There’s a new king of music in town: Juno Award-winning trombonist and composer Andrew Jackson took home Musician of the Year honours at this year’s Music Nova Scotia Awards, fresh off a year in which the Halifax artist assisted on Terra Spencer and Ben Caplan’s terrific Old News and David Myles’s It’s Only a Little Loneliness, while also directing the Halifax Jazz Festival and continuing to host The Outer Edge on CKDU 88.1 FM. Jackson led all Nova Scotia Music Award-winners this year, with three awards (and a piece of four, counting Old News). In addition to claiming the weekend’s biggest honour, his joint record with guitarist Sam Wilson (New Doors) won Jazz Recording of the Year, and he was also chosen as 2023’s Media Arts Award-winner.
Jackson wasn’t the only big winner: Mabou multi-instrumentalist Rankin MacInnis was named Entertainer of the Year. The frontman of Rankin MacInnis & The Broken Reeds claimed two awards, along with reggae powerhouse Jah’Mila. (As well as Entertainer of the Year, he also earned a Live Sector Award for his Winter Warmers concert series at the Marquee, while Jah’Mila took home honours for African Nova Scotian Artist of the Year and New Artist Recording of the Year).
Speaking by phone with The Coast, MacInnis called the ceremonies in Yarmouth a “joyous weekend,” filled with “a few good nights of great music and great laughter, and impromptu jams that led into the wee hours.” He’s gearing up for another season of Winter Warmers concerts, along with a debut album his band plans to release in 2024.
“It’s been a goal of mine for forever,” he says. “This is a six, seven-year dream, in a way. But we’re finally at a place where the things that were taking the focus away from the album—the building of [annual Mabou festival] Blueberry Jam and Rankin’s Winter Warmers—are both at a place now where the job is more to maintain the engine, make sure the light doesn’t come on.” The band, he says, has a “bunch of tunes” and plans to record through November and December.
See the full list of 2023 Nova Scotia Music Award-winners below:
African Nova Scotian Artist of the Year: Jah'Mila
Americana/Bluegrass Recording: The Bombadils - Dear Friend
Blues Recording of the Year: Jon Hines - A Pale Blue Dot
Classical Recording of the Year: India Gailey - to you through
Country Recording of the Year: Elyse Aeryn - Joy State of Mind
DJ of the Year: Kayo
Electronic Artist of the Year: Rich Aucoin
Entertainer of the Year: Rankin MacInnis
Folk/Roots Recording of the Year: Terra Spencer & Ben Caplan - Old News
Hip Hop/Rap Recording of the Year: Classified - Retrospected
Indigenous Artist of the Year: DeeDee Austin
Jazz Recording of the Year: Jackson\Wilson Duo - New Doors
Loud Recording of the Year: Kilmore - From The Inside
Music Video of the Year: Nicole Ariana - Shameless (Directed by Griffin O'Toole)
Musician of the Year: Andrew Jackson
New Artist Recording of the Year: Jah'Mila - Roots Girl
Pop Recording of the Year: Good Dear Good - Arrival
Prix de l’Acadie: Peanut Butter Sunday
R&B/Soul Recording of the Year: Nicole Ariana - Crybaby
Rock Recording of the Year: Steel Cut Oats - At The Eleventh Hour
SOCAN Songwriter of the Year: Adam Baldwin
Artistic Development Award: Micah Smith
Emerging Industry Professional of the Year: Nik MacDonald
Live Sector Award: Rankin's Winter Warmers
Media Arts Award: Andrew Jackson
Recording Sector Award: Erin Costelo
Sound, Tech and Production Award: John Mullane (Future Dad)
Volunteer of the Year: Phil Demille**Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Rankin MacInnis and Jah’Mila led all award-winners. The Coast regrets the error.**