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31st Eastern Canada Bluegrass Music Award Winners

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Darren RichardThe Downeast Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Society would like to sincerely congratulate the winners presented at the 31st Annual Eastern Canada Bluegrass Music Awards held Saturday, October 17, 2015 at the Cobequid Education Centre in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Master Awards are awarded to contestants who have won the respective award five times. this year's Master Awards were presented to Ryan Dillman of Shadow River for Banjo Player of the year and to Darren Richard of Bluegrass Tradition for Individual Entertainer of the Year.

The Eastern Canada Bluegrass Music Awards were founded in 1985 when a bluegrass magazine from Ontario sought a way to celebrate Bluegrass Music. Votes were only cast by subscribers of the magazine who also took care of the awards and presentations while the Downeast Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Society arranged the show consisting of 10 of the Maritime’s top bands. After the magazine ceased circulation the Society decided to continue operating the Awards including balloting, tabulation, awards and presentations. A committee including representatives from each of the Maritime Bluegrass Associations (at the time 2 in NB, 1 in PEI and 5 plus the Society in NS) was formed to organize the event. The members of these associations would cast the votes for the awards.

The tradition of fans choosing the winners continues today. The top three vote receivers in each category are considered nominees and are announced prior to the show. The person/group receiving the most votes in each category is determined the winner. Master Awards are presented when recipients in any category win the award 5 times. They are then ineligible for that particular award. The Participation Award is presented to the bluegrass association with the highest percentage of returns as a means to encourage members to vote. The Downeast Society names a Fan of the Year which is selected from nominations made by the various Bluegrass Associations. The recipient is chosen based on participation in bluegrass events such as festivals/concerts, and more importantly someone who embodies the spirit of our bluegrass community. Finally, the Society adopts at least one Lifetime Member each year chosen for outstanding contribution to the Society, their home association and bluegrass in general.

The Awards Show weekend is a chance for us to recognize those who have contributed their talents and hard work to establishing and maintaining the amazing bluegrass community here in eastern Canada. It is also a celebration of this community and its history.

The Downeast Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Society is pleased to announce the nominees for the 31st Annual Eastern Canada Bluegrass Music Awards (in alphabetical order):

Banjo Player of the Year:
Ryan Dillman (Shadow River)
5 Time Winner - Master Award - 2003, 2004, 2012, 2014, 2015

Bass Player of the Year:
Brian Hazlett (Shadow River)

Dobro Player of the Year:
George Grant

Fiddle Player of the Year:
Matt Hayes (Monroe / Russell Sawler Band)

Guitar Player of the Year:
Jeff Nauss (Eight Wheel Drive)

Mandolin Player of the Year:
Waylon Robicheau (Shadow River)

Male Vocalist of the Year:
David Doyle (Shadow River)

Female Vocalist of the Year:
Karen DeCoste (Bluegrass Tradition)

Individual Entertainer of the Year:
Darren Richard (Bluegrass Tradition)
5 Time Winner - Master Award - 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Vocal Group of the Year:
Shadow River

Gospel Performance of the Year:
Shadow River

Most Promising Band of the Year:
Next Generation

Band of the Year:
Shadow River

Recording of the Year:
Shadow River

Composer of the Year:
Ryan Dillman

Promoter of the Year:
Danisha Comeau

Emcee of the Year:
Brian Hazlett

Radio / TV DJ of the Year:
Nancy Keddy - Bluegrass Atlantic (CIOE 97.5FM Sackville)

Participation Award:
East Hants Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Association

Lifetime Member:
Cora Wynn

Fan of the Year:
Virginia Hubley

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners for their outstanding contribution to bluegrass music in Canada throughout the year. We look forward to another exciting year of bluegrass music from our northern neighbors.

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