Dani Strong

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

CMW 2017: Game On, James Barker Band Release Party with Andrew Hyatt, Dan Davidson and Friends

Friday nights are good for parties. Country music is good for parties. Canadian Music Week is good for parties. Now, go ahead and put all three of those things together and you’ve got yourself a red hot night, and we were there.

On Friday at Boots & Bourbon Saloon on Queen Street East, we hung out with artists, industry, and a heap of fans as 5 acts hit the stage, headlined by the James Barker Band as they celebrated the release of their brand new EP, Game On. The room was packed. There was excitement and positivity and adrenaline in the air… and on stage there were smiles and laughs and sweat and songs from start to finish.

In sports it’s common to hear someone say that they need to leave it all on the field/ice/court/whatever. On Friday night it was the same deal, everyone that performed, from Dani Strong to The Reklaws to Dan Davidson to Andrew Hyatt to JBB at the end, left it all on stage. And we saw it and appreciated the hell out of it.

Side Note: There were some awesome entertainers in the room to check out this show… we think we saw all of them, but maybe we missed a couple. Here’s our list: Jess Moskaluke, Washboard Union, Leah Daniels, Kris Barclay, Ben Hudson, Karli June, Vanessa Marie Carter.

Dani Strong kicked off the show, in her Maple Leafs t-shirt, openly cheering for the home team to pull out a win. She was excited, entertaining, and exactly what we know her to be on stage. Dani is one of the happiest and funniest performers we know. This woman loves to play, and as the opener she did a fantastic job of greeting the early crowd and setting the tone for the night.

We recommend checking Dani Strong out in person and online – where you might just catch her playing and singing in the bathroom on a pretty regular basis.

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Following Dani, much to our personal delight, were The Reklaws.

Stuart and Jenna have been on our radar since day 1. And it was exciting for us to see them on stage with new songs, strong voices, an energetic performance, and the same charisma we know and love.

It had been a while since we’d seen the sibling singers, so it was extra special to see the growth in their game. And to be able to talk to both of them, and find out just how excited they are about the new music was the cherry on top. With their label (Universal) behind them, and the crowd response to their set on the Boots & Bourbon stage, we’re sure that we’ll be seeing and hearing more from The Reklaws sooner rather than later.

High five, hugs and good jobs to Jenna and Stuart.

In the middle of the bill, all the way from Alberta, was Dan Davidson. And he made his presence felt and earned a warm welcome from Toronto country music fans.

With radio hits like Found and Barn Burner to share, Davidson brought sing alongs to the crowd and looked like he absolutely loved every minute of the action. With his full band firing on all cylinders, the sound pumped perfectly through the speakers and moved through the room. People danced and sang and cheered – and it was certainly a momentum builder at the mid-way point of the party.

Side Note: We were lucky enough to see half of Nice Horse up on stage singing with Davidson. They sounded great, added to the show, and made us want to see all of them doing their own thing on the spotlight.

The energy that Dan Davidson brings to the stage is undeniable, and his experience with Tupelo Honey shines through in his performances. But it’s also pretty clear that he’s found a home in Canadian country music… and that you’ll be hearing a whole lot more of him before long!

Second to last, in the “get y’all ready for the headliner” slot, was a late add to the party plans. Andrew Hyatt, fresh off his killer performance at The Phoenix on Tuesday night, hit the Boots & Bourbon stage like a force of nature.

Side Note: I talked to Andrew about the set on Saturday night and he told me that it felt like the old punk shows that he went to as a teen. The crowd brought it, and he felt like he should have been looking for a rafter to hang from.

The crowd was on fire, Hyatt’s band The Good Intentions were loud, tight, and locked in, and Andrew poured his heart and a gallon of sweat into his set. The Sudbury native pulled the Toronto crowd in and gave them what they wanted and all he had. With MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio), Livin’ The Dream, Love Drunk to get folks singing along, there was no denying the power and fun of the set.

Side Note: Hyatt also gave us a surprise by bringing up Alee to sing her top 20 hit, and their co-write, Moonshine. It was a fun moment, and it’s a great song.

And when Hyatt got to his newest release, She Ain’t You, there were goosebumps in the room. The power of the lyrics, the feelings, and how he presented it all in one piece were outstanding and impossible for me to quantify because I am all in on this song.

With a new album coming in May, and a summer that looks to be full of stage time, Andrew Hyatt is going to make noise. Be ready for it.

Rounding out the night, celebrating the release of their debut, and blowing the roof off of the joint, was James Barker Band.

The boys were on fire – excited about the day, excited about the show, and full of everything we’ve come to know about them. These dudes like to play music, they have fun doing it, and it’s plastered all over their faces.

From the right side of the stage to the left we watched 5 play, sing, and smile their way through their set. And the fans on the floor were all in, singing along to radio hits Just Sayin’, Chills, and Lawn Chair Lazy – as well as a pretty sweet little cover of George Thorogood’s Keep Your Hands To Yourself.

Since winning the Emerging Artist Showcase at Boots & Hearts in 2015 there has been no stopping these guys. And with the release of the Game On EP, upcoming tour dates all over the country, and the backing of their label (Universal) there is no telling just how high the ceiling is for the James Barker Band.

Side Note: It’s been cool to see the evolution in the boys since their big win as well. From the get-go they had talent that we could all see, but the last year and a half has given them a chance to get tighter, smoother, and has turned them into the kind of live performers that country music fans are going to line up to see for a long time.

Seriously, seeing these guys in 2017 at Boots & Bourbon for Canadian Music Week may have been the last chance Toronto had to get that up close and personal.

And they enjoyed it!

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6 months ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2017 Lineup Announcement: Chad Brownlee, Jess Moskaluke, Eli Young Band, and more!

Boots & Hearts is back with a big announcement today… with 20 new names added to the 2017 festival lineup.

Some of these artists we’ve seen a bunch, some we’ve never seen at all, and that makes us pretty freakin’ excited for August 10-13, 2017.

Get yourself ready, this is getting big.

Today’s Announcement Includes…

Chad Brownlee
We are happy campers to see this Canadian headliner added to the Boots & Hearts lineup. Chad isn’t new to the festival, but he has new music to share since the last time he hit the B&H stage.

We can’t wait to see Chad up there, with the entire crowd singing along to his radio hits!

Chad Brownlee Boots and Hearts 2015

Eli Young Band
If you were looking for a name you knew, this should be it! The Eli Young Band are sure to bring a bunch of energy, talent, and smooth sounding songs to the Boots & Hearts stage when they play their set.

We don’t know which day we’ll see them, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s gonna be good.

Frankie Ballard
Frankie’s back! Mr. Ballard played Boots & Hearts in 2015, and now he’s coming back to do it again. We expect the crowd to be bigger and louder, and we expect that Frankie Ballard will be ready for it.

Get ready to sing loud when he plays Cigarette and Sunshine & Whiskey.

 

Jess Moskaluke
YES! Ms. Moskaluke is still the top of the heap when it comes to Canadian women in country music. Her third consecutive CCMA win for Female Artist of the Year should tell you that.

Jess has been on the small stage twice in her Boots & Hearts career – the last time playing the kick-off party. This year we’re expecting to see her on the main stage, playing for some very excited country music fans.

Jess Moskaluke Trackside Fest 2016

Kiefer Sutherland
Yes, that Kiefer Sutherland. If you haven’t listened to Kiefer’s 2016 album, Down In A Hole, give it a listen now (click here to listen on Spotify) and get ready for his stage performance.

This isn’t the first Hollywood star to play the festival… year 1 attendees will remember Kevin Costner getting it done.

Kiefer Sutherland Band at The Horseshoe Toronto Jazz Festival 2016

Tucker Beathard
We saw Tucker last year at a small showcase in Toronto… and after seeing him sit with his guitar and sing, we can’t wait to see the full show when he’s plugged in with the band.

His star is rising, you’ve probably heard Rock On, and you should go listen to Momma and Jesus to get yourself ready.

Tucker Beathard - The Rivoli

Drake White and the Big Fire
We saw Drake White last summer… and the dude is a lot of fun on stage. He sounds great and he brings a love for doing what he does when he’s up there. And he’s got a great hat.

This will be a sing and drink and dance along set.

CMT Music Fest - Drake White & The Big Fire

 

Brooke Eden
This Florida powerhouse has been on a ton of “ones to watch” lists in the last 2 years, and now we’re going to get to hear in person why she’s landed on all of them.

Boots & Hearts is bringing girl power to the stage. And we’re into it.

Cold Creek County
Canadian country fans already know these boys… but if you haven’t seen them yet, this is a great opportunity. They bring as much energy as anyone in the game when they step on stage. And they fill the stage with dudes and sound when they get to playing.

Be ready, this one is going to get loud.

Aubrie Sellers
They call her a Texas/Nashville hybrid… and we can get behind that. Sellers will be making her Boots & Hearts debut – which means a whole lot of fans to grab. And we’re sure she’ll be up to it.

Get ready for this 20something to show you what she’s got.

Lindi Ortega
Lindi Ortega is an underrated add to this list. With all kinds of critical acclaim, and fans who absolutely love her, Ortega is going to be great at Boots & Hearts.

Her signature sound and style are going to present some awesome “wow” moments for new fans this summer.

Endless Summer
Clint and Bob Moffat may never have been names that country fans thought they’d see on a festival lineup… but here they are. Endless Summer has been putting in work to show their country chops and build their fanbase. And, they’re super nice guys who can truly play and sing.

The boys announced online that they will be handling some hosting duties on the weekend as well – so be ready to see them on stage more than once.

CCMA Awards 2016 Strut Social House Endless Summer

Midland
They hype is legit when it comes to Midland. You may have seen other country artists talking about how much they’re into what these guys are bringing… and if you haven’t, we can tell you that we trust their judgement.

We don’t know where these new comers will land on the schedule, but we’ll be there to listen.

JJ Shiplett
We had a feeling that JJ would be making the trip to Boots & Hearts this summer to share the new music from Something To Believe In, and we’re very happy that he’s going to have that chance.

Be ready for a sing along and grab a beer, this is gonna be good.

The Abrams
The Abrams have been rising stars for the last little while… and their single, Champion, has been heard by a lot of people. The boys opened for Brett Kissel on the Ice, Snow & 30 Below tour – and got a shout out to us from Brett during Canadian Country Music Week 2016.

We’re expecting some energy with this one – to go along with a great sound.

Jessica Mitchell
Thank Goodness! We love this talented young woman, and the small taste of her that Boots & Hearts fans got on the SiriusXM stage just wasn’t enough. If you only know Workin’ On Whiskey, please go listen to her EP (click here to listen on Spotify) and get ready.

Prepare for jokes, songs, and feelings when Jessica Mitchell gets on stage at B&H.

Jessica Mitchell at The Horseshoe Toronto Jazz Festival 2016

Dani Strong
Dani is a hard working, talented country artist – and we’re happy that she’s going to get this chance to play at Boots & Hearts. We’ve had the chance to see her play on a couple of stages over the last 2 years, and we’re sure she’ll bring the same love to the stage this summer.

Be ready for a good time, it’s gonna happen.

Kelly Prescott
Kelly is on the rise. Featured as December 2016’s CMAO artist of the month, she’s been working hard, playing hard, and showing a whole lot of people that she’s got what it takes to play with the big kids.

We’re looking for energy, great songs, and Kelly Prescott working hard again to show new listeners that she’s one to watch.

Andrew Hyatt
We like Andrew a lot. Can’t lie. He’s a good dude who plays good music, builds all kinds of woodshop projects when he’s got the time – and sent us a hilarious Christmas wish to share last year.

You might not think you know Andrew Hyatt, but be ready to sing along to MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio) when he plays it loud.

CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt

Jesse Gold
Another up and comer, Jesse will be looking to show the country fans at Boots & Hearts that he belongs and that they should be listening. And we think he will. Be ready for all kinds of effort and passion for the music when he’s playing.

You won’t be disappointed.

and more…

Stay tuned for more from Boots & Hearts 2017 – we can’t wait to hear what the next news is going to be… but we know we’re going to have contests, fun info, and more to share.

9 months ago Views

CMW 2016: Boots & Hearts Hot Shots Showcase – Photo Review

On Tuesday, May 3 at The Phoenix, Boots & Hearts brought a country music party to Toronto!

In partnership with KX96 and KX94.7, the Canadian Music Week Hot Shots Showcase featured Blackjack Billy, Meghan Patrick, Eric Ethridge, the James Barker Band, Dani Strong, and Kansas Stone in a 5 hour concert that had the crowd singing, dancing, and stomping along from start to finish.

We were there to shoot the show, and have a ton of photos we want to share with you.

Thanks to Ray Williams for shooting with us, you can find him on Twitter at @aperfectpixel  and he’ll have more photos from more shows coming up soon on thereviewsarein.com!

Enjoy the shots, and click here to check out our full review of the Boots & Hearts Hot Shots Showcase!

Blackjack Billy

Black Jack Billy Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixelBlackjack Billy Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Blackjack Billy Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixelBlackjack Billy Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016BlackjackBilly Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixelBlackjack Billy Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Blackjack Billy Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Blackjack Billy Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixelBlackjack Billy Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Blackjack Billy Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixelBlackjackBilly Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixelBlackjack Billy Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Blackjack Billy Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixelBlackjack Billy Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel

Meghan Patrick

Meghan Patrick Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel Meghan Patrick Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel Meghan Patrick Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel Meghan Patrick Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel Meghan Patrick Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel Meghan Patrick The Phoenix full CMW 2016-2196 Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick Band The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick Band The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick Band The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016

Eric Ethridge

Eric Ethridge Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-5267Eric Ethridge Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Eric Ethridge Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-2094 Eric Ethridge Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-2086 Eric Ethridge Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-2042 Eric Ethridge Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-2041 Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-5281 Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-5286 Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-5294 Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-5296 Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Eric Ethridge Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016

Dani Strong

Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016

James Barker Band

James Barker Band The Phoenix Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016James Barker Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 James Barker Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 James Barker Band The Phoenix Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 James Barker Band The Phoenix Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 James Barker Band The Phoenix Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 James Barker Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 James Barker Band Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016

Kansas Stone

Kansas Stone The Phoenix Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016Kansas Stone The Phoenix Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Kansas Stone Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 - Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel Kansas Stone Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel Kansas Stone Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel Kansas Stone Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixel Kansas Stone The Phoenix Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Kansas Stone The Phoenix Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Kansas Stone The Phoenix Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Kansas Stone The Phoenix Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Kansas Stone The Phoenix Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016

 

1 year ago Views

CMW 2016: Boots & Hearts Hot Shots Showcase!

Tuesday night CMW went country at The Phoenix, when Boots & Hearts, KX96, and KX94.7 took over the joint and brought 6 acts up to the stage to take their turns making boots stomp and drinks flow.

The party was a pre-celebration of Boots & Hearts 5th anniversary festival this August, but it was also a showcase event for some up-and-coming talent that was more than ready to do their work in front of a crowd that was hungry for action on a Tuesday night. And before we continue, I know that Tuesday isn’t generally a party kind of night, but from the first note to the last, you’d have had a hard time proving it.

Before the show there were ticket holders ready and waiting and lined up down the lane and onto the sidewalk on Sherbourne. And when the doors opened at 7pm a rush of people came in, looking for their spot to catch the show, checking out the merch at the back, and making their way to the bar for round 1 of the night.

Boots & Hearts Hot Shots CMW Showcase Lineup

★ Kansas Stone
★ Dani Strong
★ James Barker Band
★ Eric Ethridge
★ Meghan Patrick
★ Blackjack Billy

First up was Kansas Stone, a Barrie band ready to make waves with their rock/country vibe and ready to party persona.

The boys were handed a tough task, a cold crowd eager to see the headliners later in the night, but they didn’t back down, and they didn’t disappoint. Matt and Brian gave The Phoenix a taste of what they have to offer with Country In The City, Hand In Mine, Country 101, Drink On, and a sweet little cover of FGL’s ‘Round Here.

With a new album coming in the next few months and an EP coming at the end of May, we’re betting that Kansas Stone is going to be around here a lot more in the very near future.

Kansas Stone The Phoenix Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-1744

Dani Strong took the stage with the crowd in a party mood, and she did not let them down. With a full band behind her the room was full of sound, and smiles almost as big as the one of Dani’s own face. The BC born Strong looked genuinely happy to be playing, and it came through in her songs.

We got an upbeat, good timing set that featured some big power moments and notes that reminded me of Sheryl Crow… and we can call that a good thing.

Dani impressed, and we can’t wait for more of that full band party atmosphere when we see her again.

Dani Strong The Phoenix Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-5212

Third to hit the stage, and certainly up to the task, was the James Barker Band!

These 5 boys are the reigning winners of the Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase and will be back on stage at B&H this August. And while it’s been a few months since we’ve seen them, it doesn’t look like they’ve missed a beat.

Tracks like Livin’ The Dream, Babe Watch, Lawn Chair Lazy (coming to radio soon), and even a medley that included Lose Yourself and Killin’ In The Name Of were perfect for a party, and again, even on a Tuesday, the crowd was ready and willing to play along and party with them. The band is tight, the harmonies are well worked, and these boys aren’t hard to look at… which makes it easy to predict that we’ll see more of them soon.

James Barker Band The Phoenix Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-1981

Eric Ethridge followed the Barker boys, and in a leather jacket that many of the women in the crowd wish he would have just taken off, provided another level of excitement as Tuesday night wore on.

A huge 7 man band took over the stage and filled The Phoenix with sound, and they did it with a ton of energy. Nobody stood still, nobody took a song off, and nobody in the crowd was disappointed. Eric had people dancing and singing and grooving with a set that included Stay A Little Longer, Between Me & You, and The South – and if given the chance we know he would have stayed up there longer and given more.

Next time… we’re sure of it.

Eric Ethridge Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-2042

2nd to last, but maybe most anticipated was Meghan Patrick.

Meghan took the stage to a big pop from the crowd, her full band behind her ready to play, and a smile on her face that told us she was ready for the party.

Check out our full review of Meghan’s set, photos, and her setlist HERE!

Meghan Patrick The Phoenix full CMW 2016-2196

Last, but most certainly not least, came Blackjack Billy.

We’ve talked about bands getting a party started, and keeping a party going, but these boys, when they step on stage, they ARE the party!

Right out of the gate Blackjack Billy brought an energy pop to the crowd that felt perfect after the build up throughout the night. They got a little loud, they got a little crazy, and they gave just as much as they possibly could to the audience.

The crowd sang and danced and drank along with tracks like Slow Dancin’ Under The Sheets, Blood Sweat, And Beer, Working On You, and a crowd favourite that they wrote with Tim Hicks… an unofficial Canadian anthem… Stronger Beer.

If you haven’t seen Blackjack Billy live, no matter what night of the week, you owe it to yourself to keep tabs on when they’re coming to a town near you.

Trust us.

Black Jack Billy Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-2345Black Jack Billy Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016-2458

Want more photos & videos from the Boots & Hearts Hot Shots CMW Showcase!

1 year ago Views

CMW 2016 Preview: Boots & Hearts Hot Shots Showcase

Canadian Music Week is coming… and it’s one of our favourite times of year in the city. The bars and clubs will be filled with artists and fans, there will be new music to discover, and on May 3rd at The Phoenix, there will be country music, brought to you by Boots & Hearts!

BH5 ThumbYup, to celebrate B&H’s 5th year there’s going to be a party featuring some awesome acts playing country tunes from start to finish.

To reward Boots & Hearts ticket buyers in the Toronto area an RSVP option is available for the show… a nice bonus for fans who know that the 4 day festival in August is already worth the price of admission.

And if you’re not a ticket holder, but you have a CMW wristband, you’re going to want to get to The Phoenix early, because a limited number of spots will be held for the 7pm show.

The lineup features B&H performers and exciting acts that you are going to be hearing a lot more from in the very near future…

2016 Boots & Hearts Hot Shots CMW Showcase Lineup

Blackjack Billy Boots and Hearts 2015

Blackjack Billy at Boots & Hearts 2015

Blackjack Billy
Meghan Patrick
Eric Ethridge
James Barker Band
Dani Strong
Kansas Stone

Last year we saw Blackjack Billy kill it at the Coors Banquet Kick Off Party… and this year Meghan Patrick is geared up to do the exact same thing. Meanwhile, the James Barker Band won the SiriusXM Emerging Artist Showcase and Eric Ethridge came in a close second place. Rounding out the field we’ve got Dani Strong and Kansas Stone, 2 Ontario artists that we can’t wait to see up on stage as part of this show.

It’s important to remember that this is a showcase show, which means we probably won’t be seeing hour long sets from these 6 artists… but it also means we’re going to get the best these 6 acts have to give – so you won’t want to miss a single minute of the on stage action.

So whether you’re a Boots & Hearts ticket holder, or a CMW wristband owner, if you love country music, The Phoenix is going to be the place to go on Tuesday, May 3rd at 7pm.

We’ll see you there.

Work Hard. Play Harder. Be Awesome!

BH5 PreParty Toronto

2 years ago Views

Bright Lights, Big Country: Jess Moskaluke, Madeline Merlo, The Lovelocks & Friends in Toronto

On a Thursday night, at the start of the Holiday Season, country music fans from across the GTA packed The Phoenix Concert Theatre for a busy night of music from new artists, radio favourites, and free pizza.

The Bright Lights, Big Country show (hosted by KX96, KX94.7 & Pizza Nova) brought 7 artists to the stage, including 2015 CCMA Rising Star, Madeline Merlo and 2014 & 2015 CCMA Female Artist of the Year, Jess Moskaluke – and from 8 to 11:30 the place was in a constant state of happy as fans sang and clapped and danced along to the songs coming from the speakers.

Note: We sat down with Madeline Merlo pre-show to talk about 2015 highlights, plans for 2016, Christmas, whiskey, and more. Check it out HERE!

Eric Ethridge Bright Lights Big City Toronto The PhoenixThe Bright Lights, Big Country show did a great job of keeping the action hot on stage by bringing up 3 emerging artists for showcase opportunities. Eric Ethridge, Dani Strong, and Sykamore all hopped up to sing one song each for the crowd, and none of them disappointed.

Keep any eye on Eric Ethridge in 2016, this dude has got the sound and energy and look to end up on more stages and more venues, and in front of more people as he continues to make a name for himself. And here’s a little shoutout to Travis Wood and Gavin Slate for writing the song that Eric sang on Thursday night, Lips Don’t Lie. Keep an ear out for that one.

The night of country was kicked actually kicked off with a little acoustic fun from another rising star, Jesse Labelle.

Labelle came out to greet the crowd, guitar in hand, and did a great job of warming up the crowd. Why Wouldn’t We and Heartbreak Coverup for feet moving and smiles on faces… and then the big pop came when Jesse invited an old friend up on stage to turn up the heat.

Mike Robins (one half of Autumn Hill, who had a HUGE 2015) added his voice and guitar and screaming fans to the mix, and together with Labelle, belted out Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ and Keith Urban’s Somebody Like You. It was a treat for the fans, and it certainly looked like the boys enjoyed it too.

After Mike left, Jesse finished things off with Some Kind Of Good. A pretty apt description of his set.

Also with a full band set, playing a hometown show, and doing a great job of it, were The Lovelocks.

Ali and Zoe have been hard at work making new music, playing shows all over the place, and sending out Christmas cards to supporters over the last little while, so it was extra nice to get a hello and hug backstage before the show… but the real treat, as always, came when they took the stage.

With a nice selection of songs we’ve heard the girls sing before, including I Do Not, Dance, and Born To Love PLUS a cover of Joni Mitchell’s River, we got songs we could sing along to and a little taste of Christmas.

We can’t wait for the new music coming from The Lovelocks in 2016, and for more live shows to enjoy.

Madeline Merlot Bright Lights Big City Toronto The PhoenixNext in the feature spotlight was 2015 CCMA Rising Star, and overall sweetheart, Madeline Merlo.

Madeline took the stage with her band and got a nice pop from the country fans in attendance, which must have made an impact because it didn’t take long for her to look out and say, “Wow, there’s a lot of people here!”.

Madeline mixed her songs with a little cover action to put on a fun little set at The Phoenix. Originals including I’m Alive, Sinking Like A Stone, and Honey Jack, paired well with a taste of Etta James’ I’d Rather Go Blind and a funky mash-up of Miley’s We Can’t Stop and Sam Hunt’s House Party.

There are bigger stages coming for Madeline, and a new record in spring 2016 is going to give her more fuel for the fire, and the crowd more to sing along to.

Jess Moskaluke Bright Lights Big City Toronto The PhoenixLast, but 100% certainly not least, was the Bright Lights, Big Country headliner, back-to-back CCMA Female Artist of the Year, Gold Certified, sweetheart of a person, Jess Moskaluke!

It was easy to see that this was what the crowd had been waiting for when the noise level and energy in the room found new heights as Jess grabbed her microphone. And she didn’t waste any time getting in gear and rewarding them for waiting for her turn.

We’ve seen Jess a few times, on stage and off, over the last couple years, and we can tell you that she is getting better and better and better each and every time. The power in her voice rings through the speakers and right to your music loving ears, her energy reflects that of the crowd, giving it back and not just taking what she’s being given, and she looks happy to be doing what she’s doing.

Jess Moskaluke Bright Lights Big City Toronto The PhoenixThursday night was Jess Moskaluke’s first headlining show in Toronto, and much of the MDM Recordings family was there to see it. It was a celebration of success and love for a woman who is leading the way for a new generation of female singers in Canadian country. It’s pretty safe to say that they’re all pretty proud of her – and it won’t be the last time she anchors a concert in the GTA.

Before we get to the set list we have to tell you the little secret Jess told us all… the new single, coming in the not too distant future, will be Elevator, which is an awesome choice from the Kiss Me Quiet EP. AND to close out the show, during the encore of Cheap Wine & Cigarettes, Ms. Moskaluke got an assist from labelmate and crowd favourite, Chad Brownlee. It was a great way to end a great night of country music in Toronto.

Jess Moskaule Bright Lights, Big Country Set List

♫ Night We Won’t Forget
♫ Used
♫ Kiss Me Quiet
♫ Good For You
♫ Good Lovin’
♫ Light Up The Night
♫ If You’re Not In it For Love
♫ When He’s Drunk
♫ Strong As It’s Ever Been
♫ Leave The Night On
♫ Lightning Bolt
♫ Take Me Home
♫ Elevator
♫ Alone
♫ Cheap Wine & Cigarettes

More Photos from Bright Lights, Big Country

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Jess Moskaluke

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