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The Walleye
19
Music
THE POLARIS MUSIC PRIZE
By Nancy Ewachow
"Best New Artist" Juno just doesn't suffice to contain the many new recordings from the wide
range of Canadian artists that come out every year. Just because an album sells a lot, or charts on
Canadian radio, is it guaranteed that it's the best? With access to satellite radio and infinite other
gateways to music, the realm of talent to which we are exposed allows us to access our non-main-
stream faves, regardless of genre.
Five years ago, the illuminati of Canadian music journalism decided that the Junos weren't
enough, the East Coast Music Awards, and the Country Music Awards, etc, weren't enough, and
they decided that they would all get together and come up with a long list of contenders for a prize,
and the criteria would be wide open--the music had to be put out in the calendar year, and it had
to be Canadian. The journalists voted the long list down to ten, and then once a year the winning
album is announced at a gala where the contenders will perform.
And there's cash too, originally $10,000 (one band used the winnings to repair a totalled touring
van), and now $20,000. Any artist (old-timers or new regardless of genre) can throw their hat in
the ring. Here's a list of this year's ten finalists, and readers can tell us what they think. Who would
you vote for, or nominate? The winner is announced on September 20
th
. Enjoy some Polaris magic
when The Wooden Sky plays at Nipigon's "Live from the Rock" Folk Festival in August. You can also
see another band from 2009's longlist, the Arkells, playing with Tokyo Police Club at the new Crocks
in September.
The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes are
the Roaring Night
(from Montreal)
Broken Social Scene
Forgiveness Rock Record
(from Toronto)
Caribou
Swim
(from Dundas, ON)
Karkwa
Les Chemins De Verre
(from Montreal)
Dan Mangan
Nice, Nice, Very Nice
(from Vancouver)
Owen Pallett
Heartland
(from Toronto)
Radio Radio
Belmundo Regal
(from Gross Coque, NS,
Moncton NB)
The Sadies
Darker Circles
(from Toronto)
Shad
TSOL
(from London, ON)
Tegan and Sara
Sainthood
(from Vancouver/Montreal)
WINNERS FROM PREVIOUS YEARS:
Owen Pallet, under the name Final Fantasy (2006)
Patrick Watson (2007)
Caribou (2008),
Fucked Up (2009)
PAST LONGLISTERS and SHORTLISTERS
Blue Rodeo, K'naan, K-OS, Julie Doiron, Feist, the Stars, Basia Bulat, the New Pornographers,
Neko Case, Plants and Animals, Elizabeth Sheppard, Yukon Blonde, Hey Rosetta, Elliot Brood,
Great Lakes Swimmers, Lhasa, Joel Plaskett, Rae Spoon, Leonard Cohen, the Stills, Marthat
Wainwright, Wolf Parade, Kathleen Edwards, Two Hours Traffic, the Weakerthans, Chad Van
Gaalen, Black Mountain, Arcade Fire.
To see more, go to polarismusicprize.ca
THIS YEAR'S SHORTLIST
As Billy considers his third
album, he would like to attain
middle ground between the
simplicity of the first album
and the big sounds of "All
Together Now". With his musi-
cal interests ranging from The
Band to electronic music, his
next recording will be highly
anticipated. He says that his
next recordings will likely be
about his personal experiences,
touring in the last few years, as
well as returning to Thunder
Bay. Manzik has a refreshingly
positive and optimistic out-
look on the future of Thunder
Bay.
Billy Manzik is developing
an ever growing fan base. His
music is being played across
Canada, the U.S. as well as the
U.K. He has had other artists
expressing interest in recording
cover versions of his music.
Billy Manzik plays Wed.
Aug. 18th at the Marina Park
as part of the Summer in the
Parks program.
It's Saturday night and
I'm sitting in Crocks wait-
ing for local singer-song-
writer Billy Manzik to take
the stage in support of his
latest album release AllTo-
getherNow. I accidentally
stumbled upon him the
previous week at the Ser-
endipity Cafe in Rossport
and I've been looking for-
ward to tonight's show
for days. In Rossport, the
crowd was welcoming and
eclectic with visitors from
the southern United States,
Bangladesh, Columbia and
United Kingdom. With
humour and forced mod-
esty, Billy easily conversed
with everyone. I was curi-
ous how he would handle
the Blues Festival after
party guests that would
soon be filling the venue
tonight.
Shortly after 11pm Billy
climbs onstage looking ev-
ery bit the folk singer he is
complete with well-worn
cowboy hat and plaid shirt.
He smiles and introduces
himself to the small group
scattered throughout the
bar. Blues Traveler has just
finished their set less than
a kilometre away at the an-
nual Thunder Bay Blues
Festival in Marina Park
and the crowd here is now
steadily growing. Billy
greets us with a big smile
and dives into his set. His
performance seems effort-
less and he compliments
his own compositions with
traditional folk and blues
standards along with cover
tunes from the likes of Neil
Young and JJ Cale. It's
clear he loves what he does
and the energy and passion
he feels for music translates
into his crisp and clean
guitar playing. He has an
obvious appeal to the audi-
ence and fellow musicians,
taking breaks from their
own sets nearby, drop in
to say hello and listen to a
tune or two.
Billy peppers his per-
formance with stories and
musings as the crowd grows
larger. By the time he nears
the end of his set the bar is
almost full and the crowd
is clearly enjoying what
they hear. With a little
help from the audience,
he convinces the Warped
45s, who will be taking
the stage after him, to join
him for his last song. Now,
flanked by drums, key-
board, telecaster, bass and
mandolin, Billy seems to
be in heaven. Having nev-
er played together before
the makeshift band sounds
like they've been a cohesive
unit for years. Encourag-
ing solos from the band
members, Billy seems to
be beaming as he ends the
night's performance on a
very high note. Tonight's
show was everything I was
hoping it would be, a tal-
ent-filled night of good old
fashioned folky fun and I
can't wait to do it again!
-Judy Roche
Billy Manzik "Live" R
e
view
phot
ogr
aph
y
: iconicimages.com