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Three perspectives on Nova Scotia Music Week

click to enlarge Jennah Barry plays Governor's Pub Saturday at midnight
  • Jennah Barry plays Governor's Pub Saturday at midnight

"There's no better way to have a great show where you feel comfortable than going to Sydney fucking Cape Breton," says Jason Burns. "It's way less intimidating than London or New York or Los Angeles." Burns, drummer for Down with the Butterfly and Mardeen who now manages Rich Aucoin and Hey Rosetta, has attended many music conferences in his scene time, and his advice for artists headed to Nova Scotia Music Week in Sydney is simple: Show up all the way. "The networking component is important---if you just go and play your show and leave, don't go," he says. "Stay home. It's a participatory event."

Jennah Barry rode a wave of buzz into Liverpool last year only to be sandbagged by an indifferent sound person during her packed showcase. "I had the best time, I don't even remember the show!" she says. Well, not exactly. "I looked like an asshole! But then randomly Stephen Cooke gives me a great review of the show that I know is not what he heard." Barry is less industry-minded than many of her peers, who she'll join this weekend in Sydney regardless. "I wanna play because that's what you're supposed to do," she shrugs. "I'm not really good at schmoozing. For now I go and I play. I wanna meet other musicians."

"I really appreciated how thriving the homegrown culture was," says Maura Johnston, former editor of the Village Voice, current editor of Maura Magazine and journalism fellow at Boston College. She was a guest last year and lists Cousins, Jenn Grant and Jon Bryant as standouts. "New York has musical culture but it's very outwardly focused---'Oh we're in New York because we wanna become the next Yeah Yeah Yeahs or we wanna become the next Strokes.' That ambition can turn really rancid really fast---everyone's sort of climbing over each other to get to the major label's office. And I really appreciated just how unique the music culture was."


Nova Scotia Music Week
Sydney
Thursday, November 7-Sunday, November 10
nsmw.ca

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