Rock poet and Weakerthans front man John K. Samson is up for one of Canada's most prestigious songwriting honours, the ECHO Songwriting Prize. Samson's song "When I Write My Master's Thesis", off his debut solo effort Provincial, is one of five nominated English songs. Other nominees include Dan Mangan, Japandroids, Sloan, and Kathleen Edwards.
Run by SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada), the annual competition recognizes the best in new independent Canadian music and comes with a $5000 cash prize. Two separate panels of industry experts whittle the finalists down to the top five in English and French. The winner, which will be announced on October 19, is decided by public vote. Voting runs September 10 through October 10. Fans can vote once a day.
Samson, who is currently on tour in Ontario, has been busy since releasing Provincial in January on Anti-/Epitaph. The album was long listed for the Polaris Music Prize earlier this year, popped up on numerous critics' best-of lists---including American tastemaker Paste Magazine, and is up for Independent Album of the Year at the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards.
Manitoba artists are no strangers to ECHO accolades. The inaugural ECHO prize went to political punk outfit Propagandhi's song "A Speculative Fiction"; Juno-winning roots quartet Nathan's song “Scarecrow” was nominated the following year; The Weakerthans took the prize in 2008 for "Night Windows"; and former Manitoban Geneviève Toupin was up for the French prize in 2010 for her song "Quelque part".