~Photos by Trish Cassling

Cavendish Beach Music Festival 2018 Headliner Announcement: Luke Bryan

If the first artist announcement for the Cavendish Beach Music Festival is any indication, country music fans in Prince Edward Island are going to have a lot of fun July 6-8, 2018!

Tuesday morning the festival announced that Luke Bryan, the man with 19 #1 hits, will take the stage to headline Sunday, July 8 and finish off a weekend of partying and country music.

We’ve seen Luke Bryan on a big stage before, in 2014 and 2017 at Boots & Hearts, and if you haven’t seen him, we can promise that it’s a good time. The energy, fun, and music from the stage turns the whole thing into a big party, and you won’t want this night to end.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Luke Bryan

Related: Luke Bryan at Boots & Hearts 2017

The festival is excited to have made the announcement and to be bringing Bryan to the festival, with Whitecap Entertainment President, Jeff Squires saying, “We’re thrilled to be bringing Luke Bryan to Cavendish. He’s been the #1 requested artist for many years and it’s the perfect year for him to see what our festival is made of, 10 years strong! We’re looking forward to another beautiful weekend full of friends, family and the breathtaking beaches of Cavendish at CBMF 2018!,”.

With past performers including Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, and more, you can trust that Cavendish Beach Music Festival will be adding more big names to their 10th anniversary festival in 2018.

We don’t know who yet, but if you’re looking for some guesses, we’d tell you to look out for…

🎵 Kelsea Ballerini

🎵 Thomas Rhett

🎵 Brothers Osborne

🎵 Andrew Hyatt

🎵 Madeline Merlo

🎵 The Hunter Brothers

Stay tuned for more information when it comes, and get your tickets starting Friday, December 1 – CAVENDISH BEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL TICKET LINK!!!

Four Chords and the Truth: Marc Jordan, Tim Hicks, Damhnait Doyle, Andrea Ramolo, Bill Bell & Friends

Thursday night in Toronto we visited one of our favourite venues to listen to the stories and songs of five songwriters at Four Chords and the Truth. And while we were there, we were reminded of something…

As much as we love and believe in the power of concerts and big crowds, the quiet and ability to hear a pin drop while honest, raw, and vulnerable stories are sung is magical, and powerful on a whole other level.

Four Chords and the Truth is a quarterly event, bringing songwriters to the beautiful stage of The Dakota Tavern to share their stories, sing their songs, and offer an up close and personal connection to the music lovers in the audience. On Thursday night we had the pleasure and honour of watching and listening as Marc Jordan, Tim Hicks, Andrea Ramolo, Bill Bell, Damhnait Doyle, and special guests, shared the warmly lit stage and put their musical hearts on their sleeves for more than two hours of stripped down, vulnerable, and honest storytelling and singing.

Sadly, the event creator, and regular host of Four Chords and the Truth, Andrea England was sick and unable to stay on stage Thursday night, but in her place Damhnait Doyle shepherded us all through three rounds of songs and stories and laughs.

1 – Marc Jordan: This

Marc Jordan, he of more than 40 years in the music industry as a singer and songwriter, proved himself to be a charming, funny, and captivating storyteller on Thursday night.

And as he played This, released by Rod Stewart in 1995, Jordan proved himself to be a strong, steady, and present performer, connecting with the quiet audience from start to finish.

2 – Tim Hicks: Forever Rebels

Hicks’ current single, Forever Rebels symbolizes his own journey to making his dreams come true, and passes that message and wish onto listeners as well.

The Dakota Tavern may only be a couple of miles from the stage Tim Hicks played covers on for years, but Thursday night he was a long way from there as the Canadian country music star with 10 Top 10 singles and fans from coast to coast.

3 – Andrea Ramolo: Hey, Hey, Hey

Andrea was raw and honest in her music and storytelling at Four Chords and the Truth. She talked about the depression that followed a breakup, and the friends and songwriting that helped her get through it.

And she shared songs that took her back to that place, which is as strong a thing as anyone can do – revisiting a dark time, in a room full of strangers, and opening yourself up to feel those things all over again.

4 – Bill Bell w/ Justin Nozuka: Soulless Man

Bill Bell has a heck of a resume, playing, writing, and performing with big names all over Canada and the world. And on Thursday night he was humble and gracious, sharing the stage on each of his songs.

Bell and Justin Nozuka played a vulnerable and almost heartbreaking version of Soulless Man that filled the room with feelings and sound as if the two were connected.

Damhnait Doyle at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth

5 – Damhnait Doyle: Better Life

As undeniably powerful as any other song of the night, Better Life offers a powerful account of the sacrifice, life long impact, and love that goes into the decision to offer a baby up for adoption to give it a better chance in life.

It felt real and true and didn’t sugarcoat the reasons, feelings, or reality of the situation, and that’s what made it matter.

6 – Marc Jordan: Marina Del Rey

Released in 1978, Marina Del Rey sits near the beginning of Marc’s career, and his life in California. He told The Dakota Tavern crowd about driving down the highway when he arrived on the US west coast, and remembering the sign and the rest is musical history.

7 – Tim Hicks: Worry About Me

Tim Hicks told the crowd that he and Deric Ruttan wrote this song for that one dude who always says he doesn’t like country music. There’s one at every show and every party, and so they decided to put something together for that guy.

The song is fun, we dug it, and it would fit well in Hicks catalog.

8 – Andrea Ramolo: You’re Everywhere

Andrea told the room that You’re Everywhere was a 10 minute write, which isn’t her usual process. But, in that post-breakup time she told us all about earlier, there came a moment when everything needed to flood out – and it did, and it became this song.

9 – Bill Bell w/ Tom Cochrane: Crawl

Canadian legend Tom Cochrane joined Bill Bell on his second song of the night, and the duo played and sang Crawl, the story of a 17 year old girl who was abused and down… until she got away.

To see the room find another level of attention to give when Cochrane sat down was amazing, and to be just a few feet away as Bill and Tom sang the 1996 single from Ragged Ass Road was something special.

10 – Damhnait Doyle: I Can See You

Written in direct response to the current state of affairs in the public when it comes to politics, particularly in the United States, Doyle’s new song is unafraid to take shots at those who hide behind their religion as a way to avoid taking a stand and doing what’s right.

It’s poignant and relevant and well done.

11 – Marc Jordan: Little Lambs

If you want your heart to break, if you want to think about the most horrible thing, if (in the words of Damhnait Doyle) you want to hear the best song you wish would end half way through, Little Lambs is for you.

This dagger to the heart tells the story of orphans, taken to and taken in by the church, and hurt and abused and forgotten… it will hurt you if you’re open to it.

12 – Tim Hicks: Throw A Ball

Hicks told a story about his son being upset that daddy wrote songs for mommy and his sister, but not him, so the country star sat down with him in mind. The result is a sweet song about playing catch with his dad, and his son, connecting his life between generations and experiences.

Truthfully, it broke me. As a baseball kid who lost my dad last year, and as a guy who is getting ready to be a first time dad next year, Throw A Ball hit me hard, in the saddest and sweetest and most emotional way of the night.

13 – Andrea Ramolo: Hold Me

In an attempt to lighten the mood from her previous songs, Andrea played Hold Me, a song inspired by the music of the 50s and 60s, and written as she was pushing herself to explore major keys in her creative process. It’s still sharing the same sadness… but it’s a different vibe, and it works.

14 – Bill Bell w/ Justine Giles: I Won’t Give Up

On his final song of the night, Bill Bell welcomed Justine Giles to the stage, and the duo sang a duetted rendition of Jason Mraz’s 2012 hit, I Won’t Give Up.

The pair sang the song well, with heart and feeling, and let it all hang out as they took their turns, and came together. A hit is a hit is a hit. Remember that.

15 – Marc Jordan w/ everyone: Rhythm Of My Heart
The most well-known song of the night came last, as Damhnait Doyle gave up her last turn to let Marc Jordan play the piano and sing, as everyone else joined in.

Written by Marc and John Capek, originally recorded in 1986 by René Shuman, and made popular by Rod Stewart in 1991, this song is a classic, and the entire room knew the chorus. The singing wasn’t loud and obnoxious, but you could see the lips moving, and you could feel the love in the room.

It was a great end to a great evening. And we will be back for the next round of Four Chords and the Truth.

More Photos from Four Chords and the Truth – November 23, 2017

Andrea England, Bill Bell, Damhnait Doyle and Tim Hicks at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth

Andrea England, Four Chords and the Truth

Justin Nozuka, Bill Bell and Andrea Ramolo at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth

Justin Nozuka with Bill Bell

Tom Cochrane at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth Tim Hicks at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth Bill Bell, Andrea Ramolo and Tim Hicks at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth Marc Jordan at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth Damhnait Doyle at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth Andrea Ramolo, Tim Hicks and Marc Jordan at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth Bill Bell at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth Andrea Ramolo and Tim Hicks at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth Andrea Ramolo and Tim Hicks at The Dakota Four Chords and the Truth Andrea England, Damhnait Doyle and Tim Hicks at The Dakota Four Chords and the Truth Marc Jordan, Tim Hicks, Andrea Ramolo, Bill Bell and Damhnait Doyle at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth

Darling, Let’s Go Out Tonight: JJ Shiplett with Sam Cash, Toronto

Wednesday night may not be the most traditional of times to hit a club for live music, but Toronto turned out with gusto for JJ Shiplett and Sam Cash at The Rivoli.

Almost exactly a year after we caught JJ on back-to-back nights in Toronto and Oshawa, he was on the small stage of a big city club again to share his songs and soul with the crowd. And with local boy, Sam Cash opening the show and setting the tempo, things were in good shape from the get go.

Sam Cash at Toronto's Rivoli-

Cash, the Toronto singer/songwriter, took the stage solo, with just his microphone and guitars to sing to the Wednesday night audience. And as he played through his set of new and unreleased songs, he showed that he’s, without doubt, got the kind of songwriting chops that we’re always happy to discover.

Playing songs like Driveway Moment, Stay In Touch, Love You Through Worse, and Wear It Well, I was struck by the realization that this is music that I could sit and drink good whiskey and think to.

Near the end of his set, Cash paid tribute to one of his heroes, Gord Downie. He told the crowd about his lifelong connection to the Canadian legend, from his childhood spending New Year’s Eve at Downie’s house parties, to his adulthood as a musician himself. And he told us about an email he sent to Gord after his cancer diagnosis, telling him that he was an inspiration and applauding his work. Sam also told us about Gord Downie’s reply, thanking Sam for his kind words and ending with a simple phrase that he will keep with him always, “Stay you, Sam. It makes people happy.”. It was a sweet story, an emotional moment, and Sam Cash followed it up with a cover of Gord Downie’s Chancellor – and it was good.

We’re hoping that the songs we heard Wednesday night make it to an album soon, because as much as we liked them, we believe others people will too.

JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli

When JJ Shiplett took the stage to open his set, the crowd responded as though it was a Friday night in the city, holding nothing back in showing their appreciation for the Calgary singer/songwriter.

And from the first song we were hit with a reminder that Shiplett has one of the most distinct and rich voices in Canadian music today.

Playing songs from his 2017 debut album, Something To Believe In, JJ and the band held the attention and affection of the crowd, listening to them sing along, thanking them for their cheers, and making jokes and engaging as the show went on.

And when he stripped it down in the middle of the set to play Loaded Like A Freight Train, a cover of Springsteen’s I’m On Fire, and his brand new Christmas single, Maybe This Christmas (written by the great Ron Sexsmith), all eyes and ears were focused on the man in the middle of the stage, giving everything he had.

While JJ Shiplett may not be a country radio staple, it’s clear that he has fans who are excited to hear him sing his songs at every opportunity. At one point in the evening there was a back and forth between the singer and his front row fans, playfully debating the length of time since he was last in Toronto to play. The fans remembered, they were sure of it, and when the show ended we know they were already getting themselves ready for the next time they’ll get to see JJ live on stage.

Note: Before the show we got a quick hello with JJ as he stopped at a table beside us to sign t-shirts that eager fans had bought at the merch table. A small crowd quickly formed around him, with excited faces and chatter as each of them waited for their turn to say hello and get a signature on their gear.

JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli

We’ve been writing about, listening to, and watching JJ Shiplett play for a couple of years now, and each time we do, we end up telling new people to check him out. And we aren’t the only ones. Recently, Andrew Hyatt mentioned JJ as one of the artists he thinks people should be paying more attention to during a round of 5 Quick Questions… and he’s 100% correct.

The Wednesday night set ended with a rousing rendition of Something To Believe In and JJ and the band leaving the stage… which lead to cheers and calls from the crowd for more. So JJ came back, solo to give the Toronto fans one more song, covering Arcade Fire’s Wake Up with the help of the voices in the room. He went out on top.

If you still haven’t discovered JJ Shiplett, we highly recommend that you listen to Something To Believe In and Maybe This Christmas… and get yourself a ticket to see the live show when it rolls into a venue near you.

JJ Shiplett Setlist, The Rivoli, Toronto

🎤 Darling, Let’s Go Out Tonight
🎤 Am I Dear?
🎤 Unknown Legend (Neil Young)
🎤 Oh No Girl
🎤 Seeking Shelter
🎤 Always For You
🎤 Waters
🎤 Loaded Like A Freight Train
🎤 I’m On Fire (Bruce Springsteen)
🎤 Maybe This Christmas
🎤 House On A River
🎤 Higher Ground
🎤 Something To Believe In
ENCORE:
🎤 Wake Up (Arcade Fire)

Check out more photos from Wednesday night at The Rivoli with JJ Shiplett and Sam Cash.

JJ Shiplett

JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli JJ Shiplett at Toronto's Rivoli

Sam Cash

Sam Cash at Toronto's Rivoli- Sam Cash at Toronto's Rivoli- Sam Cash at Toronto's Rivoli- Sam Cash at Toronto's Rivoli- Sam Cash at Toronto's Rivoli-

The Hype: Hoodie Allen, Myles Parrish and Luke Christopher

At Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto

On a rainy, but warm November Saturday night, Hoodie Allen came to Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre and the crowd went wild!

Hoodie Allen, aka  Steven Markowitz, brought along a few friends for good measure, and Myles Parrish and Luke Christopher were the perfect warm-up for the Long Island, New York alt-hip-hop singer.

The first performer up was Myles Parrish who showed up with his DJ and immediately got the crowd jumping, waving their hands and singing along.

The 25-year-old is a seasoned performer and I marvelled at his ability to pull the audience in from the outset. The music comes across as fun and bouncy and Myles stepped it up when he asked the crowd how they felt about 1956 and then proceeded to twist and do a little hand shuffle. It was fun well received. And make no mistake there were definitely Myles Parrish fans in the crowd, everyone up front was singing along.

Myles Parrish - The Phoenix - Toronto Myles Parrish - The Phoenix - Toronto
Luke Christopher took the stage at 8:40 and won me over. He’s got the best dimples and his tone is deep and rich and when he sang his hit Lot to Learn everyone in the place agreed that if he was the question, they’d be the answer.

The 24-year-old from LA kept up a dizzying pace and covered the stage and engaged with the crowd making everyone happy. He was charming and his lyrics were inviting and entertaining.

Luke Christopher - The Phoenix - Toronto Luke Christopher - The Phoenix - Toronto

There was a small gap in the scheduled performances and audience waited patiently for the headliner. The second Hoodie Allen stepped foot on stage, his fans went wild. There was singing, screaming, ladies throwing their undergarments at the rapper and he ate it up.

Note: I have to admit that I was asked, with a gesture from the singer, to pass him a bra which hadn’t quite made it to the stage. That’s a first for me.

Hoodie Allen - The Phoenix - Toronto Hoodie Allen - The Phoenix - Toronto
Hoodie Allen talked about his return to Toronto and promised the fans that he’d be singing more songs than any other show and who doesn’t love that!

Hip-hop-pop is alive and well in Toronto.

We’ve got more photos for you, of all of the rappers below

Hoodie Allen

Luke Christopher


Myles Parrish

4 weeks ago

18 Ends: Petric EP Review

Petric’s brand new EP, 18 Ends, will be released on November 17th. We’ve had the pleasure of listening to it this week, what can we tell you? Simply that we love it and we think you will too.

We’ve been fans of the SteelHead Music band from day one and we’re going to break it down and let you know what to expect from this EP and we’re also going to include all the links including the pre-order link at the bottom.

Transcona, Manitoba brothers, Tom and Jason Petric have been in and out of the studio for most the past year and their six-track EP gets a top grade in our books.

There are a couple of familiar tracks including Play It Safe which was released as a single on April 17th, 2017 and the title track, 18 Ends, which was released on September 13th, 2017. Both tracks are terrific indicators of what to expect from the rest of the EP. We’ll tell you, that you can expect great stories, catchy choruses, beautiful harmonies, and amazing musicianship.

Let’s get to it and talk about the four brand-spanking new tracks!

Sometimes we see things differently and everything isn’t always obvious. On track two, Love And Rust gives us some great examples of this like, “Maybe you see a dashboard full of dust, I see love and rust”. This song has a great beat and helps me to think things from someone else’s point of view. I have to say, I hope we get a video for this track, I’m picturing a very old truck and a pretty girl riding shotgun.

Slowing things down with track three, It Should Be Me, the guys show us their tender side. This story is one we all know, falling for someone who isn’t yours, someone you can’t have, trying to get them out of your head and failing miserably. It’s completely relatable and we really like this one.

Track five, Never Met You, tells the story of randomness, serendipity, destiny or fate and it tells it in a sweet way that makes us think about meeting that special person and all the things that go into making that happen. It left me feeling hopeful and positive.

The last track on the EP is Can’t Say No, and it does a great job convincing me that the guys have found some pretty special love in their lives and that we’re all benefiting from awesome songs like this one.

Note: Congratulations to Petric on their recent MCMA Award win for Group or Duo of the Year and to go along with that, they’ve also passed the 3 million impressions mark on Spotify!

If you’ve ever had the chance to meet Jason and Tom you’ll know that they’re the nicest, kindest, most polite country boys you could hope for. They’re super active on social media and they truly appreciate their fans. Got something to ask or something nice to say, send them a message!

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

Petric, 18 Ends Tracklist

1. 18 Ends
2. Love and Rust
3. It Should Be Me
4. Play It Safe
5. Never Met You
6. Can’t Say No

You can pre-order on iTunes today using this link!

1 month ago

Boots & Hearts 2018 Lineup Announcement #1: Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Thomas Rhett, and more

Boots and Hearts is one of the biggest weekends on our calendar every summer. We’ve been at each of the first six festivals, and are looking forward to lucky number seven in 2018.

And now we know who to start getting excited for as B&H have announced their first round of performers, including three headliners that will take the main stage and run the show at Burl’s Creek.

We don’t know which night each Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, and Thomas Rhett will take the stage, but we’ll be ready to share that info with y’all when it becomes available.

Now, let’s have a look at the first six names on the Boots and Hearts 2018 artist roster…

Florida Georgia Line

Back again after a Sunday night gig as headliners, Florida Georgia Line, will hit the Boots and Hearts stage in front of tens of thousands of fans who should be in a party mood.

Yes, this is Florida Georgia Line, so there will be a whole bunch of people who complain about their return to the festival… but the truth is that Tyler and BK are headlining stars who know how to command a crowd, have a list of radio hits, and put on a show.

If we’re lucky (fingers crossed) we’ll hear the entire crowd singing along to H.O.L.Y. like we did in Toronto in 2016. It was an amazing live music moment, and we’d love to try to duplicate it at B&H 2018.

Florida Georgia Line Boots and Hearts 2015

Alan Jackson

I’m not entirely sure that I’ve processed this news to its complete extent yet. True story.

Alan Jackson is one of the country music stars that shaped my fandom when I was young. I listened and learned and sang along… and as when he starts singing Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow, Don’t Rock The Jukebox, and Chattahoochee, I’ll be the adult feeling like a kid who’s singing along as loud as I can.

This is huge. Really big. I’m excited.

Thomas Rhett

In our Boots & Hearts 2018 predictions post I included Thomas Rhett as the bonus name… and we nailed it!

Rhett’s Life Changes album will give him an expanded live library, and his showmanship and entertainment value are sure to get the crowd going. We know he loves to dance, and we’re sure we’ll see it on Crash And Burn, and we can’t wait to hear new songs like Smooth Like Summer and Sixteen this August.

We said we wanted to see Thomas Rhett in a headlining role – and here he is.

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015

Billy Currington

Currington has 11 US Country Airplay #1 hits, and six other songs that made it into the Top 5 on the country music charts. He’s been making music that’s been hitting country radio since 2003, and we’re finally going to see the Georgia native at Boots and Hearts this year.

We can’t wait to sing along to Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right, People Are Crazy, and the Sam Hunt penned, We Are Tonight. It’s gonna be fun!

Dallas Smith

One of the biggest country music stars in Canada is coming back to Canada’s biggest country music festival… and it’s going to be good.

We’ve seen Dallas Smith headline Thursday night’s kick off party, we’ve seen him main stage as the evening crowd poured in, we’ve seen him play arenas and amphitheatre stages – and this dude rocks every stage.

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

Be ready for the hits, high energy, and the chance to give some Canadian love to Dallas Smith next summer!

Dallas Smith CNE 2015

Brett Young

Here’s another we got right in the prediction post… and man we’re happy about it. Brett Young is an emerging star and he’s got a ton of talent.

He’s going to get up on that stage, and he’s going to kill with songs like Sleep Without You, In Case You Didn’t Know, and Like I Loved You. Be ready for it to get loud and happy and give you goosebumps when the country music loving crowd starts singing along.

Stay tuned for more names to be added to the Boots and Hearts 2018 lineup – and if you’re wondering who else we predicted for next year, check out our 15 Boots & Hearts 2018 Artist Predictions.

1 month ago

Country Music’s Sexiest Men, 2017

The internet is buzzing with rumours that Blake Shelton will be named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2017.

We aren’t here to tell you that they made the wrong choice, but we are here to put a spotlight on some of the other sexy men in country music.

In the last couple of years we’ve had the chance to see these men perform on stage, and as great as they are with the microphone in their hands, they elicit a whole lot of cheers for their look up there on stage.

Have a look at our list and pics of Blake Shelton and our 10 more sexy country music men, and leave a comment to tell us who you think is tops OR who you think we missed.

Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton-Country Thunder 2017 Blake Shelton is one of the biggest stars in the world today. Between his regular appearances at the top of the country music charts and his seat in the spinning chair on The Voice, he’s everywhere. And as the 41 year old Oklahoman adds more salt and pepper to his look, the sexier he seems to get.

Luke Bryan

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Luke Bryan What do we need to say to share the point that Luke Bryan is sexy?! The dude has women pawing at him so much he’s had to make rules about it. When he rotates his hips, it turns into gifs. This Georgia daddy has got to be on every ‘sexy men in country music’ list.

Brett Eldredge

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Brett Eldredge Boots and Hearts 2017 - Brett EldredgeThis rising star is smooth as silk and dapper as hell. Whether he’s on stage with a couple buttons undone, or he’s in a tux on the way to an awards show, he shines. The eyes, the smile, the voice, and the laugh… they add up for Brett Eldredge.

Dallas Smith

Dallas Smith CNE 2015Dallas Smith-Country Thunder 2017This Canadian country music rockstar has it all going for him. Give him some ripped jeans, roll up the sleeves to see the ink, and give him a little stubble of a beard if you’re into that sort of thing. Dallas Smith is legit.

Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016 Dylan Scott BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016This country boy has muscles to spare, looking like he could lift a truck if he wanted to. And Dylan Scott‘s eyes – staring right to your soul. Dang it, he’s got Mmm, Mmm, Mmm all wrapped up.

Mark Wystrach

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Midland Boots and Hearts 2017 - MidlandAs the lead man of Midland, Mark Wystrach is turning heads. If you didn’t already know, you could probably also guess that he’s had a career as a model. He’s chiseled and has the look and we could probably forgive him if he had a Drinkin’ Problem.

Chad Brownlee

Chad Brownlee - CNE 2017 Boots and Hearts 2017 - Chad BrownleeAnother good Canadian boy, this hockey player turned country star has it in spades. Chad Brownlee knows how to work the stage, the ladies scream for him every time we see him, and when he sings sweetly, it’s everything you dream about.

Chris Lane

Chris Lane-Trackside_Fest Chris Lane Sugar BeachChris Lane is a 33 year old from North Carolina, sharing a laid back cool that drips with sexy. And with his twin brother Cory on the drums, it’s double trouble when this country boy takes the stage in front of a crowd.

Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016 Sam. Hunt. This quarterback turned country superstar drive women wild, and put tears in their eyes when he proposed to his fiancée. On award show carpets and on stage, Sam Hunt is sexy as hell.

Jake Owen

Jake Owen BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Barefoot Jake has that Florida beach cool sexy going on. Long hair or short, Jake is sexy – and when he pushes that sweaty hair back and does his thing… he nails it!

Andrew Hyatt

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew Hyatt Andrew Hyatt in the shower - Side Effects Tour - OshawaAndrew Hyatt loves to work with his hands, he’s got a great beard, and this newly minted top 10 charting rising country star from Sudbury is picking up new crushes in every city he visits.

1 month ago

Indie Week 2017 Independent Women: Supermarket, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

M88 Entertainment Group LogoPresented by M88 Entertainment Group

Indie Week continued on Thursday night as we hit the Supermarket to see more talented women show Toronto music fans what they’ve got.

The M88 Entertainment Group showcase had a stacked bill which had us stopping in to check out Amanda Jordan, Alessia Cohle, and Alexis Lynn. It was fantastic to see more women on stage, and experiencing their sets.

As a sponsor of Indie Week, and the showcase organizers, M88 continued to show their support for emerging talent. We’ve seen it at events like this before, and we know that artists like Alessia Cohle have greatly benefitted from the branding, development, strategy, and management services that they offer to up and coming artists. They’re tag line is pretty clear, “We focus on the business, so you can focus on the music.”.

Amanda Jordan started the show, working with her guitar player to fill the room with music and start grabbing the attention of the assembled Indie Week crowd.

The Smith Falls, ON native was strong and smooth on stage, with a sweet voice and seemed to be effortless as she displayed all the little nuances that makes a live vocal performance special.

Amanda worked through her set of originals and covers, playing her 2014 single, Lettin’ It Go Tonight, as well as more recently tracks including Driving In The Dark, Unknow You, You Fit Me Better, and Kinda Like A Guy Like You, which Amanda performed for the first time in front of a live crowd.

It was great to hear Amanda’s versions of Miranda Lambert’s heartbreaking Tin Man, as well as Rascal Flatts more upbeat, I Like The Sound Of That. The two covers were a good balance, and rounded out the set well.

We’re not sure what’s coming next for Amanda, but we won’t at all be surprised if we start seeing and hearing more from her in the near future.

Alessia Cohle hit the stage next, bringing a full band and her own mix of originals and covers to the Supermarket crowd for Indie Week.

The Mississauga, On native came prepared to show off her voice, and her ability to perform on stage. Her energy was palpable, and it was easy to see the growth and strength that has come over the last couple of years since we were first introduced to the country singer.

Alessia played a selection of songs from her 2016 album, Talk To Me, as well as her brand new EP, Wanderlust, which was released on November 3.

Songs like the two title tracks, along with How Bad, Two Steps Ahead, and More all helped to show off the sound and vibe that Cohle is cultivating in her young career, and they offer a look into where she may be headed in the future.

Her choices of covers on the evening were a lot of fun too. With Kelsea Ballerini’s Love Me Like You Mean It, Lady Antebellum’s You Look Good, Elle King’s Ex’s And Oh’s, Carrie Underwood’s Smoke Break, Dusty Springfield’s Son Of A Preacher Man, and Maren Morris’s My Church all hitting their mark and encouraging the Thursday night audience to sing along.

Look for Alessia to hit a lot of stages in the next few months to play her new material, and then be ready for what comes next after that.

Alexis Lynn, all the way from Vancouver, BC was our last Indie Week act of the evening. The teenaged singer/songwriter brought her pop/R&B vibe to the stage and showed off what she’s got in a strong way.

Already tabbed as a top 20 under 20 talent in the 2016 CBC Searchlight Contest, the 18 year old showed all of the confidence you’d ever hope to see from a teenager on stage. And while she admitted that she’s most comfortable on the keys, she stripped it down to play her own acoustic guitar and didn’t miss a beat.

Alexis Lynn told the Toronto crowd that she’s working towards an EP release sometime soon, and to be honest, it won’t be soon enough. The power and smoothness in her voice was attention grabbing, and when she announced that she was going to play a cover by one of her favourites, nobody should have been surprised when she started singing Alicia Keys’ Fallin’.

Original songs like Same Girl, That Kiss, Even Friends, and I Love You I Do, all worked to show off what she’s got ready to share with the musical world. And her closing number, Promises, did an excellent job of wrapping things up in style.

Alexis Lynn, along with her guitar/keys/beats player Caesar, brought a groove that people danced and bobbed and rocked to from start to finish.

She’s one to watch.

Check out some more photos from Thursday night at Indie Week, and stay tuned for more live music coverage!

Amanda Jordan

Alessia Cohle

Alexis Lynn

1 month ago

Liar: Shae Dupuy Single Release Q&A and Contest

Hot on the heels of her Indie Week 2017 performance at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto, Shae Dupuy has a new single ready for the world.

Fans may feel familiar with Liar, but Shae is excited to release the version of the song that she’s been envisioning since it was written. As a bonus track on her 2016 EP, Brave, the acoustic version of Liar connected with fans and became her most streamed song on Spotify – and now she’s hoping to connect with them again.

We caught up with Shae for a quick Q&A – that we used to ask about the single… and what’s next. Thanks to her for playing along, check it out!

We’ve also teamed up with Shae Dupuy for a contest. Use the widget below to earn up to 8 entries for your chance to be the winner of a Shae Dupuy prize pack. Good luck!

AND, right below the last question we’ve got Liar lined up and ready for you. Just hit play!

Q: What made you want to go back to this song to record and release it again?

SD: Liar was one of my favourite songs off the last project but we never released it to radio or as a single, because it was just meant to be an acoustic bonus track off of the EP. The response we received was more than we expected and I knew then that I had to re-record this song. After the year I’ve had, now just feels like the perfect time for it.

Q: Does it still feel like the same story and bring the same feelings, or has it evolved?

SD: I think the emotions and sentiment is still there but I do feel like the song has grown with this new version.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern

Q: What feelings do you have when you release new music?

SD: It’s always a lot of nerves mixed with excitement. I put a lot of time, effort and myself into my songs, so putting them out into the world is always a bit scary.

Q: Is there anything you can share about new music coming for fans?

SD: There’s a lot of new music being written and recorded, but it won’t be released for a little while. So, if fans wanna hear the new stuff they’ll have to come on out to see some shows! Keep any eye on my socials for all upcoming shows!

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern

1 month ago

Country Sorta Way: Danielle Bourjeaurd at Indie Week 2017, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

M88 Entertainment Group LogoPresented by M88 Entertainment Group

Danielle Bourjeaurd came to Toronto for Indie Week 2017, hitting The Dakota Tavern for a set with her band on Wednesday night. But before she climbed up with her boys to play, we had the chance to hang out with Country Sorta Way singer/songwriter for a little acoustic performance and more.

She may be country girl, but Danielle was ready to sing on a chilly night in the city as we found a light in the alley beside the venue. And as you’ll see when you press play, her voice carried into the evening in a fantastic live rendition of What Difference Does She Make.

On stage Wednesday night, Danielle was revved up and ready to go. With the support of her band, her songs rang out and connected with the mid-week crowd at The Dakota Tavern.

With songs like Lakeside, What Difference Does She Make, and Happy Hour from her EP, Country Sorta Way, Danielle showed Toronto that she has the chops to hang with anyone in the genre we’re seeing right now.

But, as impressive as she was singing the songs that put a smile on her face from start to finish, we were further blown away when she slowed it down to sing an emotional tribute to her father with, This Guitar. She told the crowd that it was going to be a hard one, and as she sang we saw her look to the sky a couple of times. And whether it was for strength, or with thanks, it was the kind of thing that reminds us exactly how powerful music can be.

Danielle also shared some of her Nashville learned southern hospitality, leading the crowd in a toast during her set. It was a show of charm, but not the only one of the evening. Throughout the set she showed the crowd as much love as they showed her as we watched people singing along with her songs.

One of our other favourite performances of the night from Danielle was Bigger Glass. As suckers for a ‘getting over you’ song, this one is a winner. And both the live solo performance and the album version with Drew Smith are a great listen.

Note: We aren’t the only ones who thought Danielle had a great show. It was later announced by Indie Week that she was the winner of the Wednesday night showcase, and will be playing Saturday night at the Cameron House. Congratulations to Danielle!

This was our first chance to see Danielle Bourjeaurd live on stage. If we’re lucky, it won’t be our last. And if you’re looking for new music, and a new artist to add to your list of indie favourites, we suggest you look up this singer/songwriter soon.

While we had Danielle with us before the show, we sat with her for a round of 5 Quick Questions… check it out along with some more photos from the evening!

Q1) If you could put one album on in the car on a long drive, and let it play on repeat without skipping songs, which album would you choose?

DB) Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

That’s a good choice. Go put it on and don’t even try to pretend that you don’t want to sing along!

Q2) What is your favourite Shania jam?

DB) Any Man Of Mine… or Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under

We forgive her for choosing two songs… that’s a hard question.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Danielle Bourjeaurd at The Dakota Tavern

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

DB) McDonald’s.

We asked about her go to order, and she told us it’s cheeseburger happy meal, with a strawberry milkshake. Nice!

Q4) What is the one thing you always have to have in a writing session?

DB) My phone

Danielle told us that she uses her phone for notes, to brainstorm, and to help her write.

Q5) Is there an artist that you think people should be listening to more and paying more attention to?

DB) Ian Janes

She raved about his voice and talent, and because she thinks he’s that good, he sang on her album.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Danielle Bourjeaurd in the alley behind The Dakota Tavern

1 month ago

Indie Week 2017 Women of Country Music: The Dakota Tavern, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

M88 Entertainment Group LogoPresented by M88 Entertainment Group

Wednesday night was good for country music at Indie Week 2017 in Toronto with some very talented women taking the stage at the Dakota Tavern.

The energy in the room was fantastic from the start, with a great crowd coming in early, and support for the Indie Week artists on full display. In one of our favourite rooms in the city, we got to experience some fantastic live country music from Shae Dupuy, Julia Haggarty, and Dani Strong – that’s a pretty great way to spend a Wednesday night.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern

The mid-week entertainment started with Shae Dupuy on stage, bringing a full band and a full sound with her.

With a set that included Tin Man, Drink About It, a cover of Little Big Town’s Boondocks, a brand new song called Top Shelf Whiskey, and her upcoming single, Liar, Shae showed the Indie Week crowd what she brings to the party.

The energy and enthusiasm from Shae and her band filled the room and did an excellent job of getting things started, which isn’t always easy. But it was clear that the country singer was ready and comfortable on the Dakota Tavern stage.

Stay tuned for more from Shae Dupuy, it sounds like exciting things are coming from her very soon. We’re ready.

Julia Haggarty was next to take the Dakota Tavern stage, giving us our first chance to see the London, Ontario native perform live.

The singer/songwriter did her thing in a strong way on Wednesday, and with the band keeping pace, she put in work. In the live setting Julia showed that she’s got a lot to offer to music fans, starting with a powerful voice that can go for miles.

On songs including Him, Skydive, I Can’t Stand Still, and a track she co-wrote with Jessica Mitchell – Alone In Love, she shared herself with the Indie Week crowd, and they responded with praise and applause.

Julia Haggarty’s set ended with a stripped down version of her song, Anybody Like You, and the opportunity to hear it all scaled back was a great way to finish her time on stage.

Dani Strong followed with her band, doing everything we know she can when she gets up in front of a crowd.

Dani is one of the hardest working indie artists we know, and she has fun doing it. Through laughs, jokes, and sweet stories, she played a set that included Fallout, Mountains, Mrs. Jones, Where The Heck Is Dixieland, Wild One, and more.

We had the chance to see Dani recently at the Rivoli with Johnson Crook, and heard her play Healing, a song she wrote about mental illness, with thoughts of people she knows and cares about in mind. Having that song as well as, my personal favourite, What You Need, in the set was wonderful, and did all of the things that we know music can do when it comes to feelings and depth.

The Indie Week showcase at the Dakota Tavern was further proof that there’s a whole lot of female talent in country music, right here, and ready to play. We hope we get the chance to see all of these women again soon, and to hear new songs and stories.

Check out more photos from Wednesday night, and stay tuned for more Indie Week coverage!

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern

1 month ago

Indie Week 2017 Launch Party: The Hideout, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

Presented by M88 Entertainment Group

Indie Week 2017 has kicked off in Toronto, and it’s going to be a big one.

With nearly 30 venues across the city ready to host live music between November 7 and 12, Indie Week will put fans up close and personal with emerging talent that can’t wait to get out and show everyone what they’ve got.

We started our Indie Week adventure at The Hideout (423 College St.) for the official launch party and enjoyed a couple beverages (thanks Hop City Brewery and Jack Daniels) while the music flowed through the speakers and into the busy crowd.

With an extended 4am last call this week, music will be ringing out late into the night, which means everyone will have a lot of chances to soak it in and enjoy. We highly recommend checking out the Indie Week schedule to find a show or three – CLICK HERE to get started.

Tuesday night at The Hideout we caught four acts, Poor Nameless Boy, Pat Robitaille, Scalene, and The Empty Page on stage, and all four were ready for action.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Poor Nameless Boy

Poor Nameless Boy started the show with his singer/songwriter style flowing strong. Both solo with his acoustic guitar, and accompanied by an electric guitar and violin, Joel Henderson worked through his set and started his week strong.

Songs like Second Floor Balcony and I’m Not Going Anywhere showcased his indie folk vibe, and gave us a little JJ Shiplett feeling as he sang and played. And when Poor Nameless Boy exclaimed, “if you like a good country jam, here ya go” before he closed his set with 30 Photographs, we took notice and took it in.

Toronto is a long way from Regina, but we’re glad he made the trip and started Indie Week off right.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Pat Robitaille

Pat Robitaille was next on the stage, going solo and playing for the growing Tuesday night crowd.

With loops and pedals, Robitaille got to work with an eclectic set that included the first reggae song of his career, The Weed Song, and covers of Daniel Caesar and Radiohead.

For more than a decade, the Windsor, ON native has been putting in work on his music, and as an indie artist, a spot on stage at the Indie Week 2017 launch party was a perfect fit.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene

Scalene, a five piece Brazilian rock and roll outfit were the third act of the evening… and they took things to a whole new level.

With ringing guitar work, a tight sound, and energy that transferred freely to the crowd on the floor in front of them, Scalene owned the room in Toronto. And we’re willing to be they’ll do it again throughout the week at their upcoming shows (Wednesday @ Coalition, Thursday @ The Mod Club, Saturday @ The Garrison).

Scalene also proved that rock and roll is a universal language as they sang in Portuguese and the Toronto crowd didn’t blink, they just rocked right along with the band. Music is for all of us – and we’re glad these guys made the long flight in to play Indie Week in Toronto.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page

All the way from Manchester, UK – The Empty Page kept the party going at The Hideout.

Winners of Indie Week UK 2017, The Empty Page are in Toronto with four shows this week, looking to share their brand of Alternative Fuzz with Canadian music fans.

On Tuesday night, the trio plugged in and went at it, proving that they belong. The band has only been together since 2015, but you’d never know it. They were tight, on time, in rhythm, and ready to rock from their opening notes.

You’ve got three more chances to catch The Empty Page at Indie Week 2017 – Thursday @ Baby G, Friday @ The Paddock Tavern, and Saturday @ Cherry Cola’s. Don’t miss ’em.

There’s more music and Indie Week coverage coming. For now, check out more pics from Tuesday night at The Hideout, and get ready for great music.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Poor Nameless Boy Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Poor Nameless Boy Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Pat Robitaille Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Pat Robitaille Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Empty Stage at The Hideout

 

1 month ago

Goals: Andrew Hyatt, the Feature, presented by New Country Spirit

Presented by New Country Spirit

Andrew Hyatt is goal oriented, he told us so. Whether those goals are releasing an EP and full length album, getting his songs on the radio, or even just getting good enough at music to open for a local band, he’s willing to work to achieve them.

Hyatt told us that the last one mentioned there is the one that kind of got him started. He knew he wanted to give music a try, and so he set a goal of being good enough on his guitar and on the microphone to open for Parry Sound band, Red Umbrella. And now, as 2017 comes to a close, Andrew Hyatt has well surpassed that original goal.

We’ve had the chance to catch up with the Sudbury native a few times over the last couple of years, most recently in Oshawa on a Friday afternoon before he took the stage with Dallas Smith to sing a duet of his first Top 10 hit single, On Me. And as we’ve become more familiar with Andrew (and kept tabs on him through his social media accounts), we’ve known him to be a dude that likes cold beer, good whiskey, and isn’t afraid to take or make a joke.

In fact, before we sat down to talk to Andrew in Oshawa, he was 100% game when we suggested standing in the visitor’s locker room showers at Tribute Communities Centre for a photo op. Hell, he even turned on the water behind him before he posed for his shots.

Andrew Hyatt in the shower - Side Effects Tour - Oshawa

While Andrew is dedicated to setting and achieving his goals, there’s a certain amount of opportunity and perseverance that comes with launching a career in music, including Hyatt’s.

When we asked him what moment made him want to go all-in on the idea of music as a career, he told us about a chance he got in 2012 to open for Dean Brody at a sold out show in Sudbury. He had been playing local shows and open mics, and the right person saw him and asked if he and his band would be interested in opening for Brody (who was touring his latest release at the time, Dirt). Hyatt said yes, and the band plugged in to play for a sold out crowd. And that was the moment that he knew what he wanted to do.

He told us that there was video available online somewhere from that show… so we went looking for it! Watch Andrew Hyatt and his band on stage in front of his hometown Sudbury crowd, as Dean Brody’s opener on September 15, 2012 at the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre.

The idea that it would all be fast and easy after that show was quickly, and repeatedly nixed for Hyatt. He told us that he moved to Toronto three times to try to make music for a living, finally getting a foothold on the third attempt. He also told us that he put in his share of time in shitty apartments, with sketchy roommates that he didn’t trust. He also worked any and every job he could find – quitting to play a show if he couldn’t get the time off, and then finding another job when he needed to pay the rent.

It would be enough to make anyone wonder if they were doing the right thing. But Andrew Hyatt had goals.

On January 1, 2014, Andrew Hyatt released Love Drunk, his first track that country fans could find and buy from iTunes. And while that might have been one goal, it wasn’t enough.

Note: Texas, an earlier song from Hyatt, was released in 2012 on the Up & Coming Hitmakers, Round 1: East album – which can still be found iTunes.

Hyatt continued to write and work after the release of Love Drunk, and in 2015 he released Livin’ The Dream as a single, and followed it up with his EP, Never Back Down. The EP was a collection of six songs that achieved another goal, and afforded him the chance to release his first official lyric video.

He kept working, doing everything he could to get his music on the radio and out to the world. And when it was time for MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio) to be released to radio, Hyatt put together some handmade six pack beer can holders in his shop to send out to stations.

As many artists do when they’re starting out, Andrew Hyatt followed up the release of his EP by playing as many shows on as many nights in as many towns as he could. A look back through his dates on bandsintown.com shows him on stages across Ontario and as far as Calgary in 2015.

And he hasn’t slowed down since.

In May 2017 we did a Q&A with Andrew and asked him about playing live. Here are two questions and answers from that interview…

Q. What is your favourite thing about playing a stripped down set?

A. I love being able to tell the stories and let people in a little more on the intimacy of the songs.

Q. What is your favourite thing about playing a set with the full band?

A. The energy of standing in stage with some of your best friends is amazing. Before shows, no matter how tired we are we always remind each other that at 65 (if we make it) we will be wishing for it!

Note: In that same interview, Hyatt gave one of my favourite answers of all-time when he told us that he’d choose to be in an Alan Jackson cover band… so he could “grow a duster and water ski in jeans!”.

While we had Andrew with us in the locker room in Oshawa, we got him to play a quick round of 5 Quick Questions with us. Find out where Andrew’s going for a late night snack, his favourite Shania jam, who he thinks you should be listening to, and more…

On May 12, 2017, Andrew Hyatt released his debut full-length album, Iron & Ashes, crossing another goal off of his always evolving list.

The 12 track record quickly gained traction with some love from CMT and two One Shot videos for She Ain’t You and We Only Kiss On Sundays. Pairing those views with the pre-release hype that Andrew helped create with Canadian Music Week shows at The Phoenix and Boots & Bourbon Saloon in Toronto, and the pre-album single releases of MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio), That’s How I’m Livin’, and She Ain’t You, Hyatt found himself with an album that fans were excited for, and ready to dive into right away.

We asked about the songs and if there was a theme for Iron & Ashes and he told us that he had been going through a lot of personal changes in his life, and that he really needed to write it all down.

He also told us that there’s a quote from Tolstoy, “truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”, that helped set him in the direction of writing the record and explains how refining life can be uncomfortable but worth it.

Fast forward a couple months to the summer of 2017, and the release of On Me to country radio. The single quickly became Hyatt’s highest charting release, climbing into the Top 30, the Top 20, and then this September the track moved into the Top 10, crossing another goal off of every country singers list.

When we talked to Andrew in August 2017 at Boots & Hearts we asked him about hitting the Top 20 with the single. He told us that his first calls after he got the news were to the band. And to celebrate, he cracked a bottle of Crown Royal special reserve that he had been saving for this specific special occasion.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew Hyatt

We aren’t sure what Andrew did to celebrate moving into the Top 10 for the first time, but we’re hoping there was another bottle involved.

Jump forward again with us to fall 2017 and Hyatt’s guest spot on Dallas Smith’s Side Effects Tours. This is part of the news Andrew Hyatt told us that he couldn’t share in August… the other part being that Dallas Smith (the four time #1 hit maker) has become his manager. It’s a big step for the Sudbury native, having someone that knows the ropes, the ins and outs, and has made his own climb to the top, on his side.

We asked Smith about working with Andrew while we were in Oshawa at the Side Effects Tour stop, and the Sky Stays This Blue star told us that he was excited to be working with the emerging star. He also tipped us off to new music being on the way…

And then, on October 27, 2017, Andrew Hyatt dropped a brand new single. Do It With You isn’t from the album, it isn’t a song we’ve heard Hyatt play live, and it isn’t something we knew was coming so soon.

But, Andrew did tell us that new music was coming, and that it was giving him a chance to continue to grow as an artist and find out who he is. And in listening to Do It With You, we can hear the new perspective and story. This isn’t a post-breakup song, this one’s for the girls.

He also told us that there’s a trip to Nashville coming soon so he can get some more writing done, which will mean even more new music again in the future.

Andrew Hyatt - Northern Comfort Saloon - CNE 2017

Andrew Hyatt told us that things have felt like they’re snowballing in the last few months. He’s gaining momentum, things keep moving forward and getting bigger. And that’s a good thing.

He also acknowledged that it’s been a lot of hard work since we first talked to him about MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio) at those CMAOs in Markham. And that it’s been a long ride… and a good experience.

We don’t know exactly what’s coming next for Hyatt, his career is still in a fast moving, ready for action mode. But we do know this…

Andrew Hyatt will continue to set goals, because that’s what he does. And if he continues to put the work in, and pairs it with his talent, dedication, and the opportunities that continue to come his way, he’ll be crossing more goals off of his list – and often.


Andrew Hyatt in the locker room - Side Effects Tour - OshawaAndrew Hyatt in the shower - Side Effects Tour - OshawaAndrew Hyatt with Joshua Murray in the locker room - Side Effects Tour - OshawaBoots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew HyattBoots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew HyattCMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt

1 month ago

National Country Girls Day: Dean Brody Contest and Q&A

Dean Brody is used to looking out into the crowd and seeing country girls. And now, with the release of his newest single, 8th Day, he’s celebrating those women, and giving them a day of their own.

In fact, Wednesday, November 8, 2017 will be all theirs as Dean presents National Country Girls Day in Canada – and to celebrate, we’re teaming up with the Beautiful Freakshow singer to give away a special prize!

Dean and his team have given us a signed poster that we’re going to give away to a fan who plays along. Here’s what you have to do…

1) On Wednesday, November 8, 2017 post a photo or story celebrating National Country Girls Day on social media.

2) Use the hashtag #NationalCountryGirlsDay to make sure that everyone can find it.

3) Tag Dean Brody (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram) AND tag thereviewsarein (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram) so we can see your posts and you have a chance to win!

It’s really easy. If you’re a country girl – or you love country music and you’re a girl, post a picture that shows it off and add #NationalCountryGirlsDay in the caption. And if you’re a boy who loves a country girl, or girls that love country music, post a pic or tell a story and add #NationalCountryGirlsDay in the caption.

Someone that posts something awesome is going to win an awesome signed poster from Dean Brody for participating – and we can’t wait for it!

Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017

To celebrate the release of 8th Day we also asked Dean a couple questions about the song, and country girls…

Thanks to Dean for playing along with us. Check it out.

Q: What inspired this song while you were working on Beautiful Freakshow?

Dean: I’ve seen the saying before in a slightly different way: “on the eighth day God made a farmer.” So we thought (with co-writer/producer Matt Rovey) it would be cool to do a take on that saying and make a song about country girls, because, they are definitely a unique and awesome part of creation themselves.

Q: Every show you play you get to look out over the crowd and see these country girls singing along to your songs. Is this song a gift back to them from you?

Dean: If they accept it, yes!

Q: Do you have any advice for boys who fall in love with country girls?

Dean: Listen to them. You’ll probably learn something. And be thankful you have someone who appreciates the things in life that you do.

Q: If God made country girls on the 8th day, what do you think he made on the 9th?

Dean: He was exhausted so he went fishing and rested. Again. They took a lot of work. Ask any country girl’s father. But they were worth it!

Remember to keep an eye on the #NationalCountryGirlDay hashtag on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 – this is going to be fun! Good luck!


Boots and Hearts 2017 - Dean BrodyDean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017Dean Brody - CNE Bandshell 2016

1 month ago

Past The Past: Jess Moskaluke Live at Toronto’s YouTube Space

Jess Moskaluke wanted to do something different to celebrate and promote the release of her brand new album, Past The Past. So, the Juno and Canadian Country Music Association award winner came to Toronto, teamed up with YouTube, and live streamed an acoustic release party for the world to see.

It was a full circle type of project for the Saskatchewan native who started her career and fanbase on YouTube more than six years ago.

We’ve had the chance to talk to Jess about YouTube and the internet about how important it has been and continues to be for her career, and she acknowledges, accepts, and embraces it. As she’s told us, she doesn’t know any other way really, this is how it works for her.

On Friday night in Toronto, fans gathered around as Moskaluke and her band played songs from the new album, and some fan favourites. Some of those fans were contest winners that we were happy to send to the event – thanks to Jess’s team for helping us make that happen.

We also want to shout out Paul McGuire, who we all love, for doing a great job hosting the live stream at the Toronto YouTube space. Yes, we all miss seeing Paul on CMT Canada… but if you love country music, keep your eyes open, because he’s still going to be around and you’ll have lots of chances to see him. Stay tuned.

If you haven’t taken the chance to listen to Past The Past yet, we highly recommend that you do. And, when Jess announces tour dates and live shows in 2018 (they’re coming, we’ll tell you when we know more), we suggest that you get a ticket to see her perform.

Now, check out the recording of the live stream YouTube video, some more photos from the evening, and listen to the full album. Enjoy!

If you want to listen to the live acoustic performances of Jess singing… you can jump from song to song at times listed here.

Jess Moskaluke, Past The Past Album Release Setlist, YouTube Live Toronto

📹 Drive Me Away (14:25)
📹 Kiss Me Quiet (18:10)
📹 Kill Your Love(28:45)
📹 Camouflage (32:55)
📹 Right When Ya Left (44:55)
📹 Save Some Of That Whiskey (49:00)
📹 Take Me Home (58:08)
📹 Past The Past (1:02:45)
📹 Cheap Wine And Cigarettes (1:15:50)

And if you want to sit back and enjoy the music, the stories, some laughs and more – start the show, and enjoy!

Jess Moskaluke at YouTube in Toronto

1 month ago
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