The East Coast has particularly strong representation at this year's CMW, thanks largely to Nova Scotia's eastern swing supergroup, the Tom Fun Orchestra, which was the surprise hit at the East Coast Music Awards earlier this year despite their conspicuous lack of nominations. But who needs statues when you're getting standing ovations from jaded music-biz nobs at parties all over town?
Affectionately dubbed "Breton Social Scene," the hellraising 10-piece ensemble includes members from Cape Breton's top alternative acts Slowcoaster, Rock Ranger, the Squatters, I Was A Spy and Yellow, who put their banjo-picking and accordion-squeezing skills to good use behind the Shane MacGowan-style growl of frontman Ian MacDougall for a rollicking good time. If you arrive at the Rivoli too late to catch their 10 pm set Saturday (March 10), head over to Lee's Palace, where they'll be tearing it up after 2:30 am.
Taking time out from touring Europe to join the Maritimer invasion of CMW, hotly tipped Halifax-based singer/songwriter Jenn Grant previews the sweetest songs from her much anticipated new album at her Horseshoe set Saturday at 1 am. And if you don't like the looks of the lineup outside the 'Shoe for the always popular Chart Magazine showcase, Grant returns to Toronto to play the Cameron House with Royal Wood Monday (March 12).
Those who prefer their roots music raw with a little lap steel twang on the side really need to check out New Brunswick outlaw country hooligans the Divorcees. The Johnny Cash- and Waylon Jennings-inspired tunes on their You Ain't Gettin' My Country (Haysale) should give you a good idea of what these shit-kickin' hombres are all about - hardcore honky-tonkin' and haulin' ass. Those Charlie Rich tattoos say these Divorcees mean business, and if you don't think so, stop by the Cadillac Lounge and catch their action Friday (March 9) at 8 pm, or better still, see them after the tequila takes hold over at the Horseshoe past 3 am.