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Esmerine wins double Junos

March 15th,2023 | Arts & Entertainment

Esmerine makes records “the old way” and the critics are listening.

The band, which features Wakefielders Bruce Cawdron, Alden Roberge and Brian Sanderson, along with Montreal players Rebecca Foon and Phillippe Charbonneau, just won its third and fourth Juno Awards this past weekend for Instrumental Album of the Year and Album Artwork of the Year for their album, “Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More”.

Esmerine co-founder Cawdron said it’s “validating” to get the nod from his peers.

“When you are a small band like we are that has really created its own little niche from a lot of different genres, it’s validating to be playing music and to be putting it out there into the world,” he said, explaining that it was difficult to record an album during the pandemic, as it was difficult to gauge feedback during the writing and recording process. “So, to receive an accolade like this, but for multiple aspects of the record, it’s validating. It gives you some inspiration.”

The past weekend’s win marks the third and fourth Juno awards for the band, as 2014’s “Dalmak” also won best instrumental album, while 2016’s “Mechanics of Dominion” took the top spot for album artwork.

Cawdron said the band has always made the conscious decision to package their albums as art pieces — 12” vinyl records packed full of art by illustrator Maciek Szczerbowski. The latest album also includes a cut-out on the front cover, so listeners can swap artwork to create their own covers.

“We make records the old way,” said Cawrdon, referring to theming an album around a vinyl record — two sides and a “foot-by-foot” package that can be filled with art. He said it’s an extension of the band member’s youth, as most grew up flipping through vinyl or CD booklets while listening to their favourite bands.

“Look at all this great stuff you can have in this big package to feast your eyes on as well as your ears,” said Cawdron. “Stuff to look at, stuff to ponder as you listen to the record.”

The award is even more meaningful to Esmerine co-founder Foon, as “Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More” was dedicated to her mother, who died of cancer last year.

“I am truly moved because this album is dedicated to my beautiful mama,” said Foon.

“We wrote and recorded this album during her heroic fight against cancer in 2022.”

Esmerine is now back to working on a new album, and In the meantime, fans can catch them playing some summer shows in Wakefield and beyond, with gigs at Musical Mondays and likely a performance above the La Pêche General Store in Lascelles.

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