Boots & Bourbon Saloon: Toronto’s CCMA Nominated Country Club

Boots and Bourbon Saloon BannerWe all know that summer in Toronto means construction. And this summer perhaps no neighbourhood has been hit harder by torn up streets than Queen Street East near Broadview. Unfortunately the construction can’t be sped up or stopped, and that means that businesses and residents have to keep doing their best to keep their lives going and thriving as much as possible.

One of these local businesses is one of my favourite new spots in the city… Boots & Bourbon Saloon opened in 2013 as one of two new country bars in Toronto and has been doing great business since day 1. They’ve got a great menu that includes Spicy Deep Fried Pickles, Taco Salad, Beer Can Chicken and lots more. They have a drink menu that makes me happy with Grandma’s Texas Lemonade, Hillbilly Champagne, AND Molson Stock Ale on tap. And the TVs have always had sports on when I walk in the door.

And because it’s a country bar you know that there’s line dancing, live music and all kinds of country themed contests and giveaways on the schedule. In fact, it was Boots & Bourbon who supplied the tickets to Little Big Town and Keith Urban at the ACC earlier this year – that was an awesome contest to win. They have also given away tickets to Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Tim Hicks and Boots & Hearts in recent weeks – prizes that country music fans in Toronto have been very happy to win… trust me.

Canadian Country Music Association LogoAs a reward for all of their hard work and contribution to the country music community in Toronto, and Canada as a whole, Boots & Bourbon has been nominated as Country Club of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association in 2014!

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know there was a Country Club of the Year category until I was looking at the list of nominees for this year’s awards… but it was a really cool surprise to see Boots & Bourbon on the list with Cook County Saloon (Edmonton), Knoxville’s Tavern (Edmonton), Cowboys (Calgary), and Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall (Calgary). The fact that B&B is the only club outside of Alberta to make the list is an extra feather in their cap. Think about it, this is a big country – and outside of 2 cities in Alberta, Toronto has the best country bar in Canada. And you can go check it out any night of the week.

Right now all of the businesses on Queen East need your support while the construction continues. I know it’s not super convenient to get there by either TTC or car, but you can walk through Queen St. E and check out the local shops and food and drinks and dancing and fun.

So, on a nice day why not head east, take some time and a few dollars, and enjoy the area. I promise it’s not that crowded most of the time right now, but it’s totally worth the trip and dealing with the street closure. And if you love great food, drinks or country music, CCMA nominated Boots & Bourbon Saloon is definitely worth checking out.

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Boots & Hearts 2014 Profile: The Sponsors

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The Boots & Hearts Music Festival is big. And I’m not talking about the acts that will be taking the stage from Thursday to Sunday… I’m talking about the food and drink and merchandise and community and corporate and media partners that come together at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park to make sure that the thousands of country music fans have a great time all over the grounds, all weekend long.

There are big partners like Chevorlet and Harley Davidson, who will be there in full force… and if I were going to make a guess, I’d say that there will be some bikes and pick-up trucks there on display.

Coke and McDonald’s will be there as well… Hopefully with Vitamin Water giveaways from Coke like 2012 & 2013 and a McCafe truck each morning from McDonald’s like last year.

And there are other great partners too… like HMV who still sells a bunch of country CDs and Magnum who make some pretty excellent ice cream bars and Rockstar Energy Drinks who will no doubt find tired campers to test their product and the Toronto Argos who I love and Lug who make great tent full of gear and a stage with live music all weekend.

But… above the rest there are partners who I am happiest to see on the list this year.

Palm Bay
Palm Bay Boots & Hearts 2014If you’ve never had a Palm Bay, you’re missing out. Honestly. There are a bunch of flavours to choose from. They make a great, refreshing drink on a hot summer day. Oh, and they’re boozey – so you can catch a buzz while you enjoy a few of them with your friends. If you’re not a beer drinker, or you just need to switch things up at Boots & Hearts 2014, a Palm Bay is a good choice.

Durango Boots & Hearts 2014Durango has been at Boots & Hearts since day 1 and I couldn’t be happier to see them back again this year. Not only do they make quality cowboy boots, but they bring a MECHANICAL BULL with them to the festival. That’s right, there’s a mechanical bull in a tent that people line up to ride. And there’s a leaderboard to keep track of best times because they give away prizes. If you’re in Bowmanville and want an extra bit of fun, ride that Durango bull. I’ve done it – you should too!

Somersby Boots & Hearts 2014This has been a cider summer for me so far. And I’m totally okay with that. So having Somersby at the festival is a great bonus for me. And if you’re not a fan of traditional apple cider, I would highly recommend trying a Somersby Blackberry while you stand in the sun and watch your favourite artists on stage.

Country 105/ KX96
Country 105 & KX96 logosI great up listening to Peterborough’s Country 105, I’ve been to their video dance parties and I learned to sing along to all the hits while listening to the Crook & Chase countdown every weekend. And now my country station is KX96 out of Durham. If I can tune it in while I’m in a car with friends, I will. If I need to listen to some country – that’s my go to. Having them both represented at Boots & Hearts makes it feel like home to me. And I like it when things feel like home.

Check out all of the Boots & Hearts 2014 partners and stay tuned for more posts leading up to and during the festival.

Work Hard. Play Harder. Be Awesome.

Boots & Hearts 2014 Experience Partners
Boots & Hearts 2014 Media Partners

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Country Music Hits – Top 5s (Part 1)

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I love country music. This a secret to no one.

I also love lists. And so here I am with a set of Top 5s from some of my favourite artists in country music.

Part 1 of the lists include 4 acts from 2014′s Boots & Hearts Music Festival… plus the 2013 headliner.

Toby Keith Boots & Hearts 2014Toby Keith
I’m not the world’s biggest Toby Keith fan. In fact, I really don’t like songs like Who’s Your Daddy and How Do You Like Me Now. But I understand why he’s a superstar in the genre and I’ve seen him put on a killer live show in the past. And, his catalogue isn’t all bad when I take a look at it… here are my top 5 Toby Keith tracks.
☆ Should Have Been A Cowboy
☆ You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This
☆ God Love Her
☆ Get Drunk And Be Somebody
☆ Whiskey Girl

Paul Brandt Boots & Hearts 2014Paul Brandt
Paul Brandt is a bona fide Canadian Country Music star and his career is one that artists like Dallas Smith and Dean Brody strive to replicate. I’ve been listening to Brandt’s music for years and caught his set 2 years ago at Boots & Hearts. I can’t wait to see what he does with his set this year and I sincerely hope that he plays these 5 hits.
☆ When You Call My Name
☆ Small Towns Big Dreams
☆ Alberta Bound
☆ I Meant To Do That
☆ My Heart Has A History

Luke Bryan Boots & Hearts 2014Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan may be relatively new to country music compared to artists like Keith, Brandt, Tim McGraw and others, but that hasn’t stopped him from planting himself firmly at the top of genre right now with all kinds of hits and a massive fan base. I am quite looking forward to Bryan’s set Saturday night at Boots & Hearts. And if he plays these 5 songs, I’ll be a very happy boy.
☆ Crash My Party
☆ Do I
☆ Drunk On You
☆ Someone Else Calling You Baby
☆ Play It Again

Blake Shelton Boots & Hearts 2014Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton has been at this whole country music thing for quite some time now. But it only recently with a few big hits and his time on TV as a coach on The Voice has become a true superstar. Shelton will headline Boots & Hearts with the Sunday night set and I have 0 doubt that he will send us all home happy and satisfied. If I had to place bets I’d say we’ll hear at least 4 of these 5 hits from Mr. Shelton.
☆ Playboys Of The Southwestern World
☆ Honey Bee
☆ Austin
☆ Mine Would Be You
☆ Doin’ What She Likes

Miranda Lambert Boots & Hearts 2013Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert is a legitimate country star on her own, and as the wife of Blake Shelton she makes up 1 half of the biggest couple in country. Ever since she burst on to the scene people have been taking notice and she is showing no signs of slowing down. Last year Miranda played the Sunday night set at Boots & Hearts and if/when I have the chance to see her again, I definitely will. These are my 5 favourite Miranda Lambert hits.
☆ Me And Charlie Talking
☆ Over You
☆ Heart Like Mine
☆ More Like Her
☆ Famous In A Small Town

Stay tuned for parts 2, 3 and maybe more PLUS more news, reviews and exclusives as we get closer to the 2014 Boots & Hearts Music Festival.

Work Hard. Play Harder. Be Awesome.

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