Eric Church

Game On: James Barker Band Tour Preview, Interview and 5 Quick Questions

The James Barker Band has put four singles in the Top 10 on Canadian country radio, including Chills, which hit #1 in June 2017. And now, with a fanbase that continues to grow from coast to coast, JBB are hitting the road on their first Canada wide headlining tour.

The Game On Tour (named for the debut EP from the band) will see James Barker Band put on 21 shows, starting in Halifax, NS on January 11 and ending in Vancouver, BC on February 10. Joining the boys on the road will be 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year, Meghan Patrick and 2017 CCMA Rising Star nominee, Jojo Mason.

The reaction and excitement for the tour can be seen daily on social media, as fans and the artists post about the upcoming shows. It has been fantastic to see the reactions, and it’s certainly exciting for James Barker, Taylor Abram, Connor Stephen, and Bobby Martin as they get ready to get things started.

We caught up with James on the phone the day before the first tour date in Halifax to talk about their live show, how they’re feeling, their supporting acts, and more. And when we asked for three words to describe how they’re feeling as they prepare to start the tour, Barker gave us: All Fired Up!

As we talked about the tour we also got James to give us three words to describe tour mates Meghan Patrick: Ass-Kickin’ Country Girl and Jojo Mason: The Nicest Guy. (James made it clear that this was not easy, and we did grant him an exemption on the hyphenated ass-kickin’ for Meghan)

Headlining a cross country tour is a big step for any band, and we talked to James about that step up from headlining a venue like Boots & Bourbon in Toronto to The Phoenix Concert Theatre, in the middle of their own tour. He told us that it’s kind of crazy to look back even to last April when they played their album release show to now. James also said that it’s wild to be able to look back at his calendar from year to year and see the progression in venues and shows that the band has played. From small bars in small towns, to opening on tour with Dean Brody, to having their own name at the top of the ticket, he can track it.

We asked about looking back on that progression and reflecting on it, and James said that the holidays have always been a time when he finds himself looking back on the year and taking it all in. And while 2017 was a big one, we’re sure 2018 will bring even more to look back on when it’s over.

James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017

While we had James on the phone we got him to play a quick round of 5 Quick Questions… here we go!

5 Quick Questions with James Barker Band

Q1) What was the first song you played as a band?

James) Drift Away

Q2) What was the first album you bought?

James) Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin

James told us that he was given Led Zeppelin IV as a gift, which put him on the path to buying the debut album on his own.

Q3) Do you have a dream duet/collaboration partner?

James) Eric Church

He’s The Chief, we’ve seen him live, listened to the records, and can’t argue with this choice!

James Barker Band SiriusXM Fan Stage BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Q4) What city or venue is at the top of the James Barker Band goal/wish list?

James) Madison Square Garden

It is THE arena. End of story.

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

James) Corb Lund

James said he has always been a fan of Lund’s songwriting, and things other people should be in on the Alberta native.

The Game On Tour is possible because of the success that James Barker Band have had on Canadian country radio, and the fanbase they’ve cultivated, but they’re still just getting started.

The band recently spent time travelling throughout the United States, visiting radio stations and playing their songs for a new audience south of the border, with the intention of proving that they’re more than just a Canadian favourite.

We asked James about going to the U.S. and he told us that for about 12 weeks in a row they flew down to American markets and hit radio stations all over, promoting the band, introducing new listeners to Chills. There were a lot of flights, from city to city, and back to Canada to play shows and festivals on weekends, but the song is starting to gain traction, and the band is starting to get noticed.

It was cool to hear James talk about the positive reception the band and the song have received in America. He acknowledged that they didn’t know what to expect, or how it would go. But from the jump things have been good and the band couldn’t be happier about it.

James Barker Band SiriusXM Fan Stage BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

JBB has more plans for the U.S. too, and while James couldn’t give us any specific details, he did tell us that JBB will be in Nashville in early February for CRS (Country Radio Seminar) 2018, and are hoping to get on the extended summer festival season circuit south of the border, and as we get to fall and winter 2018, the band hopes to be on a tour in America.

Before we got off the phone, we asked James about what’s coming next in the form of new music… and we heard exactly what we were hoping we would.

1) James has been writing constantly, working on songs that he hopes will turn into the next James Barker Band record.

2) A brand new single is coming on January 19, 2018. Tour crowds will have a chance to hear Good Together live, and country fans everywhere will be able to hear it starting next Friday!

The very last thing we talked about before we were done, was the live show and what fans can expect on the Game On Tour.

James told us that it’s going to be the full James Barker Band experience. The boys like to keep things loose and fun, and they are looking to do that on every date from Halifax to Vancouver. And when I asked if we’ll hear Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident), he laughed and told us that he wasn’t sure it would be a full JBB show if we didn’t.

We’re looking forward to catching up with the boys in Toronto at The Phoenix to celebrate the tour, the release of Good Together, and the continued success of four dudes from small town Ontario.

James Barker Band, Game On Tour Dates

January 11, 2018 – Halifax, NS
January 12, 2018 – Moncton, NB
January 13, 2018 – Charlesbourg, QC
January 14, 2018 – Montreal, QC
January 16, 2018 – Kingston, ON
January 17, 2018 – Ottawa, ON
January 18, 2018 – Kitchener, ON
January 19, 2018 – Toronto, ON
January 20, 2018 – Guelph, ON
January 22, 2018 – London, ON
January 23, 2018 – Sudbury, ON
January 24, 2018 – Sault Ste Marie, ON
January 26, 2018 – Winnipeg, MB
January 27, 2018 – Brandon, MB
January 28, 2018 – Saskatoon, SK
January 29, 2018 – Red Deer, AB
February 1, 2018 – Edmonton, AB
February 2, 2018 – Calgary, AB
February 3, 2018 – Lethbridge, AB
February 10, 2018 – Vancouver, BC

Looking for tickets? Click Here!

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 6

Over the last few years we’ve been sharing some of our favourite covers of pop and rock songs by country artists with you in lists of 10. We’ve been able to share covers of Fleetwood Mac, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Nirvana, Cyndi Lauper, and more… and today we’re back with 10 more.

Some of these covers were recorded recently, some of them have been around for a few years, but regardless of timeline, we like all of them.

This is our sixth edition of the 10 More Awesome Country Covers series, and as long as country artists keep covering pop and rock songs, and we keep finding them online, we’ll keep publishing new lists.

Note: We also shared a special edition of the Country Covers series in October 2017… 10 Awesome Country Covers, the Tom Petty Edition.

So, check ’em out one by one, sing along, and stay tuned for more awesome country covers part 6.

Listen to the tracks, enjoy, and leave a comment telling us which country cover you like best.

10 More Awesome Country Covers10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 210 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 310 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 410 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 5

Kalie Shorr, Kelleigh Bannen & Lindsay Ell – Look What You Made Me Do

Zac Brown Band – Use Somebody

Delta Rae – Seven Bridges Road

Eric Church – Midnight Rider


Meghan Patrick – Unknown Legend


Keith Urban – One

Dallas Smith – Radioactive

Leah Daniels – Suspicious Minds

Brett Young – Someone Like You

Johnson Crook – Bobcaygeon

Joshua’s Highlights and Top Memories of 2017!

2017 was a year packed with great experiences, moments, and memories. I had the chance to see a lot of live music, review great albums, and interview some very talented people.

I am a lucky dude to get to do what I love and share it here and through our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and I look forward to doing more of it in 2018 and beyond!

Here are five of my favourite musical memories of this year, I’d love to hear some of yours in the comment section!

Country Set of the Year

Eric Church at Air Canada Centre, Toronto (March 2, 2017)

Toronto can be cold in March, especially in hockey arenas, but when Eric Church came to the Air Canada Centre, and 16,000+ came to see him, things heated up in a hurry.

For more than three hours Eric Church played hits and fan favourites. There was no opening act. There was no bullshit. There was just Church, his band, and his fans living and loving on country music in Canada’s biggest city.

Having seen Church live once before at Boots & Hearts, I thought I knew what I was getting into. But from my seat in the ACC, I experienced something different. Something more intimate… because while 16,000 is a lot of fans, it’s smaller than nearly 40,000 fans. And whenever you put a roof and walls around music and let it stay in the room instead of floating off into the night, things are instantly more real and the ability to feel the music in your bones is increased.

I don’t know when, where, or if I’ll see Eric Church live again. But I can tell you now that even if I never do again, I’ve got my melody to remind me of a memory.

Holdin’ My Own: Eric Church Takes Toronto

Rock and Roll Set of the Year

Arkells at Budweiser Stage, Toronto (June 24, 2017)

My 2016 and 2017 playlists have included a lot of Arkells… and on a summer night in Toronto I added some live rock and roll to the year.

I stood on the grass, and I cheered and sang and danced and loved every minute of the show. And even now, looking back, I remember how great it was to watch Max direct the crowd while he and the band rolled through a set of radio hits and fan favourites.

Note: If you’re looking to get lost down a YouTube rabbit hole, I suggest a long list of Arkells live performance videos.

There were more than 17,000 people at Budweiser Stage that night to see July Talk and Arkells, and it was a moment and memory that I’m glad I was able to experience and add to my year. It was fun, like live rock and roll is when things go right. The energy was right. And just like they did at WayHome 2016, Arkells owned the stage and held the crowd in their hands as they put on their show.

Let’s do it again in 2018!

Celebrating Summer: Arkells, July Talk & Friends Rock Toronto!

Breakout Band in a Little Bar

Midland at The Dakota Tavern, Toronto (April 25, 2017)

In late April, before the excitement of summertime or a number one hit on the radio in Canada first, and the United States – Midland came to Toronto for the first time, and made a stop at The Dakota Tavern to play an acoustic showcase for media, industry, and some lucky fans.

Mark, Jess, and Cameron were funny, smooth, and showed off the talent that country music fans have come to know and fall in love with as 2017 has progressed. And while it’s awesome to listen to the album and sing along (On The Rocks is a quality listen), and to remember seeing Midland on stage at Boots & Hearts in August with Drinkin’ Problem at the top of the charts… it’s amazing to think back to that night in April, in a basement bar in Toronto, and remember those boys picking and strumming and singing.

That night they played songs we know all the words to know from the album, songs they had release on YouTube before that, and heard for ourselves just how legit their harmonies and songwriting chops are.

I’m not sure many people are going to get that kind of chance again. I’m glad we didn’t miss ours.

Drinkin’ Problem: Midland Comes North to Toronto

Favourite Interview of the Year

Jessica Mitchell, The Feature

In June of this year we published a Jessica Mitchell feature that looked at the moments in her life that have helped push her to where she is now. I wrote about the music, the memories, and the woman herself.

Over the last couple of years we’ve had a few chances to catch up with Jessica Mitchell in interviews, but in preparation for the feature, we had my most memorable interview of 2017.

Trish and I met Jessica on a rooftop patio in Toronto and sat for more than an hour. We talked about childhood memories, we took turns telling stories, and we learned more about Jessica Mitchell than we knew before.

But more than the information we took away from that day, and the story that I was able to write and share, we left knowing more than ever that Jessica Mitchell is one of the most genuine, thoughtful people we know.

It took months of planning before we made it happen, but I don’t begrudge that, because that interview was a highlight of my year.

Moments: Jessica Mitchell, the Feature

Live Song That Broke Me

Tim Hicks – Throw A Ball

When you are as fortunate as we are to see a lot of live music every year, there’s a higher statistical chance that there will be moments that transcend the enjoyment of the music and turn into emotional moments and memories. This fall, at one of my favourite venues in Toronto, I got to experience one of those moments.

Tim Hicks, Canadian country music star, was one of five featured performers on stage at The Dakota Tavern for Four Chords And The Truth, a singer/songwriter event that celebrates music. At that event we got to hear Tim Hicks play a new song, an unreleased track that nearly broke me.

The song, Throw A Ball, is dedicated to Hicks’ young son and tells the story of a boy growing up playing catch with his dad, and then becoming a father and playing catch with his son. It’s a story song, the kind that country music is best at, and it resonated with me as a kid who grew up loving baseball and playing with my dad.

It also hit me hard because just over a year ago I lost my dad, AND next summer I’m going to become a father for the first time. And as I listened to Tim Hicks sing his song, and tell his story, I thought about my story and the memories that I hold onto, and the memories that I hope to be lucky enough to make in the future.

I hope that some day Hicks records Throw A Ball so you can all hear it. But until then, I will hold onto the memory of that night in Toronto, listening with my eyes closed, wondering if I was going to cry.

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

I hope your 2017 was as memorable as mine was. And I hope that we all make twice as many good memories in 2018.

Country Thunder Music Festival 2018 Preview

With four incredible locations, Country Thunder will be back yet again in 2018, and it will be bigger than ever!

With festivals in Florence, Arizona, Craven, Saskatchewan, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and Calgary, Alberta everyone can have the opportunity to put on their cowboy boots, grab a cold one and dance to an amazing lineup all weekend long!

Get ready for some of the biggest names in country music taking over my city, Calgary, during the weekend of August 17th-19th. I thought the lineup last year was incredible but wait for 2018. The summer of 2017 featured Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Thomas Rhett, Dallas Smith, and Randy Houser to name a few! Country Thunder’s new 2018 lineup is filled with the most successful and chart topping artists yet; Eric Church, Toby Keith, Dierks Bentley, Dean Brody, Midland, Madeline Merlo, Hunter Brothers, Lindsay Ell, Bryan White and Jess Moskaluke and more!

Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26

One of the artists I am most excited to see is Eric Church! I’ve been really lucky to see him a couple of times, and I must say he’s one of the only artists who gives me goosebumps every time he sings. One of the most memorable moments at Eric’s shows is when he strips it down to a solo acoustic performance; I truly believe this is the kind of live music experience we all crave. His acoustic performances are definitely something for the books! I highly recommend getting your tickets as soon as possible, as Eric will be closing off Country Thunder the finale night.

Another artist I cannot wait to see is recently announced CRS 2018 Artist Humanitarian Award winner Dierks Bentley. Sadly I have never seen Dierks perform, but I have only ever heard wonderful things. I’m a huge fan of Dierks, one of the biggest reasons why I adore his music so much is because of the stories behind his writing. Musically what he always tries to do is create records that reflect who he is, snapshots of his life at the time. I can’t wait to sing along to some of his most popular songs; Somewhere On A Beach, Black, What The Hell Did I Say, and Different For Girls.

Dierks Bentley BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

‘m looking forward to experiencing the diversity all these artists will bring; from heart filled songs to heart breaks, celebrating the weekend, living and learning, being outdoors with your friends and growing up in a small town, this festival will have all your country needs checked off.

Because the festival is located in the city, there are no camping accommodations, only hotels. But don’t worry!!! Country Thunder has a list of 19 different hotel partners near the festival site that will suit your budget and requirements. Plus, with your festival passes you are welcome to shuttle back and forth for free. Try not to wait too long to purchase tickets to Calgary’s Country Thunder though, as limited tickets are remaining for the full weekend festival.

So grab your sunscreen, cowboy hat, wear your best dancing shoes and get ready to experience everything that Country Thunder has to offer in 2018!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - MidlandJess Moskaluke-Calgary-StampedeMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonLindsay Ell BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

1 month ago

New Music Spotlight: Maren Morris, Eric Church, Ralph & The Darcys, Oh Geronimo, Texas King

In the newest edition of the New Music Spotlight, we’ve got some major country music stars, rock and roll from Ontario, and pop music from Toronto.

Give these songs from Maren Morris ft. Vince Gill, Eric Church, Texas King, Ralph ft. The Darcys, and Oh Geronimo a listen, let us know what you think, and share your favourites with your friends all over the internet.

The Music

Artist: Maren Morris ft. Vince Gill
Hometown: Arlington, TX
Genre: Country
Related Artists: Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Kacey Musgraves
Single: Dear Hate
Notes: Morris released Dear Hate after the shooting in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. She also announced that all proceeds from the sale on the song will be donated to charity in support of the victims. To buy Dear Hate, Click Here.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

Artist: Eric Church
Hometown: Granite Falls, NC
Genre: Country
Related Artists: Dierks Bentley, Justin Moore, Randy Houser
Single: Why Not Me
Notes: Directly inspired by the tragic Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, Church’s emotional Why Not Me is likely to make anyone think and feel deeply. Watch the full video from Church’s performance at the Grand Ole Opry. Why Not Me starts at the five minute mark.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

Artist: Texas King
Hometown: London, ON
Genre: Rock
Related Artists: The Honest Heart Collective, Ivory Hours, Lost Cousins
Single: Circles
Notes: Circles is the title track from Texas King’s brand new album. Released on October 3, 2017, the London rockers continue to do what they do with ringing guitars, energy to spare, and entertainment values at a high level.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

Artist: Ralph ft. The Darcys
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Genre: Pop
Related Artists: Girl Friend, Allie X, Arkells, The Zolas
Single: Screenplay
Notes: The combo of Ralph and The Darcys is Canadian pop fusion at its best right now. The Toronto musicians are a ton of fun – and Screenplay is a great way for fans to get to know Ralph… and give more love to The Darcys too.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

Artist: Oh Geronimo
Hometown: Burlington, ON
Genre: Rock
Related Artists: Said The Whale, Wintersleep, Texas King
Single: No More Stones
Notes: The newest release from Oh Geronimo explores some of the complexities that come with relationships. Romantic or otherwise, things can get confusing and messy, and No More Stones goes there.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

Holdin’ My Own: Eric Church Takes Toronto

Eric Church’s Holdin’ My Own Tour is well underway, and after his Thursday night stop in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, we’re glad the Chief put these wheels in motion.

I’ve seen Eric Church once before, at Boots & Hearts 2015… and if it weren’t for some really crappy weather I would have seen him again in 2016 at CMT Music Fest. But the memories from that summer night set in front of 40,000 gave me all the buzz and anticipation I needed to get ready for this show.

With a packed house (from the GA on the floor to the last seats of the 300 level) Church stomped around the stage singing hit after hit for 3+ hours. There was no opener, there hasn’t been and won’t be on the tour, just two solid sets of the man and his band blasting their brand of country music.

After playing through his first few songs, Church addressed the crowd and promised to give them everything he had – but that he expected them to do the same… and if they did, they’d have a night they wouldn’t forget. And those fans, the ones in plaid and boots and hats and denim and aviator sunglasses, held up their end of the bargain. They sang and cheered and screamed for Church as he moved from song to song, mic stand to mic stand, and from melody to memory. And for those in attendance, it will be a concert and a night they won’t soon forget.

With a set list that included 37 songs… Church reminded us of the legendary shows Bruce Springsteen has been known to play. From the opening chords of Mistress Named Music, he was into it. If you’ve seen Church live or have watched any of performance videos, you know the signs.

☞ The fist pumps
☞ The snarled smiles
☞ The shouts and yells
☞ The extended arms

They were all there on Thursday night at the ACC.

Note: Eric Church also ingratiated himself to the Toronto crowd by bringing up his love for North Carolina Tar Heels and Raptors’ alumni, Vince Carter. He told us that his little boy has a retro Carter jersey, and he was eager to exclaim his love for Vincanity. It’s been a long 13 years since VC was traded… but to many fans, he’ll always be our guy.

Here’s the deal, Eric Church is a bad ass. He’s a rebel. And he does things his way. It’s why a tour without an opening act works for him when it wouldn’t for a lot of artists. And it’s why his fans love him.

And it’s why Church was able to play seven songs from 2006’s Sinners Like Me, and all 10 tracks from 2015’s Mr. Misunderstood. AND, that still left 20 more tracks from all the years in between!

The show had it’s share of goosebump inducing moments. From insane singalong sessions during tracks like Record Year, Kill A Word, and Give Me Back My Hometown, to the Toronto sized pop Church got when he draped a Maple Leafs scarf around his neck – there was no shortage of electricity or excitement in that crowd of country music fans.

It was a rock and roll show when the songs called for it. It was a singer/songwriter country show when the songs called for that. But more than anything, it was an Eric Church show from start to finish. No filler. No distractions. No questions. This was Mr. Misunderstood and The Outsiders and Chief and Carolina and Sinners Like Me. It was the kind of country show that makes you wish you went to more country shows.

And it was a night that we won’t forget.

You were right again Eric.

See you all back at Church soon.

Eric Church Set List – Holdin’ My Own Tour Toronto, March 2, 2017

⍟ Mistress Named Music
⍟ That’s Damn Rock & Roll
⍟ The Outsiders
⍟ Knives of New Orleans
⍟ Drink In My Hand
⍟ Carolina
⍟ How ‘Bout You
⍟ What I Almost Was
⍟ Cold One
⍟ Round Here Buzz
⍟ Mr. Misunderstood
⍟ Talladega
⍟ Like a Wrecking Ball
⍟ Pledge Allegiance to the Hag
⍟ Smoke a Little Smoke
INTERMISSION
⍟ Ain’t Killed Me Yet
⍟ Guys Like Me
⍟ Lotta Boot Left to Fill
⍟ Record Year
⍟ Homeboy
⍟ Chattanooga Lucy
⍟ Two Pink Lines
⍟ Kill a Word
⍟ I’m Gettin’ Stoned
⍟ Hung Over and Hard Up
⍟ Don’t Do It (The Band)
⍟ Give Me Back My Hometown
⍟ Jack Daniels
⍟ Before She Does
⍟ Mixed Drinks About Feelings
⍟ Creepin’
⍟ Three Year Old
⍟ Keep On
⍟ These Boots
⍟ Springsteen
ENCORE
⍟ Holdin’ My Own
⍟ Like Jesus Does

Damn, I used to love this view, sit here and drink a few

A post shared by Paul Kurucz (@paulkurucz) on

Unbelievable artist, easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. #EricChurch

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Boots & Hearts 2017 Preview: Keith Urban Top 10

Boots & Hearts 2017 has made a huge splash with their first announcement… bringing Keith Urban to Burl’s Creek for his first appearance at the festival.

And to make things even more exciting, tier 1 tickets are now on sale at the lowest price you’re going to find between now and the festival in August 2017!

boots-and-hearts-2017-red-plaid-logo

ALSO, in a small moment of bragging, I would like to point out that I predicted Keith Urban for this year’s festival as the bonus selection in our post a couple of weeks ago. Have a read and keep track of how many other artists I get right before the whole lineup is announced… Please Welcome to the Stage… Boots & Hearts 2017 Predictions!

So, to celebrate the announcement of one of country’s biggest stars coming to Boots & Hearts, we’re watching my Top 10 Keith Urban videos…

There’s a strong chance that you’re going to have different favourites. There are just too many awesome songs to choose from in the guitar slingers career. So, if I missed one or two or three of your top Keith Urban hits, please leave us a comment to tell us what they are.

And now, in alphabetical order, because it was hard enough to choose them let alone put them in order, here are my Top 10 Keith Urban hits with a little bonus content thrown in…

Better Life

But For The Grace Of God

Days Go By

John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16

Little Bit Of Everything

Long Hot Summer

Somebody Like You

Sweet Thing

Tonight I Wanna Cry

Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me

Bonus: We Were Us w/ 2013 B&H Headliner, Miranda Lambert

Bonus: Raise ‘Em Up w/ 2015 B&H Headliner, Eric Church

1 year ago

4 Rules for Watching Eric Church Live at CMT Music Fest 2016!

Eric Church is coming to the main stage to headline day 1 of CMT Music Fest on July 8 – so we’ve taken our experience to build this list of 4 rules when he takes the stage.

Have a look and leave a comment telling us if you think you can follow the rules, and if you have any rules you’d add to the list.

AND, let us know if we’ll be seeing you in Kitchener at CMT Music Fest 2016 – we’d love to say hi!

Rule #1 Stay Weird

A huge part of Eric Church’s message is about being you and not bowing to the pressure around you to be something or someone you aren’t. If you’ve identified at all with the lyrics to Mr. Misunderstood, you know exactly what we mean.

And so on Friday, July 8 we’re urging you to remember that and do you. Sing and dance and smile and wave your hands and enjoy your drink – or sit in the back and take it all in. Whatever your gut tells you to do, damn well do it.

Rule #2 Sing Proud

eric church cmt music festWe just told you that you don’t have to sing – and you don’t, but if you’re going to sing along, just f#*king go for it!

With hits like Cold One, Smoke A Little Smoke, Talladega, Give Me Back My Hometown, and Mr. Misunderstood likely to be in the set, we know that you’re all going to know the words, and we want to hear ‘em. In fact, one of our favourite things in the world is hearing thousands of fans singing along with the music, so if you can give us, Eric Church, and yourselves that kind of moment after the sun goes down in Kitchener, we know you’ll be making memories.

Rule #3 Return the Boots

If you’ve seen Eric Church live before, you know that there are going to be boots flying through the air when/if A Lot Of Boot Left To Fill comes through the speakers.

Here’s us politely asking, on behalf of everyone who will throw a boot, please help them get to the stage, and help the owners find them again when they come back into the crowd. Yes, it would be super cool to leave CMT Music Fest with a signed cowboy boot from Eric Church, but it won’t be cool if it’s not your boot.

And if you’re thinking about throwing your boot up on stage please be mindful of how strong your arm is, how awkward it is to throw a boot, and the fact that there a lot of people around that aren’t looking to get hit in the head with your boot. Be careful.

Rule #4 Have Fun

Whether you’ve been drinking all day or you’re the DD. Whether you know all the words or you’re new to country music. And whether you’re the biggest Church fan in the world or you just don’t know how much you love him yet – we want you to have fun. Friday is going to be an awesome day of music with Kansas Stone and Meghan Patrick and Brothers Osborne and Kip Moore warming up the main stage for Eric Church… enjoy it!

Eric Church Boots and Hearts 2015

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest Day-to-Day Schedule and Set Times

Set times are now up for CMT Music Fest and it’s looking like there shouldn’t be too much overlap and that’s good news for all of us.

If you’re looking for more details you can hop on over to the CMT Music Fest page using THIS LINK. They’ve got some great artist profiles up if you’re looking for more details.

Friday, July 8

eric church fb cmtMaple Leaf Stage

Eric Ethridge: 4:30
Ben Hudson: 5:15
James Barker Band: 6:00
Andrew Hyatt: 7:00
Lindi Ortega: 8:00

Main Stage

Kansas Stone: 4:40
Meghan Patrick: 5:35
Brothers Osborne: 6:35
Kip Moore: 7:55
Eric Church: 9:15

Saturday, July 9

Zac Brown Band CMT Music Fest 2016Maple Leaf Stage

Them Dang Rattlers: 3:00
Leah Daniels: 4:00
The Washboard Union: 5:15
Cold Creek County: 6:40

Main Stage

Drake White and The Big Fire: 2:50
Kira Isabella: 4:10
The Road Hammers: 5:30
Tom Cochrane with Red Rider: 6:50
Zac Brown Band: 8:35

A few quicks facts you might want to know:

Where is Bingemans located?
Bingemans, located at
425 Bingemans Centre Drive,
Kitchener, ON
N2B 3X7

What are the festival hours?
Friday, July 8 – 4:00pm until 11:00pm
Saturday, July 9 – 2:00pm until 11:00pm

Is the site wheelchair accessible?

Yes, both the venue and activities are wheelchair accessible.

Is there parking on site?
There is no parking available onsite at Bingemans. There will be a drop-off zone and there is an offsite parking lot with shuttle services check out this link for all the details!

Is there camping?
There is camping for campers who are 19+, check out the camping link for all the details.

Is the event family friendly?
Children are welcome at the festival but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Note camping is only available for 19+.

The CMT Music Fest has a complete FAQ if we haven’t answered your question yet!

We’re getting very, very excited and can’t wait to see you there!

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016 Performer Q&A with The Road Hammers, Kira Isabella & Lindi Ortega!

CMT Music Fest is coming to Kitchener this summer… and it’s going to be HUGE!

For 2 days (July 8 & 9) some of country music’s biggest stars and most talented emerging artists will be taking the stage at Bingemans to entertain thousands of fans ready to have a good time in the July heat. The Friday and Saturday festival is bringing no fewer than 15 artists (more could be coming… we’re watching for that) to play, with Eric Church (Friday) and Zac Brown Band (Saturday) headlining.

The lineup also includes – Kip Moore, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Brothers Osborne, The Road Hammers, Kira Isabella, Cold Creek County, The Washboard Union, Lindi Ortega, Leah Daniels, Drake White and the Big Fire, Meghan Patrick, Andrew Hyatt, and the James Barker Band – so you should know it’s going to be a good time.

And, to get you revved up for the festival we have a Q&A with 3 of the performers right here for you! Check out these 10 answers from Jason McCoy of The Road Hammers, Kira Isabella, and Lindi Ortega.

Enjoy… and stay tuned because we’re got more coming from CMT Music Fest 2016, and you’re going to want to see it. (Trust us)

Q. Tell us a little bit about your first music festival experience, either as a performer or as a fan.

The Roadhammers Boots and Hearts 2015The Road Hammers: Festivals are always great… it’s a gathering of like minded souls both on and off stage, so the community feeling is there… better than that, it’s a family feeling in a way.

Kira Isabella: The first festival experience I ever had was going to see The Tragically Hip at Bluesfest in Ottawa. I was with my parents in the pouring rain and I just remember thinking how rock ’n’ roll, and exciting the whole experience was.

Lindi Ortega: When I was younger I went to this festival called “Another Roadside Attraction”. It was my first time seeing Los Lobos. I loved them so much because the movie “La Bamba” was my favourite and they did a lot of the Richie Valens tunes on the soundtrack. It was so cool for me to hear their original material. I had a great time. I was a kid and loved being at a festival.

Q. What’s your best piece of advice for a first time festival attendee?

Kira Isabella: The advice I’d give a first time festival attendee would be to pace yourself!! It’s a long day/weekend. Not everyone needs alcohol to have a good time of course BUT if you are planning on drinking, be responsible, and make sure you’re careful about mixing alcohol in with the very hot sun!!

Lindi Ortega: Always carry hand sanitizer in case you can’t wash your hands after using the port-o-potties. A small flashlight is great for port-o-potties at night. Wear sunscreen. And buy the artists records and support them if you like what you hear and see live!

The Road Hammers: Soak up every second, and make sure you catch the acts on early in the afternoon… you never know who will be the headliner next year… and you’ll be able to say… “I saw them when they were the opener”! Enjoy the party atmosphere, remember, CMT is the home of Country Music, so, ya’ll is at home at CMT Music Fest… let yer hair down!

Q. What can someone who’s never seen you play before expect from your live performance?

Lindi Ortega The Rivoli Toronto 2013Lindi Ortega: Well, I dance my ass off while singing my heart out and I have a killer band. So there’s that!

The Road Hammers: The Hammers are fun fun fun,… oh, and loud!… we always say, ‘if it weren’t for the fans, our show would just be a rehearsal… they’re the party, we’re the sound track… so let’s have some fun!”

Kira Isabella: I just want people to have as much fun as possible. I’ve been known to get fans on stage dancing, etc.

Q. Do you have any pre-show rituals?

The Road Hammers: We tend to drink a lot of coffee, red bull, that type of thing… Clay does about a thousand sit ups, and we rock out to some ACDC to get pumped… heck, that’s pretty much an average morning for us too!

Kira Isabella: I think the most important pre show ritual I have is my vocal warm up. I do a few exercises and then I just sing through some of my favourite songs (“Like We Never Loved At All” by Faith Hill & Tim McGraw, “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys…) and I make sure I have some quality time to spend hanging with my band talking through the show. We all have a really great energy together and we usually just hang with each other until it’s time to walk to the stage.

Lindi Ortega: I dance in a circle around a fire and sacrifice a… Oh wait never mind, that’s only on the new moon. Nah, I just goof around with my band and get pumped to jump on stage and rock out!

Q. What does being a part of the inaugural CMT Music Fest mean to you?

Kira Isabella CNE 2014 FeatureKira Isabella: Being part of the first inaugural CMT Fest means so much to me. It’s such an honour to be one of the first artists that ever play it. History!

Lindi Ortega: I’m honoured they invited me. I know I’m not your typical country artist and my style veers sometimes into blues, rockabilly and soul. But hey, it’s good to have some variety. Maybe they were thinking the same thing!

The Road Hammers: Like I said, CMT is the Home of Country Music, nobody does it better, so you know it’s all going to be about the fans… and they’re the ones who make it a party! Of all the artists on the Country Music landscape, it’s a big honour that they would invite us to be part of the launch, of what will definitely be an historical weekend!! Epic!

Q. Who/What are you most looking forward to seeing at CMT Music Fest?

Lindi Ortega: Everyone! I’m sure it will be super fun! I know new country has been a lot about the bromance lately, so I think I’ll go find the ladies performing and cheerlead for em side stage!

The Road Hammers: I got to hang with Drake White when we toured Australia with him earlier this year, so I’m looking forward to seeing him again, great guy… also pumped to see Eric Church again, ZBB, Washboard Union, Meghan Patrick, it’s going to be a great music weekend.

Kira Isabella: Other than getting to play my set, Eric Church!! I’ve never seen him live before so you’d better believe I’ll be in the crowd!!

Q. What has been your most memorable festival experience?

The Road Hammers Press Photo 2016The Road Hammers: There are too many to count, it’s been awesome. Most recently though, I’d say looking out into a sea of 30K people at CMC Rocks the Queensland in Australia and seeing people holding up Canadian flags and Road Hammer signs… unbelievable!

Kira Isabella: The most memorable festival experience I ever had was at Cavendish in 2014, the year of Hurricane Arthur. Unfortunately, they canceled the festival but all of the artists still wanted to play so we had an impromptu show at a local bar in town called Fishbones! So many people still came out to the show even though it was pouring rain and the power was going on and off etc..

I ended up getting to play the real festival the next summer… but I’ll never forget the spirit of the people out there in P.E.I during that crazy storm!

Lindi Ortega: One time I had lunch with singer Jenny Lewis and actress Kirsten Dunst at a festival in Sweden.

Q. Do you have any advice for someone who might be playing a festival for the first time?

Kira Isabella: I would tell someone who is playing a festival for the first time to just make sure they do whatever they need to do to be prepared… their rehearsals, pre show rituals, etc. But at the end of the day just be yourself and have fun. Country fans are all very genuine themselves and that’s what they want to see up there on stage.

Lindi Ortega: Have fun!!!!!

The Road Hammers: Don’t be nervous, the truth is, ain’t nobody can be ‘YOU’ so be the best you possible, and enjoy every second of it… there’s a reason they asked you to play there so play loud and be proud!

Q. Does your set list change in a festival setting?

Lindi Ortega Press Photo 2016 credit Julie MoeLindi Ortega: Depends how long the set is! If we only have a short set then we usually play more of the upbeat tunes cause we love when people dance and have a good ol’ time!

The Road Hammers: Sometimes we actually throw in songs on the fly if the spirit moves us… or if someone shouts out a song we hadn’t planned on we’ll just count it out and let ‘er rip. I think the true magic happens on the big stage when you treat it like it could be in your living room… just be yourself and have fun!

Kira Isabella: My set list doesn’t really change much in a festival setting. I think what changes is the amount of energy you’re using. I always feel like I’ve left my heart on the stage by the end of the show, but on a bigger festival stage, you’re definitely more out of breath.

Q. Name three artists that would play “your” music festival if you could book anyone in the world?

Kira Isabella Press Photo 2016Kira Isabella:
Jason Aldean
Eric Church
Miranda Lambert

Lindi Ortega: Willie Nelson, Corb Lund, and Daniel Romano!

The Road Hammers: Heck, you kidding me, they’re all at CMT Music Fest!

Click here to get your CMT Music Fest 2016 tickets… now!

CMT Music Fest 2016

2 years ago

Rock On: Tucker Beathard in Toronto!

With a quick hello, thank you for coming out, and “I’m gonna play you some songs I wrote”, Tucker Beathard took a seat on the Rivoli stage in Toronto and started a Monday night showcase for the intimate crowd in the back room.

The 21 year old from Nashville was comfortable on stage, and after a long day with Toronto media, we’re sure it felt nice to just get up and sing some songs with his guitar. Beathard presents as a singer-songwriter, introducing tracks with short stories and explanations, doing his best to share why he writes what he does. And then he starts playing and singing and it all comes together in one nice package.

Tucker Beathard - The RivoliNote: At one point Tucker gave praise to his dad, who also writes (Kenny Chesney’s Boys Of Fall, Eric Church’s Homeboy) and taught him the importance of writing truth and real life.

As talented a songwriter as the budding star is, it’s easy to see that he’s blossoming as a performer and singer as well. His guitar playing was fantastic and intricate, and his voice has country radio written all over it – which you know because there’s little doubt that you’ve heard Rock On over the airwaves in the last few weeks.

Tucker sang four songs for us on Monday night, all originals, all his own, and all easy to sit and relax and listen to and fall into.

Tucker Beathard Toronto Showcase Set List

✪ Momma and Jesus
✪ Ride On
✪ God And My Guitar
✪ Whiskey In A Wine Glass

Tucker Beathard - The RivoliNote: As Beathard worked through his songs I was reminded of early Thomas Rhett, not in the voice or an imitation way, but in the way he presents himself and sings his songs and believes in every lyric he’s singing.

Momma And Jesus can be found on Tucker’s The Demos – Vol. 1 EP (along with Rock On) which you can give a listen to online now… and you should. And the three other songs lead us to believe that there will more music before long from Beathard on Dot Records.

Tucker Beathard’s story includes a torn labrum that ended his college baseball career before it began, and resulted in his full-time move to music. As a sports fan you never want to wish an injury on someone, but this time, it feels like it paid off in all the right ways for this singer/songwriter on the rise.

Tucker Beathard: Whiskey In A Wine Glass


Tucker Beathard - The RivoliTucker Beathard - The RivoliTucker Beathard - The RivoliTucker Beathard - The RivoliTucker Beathard - The Rivoli

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest Artist Announcement #2

CMT Fest Kip MooreAn already impressive year 1 lineup at CMT Music Fest just got bigger with the addition of Kip Moore, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Drake White and the Big Fire and Brothers Osborne to the July 8 & 9 festival.

With major headliners already in place, these additions do a great job of bringing more music to the weekend from acts that have fans happy, happy to have the chance to see them!

Related: Are Y’all Ready? CMT Music Fest 2016 Announced!

We’re already pumped for this one, we have been since February 1st when the festival was announced. And while some people may think that there are too many festivals, or that things are getting out of hand – we say this…

If you want to put on a festival with awesome music, we’ll be excited about it – and we hope you’re successful and do it again next year. Bonne chance!

Let’s take a look at the full list of CMT Music Fest performers… so far.

✩ Eric Church
✩ Zac Brown Band
✩ Kip Moore
✩ Tom Cochrane with Red Rider
✩ Brothers Osborne
✩ The Road Hammers
✩ Kira Isabella
✩ Cold Creek County
✩ The Washboard Union
✩ Lindi Ortega
✩ Leah Daniels
✩ Drake White and the Big Fire
✩ Meghan Patrick
✩ Andrew Hyatt

That’s 14 acts ready to take the stage at Bingemans in Kitchener, Ontario.

14 acts ready to give you everything they’ve got.

14 acts that we can’t wait to see in the hot summer sun.

And 14 acts that you can see too – just get yourself a ticket and meet us there! 

In all seriousness, we’re pretty pumped about this one. Add it to a busy, busy summer of music coming our way, and it would be easy to say that things are going to be pretty awesome for country music fans, and music fans of all genres in the summer of 2016.
Stay tuned for more… we have a feeling CMT Music Fest might have something else coming.

Be Awesome!

Bingemans Kitchener Ontario Map

2 years ago

Are Y’all Ready? CMT Music Fest 2016 Announced!

Well, well, well… it looks like there’s a new player on the Ontario country music festival scene in 2016, and it’s none other than CMT.

So many of us have spent hours and hours and hours watching CMT for country music videos – and now that same team will be bringing live music to Bingemans grounds in Kitchener, Ontario. And they are bringing out some big guns to play July 8 and 9, 2016!

Here are the first 10 acts announced… with a promise from cmtmusicfest.ca that more names are coming and that we won’t be disappointed!

CMT Music Fest 2016 Artists!

Eric Church

Mr. Misunderstood himself has been tapped to headline CMT Music Fest, and it’s a great choice. We saw Church last summer at Boots & Hearts and he absolutely killed it. Ask around, many of the 40,000 in attendance will tell you that he was their highlight of the weekend.

Eric Church Boots and Hearts 2015

Zac Brown Band

One of Nashville’s biggest acts (and still one we haven’t seen live) Zac Brown and his boys look like a ton of fun when they play live. Have a look through YouTube and you’ll find awesome performances, including covers of Metallica and Rage Against The Machine.

Zac Brown Band CMT Music Fest 2016

Andrew Hyatt

From the Nickel mines in Sudbury to country music stages across Canada, Hyatt’s story is pure country music at its best. CMT Music Fest 2016 is going to be an awesome chance for Andrew to show fans what he’s got and why he belongs with the rest of the names on this list!

BSOMF Andrew Hyatt Burlington Sound of Music Festival

Cold Creek County

We just shouted them out in our Country Music Youth Movement post, and they’re another solid choice for Music Fest 2016. We’ve saw them live twice in 2015, and they’re poised to have a great year coming up…

Cold Creek County CNE 2015

Kira Isabella

Another young star in Canadian country music, Isabella has grown as a performer every time we’ve seen her over the last few years… and if that pattern holds (which we think it will) the fans in Kitchener are going to love her set.

Kira Isabella 2014 CNE Header

Leah Daniels

Yet another name from our Youth Movement piece, Leah continues to work hard and impress every time we see her. We just had a short conversation with Ms. Daniels last week and we won’t spoil any surprises – but we can tell you that a new single and video are coming soon, and you’re gonna love them.

Steak Stock 2015 Leah Daniels Go Back

Lindi Ortega

Lindi is blowing up south of the border, and her rootsy style of country music is going to be a great add to the acts on this bill. With fans like Willie Nelson in her corner, Lindi is only going to get more and more popular very soon!

Lindi Ortega, The Rivoli Toronto

Meghan Patrick

One of our fav Ontario locals, Meghan Patrick is “this close” to blowing you all away. Her debut single and album are on the way in spring 2016, and after seeing her with her old band, solo acoustic, and killing it at her CMW 2015 showcase, we firmly believe that a star will be born. Be ready for it!

Meghan Patrick Guitar

The Road Hammers

What is there to say about these guys? The Road Hammers are fixtures in the Canadian country music community, and having them at a 1st year festival is a fantastic idea. The showmanship, musicianship, and love for their fans that these 3 dudes exhibit is top notch. Plus, Jason, Clay, and Chris are solid people.

The Road Hammers Boots and Hearts 2015

The Washboard Union

Former winners of the British Columbia Country Music Association Roots Artist of the Year award, these 3 dudes put in work when it comes to their craft – and they have a lot of fun at the same time. It’s a combination of dedication and passion that has them on this list of 10 country acts for CMT Music Fest 2016!

David Robertson The Washboard Union

Tickets for CMT Music Fest 2016 go on sale thus Friday, February 5 at 10am EST… just click this link, bookmark it, or keep it open, or whatever you’ve gotta do, and be ready -> http://cmtmusicfest.com/tickets/

Bingemans in Kitchener, Ontario

Bingemans Kitchener Ontario Map

2 years ago

Favourites Of 2015: A Year In Review!

2015 has been an awesome year for us at thereviewarein.com. We’ve had the chance to see more shows, cover more festivals, talk to more artists, have more fun, and share more content with all of you.

And now, as we get closer to the end of the year, Trish and I are looking back at 2015 and trying our best (it’s not easy) to pick our favourite things.

We cover a lot of country… but that’s not all, so we’ve got country and non-country categories to share, and a few runners-up, because sometimes picking 1 clear favourite in a category wasn’t even a little bit easy.

Here’s hoping that 2016 is just as awesome – and that you’ve enjoyed all the music you’ve found and seen and listened to in 2015.

Keep being awesome!

Favourite Live Performance of the Year: Country

Eric Church Boots and Hearts 2015Josh… Eric Church: On Saturday night at Boots & Hearts I got to see Eric Church up on stage for the first time. It wasn’t a set full of small talk. It was a set full of hits. From start to finish it was guitars and singing and everything that I wanted to see. The highlight of the night was These Boots, when dozens of cowboy boots flew up on the catwalk and Church picked each one of them up, signed them with a Sharpie and tossed them back into the crowd so the owner could get it back. It was a highlight for a lot of people that weekend. Would definitely see this dude again.

Dean Brody Boots and Bourbon Toronto 2015Trish… Dean Brody at Boots and Bourbon (club show): I’m the worst at picking just one. Dean Brody at Boots and Bourbon was an invite only, up close and personal show and I was so close I could have reached out and touched Dean. His energy was palpable and the packed club barely knew the words to his brand new CD. Did I mention how sweet, adorable and handsome this man is?

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015Thomas Rhett (big stage): Up on the big stage Thomas Rhett was the big winner for me. Bright flowery shirt, drink in his hand, smile on his face with the sun shining down, winner. Engaging, entertaining, super fun to watch. Thomas moves likes he can’t stop and those dance moves, the audience loves them! This was my favourite performance at Boots & Hearts and that’s a tough spot to win.

Favourite Live Performance of the Year: Non-Country

Neil Young WayHome 2015Josh… Neil Young: WayHome 2015 It was the first, and likely the last, time that I saw Neil Young on stage. It was 3 hours that I’ll never get back, and wouldn’t want to. Because for all of the anti-GMO speeches and weird on stage activities, he’s still Neil Young. He’s still Rockin’ In The Free World. He’s still Heart Of Gold. He’s still a legend. And with an average song length of somewhere around 7 and a half minutes, there were plenty of extended guitar solos and jam sessions that brought smiles to old Uncle Neil’s face.

Runner-Up… Kendrick Lamar headlining on Saturday night at WayHome. He killed it for his entire set. And, I have to give a nod to Walk The Moon for their performance of Shut Up And Dance, they nearly blew the tent off the stage.

The Lazys Toronto Horseshoe TavernTrish… The Lazys (club show): It might be because it’s so fresh in my memory but the energy The Lazys put out at The Horseshoe was ridiculous! I could have watched this show over and over, night after night. Non-stop, insanely talented, catchy, make you wanna get up and dance, scream and jump up and down, loud experience. I can’t stop listening to them and you can’t make me. I hope when they return to Canada we get the chance to sit down again for ribs and a brownie.

Kendrick Lamar WayHome Art and Music Festival-9262-2Kendrick Lamar/Taylor Swift (big stage): Sorry I can’t choose between Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift, so I won’t. Kendrick’s performance at WayHome this past summer left me feeling changed. He touched me and the rest of the 35,000 who showed up. Powerful stuff. But I have to include Taylor. So amazingly put together, this sold out show made me so happy I cried, and I wasn’t alone. Keith Urban showing up as the special guest was the icing on the cake.

Favourite Award Show/TV Performance of the Year

Josh… Stapleton/Timberlake: Tennessee Whiskey/Drink You Away There are a lot of people that would pick this performance as the best of the year. For 8 minutes, through 2 songs, these 2 super talented dudes tore it up. The country industry has long loved Stapleton, and the entire world loves Timberlake, and when they got together on that stage it was damn near magic.

Favourite Album of the Year: Country

Dean Brody Gypsy Road Album CoverTrish… Dean Brody: Gypsy Road Put it this way, I put this CD in my car on April 21st and it’s still in the CD player. I played nothing but this album for weeks, never turning on the radio. It’s on both of my phones and in my iTunes library. The first track, first single Upside Down with its catchy opening whistle was the perfect thing to get things started. But the real question for me was, how many times did I hit the restart button for track 4 – Burning Down the House to hear Dean say ‘Banjo’. Too many times to count! A solid album from beginning to end with three radio singles including the newest one, Love Would Be Enough and who’s to say there won’t be more.

Brett Kissel PICK ME UP album coverJosh… Brett Kissel: Pick Me Up Celebrated by iTunes, CBC Music, and fans all across Canada, Kissel’s Pick Me Up is a great album that I played on repeat as soon as I got my grubby little hands on it. And it’s a bonus that it sounds great live. From the 1st single, Airwaves, to my personal favourite, Pick Me Up, and even the 2 tracks that get me a little chocked up – Feet Back On The Ground & I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair, this is a great album that I’m happy to have in my rotation.

Runner-Up… 2014 releases Montevallo (Sam Hunt) & Lifted (Dallas Smith) spent a lot of time on my playlists this year, and Cam’s debut album, Untamed is well on its way to doing the same. A lot of great country music out there!

Favourite Album of the Year: Non-Country

Taylor Swift 1989 Album CoverTrish… Taylor Swift: 1989 / Hozier: Hozier Who wasn’t listening to Taylor Swift’s 1989 this year? In an elevator on my way up to work I ran into 4 colleagues. To be polite we remove our headphones and I ask, “so what are you listening to?” Taylor, Taylor, Taylor, Taylor… yeah me too! Not a single song to skip on this album. Technically released in 2014 I’m including it because she did just wrap this tour!

A close second though is Hozier so many plays, so many great songs. Another late 2014 release this album garnered platinum and gold status all over the world. With five singles to date this album was a big part of my music history this past year.

Ryan Adams 1989 Cover ArtJosh… Ryan Adams: 1989 Is this cheating a little bit? Maybe.

But Adams’ covers of Taylor Swift’s songs were perfect for me. I loved the way he changed them just enough to make them something different – and turned Welcome To New York & All You Had To Do Was Stay into favourite cuts for me. I wrote about the album when it came out and said, As a 33 year old dude, I feel like Ryan Adams’ version of Taylor Swift’s 1989 was recorded specifically for me.”. It still feels that way 3 months later.

Favourite EP of the Year: Country

Jess_Moskaluke Kiss Me Quiet EPJosh… Jess Moskaluke: Kiss Me Quiet Yes, I would rather have had a a full length album, but I’m not here to look a gift horse in the mouth. I don’t have a “skip” song the 6 track EP and the added acoustic versions of Kiss Me Quiet and Lightning Bolt are great too. And yes, I hope that next time we get a new album from Jess there are 12 songs on it. But for now, I’ll keep playing the Kiss Me Quiet collection as often as I please.

Runner-Up… Cam: Welcome To Cam Country This was our true introduction to one of Country’s newest stars. With a 4 song EP (My Mistake, Runaway Train, Half Broke Heart, Burning House) she got folks ready for the full length Untamed.

Favourite EP of the Year: Non-Country

Poor Young Things Force of NatureTrish… Poor Young Things: Force of Nature Six songs, all great with a slightly different feel. I’m hooked. From the beginning Like An Animal to the last note of Hurricane, catchy, interesting, great lyrics and hooks. I find myself wondering if in person meetings and live performances are impacting my choices. I think yes!

Birds of Bellwoods: The Fifth A big fan of this band since coming across them in the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artists list their EP The Fifth is quiet, dark and haunting. Great lyrics, amazing voices and super talented musicians, this one stayed with me.

Favourite Photoshoot of the Year

St. Vincent WayHome Art and Music Festival-Trish… St. Vincent: I’d never heard of her. I know! I’m sorry. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. From the second she hit the stage I was mesmerized. Gorgeous, interesting, striking angles, that smile and those eyes! I took so many shots of her and there were so many good ones, it was very hard to narrow it down for the actual post.

Favourite Surprise of the Year

Rick Springfield-8898Trish… I started listening the week before the CNE show. I was surprised how much back catalog there was. I had an amazing time at the show and when I checked Spotify, my most played artist… Rick Springfield. And not what you’d think, it wasn’t Jessie’s Girl but Our Ship’s Sinking off the latest album – Songs for the End of the World, that got the most song plays. Who knew?

Favourite Interview of the Year

Small Town Pistols Boots and Hearts 2015Josh… Small Town Pistols We sat down with Amanda and Tyler at Boots & Hearts and had an awesome time. They had just come from the main stage, drinks in hand, and we all got comfortable while we talked about the music, their dad, the new record, and even the fact that my brother used to share a school bus seat with Tyler way back in the day. I’ve been listening to The Wilkinsons since the mid-90s, and to be able to interview these 2 was a good memory for the year.

Poor Young Things HMV TorontoTrish… Poor Young Things Shout out goes to Strut Entertainment for thinking this one up. Meet the band at HMV, chat about music, buy stuff with gift cards and then give away an album and a gift card to our readers! Favourite interview of the year.

Favourite Festival of the Year

High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015Josh & Trish… Boots & Hearts Between the 2 of us we saw a bunch of festivals this year, but Boots & Hearts is at the top of both of our lists.

The opportunity to see 4 days of awesome country music + the chance to sit down with The Stellas, Small Town Pistols, High Valley, The Road Hammers, Jess Moskaluke, The Reklaws… it was a great weekend, and continues to build on a “family” feeling every year for us.

Favourite Memory of the Year

Scott Weiland Meet and Greet Toronto, CMW 2015Josh… Scott Weiland Meet & Greet It was the end of the night, everyone had left the Mod Club, and I got a tap on my shoulder. Just minutes later I was standing side by side with Scott Weiland, arms over each other’s shoulders, ridiculous smile on my face, and caught on camera forever.

It was an awesome way to end a night when the now passed rock and roller brought his A game to the stage in Toronto.

Jason McCoy Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3739Trish… Jason McCoy at the CMAOs An already amazing night had a cherry put on top. 

I’m sitting in the hallway of The Flato Markham Theatre, trying to get some juice in my battery for the next round of performances and awards, and someone comes and sits beside me and picks up their phone, which was already hanging out of the socket. Oh, it’s only Jason McCoy, the host. We chatted about technology and better batteries.

Thanks to everyone who helped make 2015 so great for us, and so hard to pick our favourites. And thank you to everyone who Liked and Shared and Retweeted their favourite posts from thereviewsarein.com during the year.

We love you all.

Happy Holidays & An Awesome New Year!

2 years ago

2016 CMA Awards Results and Wrap

And the CMA goes to…

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the CMA Awards last night we’re highly recommending you make an effort to watch it. ABC has posted the entire show on YouTube!

Country Music Awards 2015 – Full Show

But even without the surprises of the award winners, this is an awards show that shouldn’t be missed by country music fans anywhere.

There were some amazing collaborations and some spectacular performances. And today everyone is talking about the Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake performance. Watch it now and see why!

Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton Live at the 2015 CMA Awards!

And now, without any further ado, here are your 2015 CMA major award winners. Congrats to everyone, especially the big winners of the evening, Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town!

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Luke BryanLuke Bryan Boots and Hearts 2014 Saturday Night

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Miranda LambertMiranda Lambert Boots and Hearts

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Chris Stapleton
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Chris Stapleton
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Traveller, Chris Stapleton

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
“Girl Crush” – Little Big Town
SONG OF THE YEAR (AWARDED TO SONGWRITERS)
“Girl Crush” – Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose – Little Big Town
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
Little Big Town

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR
Florida Georgia LineFlorida Georgia Line Boots and Hearts 2015

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
“Raise ‘Em Up” – Keith Urban feat. Eric Church

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
“Girl in a Country Song” – Maddie & Tae

Other performances to not miss are Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and John Mellencamp, Thomas Rhett and Fall Out Boy and of course Reba and Brooks and Dunn!

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood were amazing hosts and I’m giving them the Comedy Duo of the Year award. Don’t miss their performances as well as Eric Church, Kelsea Ballerini, Florida Georgia line… did we miss anyone? Kudos to ABC they’re all over the broadcast and have everything you could want to see on their YouTube page.

2 years ago
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