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Dave Gunning, Jenn Grant take home hardware at the East Coast Music Awards

Jenn Grant performs at the East Coast Music Awards songwriters' circle in Charlottetown on Saturday.


It was a big night for Nova Scotia artists at the East Coast Music Awards in Charlottetown.

Old Man Luedecke of Chester, N.S., took home album of the year for his traditional folk recording Tender is the Night at the gala held at the P.E.I Convention Centre Sunday evening. Earlier in the week, he won folk recording of the year for the same album.

Dave Gunning of Pictou, N.S., picked up solo recording of the year for No More Pennies, while he also captured the award for songwriter of the year for These Hands, which he co-wrote with country singer George Canyon.

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Song of the year honours went to the P.E.I-born, Halifax-raised Jenn Grant for her pop hit I've Got Your Fire, from her fourth album The Beautiful Wild.

Also receiving nods were Nova Scotia Celtic bands Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac for group recording of the year and the Barra MacNeils for entertainer of the year. Halifax's The Town Heroes won the fan choice video of the year for New York City.

The annual gala, which is in its 26th year, also featured tributes to Nova Scotia artists who have died.

Late rock guitarist Jay Smith, who died last year while on tour in Edmonton, was honoured with a surprise tribute performance from Carmen Townsend, Carleton Stone, Steven MacDougall and members of his band Rock Ranger.

Smith, who played guitar in the band that backs Halifax rocker Matt Mays, was also given the musician's achievement award.

Cape Breton's Rita MacNeil, who died last year at age 68 from complications following surgery, was recognized with the directors' special achievement award.

A lifetime achievement award was given to P.E.I.'s Chaisson Trio, who have been playing traditional fiddle music for more than 30 years.

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Heather Gibson, chair of the ECMA's board of directors, said music is not only an important part of Atlantic Canadian culture, it's also one of the region's key industries.

"Again this year, we have seen that Atlantic Canada is home to an incredible amount of world-class talent, premiere industry leaders, and an incredibly supportive music community," said Gibson in a statement.

The gala caps off a week-long event that attracted musicians and industry officials from across Canada.

The East Coast Music Awards formed 25 years ago in a basement bar in Halifax by a small group of people hoping to draw attention to the region's musical talent.

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