TheReviewsAreIn

Laughs & Secret Handshakes in Toronto: Leaving Thomas Interview

While Leaving Thomas were on their recent trip to Toronto we had a chance to catch up for a little pre-show interview session… and we’d like to share that with you – because we love you like that.

Big thanks to Annika and Bryton for meeting up with Natali and Trish – we can’t wait to see these 2 again soon.

Check out our notes and more photos from the Drake Underground showcase HERE!

Here we go…

Natali: Hi, so we actually talked to you back in Christmas…

Annika: Oh this is the Reviews are IN! You guys have been great for us, you genuinely support us and we absolutely appreciate it thank you so much.

Trish: Thank you.

N: Yeah so when we talked to you last we were waiting kind of girl to be on the radio. Now that it’s out there, how are you feeling?

A: I think we’re still waiting for the high to come down. You know December 25th it was released to radio, we started hearing about ads in January, iTunes downloads, and now with all this promotional stuff that we’re doing it still feels like it was released yesterday. I think we’re still trying to enjoy every minute of it because it’s been such a milestone for us. I mean, I’ve been a pro musician now for 10 years and to finally hear something we’ve written on the radio is such a, such an exciting thing.

Bryton: Yeah it’s been really cool to see the response. Hear the response come back, the stories of people who share with us about the song and how it’s impacted their lives, it’s been really exciting to just ride the wave and hope it keeps going.

N: You mentioned you’ve been doing a lot of promotion, shows, radio. What’s it been like?

B: So much fun (laugh) every single day is like a new day. It’s exhausting but in the best way possible being able to wake up and do what you love every day. Regardless of if it’s radio, showcase, TV. Yeah we enjoy every minute of it, makes it really easy to wake up in the morning no matter how early it is because we’re really excited.

A: I think it’s really great to also meet people who have [downloaded] our songs to say thank you in person, you know to meet those faces behind the ads and all the DJs that have been so great. That’s also really exciting and they’re excited to meet you. To have that personal connection really makes an impact…

N: So among all this promotion, you’ve been together the entire time – are you getting on each other’s nerves?

[BOTH LAUGH LOUDLY]

A: How can you say that? We’re two peas in a pod here!… I feel like you have to be best friends to do this together, I feel like it would be very difficult to be in a relationship with someone or someone you don’t know very well. B and I have known each other since we’re kids. We’ve had long hours [together] where instead of getting annoyed with each other we just get giggly, and we just get silly. So we have a lot of fun together. And I think that it’s solidified, you know this is who I want to be in it for the long haul with. It’s such an integral part of it. It’s not just on stage, it’s not just writing, it’s… you have to hang out with each other so much.

B: Yeah, well I think with every friendship, you have just those snippets of being annoyed or you’re in an opposite mood, but it is very much, you know, we have a great relationship in the sense that we’re so understanding and transparent and we communicate, and it really makes everything so much easier when you have someone you get along with and understand.

A: It’s almost like siblings too.

B: Absolutely.

A: You know where you get annoyed and you get over it in 5 secs because you have to hang out with each other. You know we always say, (to B) you’re the younger brother I never had and I’m the older sister you never wanted (both laugh).

Really, you’re more responsible, you make me remember things

B: Well you force me to.

A: I forget everything. It’s his fault if I forget anything. But yeah, no we get along.

N: How do you get ready for a performance?

A: Funny that you ask. We don’t have a green room here so I was straightening my hair in a room I found using my iPhone as a mirror. It’s a lot of, for me, getting ready wherever is easiest and quickest. I feel like we’re both quite chill. I mean we get pumped up…

B: The thing is, it’s almost a moment of calm before the storm. We do like our handshake that we do before we go on (giggle…)

N: What does that look like?

A: We can show you!
(Check out this photo set!)

B: It’s really complex.

A: We were trying to kill some hours at one point…

N: Awesome.

A: Yes gets us in the right zone.

N: Speaking of fun, tell me about making the video (for Waiting Kind Of Girl). What was that like?

B: It was like early morning, Annika’s in makeup which she loves.

A: Have people make me look pretty instead of trying to do it myself!

B: It’s funny because that was our first music video that we’ve ever done, it was a lot of hurry up and wait, but it was the best because we’re just super anxious to do the next shot, and uh, I think the best part about the video, it was so funny, is that we shot it in double speed. So, if you watch the video, it’s very like, loose and flowy and in slow motion, but we had to sing to the track all day at twice the speed.

A: And it’s fast!

B: And it’s a decently fast song already, and so I got to the shoot, and I thought, ok yeah, have to sing it, but I forgot I have to play it in double speed, so I’m sitting there going (mimics twitching), like vibrating the entire time, trying to make it look like I’m playing in time to the song, but…

A: It was so much fun! Like for me, I grew up, you know, singing to a mirror with my hair brush, like every girl does. And, um, the director they were kind of telling us, you know you might get a little camera shy because there’s a lot of people in there, and of course I’m thinking “Are you kidding, I’ve been waiting for this my whole life! The more the merrier, like let’s do this!” So it was a real treat.

N: So Waiting Kind Of Girl was written about a real experience.

A: Yes!

N: Does the guy that the song was written about, know that it was written about him?

A: NO!

B: I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

A: Bryton knows! And um no one will ever know, other than Bryton, that’s that bond we can never separate because he knows my secrets!

B: I’m going to get blackmail.

A: The Leaving Thomas Mystery!

N: Tell me something funny or embarrassing that has happened to you on stage?

A: I plant my face on the mic all the time. It will probably happen tonight. And it’s a stationary mic, and I… no matter what, because I like to do these things where I go away and come back and, every time. Every Single Time.

B: I actually have a video where she’s walking up and smoking her head.

A: And he boomeranged it!

B: If you scroll through Instagram it’s there.

A: And we just embrace that.

T: We may have to include that.

A: Go for it! We can laugh at ourselves.

N: Speaking of, you mentioned Instagram, you guys are great with connecting with your fans through social media. How do you like that?

Both: We love it.

B: It is so cool to connect with everybody, and like I said, to hear their stories and also to really give our gratitude to radio and music directors, program directors, it’s really cool.

A: And also when they want to hang out with you. Because we’re happy that you think we’re fun, because we think you’re fun and cool. So many people will follow, and we’ll be like, this girl seems awesome I want to go out for coffee with her! You know, it’s awesome and it makes you feel like they … basically, it’s beyond the music. It’s us as people. We have loves and hobbies and things that makes us laugh, and so it’s nice to connect on something beyond the songs themselves.

N: So you signed with MDM. What was that day like?

B: It was crazy, it happened like really fast, but in like the best way. About more than two weeks after we had signed the agreement we had flown out to Toronto and met Jess Moskaluke, Chad Brownlee, Bobby Wills, and we’re hanging out with everyone and it’s crazy that we’re a part of them. It’s cool that we’re on that side of the table and we’re all lined up playing songs, and then Chad plays his song, it is just… crazy.

A: And we have so much respect for all the other artists on the roster and it’s so great to be part of it.

N: What does success look like for Leaving Thomas?

A: Well, it’s funny because Bryton and I both love making music, we both also love spending time with our families, we love being able to travel, to do the things we want to do, I don’t think we have a certain number of followers we have in mind or number of record sales, we think it’s a success to be making the music we created as a full-time job. That would be the dream, so if we’re getting closer to that, that’s amazing.

B: And just share our music with as many people we can… and just be personally fulfilled. And you know, just have fun. At the end of the day that’s why we’re here, because we had fun doing it…

A: Which led us to more opportunities.

– With the early success of Waiting Kind Of Girl, the support of MDM Recordings, and all the talent that they bring to the table, we’re sure there will be even more opportunities coming soon!

8 months ago Views

Strut Social House Invite Giveaway: London, ON Sept. 9-11, 2016!

Hey country music lovers, this one’s for you!!!

We’ll be in London, ON from September 8 to 11 for Canadian country music’s biggest weekend of the year – and we want to meet you. Hell, we don’t just want to meet you, we want to invite you to hang out at THE premium spot all weekend long.

Here’s the breakdown…

Strut-Logo-Social-GS-16HiResWin the chance to join in the spirit of all things country, cowboys and homestyle cookin’, during a three-day gathering with Canada’s top country music talent, media influencers and industry movers and shakers at Strut Entertainment’s Strut Social House presented by hmv Canada.

Hosted at London, ON’s hottest rooftop patio, the Lone Star Texas Grill, the invite only Strut Social House is a VIP mainstay where invited guests can drop by any time during the 3 days to refresh, relax and network during the jam-packed September 9 – 11 weekend of festivities. Each day CMT Canada’s Chevy Top 20 Countdown will be on site conducting artist interviews and on Friday September 9 AM980 / The Andrew Lawton Show will be live on location between 1pm – 3pm for a live remote broadcast.

Gibson guitars and Epiphone guitars will be on site showcasing their never before seen acoustic series and Mike Ford photography hosts a portrait studio for select nominees. Each day there will be contesting and giveaways and there will be an “Odds And Ends” table onsite where guests can purchase fantastic products and gifts at rock bottom prices with all proceeds going to MusiCounts.

For emerging Ontario country artists there will be a “demo drop box” where artists can drop their press kits and music to be delivered to the Country Music Association Of Ontario (CMAO) team for consideration for inclusion in their Artist of the Month program.

Guests can also enjoy mouthwatering southern-style food and beverages in a relaxed environment while networking and enjoying the daily program of activities.

So, if you’re coming to London, ON to check out the country music parties, showcases, concerts, carpet walks and awards – you can add the Strut Social House to your list of things to do – and your list of places to relax with a drink – if you win.

Use the form to earn up to 6 entries – and we’ll email you if you’re the winner.

Note: This is a 19+ event and the winner and guest must be of Ontario legal drinking age to claim the prize and attend the Strut Social House.

1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Jojo Mason

We’ve always loved Boots & Hearts for the way they book and push young, emerging country artists. It’s awesome to see, and you can see the progression in careers as the 5 years have passed.

This year one of those artists getting his chance to shine on the main stage was Jojo Mason… and boy did he shine!

The sun soaked Saturday afternoon crowd was half sitting and half standing when the set started, but by the time Jojo was finished that standing percentage was far higher than 50%.

Jojo Mason had the crowd into the set big time with his own recognizable singles, Red Dress, Good Kinda Love, and It’s All Good – and throwing in covers like Chicken Fried and Wagon Wheel endeared him to the assembled country music lovers as well.

One of the biggest highlights for Jojo (as he shared online) was the crowd chanting his name over and over again. It was awesome. Check it out and then keep scrolling to see our pics!

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1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Tim Hicks!

Y’all know Tim Hicks.

He’s the Southern Ontario country singer and family man responsible for bangers like Here Comes The Thunder, So Do I, and Hell Raisin’ Good Time… and his latest single, Stompin’ Ground!

Well, for the fourth time in five years, Hicks was back at Boots & Hearts where the fans always love him, sing with him, cheer for him, and generally just enjoy the hell out of the show. It’s no surprise really, Tim Hicks has become a crowd favourite through his extensive touring schedule, good nature with the fans, and the energy that he brings to the stage every single time we’ve seen him.

Oh, and Tim also made a special appearance on the SiriusXM fan stage with The Highway’s Buzz Brainard – nice little bonus action!

And we know we’ll see it again!

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1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: James Barker Band

One year ago the James Barker Band played on the Boots & Hearts main stage on their way to winning the SiriusXM Emerging Artist Showcase. This summer the boys were back on the main stage as part of a very big, very busy summer.

If you listen to Canadian country radio you’ve heard Lawn Chair Lazy by now. Hell, if you listen to Canadian country radio there’s a strong chance you know enough words to the song to sing along. And the proof to that came in the Sunday afternoon sun, when a very good early day crowd gladly sang back at the boys loud and proud and with all kinds of energy.

The band also played through some new music that the crowd danced and grooved to – and before long we’re sure they’ll be singing along to those ones too – we can’t wait to hear a full release!

Also, click her to check out the James Barker Band as August’s CMAO Artist of the Month!

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1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Madeline Merlo!

On Saturday afternoon at Boots & Hearts we saw the 2015 CCMA Rising Star, Madeline Merlo hit the stage to entertain country music fans in the sun… and it was worth the heat!

A nice afternoon crowd assembled to watch Madeline and her band perform on the main stage. Some sat in lawn chairs, some lay in the grass, and some were right up front to take in the music from the BC songstress.

As Madeline played through her set she did a great job of working with that crowd, having them engaged with the set and the songs. And the songs themselves were all on point. The band did a great job behind her as she rolled out tracks like Whatcha Wanna Do About It, Over And Over, Honey Jack, and Alive… and she threw in a little something extra with her mashup of The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back and ABC.

Note: We also stopped for a few minutes to catch Madeline on the SiriusXM fan stage on Saturday where we heard her strong voice belt out a stripped down version of Whatcha Wanna Do About It for some lucky fans right in front of her.

Keep an eye on Madeline Merlo, she’s going to be doing more big things. We’d bet on it!

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1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Raquel Cole

It was her first Boots & Hearts… but we’re willing to bet that 2016 won’t be the last time Raquel Cole takes the B&H stage.

Armed with her acoustic guitar, a trusty mandolin named Phoebe, and a kick box to keep the crowd on the beat, Raquel stood her ground on the Front Porch stage and showed everyone exactly what she’s made of.

For reference, those things she’s made of include a killer, strong voice, great work on both the guitar and mandolin and charisma that kept the Saturday afternoon in the mood for more music.

Raquel worked through original songs including, It’s For Real This Time, Torpedo and Imogene + covers of Kathleen Edwards’ Back To Me and Elle King’s Ex’s & Oh’s under the tent and proved that she belonged.

Look for her name on the Boots & Hearts schedule again in the future – and don’t be surprised if she brings the whole band with her then!

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1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Chase Bryant!

☑ Strong Voice

☑ Good On His guitar

☑ Handsome

☑ Huge Energy

☑ Great With The Crowd

☑ Excellent In Front Of A Camera

If you’re looking for someone who checks off all of the boxes, we’re going to highly recommend Chase Bryant. The Texas born country star was on the Front Porch stage on Day 2 of Boots & Hearts 2016, and we was one that some people are going to remember, and make sure they see again.

Note: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I would love to sit and listen to Chase Bryant sing Bryan White’s hits from the 90s.

From moment one, Bryant showed his energy for the Friday afternoon crowd, and worked with the band to make sure the assembled mass of country music fans were well entertained and into the show.

Tracks like Little Bit Of You and Take It On Back had the crowd all in… and will keep them coming back for more.

We promise!
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Chase Bryant BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016 Chase Bryant BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Emerson Drive!

Day 1 of Boots and Hearts may be the shortest, but it certainly wasn’t low on talent or excitement by any measure. With five acts on the bill we were jam packed from the 5 o’clock start right through to the 11 o’clock start of the late night dance party.

American Love: Jake Owen at Boots & Hearts 2016!

Old School: Tebey at Boots & Hearts 2016!

20 years in the country music business hasn’t slowed Emerson Drive down one single bit. These dudes know exactly what they’re doing on stage, and on Thursday night they put on an entertaining show packed with hits and energy and fun.

Songs like Let It Roll, Tilt A Whirl, That Kind Of Beautiful, She’s My Kind Of Crazy, Moments, Who We Are, and I Should Be Sleeping had toes tapping and hands clapping and fans singing along. It was a great time to enjoy the familiarity and entertainment value of a band that we all know and that has done big things in their career. And they were the perfect lead in to Jake Owen to headline the night.

We know we’ll see Emerson Drive again, but we’re not sure it will be soon enough!

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1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Meghan Patrick!

Day 1 of Boots and Hearts may be the shortest, but it certainly wasn’t low on talent or excitement by any measure. With five acts on the bill we were jam packed from the 5 o’clock start right through to the 11 o’clock start of the late night dance party.

American Love: Jake Owen at Boots & Hearts 2016!

Old School: Tebey at Boots & Hearts 2016!

As Meghan Patrick came to the stage for her set, more fans started coming in to party. And as she played her songs, they partied harder!

Thursday was a little bit of a throwback to Boots & Hearts 2013 when we saw Meghan front The Stone Sparrows at the Kick Off Party with Emerson Drive playing later in the night… but this time things were a little bigger. The fans in the crowd stomped and sang along to Grace And Grit and Bow Chicka Wow Wow thanks to radio play and the popularity of Meghan’s first album this spring. And the reaction to Long Way From Waylon, Be Country With Me, I Believe In Beer, and her cover of Jolene were all encouraging for the Canadian country music rising star.

A lot has happened in 3 years, and we can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

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1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Johnson Crook!

Day 1 of Boots and Hearts may be the shortest, but it certainly wasn’t low on talent or excitement by any measure. With five acts on the bill we were jam packed from the 5 o’clock start right through to the 11 o’clock start of the late night dance party.

American Love: Jake Owen at Boots & Hearts 2016!

Old School: Tebey at Boots & Hearts 2016!

It isn’t easy to play the 1st slot of a festival, but the Johnson Crook boys were ready for it. With energy to share, the band hit the stage and rattled off a great set that got the crowd clapping and singing and dancing under that front porch stage set.

It was especially cool to see the crowd connecting with the band’s first single, Minnedosa – and we were pumped to hear that Johnson Crook’s self-titled debut album will be released this fall.

Good job boys – we’ll be seeing you again soon!

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1 year ago Views
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