CORNER BROOK — The fact that the East Coast Music Association was announcing nominees for the 2013 ECMA awards was not really on Justin Mahoney’s mind Tuesday.
So, he was a little bewildered when he got a text from a friend wishing him congratulations.
“I was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’” Mahoney said of his response.
When he was told he had been nominated for an ECMA, the Steady Brook singer/songwriter didn’t believe it at first.
“I thought it was some cruel April Fool’s joke in February,” he joked.
The nomination is for “Murder Ballads and Other Love Songs,” which Mahoney released last year under the artistic pseudonym The Heavy Horses. Self-described as an “outlaw country” album, the CD is one of five nominees for Country Recording of the Year.
Mahoney was already going to Halifax for East Coast Music Week in early March, having been asked to perform at the Country Stage showcase venue. The location and time of that showcase have not yet been announced, but Mahoney has some extra motivation now that he will be going as a nominee.
“I haven’t played this (The Heavy Horses) material for a lot of people yet,” said Mahoney. “It will be exciting to go and play it for a whole new crowd and actually have people find out about it through this way.”
He’s already feeling the so-called ECMA bump, having sold several copies of “Murder Ballads and Other Love Songs” since the nominations were announced Tuesday morning.
The independently produced and distributed album has actually been on a bit of a roll lately. Just last week, a few copies sold in Europe.
“I get excited just to sell one to a friend of mine,” Mahoney said. “How do people in Europe find out about music randomly that is not being pushed by a label or a PR company?”
Mahoney is not the only western Newfoundland connection to this year’s list of ECMA nominees.
The Once, which includes former Corner Brook resident Phil Churchill, is up for three awards. The band’s nominations are for Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year, Fan’s Choice Video of the Year for “You’re My Best Friend,” and Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year for “Row Upon Row of the People They Know.”
Corner Brook native Lloyd Quinton, who is currently living and working in Japan, played drums on Jeff Torbert’s album, “Urban Poultry and Other Hopes,” which has been nominated in the Jazz Recording of the Year category. Quinton was taught locally by the late Denny Solo and graduated from the jazz music program at St. Francis Xavier University in 2010.
The award winners will be announced at the ECMA gala in Halifax on March 10.