Bill Elliott has been making music for as long as he can remember.
He’s gone many places and experienced many things in the music world, but this year marks a first for him; he’s been nominated for an East Coast Music Award (ECMA) for jazz recording of the year.
“In 2004 I was nominated, as part of The Elliott Family, for an instrumental award but I’ve never been nominated by myself before so it’s pretty exciting,” said the Bass River resident, who is also a truck driver.
“We put the new album out in June and decided to send it on, and the next thing you know they’re calling me.”
Elliott started out playing the fiddle, and now also plays guitar, banjo, mandolin and bass. His music crosses a variety of genres including jazz, bluegrass, country, swing, old time, folk and Celtic.
His skills on guitar earned him the distinction of being named the first recipient of the “Canadian Certified Guitar Player, CCGP,” which was conferred in 2015.
“There’s always been music in the house, and there still is,” he said. “I’ve been on stage since I was young, so I can’t remember having stage fright.
“I still play with my family at times, and with JP Cormier, who’s turned into kind of a family member, too. I’ve been to the Shetland Islands with JP, for a major music festival.”
Elliott has performed across North America and opened shows for Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.
“This recognition is long overdue, really long overdue,” said JP Cormier. “Bill Elliott is one of the best musicians that ever came out of Canada. Period.
“Even holding down another job, he’s still managed to do more than most musicians would dream of doing. He’s one of my heroes.
“He still has a lot of years left when he can play at his best, and I hope he keeps going.”
Elliott will be performing some of the tunes from his new album during a showcase at the ECMAs.
“It never entered my head to stop playing music,” he said. “I like the really good feeling. It gives you a different kind of twist on things, and kind of relaxes you.”
This year’s awards festival is in Charlottetown May 1-5.