The East Coast Music Association (ECMA), Music/Musique NB, Music NL, Music NS and Music PEI are pleased to be presenting the “Canadian Music. East Coast Style Spotlight” at the 29th annual Folk Alliance International Conference (FAI) in Kansas City, Missouri from February 15th – 18th.     

Leading the way with a strong contingent of Canadian artists and companies, the collective of organizations will join forces to collaborate and present some of the finest talent from Atlantic Canada at the “Canadian Music. East Coast Style” showcases and business development initiative held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel.

“The North American folk music market, and the access to this market through the annual Folk Alliance International Conference, continues to be an area of priority for our organization and exporting members,” says Shelley Nordstrom, Export Manager for the ECMA. “Since 2004, we have developed a strong Atlantic Canadian footprint, annually presenting a high caliber of showcasing artists and ‘business to business’ development activities to assist artists and companies to expand into new international markets. We are delighted to continue to build on our long term partnership with Music/ Musique NB, Music NL, Music NS and Music PEI to offer an array of showcasing and business activities at FAI 2017.”  

The Atlantic Canadian collective will consist of more than 16 showcasing artists and groups, 6 management/companies, and organization representatives. FAI showcasing artists include: Meaghan Blanchard, Ben Caplan, Erin Costelo, Dave Gunning, James Hill and Anne Janelle, Chris LeDrew, Madison Violet, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Dylan Menzie, Heather Rankin, The Once, Ten Strings and A Goat Skin, Ken Tizzard, Tomato Tomato, Adyn Townes and Vishtèn.

During FAI 2017, showcasing artists will take part in the official FAI Performance Alley Showcases, host four evenings of the “Canadian Music. East Coast Style” music showcases, and play host to three “Songwriters in the Round” showcase matinees. View the full showcasing schedule below.

This project has been made possible in part by FACTOR with the support of the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

MNS Members that are playing this year's festival are:

Ben Caplan
Ben CaplanA charismatic charmer and a smasher of pianos. A madman and an earnest poet. A strummer of delicate chords and a lover of bent and broken melodies. Ben Caplan is not any one thing. As he releases his second album, he's already gained a following in more than a dozen countries from Australia to Europe and across North America. It's no surprise. Caplan is simply unforgettable; with his huge beard and unruly mane, he is as visually striking as he is aurally compelling. His rough and textured tones cut through crowded halls; an enormous voice, roaring louder than raucous crowds. The microphone looks almost superfluous. But looks are deceiving; once he has your attention, Caplan can croon smoother than a glass of single malt whisky, pouring beauty into a harsh world.

Erin Costelo
A reflection of our complicated world expressed through a voice unlike any other in Canada, Erin Costelo’s Down Below, The Status Quo affirms the Halifax-based chanteuse as one of Canada’s great songwriting talents. For this album, Costelo proved right the old adage that diamonds can only be created through intense pressure. Spending nearly a year in the studio honing fifteen songs in various states of completion, she gradually chipped away until the final tracklist built upon a cohesive theme embedded in both the album’s sound and lyrics. The resulting songs blend Costelo’s evocative voice with lush string and horn arrangements and playful backup singers. The East Coast Music Award winner has shared bills with Mavis Staples, Dr. John and Bettye LaVette, and also joined Joel Plaskett on the fellow Haligonian’s 2015 album The Park Avenue Sobriety Test. With this latest stride, Erin’s evolution as a confident creative force is complete.

Dave Gunning
Gunning’s recording career is now approaching a full two decades in length (his debut album, Lost Tracks, came out in 1996). Along with richly-deserved peer respect, he has also earned a shelf full of music industry awards. That tally now stands at eight East Coast Music Awards and two Canadian Folk Music Awards, plus a 2012 Juno Award nomination in the Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year category for his album …a tribute to John Allan Cameron, a compelling homage to another of Dave’s Maritime musical heroes.

His songwriting skill has also been internationally recognized, with earlier tunes scoring victories and high placings in some major international songwriting competitions. As a fervent hockey fan, Gunning was also thrilled to win the CBC’s hotly-contested Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest in 2014 with “A Game Goin’ On,” a co-write with David Francey.

Heather Rankin
After over twenty-five years of performing with her siblings Heather Rankin comes into her own with A Fine Line, her debut solo record. This is Heather Rankin like you have never heard her before, breaking away from The Rankin Family’s signature sound, and forging her own musical legacy with her poetic, intimate original songs, and an eclectic mix of others. A Fine Line is an exploration of the balance between grief and joy, love and loss, and life and death. While the sound is distinctively Heather’s own, songs like “We Walk As One” conjure evocative imagery from the past she shared with her siblings, and with fans all over the world. Other songs showcase a more upbeat and contemporary side of Rankin, like her rendition of Tears for Fears’ 1985 hit “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” which features Hip Hop Artist Quake Matthews. It is a social commentary with a Dance Club vibe. A song like David Tyson’s “Valentine” is a heart-felt love song, poignant in its simplicity, where Rankin’s soaring, angelic voice is all that is needed to hit straight to the heart.