Ian Tamblyn, Chris MacLean up for Canadian Folk Music Awards

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by Trevor Greenway on October 14, 2010

Ian Tamblyn

Ian Tamblyn

There’s got to be something in the water hereabouts, given that two of the five Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) nominees for Songwriter of the Year are Gatineau Hills residents.

The two are Chris MacLean of Wakefield and Ian Tamblyn of Chelsea, in the running for English songwriter, and both relish their squaring off against each other for the coveted title.

“It’s just nice to be in the company of the other great artists,” said Tamblyn, who was nominated for his album, “Gyre,” released last year.

Oct. 13 Front page

Oct. 13 Front page

Tamblyn said although it’s always a pleasant surprise to get nominated for such awards, it isn’t all that shocking that the Gatineau Hills are so well represented this year in the folk-music industry.

“It’s interesting that two of the nominees come from the Wakefield/Chelsea area. There must be something in the water,” said Tamblyn with a laugh. “It’s the ongoing story of the arts in this part of the country.”

Tamblyn was nominated for Artist of the Year in 2007 for his album, “Superior: Spirit and Light,” but he was trumped by Sarah Noni Metzner, who took the top prize with her album, “Daybreak Mourning.”

This year, Tamblyn is up against Amelia Curran, Justin Rutledge, Lennie Gallant and MacLean, whose album, “Feet Be Still,” was co-produced by Tamblyn.

“He is already a double-winner,” said MacLean, referring to Tamblyn’s talented writing, singing and producing music.

MacLean, too, thinks the Gatineau Hills just seem to breed good musicians and artists.

“We grow them good here,” she said with a laugh.

MacLean knows she’s in tough to top Tamblyn and Halifax-based Curran, whose album, “Hunter, Hunter,” has been receiving rave reviews since its release in 2009. But in her mind, MacLean is already a winner.

“For me, I don’t really like competition in music, because that is not what it’s about, but it’s there,” she said. “Regardless of if I win or not, this will really help my career.”

“Feet Be Still” is no stranger to recognition, as the title track won the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award from the Ontario Arts Council in 2008.

The album also boasts the track, “Sisters of Charity,” which won the 2008 Ontario Council of Folk Festivals Songs From the Heart competition for Best Historical Song.

The CFMA awards will be handed out Nov. 20 in Winnipeg.