SYDNEY, N.S. - On his fourth trip to collect an East Coast Music Award on Sunday, Joel Plaskett decided to forego the typical acceptance speech and instead offer up a poem to the crowd.
Flanked by his bandmates from The Emergency, Plaskett rhymed off an amusing ode to Cape Breton, drawing laughs from music lovers who had already seen the lanky pop-rocker walk away with more of the treble clef-shaped awards than anyone else on the night in Sydney, N.S.
"Half an hour before I got here, I thought I might write a poem if it got into winning multiple awards, I might try to do something different," a laughing Plaskett told reporters shortly after winning entertainer of the year.
"So, I wrote it as I was walking over here in my head and scribbled it onto a piece of paper."
Released last March, Plaskett's album "Three" was a charm for the perennial ECMA nominee during the awards gala at Centre 200.
In all, the singer-songwriter from the Halifax suburb of Dartmouth snagged six music awards: entertainer of the year; male solo recording; recording of the year; songwriter of the year; pop recording of the year; and single of the year for the song "Through and Through and Through" from his aptly named three-disc album.
Plaskett, who also won producer of the year during an industry awards brunch on Friday, said he was humbled by his multiple wins.
"I feel kind of sheepish, but I also feel lucky to be acknowledged for the work and the time that I've put in," said Plaskett, clutching the small, shiny award. "If we could carve this up into five pieces and share it, that would be my idea of a good time."
Plaskett headed into the awards ceremony at the head of the pack with eight nominations, including two in the category of single of the year. His only loss of the night was in the video of the year category, which was won by Cape Breton-based cluster-rock ensemble The Tom Fun Orchestra.
Halifax's In-Flight Safety landed alternative recording of the year early in the awards show for their album "We are an Empire, My Dear."
Despite being nominated for six awards, the group's lead singer told reporters the first win came as a surprise.
"The fact that we won one is kind of shocking because we figured Plaskett would win every one. He wasn't in this category, so we had a chance," joked John Mullane.
"We've been working really hard, and this is a proud moment for us in a year that's been very busy."
In-Flight Safety, which is about to kick off a cross-country tour, also accepted group recording of the year.
The gala awards ceremony capped four days of gigs showcasing the region's musical talent.
In all, 24 awards were up for grabs at the gala, which were streamed online.
Moncton-based loud quartet The Motorleague walked away with the ECMA's first-ever fan's choice video of the year and loud recording of the year - a genre the group said has been steadily growing.
Prince Edward Island chanteuse Catherine MacLellan was the only other multiple award winner, who took home both female solo recording of the year and folk recording of the year. Like other winners from the night, she reflected on her talented peers, a number of whom were nominated in the same category.
"We have such a great atmosphere and community of people here that are all supporting each other," she said. "I won, but it's really about the community."
The awards gala, punctuated by a number of diverse performances including fiddling and aboriginal drumming, also recognized Cape Breton's Rankin Family with a special achievement award.
"We're proud of where we come from," Heather Rankin later told reporters. "We love Cape Breton."
Grammy winner Gordie Sampson performed as part of a tribute for the late Scotty Turner, a record producer, musician, songwriter and publisher from Sydney, who was honoured with a lifetime achievement award.