video and shot it in Newfoundland, and we just discussed the ideas from the song and what could capture the themes present in it,” said Town Heroes member Mike Ryan of Inverness.

The song is from the album Please, Everyone that Ryan produced with fellow band member Bruce Gillis of Mabou.

“It’s a concept album and it has a lot of themes about trying to make the world a better place. There are some direct references to George Orwell’s 1984,” said Ryan.

Recently, the duo has expanded to include two new members, Tori Cameron of Grand River and Aaron Green of New Brunswick. They have just finished recording a new album and are getting ready for a St. Patrick’s Day performance in Halifax with Vancouver-based band Said the Whale.