Hornell, Curran take home top prizes from Music NL
Two musical acts with connections to central Newfoundland won big at the Music NL awards – an honour becoming more visible to fans and industry across the country – in Rocky Harbour Oct. 24
© File photo
Matthew Hornell and the Diamond Minds’ last appearance in Grand Falls-Windsor was at the Exploits Valley Salmon Festival this summer. In this scene, Matthew Hornell, left, is with bandmate Paddy Byrne. The band picked up four awards at the annual Music Newfoundland and Labrador awards ceremony this past weekend.
Matthew Hornell and the Diamond Minds and Amelia Curran both took home four awards, with the first winning in the pop rock, rising star, group of the year and entertainer of the year categories.
Ms. Curran was named best folk roots artist and female artist of the year. She won the SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers) songwriter's award for “The Mistress” and album of the year for Hunter Hunter.
While Ms. Curran was in Rocky Harbour to accept her awards, Mr. Hornell and the other members of the Diamond Minds were not.
It wasn’t because they were snubbing the ceremonies: the hard-working band had started a three-month cross-Canada tour. When the Advertiser talked to Mr. Hornell this week, the group was in Thunder Bay where they played at the Apollo on Oct. 23.
“The tour is awesome and we’re enjoying every moment,” said the Buchans native. “But it was pretty wild about the awards. We were nominated for five, and we got four. I can’t get over it.”
The band – touring in their own van – was en route to Thunder Bay when the call, or text, came in that Matthew Hornell and the Diamond Minds had snagged the Music NL awards.
“We almost had to pull over because we didn’t think we had a chance of getting any award,” said Mr. Hornell. “But we did pretty good.”
In addition to Mr. Hornell on vocals, guitar and harmonia, the band includes bass guitarist Paddy Byrne, Jonathan Bungay, mandolin and lead guitar and Joshua Bourden, percussion.
The band was nominated on the strength of their self-titled debut album, so far the only one they’ve produced. However, they plan to write and record more after the tour is finished and members have some time to relax and recharge.
In the meantime, Mr. Hornell and other band members are the first to admit the life of musicians trying to make a go of it in financial terms isn’t easy in the beginning.
But the music is what matters, and judging by a self-financed tour across Canada which returns home in December. Matthew Hornell and the Diamond Minds can’t be accused of being lazy to watch the money and awards roll in.
“We’re keeping steady, though we’re still not making any money,” explained Mr. Hornell. “We’re in a van that we bought ourselves, and we’re on a tour that we booked ourselves. And we had the help of so many people who’ve done it themselves, and friends. It’s dangerous to say we booked a tour ourselves because of all the help you received.
“We wanted to be there so bad, but it would have cost us so much money to cancel part of the tour. We would have loved to be there.”
While the band is heading all the way out to play in venues in British Columbia, the group will eventually return home: Dec. 15 and 16 in Grand Falls-Windsor and Dec. 17 at the Rock House in St. John’s.
For more information on the band, Matthew Hornell and the Diamond Minds are also part of the social networking scene. They can be found on MySpace and Facebook.