Sackville native Mark Geddes’ Band wins ECMA for Roots/traditional group recording of the year

Joan LeBlanc
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Mark Geddes, left, and Gordie MacKeeman of Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys give their acceptance speech following the band’s Roots Traditional Group Recording of the Year award win at the 2011 Music P.E.I. Music Mosaic at Centre Belle Alliance in Summerside on Wednesday. The band also received Instrumental Recording of the Year later in the evening. JOURNAL PIONEER PHOTO

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE – One of Sackville’s own musicians is celebrating his band’s recent win at the East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs), held last week in Charlottetown. A 2001 graduate of Tantramar Regional High School, Mark Geddes is a member of Gordie MacKeeman & his Rhythm Boys, a traditionally inspired down-east band whose lively performances have captured international attention.

Geddes said in a telephone interview on Monday from his current home base in Charlottetown that he was pleased and excited to hear the band had won best roots/traditional group recording of the year for their album ‘Pickin N Clickin’. Unfortunately, the band was busy playing another venue in western Canada last week, missing out on all but the ECMA gala awards evening held Sunday night in the Charlottetown.

“We had the opportunity to take part in this great event in BC last week, so unfortunately we couldn’t be here for most of the ECMA events; that’s just the way it is in this industry. We did make it back in time for the gala evening though and it was a great event,” Geddes said.

He admitted it was a ‘joyous celebration’ at the gala awards evening.

“Just seeing fellow musicians and catching up with people; it was pretty great. We didn’t miss it all. (During the evening event) they did announce the names of award winners who had been presented with their awards during events that took place during the week…It really was great. You know, it kind of makes you feel reaffirmed, like you’re doing the right thing, taking the right path in life,” he said.

The ECMA award was presented to Gordie MacKeeman & his Rhythm Boys last Thursday evening during a folk/roots event held at The Pourhouse pub.

“My dad was there (for the event) and he actually accepted the award for us, so that was really nice; it made me pretty proud. We found out while we were in BC, so it was a great surprise for us,” he said.

Geddes and fellow musician Gordie MacKeeman originally formed the band in October 2010.

“At that time we made a fiddle CD; he was the member of another band at the time…but we (later) formed the band around that CD and it’s just kept going from there,” he said.

Since that time the four-member band, which includes MacKeeman on the fiddle, Geddes on vocals, snare drum/percussion and bass, Peter Cann on vocals and lead guitar and Thomas Webb on vocals, bass and banjo; has been very busy.

Over the past year they’ve toured Australia and done three tours of Great Britain.

“The Australians are a lot like Canadians; they’re all really laid back, they’ve also got this great sense of humour – really fun people. We really enjoyed it there. We also spend quite a bit of time in England; we do a lot of folk festivals, clubs and small theatres and we have great audiences there too,” he said.

Looking ahead, Geddes said the band will travel to Saskatchewan and other parts of the country in the months to come. He credits the support of his parents, brother Michael and the residents of his hometown, Sackville, for their support and encouragement over the years since he first embarked on a career as a musician.

“It’s always been great. I live in Charlottetown but Sackville will always be my hometown. Last year we were honoured to be asked to take part in the Fall Fair and that was a really great time for us all. We’d love the chance to come back again this year,” he admitted.

Organizations: Roots, Tantramar Regional High School, The Pourhouse

Geographic location: CHARLOTTETOWN, BC, Canada Australia Great Britain England Saskatchewan

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