Music

Smokin’: Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon, Toronto

Drew Gregory, the 2015 Alberta Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year, came to Toronto to make his first appearance at Boots & Bourbon while on a quick trip to southern Ontario – and he made the most of it.

With a set that lasted just over an hour, and a crowd made up of country music fans and industry professionals, Gregory hit the stage with a full band and rolled through a collection of his own songs and popular covers. The full sound, and a couple little surprises, made for a good time on a Thursday night in the city, and we’re sure it won’t be the last time we see Drew on the Toronto stage.

Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto

The Alberta boy showed off tracks including Like A Country Boy Can, Truck.Beer.Girl., All About It, and I Was There, giving everyone a taste of the music he’s been making over the last few years and three albums – Country Hurricane, The Way I Was Raised, and I Was There.

Note:During his set, Drew played a song that he told us he wrote with two artists and people that we know and like very much. Know Good’s Comin’ was a co-write with Brad Stella and Trinity Bradshaw, and if we have our way, we’ll hear it again.

One of the most pleasant and unexpected surprises of the evening came during All About It when Drew pulled out a washboard and became only the second man we’ve seen play the old standard in the venue. It also served a little notice to David Roberts of The Washboard Union that he’s in the game too.

Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto

During his time on stage, Drew played a series of covers and medleys that included Jack & Diane, Johnny B. Goode, Honey I’m Good, Dead Or Alive, Shine, Thinkin’ Out Loud, and more. But the highlight of the covers was certainly the inclusion of The Tragically Hip’s Wheat Kings. In a week where a nation wept for Gord Downie, it felt right to hear them represented.

After seeing Drew Gregory live on stage it’s clear to see that his ACMA Male Artist of the Year win wasn’t a mistake. He’s got a stage presence that fits his sound. He’s got songs that are ready for sing alongs… and tapping your toes or having a little dance. And we know that he’s got the passion and drive for what he does.

Be ready to hear and see more of Drew Gregory on country radio, and on stages across Canada. We know he’s looking forward to seeing you!

Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto

 

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Side Effects Tour: Dallas Smith, The Cadillac Three and Friends Rock Oshawa

Friday nights are perfect for live music. So when Dallas Smith, The Cadillac Three, and Lauren Alaina rolled into Oshawa to play at the Tribute Communities Centre, we knew we were set up for a good time.

The Side Effects Tour was already in full flight before it got to town, with shows from Halifax to southern Ontario, so there was no surprise that things were firing on all cylinders in Oshawa. From Lauren Alaina kicking things off, to Dallas blowing the roof off the joint, this was the show fans were expecting – and they loved it.

Dallas Smith - Side Effects Tour - Oshawa

The crowd filed in early, and those who took their seats were rewarded with the opening set from American Idol alum, Lauren Alaina. The 22 year old Georgia native wasted no time getting into her groove. Alaina showed off the power in her voice and paired it well with the rock and roll vibe that her band pumped out for the crowd.

With just a half dozen songs in her set to share with the Canadian country fans, Lauren made the most of things. Between tracks she was charming as hell, funny, and sweet as she told stories, cracked wise, and looked like she was truly enjoying the opportunity.

The two highlights of the set were Lauren’s performance of her #1 hit (with Kane Brown), What Ifs – and her crowd work during Next Boyfriend.

Lauren Alaina - Side Effects Tour - Oshawa

Before she played her 2015 top 40 single, Alaina invited a dude named Ryan up on stage to dance with her, and neither performer was a disappointment. Ryan grooved along with Lauren Alaina as she sang – and when she directed him through the basics of the Whip & Nae Nae – he gave it everything he had. And after a brief giggle fit from the singer (and the crowd), there was a hug and a smile and the set wrapped with Lauren Alaina’s first #1 single, Road Less Travelled.

She’s young, talented, and knows how to perform – we know it’s no secret – but Lauren Alaina’s got it, and we’re sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future.

Lauren Alaina Setlist, Oshawa 2017

🍑 Georgia Peaches
🍑 Barefoot and Buckwild
🍑 What Ifs
🍑 Next Boyfriend
🍑 Doin’ Fine
🍑 Road Less Travelled

Lauren Alaina - Side Effects Tour - Oshawa

Next on the stage, all the way from Nashville, Tennessee (and Kelby’s birthday party in Kingston the night before), The Cadillac Three took over and let it fly.

These boys, with all of the hair, attitude and energy that you could ever hope for, pumped out a full sound that filled the arena and turned Friday night into a full-fledged party. Yes, they play country music. And yes, there’s a slide guitar up there on the stage. But man, The Cadillac Three are as rock and roll as most of the bands you’re going to hear on rock radio – and country fans are totally okay with that!

The Cadillac Three - Side Effects Tour - Oshawa

The band opened their set with Dang If We Didn’t from their brand new album, Legacy, and didn’t let up until their time was done. In their set we heard Jaren, Kelby, and Neil roll through seven songs that had fans thrusting their beers into the air, singing along at the tops of their lungs, and singing/dancing/grooving along track by track.

Note: As The Cadillac Three ripped up the stage in their set and brought forth their brand of southern rockin’ country music, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would sound like if these boys plugged in and played a little Foo Fighters. Maybe All My Life or The Pretender… I’m just going to hold out hope for that in the future.

If you’ve seen The Cadillac Three play live, you know that they are balls to the wall and pedal to the floor. If you haven’t seen them live, get on it – it’s a show you don’t wanna miss.

The boys brought it when they played Oshawa on Friday night, and if you wonder at all about their passion and appreciation for what they get to do for a living, here’s a quote from Jaren to ease your mind…

“Cheers, beers & hallelujah, we get to do this shit for a livin’!”

The Cadillac Three Setlist, Oshawa 2017

 Dang If We Didn’t
⚡ Slide
⚡ Tennessee Mojo
⚡ American Slang
⚡ Party Like You
⚡ White Lightning
⚡ The South

The Cadillac Three - Side Effects Tour - OshawaThe Cadillac Three - Side Effects Tour - Oshawa

The main event of the evening, the man with the #1 hits, one of Canada’s biggest stars in country music, Dallas Smith was next and last to hit the stage in Oshawa on Friday night. And the fans were ready for him.

With a stage full of sound, Dallas and his band (three guitars to go along with bass and drums) were ready too. And from the moment they kicked things off with the tour’s title track, Side Effects, it was impossible to deny the energy and excitement in the room.

A few things became very clear as Dallas Smith’s set played out in Oshawa…

1) He works hard for the crowd – and they love him for it. Whether it’s taking selfies with phones that are handed to him from the front rows, or bouncing from one side of the stage to the other to make sure that everyone feels involved, he’s on it. He owns the room.

2) The only reason Dallas Smith isn’t fronting one of the most successful rock and roll bands in Canada is because he chose country. In the middle of the set Dallas played Wasting My Time and Count On Me from the Default library, as well as Something Just Like This from The Chainsmokers/Coldplay and the crowd was all over it. But, as Dallas told the Oshawa crowd before his encore, he chose country because that’s what felt right, that’s who he is as an artist, and the country music community is lucky to have him.

3) His voice – damn! Before the show we had a chance to catch up with Andrew Hyatt, and when Dallas came up in our conversation Andrew correctly pointed out that “he’s got a voice that never quits.”, we’re not sure we could say it any more effectively than that.

4) He’s a big softie. For the second time we saw an on-stage proposal at a Dallas Smith show, and it was just as sweet this time as the last. Dallas helped a super happy and in love dude propose to his (now) fiancée with a sweet surprise that included the man’s son – and then, after the smiles and hugs and her Yes, Dallas stepped to the side and sang Autograph while the happy couple took centre stage and had a dance.

Dallas Smith - Side Effects Tour - Oshawa

During the set Dallas, while he was entertaining the hell out of Oshawa, Dallas took the chance to invite a couple friends up on stage with him. First we got to see Andrew Hyatt jump out to join Dallas Smith and the band for a duet performance of his first top 10 hit, On Me. We also need to note the cheer Hyatt got when he asked who was hitting The Corral, the local country bar, to party Friday night. From the sound of it, the bar had a heap of customers on the way after the show.

The second emerging artist called out was Shawn Austin, who has a top 30 hit of his own with Paradise Found, and came out to sing a duet version of A Girl Like You. Smith’s fans did a great job supporting both of these young dudes, and both of them sounded great with the Canadian star who invited them to share the stage.

Canadian country music is in great shape these days. There’s a ton of talent. And with dudes like Dallas Smith leading the way on radio and on stage, things are only going to look brighter. And, if Dallas can continue to do what he’s done on Side Effects, his future is only going to continue to look brighter too.

In 2012 when Dallas released his debut country album, Jumped Right In, he may not have known that he’d end up headlining nationwide tours with rowdy fans that would sing along to his songs all night… but that’s what’s happening right now on the Side Effects Tour. It’s what happened in Oshawa on Friday night. And we’re damn sure that it will happen again!

Dallas Smith Setlist, Oshawa 2017

🔥 Side Effects
🔥 Sky Stays This Blue
🔥 Wastin’ Gas
🔥 If It Gets You Where You Wanna Go
🔥 Slow Rollin’
🔥 Sleepin’ Around
🔥 One Little Kiss
🔥 Wasting My Time (Default)
🔥 Count On Me (Default)
🔥 On Me with Andrew Hyatt
🔥 Nothin’ But Summer
🔥 Kids With Cars
🔥 Something Just Like This (The Chainsmokers & Coldplay)
🔥 50/50
🔥 A Girl Like You with Shawn Austin
🔥 Autograph
🔥 Jumped Right In
🔥 Lifted
ENCORE
🔥 Somebody Somewhere
🔥 Tippin’ Point
🔥 Cheap Seats


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If My Name Was Whiskey: Carly Pearce Green Room Interview, Toronto

For the second time in the last few months, Carly Pearce came north to Toronto and shared her music with country music fans. And this time, with her debut album, Every Little Thing, released to the world, she was wowed by the response.

We stopped in at Rock N Horse Saloon on Wednesday night to see Carly play an acoustic set for some lucky contest winners, and just like at the Budweiser Stage earlier this summer, she was strong, charming, and showed off a mountain of talent.

As she sang her set (Color, If My Name Was Whiskey, Doin’ It Right, Hide The Wine, Every Little Thing) she noticed people in the intimate crowd singing along with songs and immediately told everyone that this was going to be a night that she wouldn’t forget. When we sat down with Carly on Thursday morning we asked her about it and she shared those same feelings again. To be this far from home, playing songs that aren’t at radio and have only been available for the 5 days since the album’s release, and seeing people sing along was special for her.

Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto

We asked her about that same thing on bigger stages this year when fans sang along to her first hit single, Every Little Thing, and she said that the feeling is more than she can explain. She also admitted that there have been times that it has overwhelmed her and she’s started to cry on stage as the band plays on and she brings herself back to the microphone. It’s something Carly told us that she used to dream about, and now, it’s turned into a dream come true.

There will soon be more chances for Carly Pearce to see the crowd singing as she hits the road with Brett Young on his tour. She told us that it’s an exciting opportunity, and one that she’s never had before. She’s had the chance to play on tours and open shows, but this tour will be the first that she’s officially on and part of all the way through.

While we had Carly with us, we got her to play a quick round of 5 Quick Questions… have a look and find out what album she loves, her favourite Shania jam, and more.

Note: Carly Pearce is charming as all get out. Whether she’s got a microphone in her hand or she’s sitting on a couch in the morning drinking coffee, she’s got it. With a laugh/ smile/ joke combination she has the ability to light up a room, and she uses it.

We talked to Carly about her new album, and the process that brought it together. Knowing that she’s a songwriter, we were curious about the songs she wrote that made the final cut. Carly told us that she wrote eight of the 13 songs on the record, and that seven of them were done and ready when it was time to start working with Big Machine. The eighth track, If My Name Was Whiskey, was written just three days before it was cut, sliding in at the wire.

Carly also told us that she is appreciative of the chance to make a full album of 13 songs. She remembers listening to and loving the 90s albums from Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and other powerhouse women in country music, and she wanted to release the same thing. She added that Scott Borchetta’s “go get it” attitude was a big help and piece of encouragement when it was time to start working on the project.

Carly Pearce at Corus in Toronto

We flipped the script on a question Carly’s heard before when we asked her what she thinks 16 year old her, the girl who moved from Kentucky to Tennessee to work and perform at Dollywood would tell her now. She laughed a little and told us that her 16 year old self was confident and absolutely sure that she was going to make it, so the success of her single, and the release of her record probably wouldn’t be a surprise. She did add that she thought it was going to happen sooner. That she was sure that when she moved to Nashville at 19 she was going to be Carrie Underwood, but that’s she’s glad now that it didn’t happen then, and that she had a chance to live and grow and write the songs she has now with the experience of the last 10 years or so.

Carly Pearce is an emerging star. Her voice, songwriting, charm, and overwhelming talent are going to grant her more opportunities in her career, and music fans will be lucky to be along for the ride.

For now, we’d recommend you press play on Every Little Thing and learn the words so you can sing along when you see her on stage. We know she’d love to see it.

Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at Corus in Toronto Carly Pearce at Corus in Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto

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Downtown Kids: David James Album Review and Interview

David James had a busy summer playing stages and putting together his new EP, Downtown Kids, to share with the country music world.

We’ve listened to the album (a few times) and had the chance to catch up with David on the phone as he prepared for the album launch, a new single release, and the video to go along with it. To say he’s a busy guy would be an understatement.

I asked David about the summer, and making a record while working a busy road schedule, and he told us that it was both nuts and exciting.

David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-

The recording was done with producer Dan Swinimer (Madeline Merlo, Jojo Mason) in his studio at his home. David told us about the experience and being made to feel like part of the family. It sounds like a pretty great way to make a record – comfortable, relaxed, and with experience.

The resulting album is a lot of fun packed into 18 minutes. The six songs work together for a listening experience that will work for listeners, and should work very well for David James too. The new single, and lead track on the EP, Sun Set On It is quick hitting, and the kind of song that makes you want to dance in your sock feet at home. There are shades of the things we love about Dan Davidson here, and that ain’t a bad thing. David’s voice works in the song – it’s a banger – and we’re into it.

Fans and country radio listeners may already be familiar with two of the songs on the EP, with What If I Don’t and Later already hitting the airwaves with releases earlier in 2017. Both songs are a great fit for James, and we’re certain that we’ll be seeing people sing along to them the next time we see him on a stage performing.

Six songs is about five fewer than we wish we were listening to on Downtown Kids… but here’s hoping that this means we’re not going to have a long wait before the next project from the Manitoba boy comes to us!

While we were on the phone we also touched on working with his new producer, having the chance to play at home, and we played a round of 5 Quick Questions with the Manitoba country singer.

David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

5 Quick Questions with David James

Q1) What album can you play on repeat without skipping songs?

David: The Very Best of the Eagles

2) What is your favourite Tragically Hip song?

David: Blow At High Dough

David also said that he loves Ahead By A Century, but the band has been playing Blow At High Dough forever and he’s pretty sure he loves it most.

Q3) What is your favourite late night fast food joint?

David: Johnny G’s in Winnipeg – open til 4am.

Q3b) Go to menu item?

David: Chicken Fingers

David asserts that he is a chicken finger connoisseur and Johnny G’s has the best in the world.

CCMA Awards 2016 David James Green Carpet

Q4) Did you have a childhood nickname?

David: DJ

Nothing fancy or complicated, but it gets the job done.

Q5) What artist do you think people should be listening to more, or paying more attention to?

David: Canadian country as a whole.

David told us how much he believes in the talent in Canada, and that we should all be pushing for more exposure and celebration of the music coming from our home country.

Big thanks once again to David James for taking the time to catch up, we’re hoping to see him again soon, and we’ll be here to tell you all about it.

David James, Downtown Kids Tracklist

1. Sun Set On It
2. Staring At Stars
3. Turn Me On
4. Downtown Kids
5. What If I Don’t
6. Later

David James Downtown Kids Album Cover

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Colter Wall Ticket Giveaway: The Horseshoe

On November 2nd Colter Wall is playing a sold-out show at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern and we’ve got a pair of tickets to give away.

Colter is a young artist who sounds like he’s been around 100 years. Born in Saskatchewan his style is described as Americana, Folk, Country, Old Tyme, Blues, Bluegrass, and lastly traditional. He’s touring to support his debut self-titled album and to help you get ready for the show, you can hear it here.  Wanna see what you’re in for, check out Colter’s CBC First Play Live below.

Joining Colter is Blake Berglund, from rural Kennedy, Saskatchewan. What can you expect? Old style country music in an amazing venue. Here’s a link to the Facebook event page –  Colter Wall at The Horseshoe Tavern.

Here’s how the contest is going to work …

Use the form below to earn up to 9 entries, and add to your chances by tagging a friend on the contest post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We’ll be giving double points for all social entries – and we’ll email you if you’re the winner.

Good luck!


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 show.

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Something Like a Storm: Matthew Good Album Review

Coquitlam born solo artist, Matthew Good has released his eighth studio album, Something Like a Storm. Technically, if you count the albums released with The Matthew Good Band, it’s sixteen, but who’s counting. The singer/songwriter debuted much of the album live on YouTube on the night before the official release. Joined by Alan Cross, Matthew sang and talked about his history, the album, the songs, the writing process and more. Check out the video below, it’s pretty awesome.

It seems like the process of releasing albums has changed and we were given a video for Bad Guys Win in April of 2017, followed by a video for Decades in July, with two additional tracks on Spotify, Days Come Down and the title track Something Like a Storm. There’s a lot of tease and I was thrilled to be able to see Matthew performing some of the new tunes this summer at the Budweiser Stage. 
Matthew Good - Budweiser Stage 2017

Something Like a Storm is honest and pure Matthew Good. And I’m just going to say it, it’s not fun or lighthearted. I’m completely okay with that. The world is a scary place right now and that’s reflected in the songs.

These are not negatives, I really like this album. I like the songs, and I like the messages. I like the strings at the start of the title track, they’re dramatic and enticing, and the drums in Bad Guys Win are so good!

Matthew has been making records for over 20 years and while the process may have changed, the end result is still something Matthew Good fans can look forward to.

The album is out now, go buy one!
Matthew Good - Budweiser Stage 2017Note: I have to say that I love the way Matthew Good is able to joke about and talk about mental health issues.
Matthew Good - Budweiser Stage 2017

Matthew Good: Something Like A Storm Tracklist

1. Bad Guys Win
2. Decades
3. Men at the Door
4. There The First Time
5. Days Come Down
6. Something Like a Storm
7. She’s Got You Where She Wants You
8. This Is Night
9. Bullets in a Briefcase



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New Music Spotlight: Runaway Angel, Johnson Crook, ColinResponse, Birds of Bellwoods, and Danielle Bradbery

In our latest edition of the New Music Spotlight, we’ve got an almost exclusively Toronto list for your listening pleasure.

We have three bands plus one solo artist, who call Toronto home and one non-Toronto entry for your viewing pleasure.

Check out some new videos from Runaway Angel, Johnson Crook, Birds of Bellwoods, ColinResponse and Danielle Bradbery. Have a listen and feel free to check in with us, letting us know if you loved hem as much as we do.

Artist: Runaway Angel
Hometown: Toronto
Genre: Country
Related Artists: Meghan Patrick, Jess Moskaluke, Dallas Smith
Single: Witness
Notes: This song is off their upcoming album ZERO which drops on October 27th and you can attend their CD Release launch party at Boots and Bourbon on November 4th for free!
Check out their event details here!


Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Johnson Crook
Hometown: Toronto
Genre: Alternative Country
Related Artists: Joey Landreth, JJ Shiplett, Andrew Hyatt
Single: Minnedosa
Notes: One of our favourite Johnson Crook tracks, the video takes the story of Minnedosa to a whole other level. Great visual storytelling, awesome live shots, and of course beautiful harmonies from Johnson Crook.


Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Birds of Bellwoods
Hometown: Toronto
Genre: Alt-Folk
Related Artists: The Northern Empty, Duncan Fellows, My Brothers and I
Single: Let You Go
Notes: The newest video release from Birds of Bellwoods has radio single written all over it for me. It’s fresh and relatable, and it’s also the third single from their upcoming 2018 release Victoria, which is set to drop on January 19th.


Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: ColinResponse
Hometown: Toronto
Genre: Pop/Soul
Related Artists: Ivory Hours, Long Range Hustle, Nick Ferrio & His Feelings
Single: Something About Your Love
Notes: We came across this video on Bunz and had to share it. Colin reached out to the Bunz community asking to borrow their children. This is what he did with them. The music is sweet, upbeat and sultry and the video is adorable!


Links: Web / Facebook /  Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Danielle Bradbery
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Genre: Country
Related Artists: Cassadee Pope, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini
Single: Sway
Notes: Sway is the lead single from Danielle’s upcoming release I Don’t Believe We’ve Met. The 21-year-old singer has matured since her The Voice win at the age of 16 and she’s telling us her stories, in her own voice. The singer has writing credits on seven out of ten tracks on the new album. The release date for I Don’t Believe We’ve Met is December 1st.


Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

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In Memoriam: Gord Downie Legacy, Influence, and Top 10

Gord Downie was an artist, activist, and great Canadian. His legacy and legend will be remembered for the music he made, the political and social change he sought, and the way he touched music fans from coast-to-coast, across generations, and with a reach that can not be understated.

After a brave, public, and well-documented fight against cancer (glioblastoma), Downie died on October 17, 2017, leaving his family (including four children), his bandmates, friends, and countless fans to remember the man they knew and loved.

If you ever had the chance to see Gord Downie on stage, doing what he loved, you got a look at something special. Whether he was touring with The Tragically Hip, playing his own solo music, collaborating with The Sadies, or any number of other appearances he made during his long and fruitful career, he was the one to watch. To see him dance and move and feel the lyrics and music was almost hypnotic. There were always moments of magic hidden in plain sight when Downie was doing his thing.

photo: Mike Homer

Note: I will admit to sometimes being frustrated when trying to sing along to my favourite songs from The Tragically Hip when Gord was singing them live. The way he transformed them into something more than the record version was hard for me to understand and explain – but having seen more live music now, I get it. And he owned it.

To explain the influence that Gord Downie has had on musicians in Canada is probably a fool’s errand. There are too many. There’s too much. There is just no way to list everyone that took something from the lyric writing, performing, passion, and perseverance that the man, his bandmates, and his career. We see glimpses of Downie when we watch Max Kerman fronting the Arkells, and we can hear Hip-like cadence and feel in singer/songwriter tracks and new rock hits from all across Canada. We’re confident in saying that isn’t going to change any time soon.

And to the general public, the influence is real as well. The work that Downie did to help put Indigenous rights into the light will not be forgotten. And the songs. My God, the songs he sang will continue to be sung.

Walk into any karaoke bar and wait a little while, you’re likely to hear a song from The Hip. And if you want even higher odds, go find a campfire anywhere in Canada – if there’s an acoustic guitar we can almost guarantee that someone is going to strum Wheat Kings or Bobcaygeon.

Campfire Guitar

On August 20, 2016, when The Tragically Hip played the K-Rock Centre in Kingston, ON to wrap their tour, a nation stopped to watch. The CBC reported that nearly 12 million viewers took in the feed. In Toronto, the CNE bandshell stage schedule was adjusted so they could show the concert on a big screen. Across the country there were viewing parties filled with family, friends, and fans. And together we watched as a real life musical hero to so many stood tall, sang, dripped with sweat, cried, and pour every ounce of what he had into the show that we won’t be able to forget.

At home, I cried. I watched and I sang and I sat in silence and I cried as the band played through a monster set and Downie sang with everything he had in him. It was beautiful.

Canadian movie lovers will remember Downie as well from his appearances in films like One Week (2008) and even his quick cameo with the rest of The Hip in Men With Brooms (2002). This clip from One Week is sobering, and will be one of the non-concert performance moments that I remember most of his career…

With the Order of Canada, a star on the Walk of Fame, Canadian Music Hall of Fame status, awards for his music, and recognition for his work outside of it, Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip achieved more than most – and just as much as he deserved.

We all knew this day was coming. This shouldn’t have surprised us. But still, it feels like I’ve been blindsided by the news. Maybe I thought there was still time. Maybe Downie’s relentless fight and work in the face of what was coming tricked me. Either way, this hurts.

Canada lost a legend when Gord Downie died. But his stories, his legacy, his inspiration and influence will live on and be remembered.

Rest easy Mr. Downie. Thank you for everything.

Gord Downie Cheers

Joshua’s Top 10 Tracks, The Tragically Hip

★ Wheat Kings
★ Bobcaygeon
★ Ahead By A Century
★ Courage
★ Grace, Too
★ Cordelia
★ Little Bones
★ Fiddler’s Green
★ Blow At High Dough
★ Gift Shop

5 days ago 1 Comment Views

Kill Your Love: Jess Moskaluke Green Room Interview, Toronto

Jess Moskaluke, three time Canadian Country Music Association award winner for Female Artist of the Year, Juno winner for Country Album of the Year (2017, Kiss Me Quiet), and one of Canada’s biggest country stars, has new music to share with the world, and is making the rounds to tell her stories.

We caught up with Jess in Toronto, in the green room before her CBC Music First Play performance, to talk about her new EP, writing with new collaborators, awesome feelings on stage, and more.

The new album, Past The Past, is scheduled to be released on November 3, and it seems like it can’t come soon enough for the Saskatchewan native. She told us that it feels like the music has been done forever, and that she’s excited to share it with country music fans. She also told us that it’s been nice to start folding in new songs on stage, allowing her and the band to freshen up the setlist and have some new fun in the show.

While we had Jess for a few minutes we also jumped into a quick round of 5 Quick Questions. Hit play and find out what album she is listening to on repeat, her favourite Shania jam, her late night fast food go to, and more…

We asked Jess about writing with new people on this album, and as we talked she realized that there were more and more new minds on this set of songs. She told us that there’s a comfort that grows between collaborators, and that adding new people to that process of creativity and creation can be both exciting and sometimes can make her a little nervous.

On Past The Past she had a little of that when she wrote with Neil Mason from The Cadillac Three. Neil’s reputation and success are well known in the industry, and when you hear Right When Ya Left, you’ll see how that session turned out.

Spoiler: It went well.

Before we were done chatting with Jess Moskaluke we asked about the feeling that she gets when she’s on stage and the fans are singing along and singing back to her. It was hard for her to put into words what it is. She told us that it’s one of those things that you really only know after you’ve felt it for yourself.

When we asked if she remembers the first time it happened she wasn’t able to pinpoint it, but she remembers when Cheap Wine And Cigarettes became that songs and she could see people in the crowd at shows singing along with her.

We’ve asked other artists this exact question before, and Jess’s answer lines up with theirs. And we’re sure she’d agree with Chad Brownlee, who told us that when he stops getting that awesome feeling when everyone sings with and to him, it’ll be time to hang ‘em up.

Big thanks to Jess Moskaluke for hanging out with us pre-show, and for letting us invite some contest winners to see her perform at the CBC.

Keep your eyes out for video from the night. And stay tuned for a Past The Past album review and your chance to listen, coming soon!

Jess Moskaluke, CBC Music First Play Setlist

Drive Me Away*
Used
Night We Won’t Forget
Good Lovin’
Kiss Me Quiet
Good For You
Kill Your Love*
Camouflage*
Right When Ya Left*
Strong As I’ve Ever Been
Past The Past*
Parachute (Chris Stapleton cover)
Save Some Of That Whiskey*
Take Me Home
Elevator
Cheap Wine And Cigarettes

*songs from Past The Past

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Minnedosa: Johnson Crook Video Release

The boys of Johnson Crook have released a video for Minnedosa… and we’re very happy to see it.

The song, a (fictionalized) ode to the Manitoba hometown of Nathan and Trevor Crook, can be found on the band’s debut record, The Album, and was the first song that we fell in love with from the band, now there’s a sweet little clip to go along with it.

The video is heavier than we expected, with a story to go with the song, and while it was unexpected, it’s well done. We will say this, we’re quite happy to have never seen Trevor and Nathan fight like this in real life.

Do they give out Geminis for music video acting? Do they still give out Geminis? Either way, hat tip to the Crook brothers on their Minnedosa performances. We’re sure they’ve done their hometown proud.

Check out some of our favourite gifs and screenshots from the video.

AND, if you’re going to be in Toronto on Friday, October 27, get your ticket to see Johnson Crook on stage yourself at The Rivoli on Queen Street West.

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Witness: Runaway Angel Video Premiere

Runaway Angel is back with new music for country fans, and it starts with the release of their new music video for Witness.

The song will be on the band’s new album Zero, which will be released in full on October 27, and is available for pre-order now at iTunes. And today, the music video for the single is LIVE!

Press play and watch it now!

The Witness music video was filmed on location in rural Ontario. With stops in Enniskillen, Tyrone, and more as Cadence, Ann, and Stacey rode vintage bicycles, ate ice cream, had a wedding interrupting dance party, played on a tire swing, and sang. The video is a great companion for the song, which the band is currently touring with radio in western Canada, and is a fun addition to the Runaway Angel catalogue.

The song itself is energetic, upbeat, and matches the personalities of these women that we’ve come to know over the last few years. We’re looking forward to hearing it live with the rest of the new music from their upcoming album.

Thank you to Runaway Angel for inviting us to tag along and capture some behind-the-scenes footage of the day. There were a lot of smiles and laughs as the ladies put in their work, and it was a cool day to be able to share with the band.

Here are some of our favourite shots from the Witness video shoot. We can’t wait to see what Runaway Angel does next!

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Late Show: The Beaches Album Review

Toronto rock and roll quartet, The Beaches, have released their much anticipated full-length debut album, Late Show, and fans of the band have reason to rejoice.

Named for their neighbourhood in the east end of the city, the band has been putting in work on stage for the last four years, building their GRL BND brand, and earning new fans from their hometown and beyond. The WayHome and Canadian Music Week alumni have wowed us at The Phoenix and The Horseshoe, and haven’t slowed down or let up since they started this ball rolling.

With Late Show, Jordan, Kylie, Eliza, and Leandra have shown that they are ready for the late night spotlight, mixing their enthusiasm for what they do with experience-honed writing and musicianship that leads them from track to track.

While I was listening to the album I found myself thinking about Haim and The Darcys, and when the last song finished, Spotify immediately rolled into the Arkells, and that worked too. This is a collection of songs that fans will be able to slide into playlists seamlessly, and with ease.

Songs like Money, Gold, Turn Me On, the title track all lend themselves to a party if you want it – and will translate from the album to the stage as these rocking women plug in and turn up the volume. Which leads me to this recommendation, when you press play on The Beaches record, turn it up.

The youth, attitude, energy and ability that The Beaches combine on this album should be celebrated. There is no jaded rock star shit here. There’s no “been there done that” drag. This is a rock and roll album that puts forth everything that we want from rock and roll. We can feel the drums and guitar. The bass holds the rhythm we need. And on vocals, the 12 songs on the album all pull their weight and earn their plays.

Note: For what it’s worth, my early favourite track (based on repeated listens) is Walk Like That. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is I keep coming back for… but trust me, I keep coming back for more.

These four rockers come together to form a tight band, with an authentic sound. They play for themselves, they are themselves, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Find tickets to a show when The Beaches are near you… and be ready for a good time.

The Beaches, Late Show Tracklist

1. Back Of My Heart
2. Money
3. Moment
4. Let Me Touch
5. T-Shirt
6. Turn Me On
7. Gold
8. Highway 6
9. Late Show
10. Keeper
11. Walk Like That
12. Sweet Life

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The Drifter and the Preacher: Barney Bentall at The Dakota Tavern

On a beautiful October Thursday night, friends, family, and fans filled The Dakota Tavern for a sold-out show to hear Barney Bentall play songs from his newly released album The Drifter & The Preacher, with some old favourites thrown in for good measure.

It’s been thirty years since the Something to Live For video propelled Barney and his band into our living rooms. Throughout those thirty years, we’ve had the pleasure of six Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts albums, six solo albums and three albums released as Brandon Wolf.

Live, on stage, it didn’t feel like thirty years, it felt like yesterday. Smiling and looking very comfortable Bentall remarked how many familiar faces there were in the crowd.

“It’s very nice. There are a lot of familiar faces out there, wherever I turn. I think as an entertainer,  well it can do one of two things. It can make you kinda nervous, that’s not a bad thing but it can also make you feel very secure, so thank you for being here.”

Sipping a large glass of water between songs, Barney spun many stories for us. He gave us a real glimpse into the stories behind the songs, and it left me feeling privileged, and lucky.

Barney Bentall at Toronto's Dakota Tavern

Throughout the night we were treated to six of eleven songs from the freshly released album. The new music was well received and continues to highlight Bentall’s songwriting gift. He sings about real life, about love, and about sorrow. We’re very glad Jim Cuddy suggested Barney make another record and it’s a nice little bonus that we get to hear Jim sing on Won’t Change the World.

The Drifter & The Preacher feels like a Barney Bentall album and that’s pretty close to perfect. Barney is joined on the opening track, The Miner by his son Dustin, and during the show, he told a story about being nervous about the track. We think they’re spectacular together and I can only hope there are more collaborations in store.

It’s been five years since we’ve heard new music from Bentall, but he hasn’t been sitting on a beach somewhere, he’s been busy. When he’s not making music or otherwise enmeshed with the arts, he’s a cattle rancher. A profession which is very hard work and he’s the first to admit, it may have taught him to complain just a little bit less about the life of a musician.

I’ve been listening to the album for a little while now and to be honest, I still haven’t picked a favourite song.

The Drifter & The Preacher is available everywhere. You can get it on Apple Music here, on Amazon here and you can listen on Spotify here.

The Drifter and the Preacher Album Art

Barney Bentall Setlist: The Dakota Tavern

※ Hold My Heart
※ A Man IsThe Miner
※ Sending Out a Message
※ The Drifter
※ Dream of a Day
※ Life Could Be Worse
※ In The Morning
※ Come Back to Me
※ The Preacher
※ Long Lovely Love Affair
※ The Balad of Old Tom Jones
※ Something to Live For
※ Don’t Wait For Marie
※ Say Goodbye to Albert Comfort

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Every Little Thing: Carly Pearce Album Review

Carly Pearce has released one of the most highly anticipated country albums of 2017, and Every Little Thing is living up to the hype.

The Big Machine Label Group artist has had the push behind her with the fan and radio reaction to the title track, Every Little Thing, earlier this summer. Since then, Pearce has been becoming more well known, sought after, and poised for a continued breakout with the release of this album.

We saw the Kentucky native earlier this summer when she came north to Toronto to open the show for Tim Hicks and Dean Brody at the Budweiser Stage, and the Canadian crowd ate her up. It was easy to see in her short set that Carly has real deal talent, and the tracks to back it up.

Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017

That night we heard her sing Careless, Doin’ It Right, and If My Name Was Whiskey – and hearing them now on the album, the same thought emerges; Carly Pearce can sing the hell out of her songs.

Whether she’s uptempo on Everybody Gonna Talk, or slowing it all the way down with emotion and impact on Every Little Thing and I Need A Ride Home, the former Dollywood performer and future household name country star is on point. And from top to bottom, the 13 songs of this record allow Pearce to hold her own and announce her presence on the country scene.

With appearances all over the United States with Brett Young, and into Canada, Carly Pearce is putting in work to support the release of Every Little Thing, and her fans are taking notice. The grassroots movement, paired with the effective marketing clout of her label, has created a growth spurt for Pearce that most artists only dream about. And while there are always sceptics when there’s a concentrated and calculated focus on an artist, know this: Carly Pearce isn’t a manufactured product, she’s a country singer that has all the talent it takes to do the job and stand in her hard earned spotlight.

Note: I’m a sucker for a heartbreaking song with Whiskey in the title, and if you are too, press play on If My Name Was Whiskey, and prepare for the feels.

Be ready to hear a lot more of Carly Pearce. Whether it’s on your radio, streaming platform playlists, or on a stage near you, the songs from Every Little Thing are going to be all around country music fans… and they’re going to like it.

Carly Peace, Every Little Thing Tracklist

1. Hide The Wine
2. Careless
3. Every Little Thing
4. Everybody Gonna Talk
5. Catch Fire
6. If My Name Was Whiskey
7. Color
8. I Need A Ride Home
9. Doin’ It Right
10. Feel Somethin’
11. You Know Where To Find Me
12. Honeysuckle
13. Dare Ya

Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017

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Out Of The Blue: Chad Brownlee Video Release

Chad Brownlee is back on screen in the brand new music video for Out Of The Blue.

The Stephano Barberis directed clip co-stars Dallas Smith, JoJo Mason, and the boys from Washboard Union, making the video a powerhouse combination of Canadian country music talent.

It’s also ridiculous, funny, over-the-top, smokey, sexy, and worthy of repeat watches!

Related: Chad Brownlee at Boots & Hearts 2017

On the heels of similarly cinematic music videos for Might As Well Be Me, I Hate You For It, and Somethin’ We Shouldn’t Do – there’s a pattern to be found, and it’s becoming easy to say that Chad Brownlee is a video star.

Now… check out some gifs of our favourite moments, and vote and leave a comment telling us which of Chad Brownlee’s co-stars you think was best in Out Of The Blue!

2 weeks ago No Comments Views
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