Boots and Hearts

On The Rocks: Midland Album Review

Midland, one of the hottest acts north and south of the border, have dropped their full-length debut album, On The Rocks, and we’ve been listening.

With 13 tracks clocking in at 45 minutes, Midland has released a highly anticipated collection of songs that don’t disappoint. All of the hype that’s grown since the release of their #1 single, Drinkin’ Problem, has been lived up to sonically. And now it’s only a matter of time and fan reaction to see how high this album climbs and where it stays.

From cheeky odes to Colorado weed, to ballads telling the story of playing bars and dance halls up and down the highway, On The Rocks is an album full of stories. It’s country music written as country music is at its best.

And when it’s time to just sit back and listen, Midland continues to do what has brought them this far, they sing. The three voices of Mark Wystrach, Jess Carson, and Cameron Duddy fit like your favourite pair of faded jeans, and are as smooth as the good whiskey you save for special occasions. Add in the guitars, strings, and piano throughout the album and the sound becomes full and complete.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Midland

Related: Midland at Boots & Hearts 2017

To say that Midland has captured the attention of country music and its fans is an understatement. Their throwback sound and style has been a refreshing reminder that country music has many faces, and that country music fans are free to embrace a band like Midland as well as any of the other chart topping acts they love.

Note: Midland’s photo shoots and stage outfits make us wish we were all in the late 70s/early 80s to see how these boys would stack up in their colourful and sparkly outfits.

We’d be remiss not to mention the band’s newest single and music video, Make A Little. We heard the track like at Boots & Hearts this summer, and are happy to hear that it has been given a wide release. The toe tapper comes in at just over three minutes of good vibes and smiles. It’s catchy, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see it rise on the charts.

There is a lot to like about Midland and this album. And while some may scoff at the outfits and the moustaches, all it takes is a listen to understand that this is legit. These are songs that allow for both escape and connection. This is entertainment and comfort. It’s what we love most about music of any genre. And while we wish songs like 14 Gears and Gator Boys were included with Check Cashin’ Country, Somewhere On The Wind, and Nothin’ New Under The Neon – we aren’t complaining.

BUT, if Mark, Jess and Cameron are listening, we’d gladly take an hour long, 17 track follow-up when it’s time for the next album.

Midland, On The Rocks Tracklist

1. Lonely For You Only
2. Make A Little
3. Drinkin’ Problem
4. At Least You Cried
5. Burn Out
6. Out Of Sight
7. More Than A Fever
8. Check Cashin’ Country
9. Nothin’ New Under The Neon
10. This Old Heart
11. Altitude Adjustment
12. Electric Rodeo
13. Somewhere On The Wind

If you’ve been waiting for this album, you won’t be disappointed. If you’ve never heard Midland and you like country music, we highly encourage you to give it a listen. And if you grew up on country music from a generation past, these boys are a nice bridge that you can stand on.

We asked Ontario country singer/songwriter Ben Hudson for his thoughts on the album and here’s what he had to share… “Midland’s On The Rocks is the album country music fans never knew they needed. Their three-part harmony and steel guitar driven sound paired with radio friendly hooks strikes the perfect balance between traditional and modern country”.

Press play now and listen to Midland’s full-length debut album, On The Rocks.

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1 month ago Views

There Goes The Neighbourhood: Nice Horse Album Review

Nice Horse is in the saddle and ready to ride with the release of their debut album, There Goes The Neighbourhood.

The four talented women out of Calgary, Alberta have put together a solid collection of eight tracks as a follow up to their four track EP release earlier this year (A Little Unstable). And after multiple listens to the new album, the chance to see Kaley Debra, Krista Lee, Brandi Caroline, and Katie Marie play live, and a little educated guessing for the future – we’re here to tell you that it won’t be long until there are more songs, and more people clamouring for Nice Horse content.

There Goes The Neighbourhood comes out of the gate with Pony Up, a banger that will get toes tapping, shows off the vocals and harmonies of the band, and serves as an excellent start to the party. If hitting play on this song is anyone’s introduction to the band, they’ll get an instant taste of the good timing capabilities of these country musicians.

The record continues with a selection of songs that makes you want to dance and maybe have a drink or two… as well as a slowed down tracks that show off even more range, and the ability of these songwriters and performers to take listeners on the full journey that country music offers to its fans. The collection of voices on these eight songs is impressive. With no single member of the band overshadowing the rest, this truly feels like a four woman act, not a lead singer and supporting musicians. And whether they’re taking turns on the microphone, or coming together with smooth harmonies that blend together so very nicely, Nice Horse makes his album sound like a full band showcase.

Note: We had the chance to see and meet Nice Horse at Boots & Hearts this summer, and we’d be lying if we said we aren’t looking forward to our next chance to hang out with them. These women are funny, genuine, don’t pull any punches, and are ready to have a good time doing what they love. When you get the chance to see them live, take it.

While we’re not sure if it will ever be a radio single, we want to shout out the fan favourite potential of Mansplainin’, a clever and catchy track that could very easily become a rallying cry and anthem for women who are 100% sick of men being as cliched and ridiculous as they can be.

From start to finish, There Goes The Neighbourhood is a strong debut full length release from Nice Horse. Yes, we wish there were three more tracks, but that’s just a further testament to the quality of the eight tracks on the album. The weaving back and forth of upbeat front porch party songs and slowed down songs that let you slip away into the music is well executed. The energy and levity of the four friends mixes perfectly with the more tender side that they share when things change direction.

If you don’t know Nice Horse yet, now’s the time. Check out the photos from Boots & Hearts 2017 and press play on the album stream to get started.

Nice Horse, There Goes The Neighbourhood Tracklist

1. Pony Up
2. Jim, Jack, Johnnie & Jose
3. Six Strong Outlaw
4. Mansplainin’
5. Tonight
6. Beer Baby Banjo
7. Put Your Lips On Me
8. Hold Your Horses

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Nice Horse

1 month ago Views

15 Boots & Hearts 2018 Artist Predictions

With the dates for Boots & Hearts 2018 released and our recovery from the 2017 festival complete, it’s time to look at our predictions for BH7 next August.

As always, the names listed below have been picked because we fully believe there is a chance that they could play the festival. Yes, we’d love to see Garth and Reba, but the odds are very, very, very long on that happening. So, we’ve put together this list of 15 country artists that we’re predicting for Boots & Hearts 2018.

When you’re done reading, please leave a comment telling us who you think we got right, and who you think will be at Burl’s Creek next summer.

Note: All artist names have been listed in alphabetical order… not in order of preference or how certain we are with the prediction.

Boots and Hearts 2018 Headliners

Chris Young

Chris Young Trackside Fest 2016

The newest invitee of the Grand Ole Opry is on quite a run. With 5 studio albums (plus a Christmas record) on his resume, there’s no shortage of material for Young to bust out in a 90 minute headlining set. And with songs that are guaranteed to get people singing along at the top of their lungs… this would work.

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney may be the biggest gamble here. The four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year winner has a reputation for putting on a great show, and with 14 studio albums worth of material, we know that he could have 40,000+ country music fans singing along from start to finish.

Little Big Town

Little Big Town was on the original schedule for Boots & Hearts 2015, but had to cancel due to medical issues. We’ve been hoping and waiting ever since for them to be added back to the list. In these last couple of years the quartet has elevated themselves to legitimate headlining status, and we truly hope that the Canadian fans that love B&H get to see them sing.

Zac Brown Band

CMT Music Fest - Zac Brown Band

We’ve seen the Zac Brown Band headline for at CMT Music Fest in 2016… and we’d gladly do it all over again at Boots & Hearts 2018. With a long list of hits and fan favourites, and a reputation for playing amazing covers of songs people love, ZBB could headline any night of the festival.

We’re good with all four of these options. None of them have played Boots & Hearts in the first six years of the festival, making them exciting options for year seven, and all of them come with hits, fan favourites, and star power.

Supporting Talent

Andrew Hyatt
Andrew Hyatt - Northern Comfort Saloon - CNE 2017With his first Top 20 single on the books, upcoming tour dates with Dallas Smith that will earn him new attention and fans, and the kind of energy that delivers a great show – Andrew Hyatt should make his main stage debut at Boots & Hearts 2018.

Brett Kissel
Brett Kissel - CNE 2017We’ve been waiting for a Canadian opener since Boots & Hearts year 1, and while Brett may be at the top of our list to nab that spot – we’re look at him as the direct support for someone like Zac Brown or Little Big Town on Saturday or Sunday night

Brett Young
Brett Young’s star is rising fast! We saw him this summer on tour with Lady Antebellum, and this dude has what it takes to entertain a crowd. Look for him late in the afternoon as party heats up.

Carly Pearce
Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017Pearce is another rising star in American country. Her debut album drops this fall, and with success already coming to her with her first single, Every Little Thing, we’d be surprised not to see her bring the Big Machine bus to Boots & Hearts 2018.

Dan Davidson
Dan Davidson - Rod, Gun and Barbers ParkdaleLikeable, talented, and always ready to play music, Dan Davidson is a great bet to come east to Ontario and play for the Boots & Hearts crowd. Fans already dig Found and Barn Burner, and by next summer we’re guessing they’ll be ready to sing along to even more.

Dustin Lynch
A cowboy hat, jeans, and t-shirt looks good on the Boots & Hearts stage, we’ve seen it before. And if Dustin Lynch shows up in that outfit and plays his hits (the dude’s top 10 Spotify tracks have more than 200,000,000 plays) we know the Canadian country fans would be seein’ red.

Jojo Mason
JoJo Mason BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016The first time Jojo Mason played Boots & Hearts the crowd chanted his name and made it a day he’ll never forget. Now, fans have had a chance to learn more about Jojo with his debut album, Both Sides Of The Bar, and his CCMA nomination for 2017 Rising Star. If Jojo were to come back with his energy and those songs, it’d be all good.

Kelsea Ballerini
Kelsea Ballerini has been number 1 with Dibs, Peter Pan, and Love Me Like You Mean It, and fans are in love with her voice and her style. We’ve seen her live, and the chance to see it again at Boots & Hearts with some of the biggest names in country music makes perfect sense to us.

Madeline Merlo
Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo rocks a summer vibe like almost nobody we’ve ever known, so seeing her back on the Boots & Hearts stage on a sunny summer afternoon seems like a perfect fit. Whether she plays the main stage, or a late slot on the front porch, we know a crowd of Canadian country fans would be there to sing along with the B.C. native.

Maren Morris

A post shared by Maren Morris (@marenmorris) on


Maren Morris is quickly becoming one of the young queens of country music. Her debut album, Hero, is filled with jams from front to back, and her duet with Thomas Rhett on Craving You earned her two CMA nominations (Vocal Event and Music Video of the Year) to go along with her Female Vocalist of the Year nomination. Let’s see her on the big stage!

The Reklaws
Budweiser County Fair The ReklawsThese Boots & Hearts vets are due back to the country’s biggest summer festival after releasing a banger with Hometown Kids, and the promise of more new music on the way. Be ready to see them back at their old stomping grounds.

Bonus

Thomas Rhett
Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015With main stage talent and charisma, Thomas Rhett could headline Friday night, or be the perfect lead in to Kenny Chesney or Little Big Town. I’d lean towards headlining option, only because we’ve already seen him in the direct support spot at Boots & Hearts already. Also, if you haven’t heard it yet, go listen to Thomas Rhett’s brand new album, Life Changes!

Who do you think I got right? Who do you think I got wrong? Who do you think I missed?

Leave a comment and tell me!

1 month ago Views

Side Effects: Dallas Smith Backstage Interview, Toronto

Before he surprised the crowd at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto as a special guest of Dean Brody, Dallas Smith hung out with us to talk about his upcoming tour, what it feels like to go #1, and more.

The first time we saw Dallas Smith playing live country music was at Boots & Hearts in 2012. It was year one of the festival, Smith was still new to the country genre, and he played in the middle of the sunny afternoon to country music fans who sang along to covers and listened to him play songs from his first album, Jumped Right In. We asked him about that day, and the journey since then to playing bigger stages for bigger crowds.

Dallas remembers the afternoon show, and then jumped ahead to talk about the 2014 Thursday night kick off party at the same festival. Smith headlined that night, to a monster crowd on the front porch stage, and he remembers that feeling. We were there, and we remember that night too. He was on fire, running all over the stage and showing the country music fans that he belonged on the list of rising stars in the genre. He jumped again to put a highlight on his 2015 visit to Boots & Hearts when he played the lead in to Eric Church on the Saturday night main stage. We could see in his face that he remembers that night with a special feeling. He told us that he took a bunch of video of the crowd because it was such a significant moment in his live performance career.

Dallas Smith Boots and Hearts 2015

Staying on the live show topic, we talked about Dallas Smith’s recently announced, Side Effects Tour that will see him play 27 dates between October 12 and November 18. He told us that the tour has been in the works for months, and that it was exciting to be able to make the announcement this week. It’s also exciting, he said, to be hitting the road with the likes of The Cadillac Three, Lauren Alaina, Michael Ray, and for one night, the James Barker Band. Here’s our recommendation, if the Side Effects Tour is coming to a city anywhere near you, get tickets and be there.

A common thread throughout our chat were the feelings that have come at different moments in Dallas Smith’s career. With Sky Stays This Blue recently becoming his fourth #1 single, we asked about the feelings that have some with those milestones. Dallas told us that they all felt special of course, but the first one, Wastin’ Gas was something he’d never felt before. And when it stayed at the top for a second week, that was truly a feeling to remember. We asked who got the first call after he found out about his number one status, and while he couldn’t remember exactly, he’s sure it was either his dad or his wife… and both of those options sound good to us.

Dallas Smith also told us there’s one feeling that never changes and never goes away; the feeling that comes when thousands of people in the crowd take over and sing his songs back to him. We’ve seen and heard it, and we told him that we watch for the reactions from artists when it happens, and he confirmed for us that it’s all legit. The smiles and expressions he, and other singers, give when a choir of country fans starts singing are 100% real, and it never gets old.

Dallas Smith CNE 2015

Before our time was up, we asked Smith about the music video for Sky Stays This Blue and how special it was to be able to include his daughter, Vayda. Dallas told us that he’d had the idea to include her in a video to capture her at a young age and create a memory that they can both hold onto in the future. He said that the song fit perfectly with that idea, and that with a scaled down version of director Stephano Barberis’ original idea, a small crew was able to capture the feeling and vibe that Smith had hoped for from the very beginning.

During Dean Brody’s set on Thursday night at the Budweiser Stage, Dallas Smith was introduced to a thunderous round of cheers and applause. The crowd, already pumped up from Carly Pearce, Tim Hicks, and the start of Dean Brody’s set went wild when the B.C. native came out in a Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays jersey. And when he teamed up with Dean for a duet of Brody’s 2009 single, Undone, and then borrowed the band to play Somebody Somewhere, it stayed loud. Really loud.

Smith was ready for that moment, excited, he told us it was the first time he’d be coming out as a surprise guest. We saw it all, and we can tell you this, it worked, he just jumped right in.

2 months ago Views

Homemade: Cold Creek County at Boots & Hearts 2017

Cold Creek County are no strangers to big Canadian country music stages, and at Boots & Hearts 2017 they took the main stage in the Sunday afternoon sun to share their hits, fan favourites, and more with the B&H crowd.

The 2016 CMAO Group of The Year, Rising Star, and Fan’s Choice award winners pulled triple duty at Boots & Hearts, also hitting the SiriusXM popup stage in the VIP barn, and climbing up to the Coors Banquet rig stage, all in an effort to entertain as many music fans as possible at the biggest country music festival in Canada.

And with performances of songs Beer Weather, Our Town, and their new single, from their EP of the same name, Homemade, the six dudes of Cold Creek County did exactly that.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Cold Creek County

Note: Ches Anthony has done a fantastic job joining CCC and taking over the lead man duties. The band hasn’t missed a beat, and they continue to be as entertaining and talented as ever.

On the Boots & Hearts main stage, the band pumped out a full sound, providing sing along moments to songs that the crowd clearly loves. And their excitement for the opportunity to play the festival on the same night as headliners Brett Eldredge and Luke Bryan was clear.

Cold Creek County are a whole lot of fun, a whole lot of talent, and put out a whole lot of sound, no matter what stage they’re on. And when you get the chance to see these country rockers play live, we recommend that you get yourself a ticket and enjoy the show!

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Til The Goin’ Gets Gone: Lindi Ortega at Boots & Hearts 2017

Lindi Ortega is as original a talent as their is on the 2017 country music landscape. With a sound that is revered by fans and critics alike, she popped up on the Boots & Hearts 2017 Front Porch Stage and showed everyone why she’s making waves in music.

Singing songs like Run Amuck, Angels, I Ain’t The Girl, and Demons Don’t Get Me Down, Ortega showed the Saturday afternoon crowd why she’s a Rolling Stone favourite, and why her 2017 EP, Til The Goin’ Gets Gone has received praise and love from listeners.

Note: Mainstream country fans in Canada may know Lindi Ortega’s name from her work with Dean Brody on the 2013 #1 hit, Bounty. But if you haven’t listened to her solo work, we highly recommend it.
Boots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi Ortega

And it’s not just music fans that believe in Lindi. JJ Shiplett told us before and during the festival that he was excited to see her set, adding, “She’s the best singer in Canada right now. Her voice has the warmth of Emmylou Harris and the attitude of Dolly Parton.”. That’s pretty high praise.

Lindi was fun, energetic, charming, and sweet on stage as she and the band rolled through their set. And we can tell you right now, when we get the chance to see her again, we’re going to jump on it!

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Don’t Love Me: Jessica Mitchell at Boots & Hearts 2017

Jessica Mitchell is a treasure and a talent, and on Friday at Boots & Hearts 2017 she climbed up on the Front Porch stage and showed it.

In the middle of the afternoon, Jessica and her band played and sang and entertained. They filled the space with sound, they expressed the emotion and depth of Mitchell’s music, and they proved that this is still just the start of something special.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jessica Mitchell

Related -> Jessica Mitchell, the Feature

We’ve been on the Jessica Mitchell bandwagon for the last 18 months or so, and in that time we’ve watched as she found the spotlight with Workin’ On Whiskey and earned standing ovations. At Boots & Hearts she put her soulful voice in the spotlight again, sharing songs including Workin’ On Whiskey, Tear It Down, That Record Saved My Life, and one of our favourite moments of the weekend when she stripped it down on the piano for Don’t Love Me.

Related -> Jessica Mitchell at Boots & Hearts 2016!

Jessica Mitchell is on the rise, and music fans across Canada are only going to see and hear more from her as new music is recorded and released.

Be ready. Be excited. We are.

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El Rio: Frankie Ballard at Boots & Hearts 2017

When he was 19 years old, Frankie Ballard used to take trips across the border to Windsor, ON from Michigan to have a drink, a Cuban cigar, and gamble a little. But on Friday at Boots & Hearts 2017, Ballard came north to put on a show!

Frankie Ballard and the Wildcat Band hit the main stage looking like a million rockabilly bucks, and sounding just as good. Hell, they might be the coolest looking band we’ve seen on stage in a long, long time.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Frankie Ballard

From the very start, and all the way through their set, Frankie Ballard and the boys showed that they have the musical chops to hang with any live country band, and Ballard himself reminding everyone in the crowd that he can pick it on both his electric and acoustic guitars.

Along with the sweet instrumental sounds, Frankie Ballard’s voice rang true as he started his Boots & Hearts main stage set with Young & Crazy, and moved onto tracks like Little Bit Of Both, Started With A Beer, Helluva Life, El Camino, You’ll Accomp’ny Me, Sunshine & Whiskey, and more. And when Ballard launched into a cover of Johnny Cash’s Big River, we got a peek at what it might have looked like to see James Dean channeling Elvis while covering Cash.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Frankie Ballard

Throughout the set fans were singing along with their favourites, dancing and swaying in the crowd, and having an overall great time. It’s important to remember these moments before the rains came – because they were a whole lot of fun!

When you get a chance to see Frankie Ballard playing on any stage, take it. When you get a chance to sing along, do it. And when you have a chance to look as cool as Frankie Ballard, go for it!

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Fingerprints: Eli Young Band at Boots & Hearts 2017

Saturday nights were made for live music, and at Boots & Hearts 2017, the Eli Young Band came through big time with exactly what we needed. The boys from Texas came north and warmed up the big stage for headliner, Brantley Gilbert, and they did a hell of a job.

From the top, Eli and the boys were on fire. Notes were hit, things were tight, fans were singing, dancing, cheering, and waiting for the hits they so desperately wanted to hear. Throughout the set, we heard a selection of radio hits, fan favourites, and cuts from their 2017 album, Fingerprints. As they rolled from song to song we watch girls pop up on shoulders, couples swaying together, and friends with arms over shoulders, shouting along and allowing the music to wash over them and bring them together in a moment.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Eli Young Band-

Note: We learned on Sunday that Alee is a big Eli Young Band fan, telling us about sitting around listening to songs like Always The Love Songs and singing along almost 10 years ago now.

With all of the new country artists and bands that have burst onto the scene in the last few years, it may be that the Eli Young Band has become underrated. Go ahead and listen to Jet Black And Jealous, Drunk Last Night or Crazy Girl and you’ll be reminded how great they are. And then go listen to songs like Saltwater Gospel, Skin & Bones, and Never Land to be reminded of how good they still are today.

Up on stage, the Eli Young Band made us happy, and that’s always what we’re hoping for from live music performances in any genre.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Eli Young Band

If you haven’t seen the Eli Young Band live, or if it’s been years since you did, we’re here to suggest that you Click Here to find a show near you and get there!

Eli Young Band, Boots & Hearts 2017 Setlist

👉🏼 Prayer For The Road
👉🏼 Jet Black And Jealous
👉🏼 When It Rains
👉🏼 Skin & Bones
👉🏼 Dust On The Bottle (David Lee Murphy)
👉🏼 Dust
👉🏼 Never Land
👉🏼 Saltwater Gospel
👉🏼 Drunk Last Night
👉🏼 Come Together
👉🏼 Small Town Kid
👉🏼 Guinevere
👉🏼 Always The Love Songs
👉🏼 Even If It Breaks Your Heart
👉🏼 Learning To Fly (Tom Petty)
👉🏼 Crazy Girl

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2 months ago Views

What You Need: Dani Strong at Boots & Hearts 2017

In the early Sunday afternoon sun, Dani Strong and her band hit the Boots & Hearts 2017 main stage to share songs from her record, Time To Breathe, and keep the festival party going… strong.

Dani Strong showed the fans in the field everything we already knew, she was funny, charming, and showed off her talent with songs like Where The Heck Is Dixieland, Done (The Band Perry), Wild One, and her new single, What You Need.

The big Boots & Hearts stage allows for a lot of sound, and Dani Strong’s band brought it, with six talented dudes backing her up. The pairing of Dani’s voice and the quality of the music behind her fit the Sunday crowd well, and we know that the Canadian indie country singer songwriter will do it all over again the next time she gets the chance.

2 months ago Views

Pony Up: Nice Horse at Boots & Hearts 2017

In the middle of the Saturday afternoon sun, Nice Horse took to the Boots & Hearts Front Porch Stage to introduce themselves to some new fans, and play some music that we’re all going to hear a lot more of soon.

Kaley Debra, Krista Lee, Brandi Caroline, and Katie Marie are energetic, effervescent, and exactly what we could have hoped for when we hung out later in the afternoon for a chat about their summer, what’s next, and a bucket list item we all agree a social media campaign can help with… or at least not hurt.

The women of Nice Horse shoot from the lip, the idea of being contrived doesn’t seem like it even appears on their radar, and we like it that way. As we chatted, sitting in the grass like a bunch of kids at camp, all four women took turns telling stories and leaving an impression that we won’t soon forget. Online they describe themselves as “It’s the Zac Brown Band in miniskirts; the Runaways at a hoedown; the Spice Girls on a whiskey bender.”, and we can’t find a good argument against that.

On stage they make the same impression. Songs like Pony Up and Jim, Jack, Johnnie & Jose are party starters, good times waiting to happen that country music fans can’t help but tap their toes to, at the very least. They perform with the kind of harmony that comes from being friends for years, and not just bandmates. And that’s exactly how it started.

Nice Horse started as an idea on a girls trip to Hawaii, with some songs that the quartet had written, the idea that they could play some local shows and the Calgary Stampede, and perhaps the persuasion of a few umbrella drinks. And boy has it all become bigger than that.

Since that decision to give it a go as a group, Nice Horse has seen their name on festival lineups, on tour with Canadian Music Hall of Famer, Tom Cochrane, on their 2017 EP A Little Unstable, and soon on a brand new album!

Note: That bucket list item… we asked the band who they would love to open for, and Shania Twain came into the conversation very quickly. And as we continued to talk about social media and such, the hashtag #ShaniaNeedsUs was born. So, if you see it online, share it!

They’ve also gone all in on social media, sharing their lives and adventures with fans as often as they get the chance. And they told us that they love it. To them, the idea of taking a quick photo or video of what they’re up to is natural, it’s something they would be doing if they were just hanging out and hadn’t decided to put the band together. In fact, when we asked the ladies what they’d like us to pass on to the internet in this post, one of the things they mentioned was their social media channels. So, if you’re looking for a good follow, check ‘em out.

Nice Horse Facebook
Nice Horse Twitter
Nice Horse Instagram

Note: Our personal favourite interviews include a lot of laughing and sharing of stories that weren’t planned going in. And our time with Nice Horse at Boots & Hearts was exactly that.

Listening to Nice Horse was a treat. As a band they’ve got it going on, their sound is full and tight, they compliment each other very well, and they have that thing that makes them performers that you want to watch. If we had to guess, we’d tell you we’ll be seeing the Alberta foursome back in Ontario for B&H again.

Listen for Pony Up on your favourite country music radio station, and be ready for that debut full-length album on September 8, 2017!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Nice Horse

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A Long And Happy Life: Delta Rae at Boots & Hearts 2017

Delta Rae came from the south to play for the Canadian country music fans at Boots & Hearts 2017, and we’re willing to bet they put themselves on more than a few new playlists with their Sunday afternoon set.

The six piece folk/Americana/country act took over the main stage in the sun and showed off their well crafted sound, filled with harmonies, sweetness, soul, and then some as fans sang along, danced, swayed, and cheered in the field in front of them. From the start, their cover of Seven Bridges Road set the tone for the sound that the Boots & Hearts faithful could expect from the band.

We caught up with Elizabeth, Brittany, Eric, Ian, Mike, and Grant after the set to talk about coming to Canada, what we need to eat in the south, sports, and harmonies… and we’re pretty sure that we might have found six new best friends.

When we asked the band what it’s like coming to Canada, they told us that this trip started with the smoothest border crossing of all time, but in more general terms, it seems there are a lot of things these southern sons and daughters love about coming north of the border. They started with the people, and talked about how they’ve encountered so many nice people. But they weren’t satisfied with nice as a description, and Canadians were upgraded to kind and warm, and we could see in their eyes that they were happy to be sharing that opinion.

Delta Rae also showed a fondness for sports in the conversation, as we talked about the Canadian Football League, college basketball, touched on fantasy football, and realized that we were going way longer on all of those topics than we intended when we started our time together.

Note: I didn’t know it at the time, but Ian and Eric both graduated from Duke University, so when I brought up the University of North Carolina basketball program we started a well-natured argument about the superiority of each of our favourite programs. Names like Christian Laettner, Vince Carter, and Michael Jordan were thrown around before a truce was called. However, we may have to reach out to the band to talk hoops again in the spring.

On stage, as Delta Rae belted their way through tracks like A Long And Happy Life (the title track from their new EP) Ain’t Love, No Dry Eye In The Chapel, No Peace In Quiet, If I Loved You, and more, we soaked it all in. These voices, and the instruments that accompany them feel like they were made for each other. There is a smoothness and sweetness that flows through the speakers when they play. And there’s a pureness that exudes.

While we were talking, the Delta Rae members talked about their love for the multiculturalism in metropolitan Canada, and highlighted the fact there are always so many varied ethnic food choices available when they come to Canadian cities. So, naturally we asked about food in the south, and what one thing we need to try on a trip. We were told, without hesitation, that southern BBQ was the way to go. However, there is a disagreement in the band as to the best choice of BBQ sauce. It seems that there’s some strife within the band when it comes to the choice between vinegar and tomato based sauces to cover the meat.

And before we finished our hangout, we talked about those harmonies. I asked if the band they found inspiration in genres of music outside country, and they told me that they grew up with country and gospel flowing together. And that they find inspiration in those gospel harmonies as much as anything else.

Here’s hoping that next time we hang out with Delta Rae we get to hear them sing even more songs for us, and maybe a couple of hymns too.

Boots-and-Hearts-2017-Delta-Rae-Interview

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Deal With It: Alee at Boots & Hearts 2017

After a little hop and a couple deep breaths, Alee took to the Boots & Hearts 2017 main stage to kick off the Sunday music… and she killed it.

With an energetic and strong set, the 2-time Alberta Country Music Association Award winner for Female Artist of the Year proved that she’s earned her nomination for the 2017 Female Artist of the Year award from the Canadian Country Music Association. And while her set may have only been six songs long in the Sunday sun, there was dancing and singing and cheering along to songs including; Bad Habit, Deal With It, and Moonshine, in the field at Oro-Medonte.

Later in the afternoon we caught up with the Edmonton native to talk about the summer, what’s next, her CCMA nomination, and even got a tip for everyone going to Saskatoon for Canadian Country Music Week.

She told us that the summer has been great, with shows at Big Valley Jamboree, Boots & Hearts and more already, and Lucknow Music in the Fields still to come. And that she’s been learning to squeeze in writing time every chance she gets so she’s ready to go when it’s time to start laying down tracks for her next album.

We asked her about the feeling of getting on the big stages, and she said that it’s exciting. And through her smile and energy on the Sunday stage, we could see that excitement. Alee also told us that the band all looked at each other and had a little moment to appreciate that this may be the best that their music has ever sounded.

Note: We spotted Alee’s label mate, occasional writing partner, and fellow Boots & Hearts 2017 performer, Andrew Hyatt up in the wings watching the set and jamming along.

We landed on her CCMA nomination more than once while we were hanging out, and learned that this feels pretty great for a few reasons.

1) The obvious one, to be regarded as one of the top 5 female country artists in Canada is special. She mentioned that being in the top 10 is special itself, but to make the final ballot is something else.

2) She found out about the nomination while she was south, just outside of Nashville, and the first person she wanted to call was her grandmother, who lives in the Saskatoon area and will be coming to the awards with her.

3) Alee suggests that first-time visitors to Saskatoon take a trip down to the river for some hangout time.

We asked Alee what’s coming next, and she told us that she hopes to set some time aside for songwriting this fall. And she added that she’d love to take a trip to really get away and get in a writing space. She has a few ideas of where she’d like to go, but nothing is concrete yet. We can tell you this though, she’s got good ideas.

Note: We’ve also learned that Alee is a big fan of chicken wings. We don’t know her favourite flavour yet, but we’ll find out!

With her debut label album, Bad Habit, becoming a hit with country music fans, and her CCMA nomination putting her name in a brighter spotlight, Alee is poised to make some noise on the Canadian country music scene.

Deal with it.

Alee, Boots & Hearts 2017 Setlist

Turn This Night On
Deal With It
When I Do
Don’t Wait
Bad Habit
Moonshine

Boots-and-Hearts-2017-Alee-Interview-1Boots-and-Hearts-2017-Alee-Interview-2

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Momma And Jesus: Tucker Beathard at Boots & Hearts 2017

Tucker Beathard just wants to make music. And on Saturday afternoon he came north to Boots & Hearts and did just that on the Front Porch Stage.

While he was at the festival, the songwriting Southern son caught up with us in the shade of a big old tree to talk about his music, what’s coming up, and live performances. Tucker was soft spoken as we chatted, but his low voice wasn’t because of an absence of passion for what he does or why he was there. When we started talking about music you could tell that he cares very much, and he wants to do it more.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Tucker Beathard
Related -> Rock On: Tucker Beathard in Toronto!

On stage, Tucker Beathard strapped on his guitar and went to work. As a songwriter he’s honest and clear, and as a performer he’s the same. His voice pushes a little louder than it did in private, and goes to work sharing these songs that he’s brought into the world.

We asked about more music, and the Nashville native told us that the songs are ready for his debut full-length album (to follow up his 2016 EP, Fight Like Hell). He followed info up by telling us that he just wants to get it out there. He wants to share his music, he wants to play his new music live. Tucker knows though that there has to be a plan, so he’s waiting, and he’s ready, and we’re sure he’ll be packed to tour his new album when the time comes.

The summer of 2017 has been busy for Beathard. He told us that he’s been to a lot of fairs and festivals… with Boots & Hearts the biggest in Canada, and Lollapalooza a clear highlight in the States. He’s also toured with Boots & Hearts headliner Brantley Gilbert, giving him an up close look at what rowdy country fans look like on a nightly basis.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Tucker Beathard

While we talked about live music and performances we asked Tucker who he would like to tour with when it’s time to take out his new album share it. His answer, Eric Church. And we can’t blame him for that at all.

We also asked about finding inspiration and appreciation for other live performers, and Tucker told us that it’s easy to see things that artists do on stage that he can then tell himself to try, or avoid. And when we asked for a highlight from this year, he singled out Machine Gun Kelly at Lollapalooza.

Tucker loves to play, write, sing, and share music. It’s in his blood. It’s been passed down to him. And it comes to him honestly and naturally. He can break your heart, or make you move. And we’re betting on this album that he can’t wait to release, he’s going to do both.

But until then, we’ll be listening to songs like Rock On, Momma And Jesus, and I’ll Take On The World With You, and think about that time we saw him singing them up on the Front Porch Stage at Boots & Hearts 2017.

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Hillbilly Jewels: Kelly Prescott at Boots & Hearts 2017

Kelly Prescott took a break from her run on the CP Canada 150 Train with Dean Brody to hit the Front Porch Stage at Boots & Hearts 2017 to give the assembled country music fans a little taste of what she brings to the table.

The Ottawa Valley native and her band gave it all they had in the Sunday afternoon sun, playing songs from Prescott’s Hillbilly Jewels EP and then some. From start to finish, the sound was great, Kelly was her regular funny and charming self on stage, and the fans at the Front Porch were able to groove along with her while she played and sang.

Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017

There’s a truth and cleverness that mixes so well in Kelly Prescott’s voice and music. She can take you from a serious story that bleeds country, to a silly ditty like Heels Over Head (bound to become a live show fan favourite) in an instant.

If you don’t know Kelly Prescott and songs like Hillbilly Jewels, Coming Home To You, Grin And Wear It, and Losing My Hometown, you owe it to yourself to hit play on her EP here and give it a go.

And then go see Kelly Prescott live the next time you get the chance!


Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017

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