PEI Juno Winners Find Success Overseas


By Keith Sharp

When Prince Edward Island’s East Pointers were declared winners of the 2017 Juno Award for Top Traditional Roots Album. `Secret Victory’, they were not in attendance at Ottawa’s Shaw Centre to receive their award in person. The trio of Tim and cousin Koady Chaisson and Jake Charron were at that moment in Woodfordia Australia.

So who exactly are the East Pointers and what were they doing in Woodfordia Australia?

Phoning in en route to a gig in Petosky Michigan, band fiddle player/vocalist Tim Chaisson informed that literally, from the bands on set, they have been traveling the world with tours of Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S already in the books.

Now promoting a second album, “What We Left Behind”, Chaisson, noted “We had an opportunity to go to Australia right off the bat, we thought that would be fun, let’s do it. “When we got over there, we found that our traditional roots music was well accepted, the people there could identify with what we were playing.”

Their Australian success set up a further British tour which has also provided admission to U.S dates, to such a point that Chaisson was concerned they would be accused of ignoring Canada. “That was a concern when we got back from Australia and the U.K but fortunately our recent Canadian dates have gone well and our awareness in this market is growing.”The East Pointers - What We Leave Behind - album cover low res

The trio had known each other from previous bands and bonded together over kitchen parties where their music roots found a common goal. Chaisson admits that Prince Edward Island isn’t exactly a hotbed for contemporary music (Haywire was the only example he could think of) but traditional music has strong roots in the province and Chaisson family’s folk music roots go back six generations.

“Yes we have the Cavendish Music Festival but we also have a lot of smaller events and we have other up and coming folk bands like 10 Strings and Goat Skin who were both also nominated for the Juno award that the East Pointers won”.

According to Chaisson, winning last year’s Juno Award for Best Traditional Roots Album provided confirmation of the band’s musical authenticity. “It provided instant recognition for us within the music community, it had always been a dream of ours to win a Juno.”

Chaisson credits Maritime singer/songwriter icon Gordie Sampson for taking the trio under his wing and producing both albums. “Gordie is an icon in the Maritimes and for him to take interest in us gave us instant credibility. The experience he provided in both the production and song writing was invaluable.”

By Chaisson’s own admission, their debut release was built around his fiddle, Charron’s guitar and his cousin Koady’s banjo but with “What We Left Behind”, the band have added additional instrumentation.

“Yes you could say we travel light,” Chaisson jokes.” But we’ve always tried to keep our music simple and basic.”

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