The Borealis Music Prize and its 3 prizes — $1,000, a slot in the 2015 Halifax Pop Explosion, and a gig playing the closing night party of the 2015 ECMAs – who will it go to? Who would you have voted for?

The shortlist, as you know, has already been announced; below is who made the cut.

We’ll be announcing on the winner on the December issue’s cover.

But what gives these bands their edge, or makes them stand out? Here are some facts and traits, or things that just plain stand out to me, about the top 5 list.

Steve Maloney and the Wandering Kind 

  1. Steve Maloney just won MusicNL’s Rising Star of The Year award. (I have been watching Steve’s career unfold since I met him in a songwriting class a few years back, and awaited the day he made a name for himself.)
  2. Steve’s classical voice training (via MUN School of Music) gives him a depth and an edge over a lot of musicians.
  3. Steve is a multi-instrumentalist and can often be found behind a drum set for many bands in the city. Bonus: Steve’s real name is Stephan (and he just gave me permission to tell you all that).

“On the Other Hand” off Self-titled

Green & Gold 

  1. Green and Gold have definitely risen fast. Opening for Hey Rosetta! at their Christmas show last year is a definite sign of their popularity and respect they’ve garnered in the music scene.
  2. Steve Doyle on drums is one of the most distinct sounds in the city – before I even knew who was in this band I knew he was the drummer just by listening.
  3. Green & Gold just got back from their THIRD tour this year, and were featured on CBC’s Beetle Roadtrip Sessions with Grant Lawrence in the spring.

“Night Rainbows” off The Body Knows

Jon Hynes 

  1. Jon Hynes is likely best known as the vocalist for his former band, Trailer Camp.
  2. Jon no longer lives in the province, but did have a splendid album release here in September at Eastern Edge gallery.
  3. You can also catch Jon playing bass for The Wooden Sky (they’ll be at the Rockhouse November 29th!).

“Lay Down and Dry” off Watchful Creatures

Sherman Downey and The Ambiguous Case 

  1. Sherman’s popularity grew substantially after winning the CBC Searchlight competition; it propelled his popularity throughout not only the province but the country.
  2. Sherman and the guys reside in Corner Brook – unlike many St. John’s bands, Sherman has an active following all over the island.
  3. You may not recognize Sherman these days, he was best known for his long dreadlocks. Downey shed his dreads earlier this year and now sports a more refined look.

“The Right Idea” off The Sun in Your Eyes


Fog Lake 

  1. Aaron Powell seems to be a newcomer on the scene. Despite having multiple albums online before ever performing in the city, he came out of nowhere with a bounty of material to wow audiences.
  2. He has an international following that has gotten some of his YouTube videos more than 200,000 hits.
  3. For the depth, soul and refinement of his music, Aaron is just 21 years old.

“It Was Never Enough” off Virgo Indigo

I am genuinely excited to find out who wins, best of luck to all of you!

I predict flurries of fun winter gatherings to come, stay tuned, I’ll probably have the only forecast you’ll want to hear in the coming months!