Jason McCoy

CMAO 2017 Awards Show and Conference Contest!

The 2017 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards are coming, and London, ON is going to do a great job hosting.

We know this because we just experienced a hell of a good time with the country music family during Canadian Country Music Week 2016… ask around and people will tell you the same thing.

Now, because we know this weekend is going to be amazing, we want to send you to experience it!

Yup, we want you to go check out the panels at the CMAO R2I (Road to Independence) TuneUp Conference and the CMAO Awards show on Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11.

It’s going to be a great time. It’s going to be filled with country music’s brightest stars from Ontario. It’s going to be a weekend that you won’t soon forget. Memorable moments will happen. Selfies will be taken. Stories will be told. And you could be there.

If you haven’t been to the awards show in the past, you should know that it’s going to have some amazing musical performances… Your host, Jason McCoy, is sure to sing you a line or two, and backed by house band, The Western Swing Authority, you will see no fewer than 11 artists live on stage.

2017 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards Show Performers

♫ Aaron Pritchett
♫ Cold Creek County
♫ Deric Ruttan
♫ Genevieve Fisher
♫ James Barker Band
♫ Jason Blaine
♫ The Abrams
♫ Jessica Mitchell
♫ Meghan Patrick
♫ River Town Saints
♫ Tim Hicks

At the bottom of this post there’s a widget that you can use to earn up to 7 entries for your chance to win 1 pair (2) of tickets to the R2I (Road to Independence) TuneUp Conference and 1 pair (2) of tickets to the Country Music Association of Ontario Awards Show!

But before we get to that, let’s have some fun. As members of the CMAO, we’ve already cast our votes for the 2017 awards – and now we want to see who you think should win. We’ve picked out six categories featuring some of our favourite, and your favourite, Ontario country artists. Vote for the artist you think should win, then use the widget and enter for your chance to be a winner!

Good luck!


Note: This prize does not include travel or accommodations. Please keep that in mind when entering and hoping to win!

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

2016 CMAO Awards Red Carpet & Green Room Photo Review!

The Country Music Association of Ontario Awards were full of super talented, and pretty good looking people… and we have the photos to prove it!

Check out some of the looks from the red carpet first (and leave a comment telling us who you think looked the best) and then have a look at some photos from the green room that Ray was able to snap as award winners and other fine Ontario country artists came through during the show.


The 2016 CMAO Awards Red Carpet

Jason McCoy
CMAO Awards 2016 Jason McCoy Red Carpet-12CMAO Awards 2016 Jason McCoy Red Carpet-11

Jason Blaine
CMAO Awards 2016 Jason Blaine Red Carpet-6

Leah DanielsCMAO Awards 2016 Leah Daniels Red Carpet-23

Autumn HillCMAO Awards 2016 Autumn Hill Red Carpet-24CMAO Awards 2016 Autumn Hill Red Carpet-25

Small Town PistolsCMAO Awards 2016 Small Town Pistols Red Carpet-2433

Lindsay EllCMAO Awards 2016 Lindsay Ell Red Carpet-15CMAO Awards 2016 Lindsay Ell Red Carpet-14

Meghan PatrickCMAO Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick Red Carpet-22CMAO Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick Red Carpet-21

TebeyCMAO Awards 2016 Tebey Red Carpet-8

River Town SaintsCMAO Awards 2016 River Town Saints Red Carpet-4

Madeline MerloCMAO Awards 2016 Madeline Merlot Red Carpet-13

Ali Raney (The Lovelocks)CMAO Awards 2016 Ali Rainey - The Lovelocks Red Carpet-9

Runaway AngelCMAO Awards 2016 Runaway Angel Red Carpet-17CMAO Awards 2016 Runaway Angel Red Carpet-16

Cold Creek CountyCMAO Awards 2016 Cold Creek County Red Carpet-7

Lindsay BroughtonCMAO Awards 2016 Lindsay Broughton Red Carpet-19

Jessica MitchellCMAO Awards 2016 Jessica Mitchell Red Carpet-20

Andrew HyattCMAO Awards 2016 Andrew Hyatt Red Carpet-2

Marshall DaneCMAO Awards 2016 Marshall Dane Red Carpet-1

The 2016 CMAO Awards Green Room

Jason BlaineCMAO Awards 2016 Jason Blaine Winner-26

Leah DanielsCMAO Awards 2016 Leah Daniels Green Room-34CMAO Awards 2016 Leah Daniels Green Room-31

TebeyCMAO Awards 2016 Tebey Winner-36

Cold Creek County
CMAO Awards 2016 Cold Creek County Winner-37

Prairie OysterCMAO Awards 2016 Prarie Oyster Winners-2555

KX 94.7 HamiltonCMAO Awards 2016 KX94.7-27

107.3 TillsonburgCMAO Awards 2016 CJDL-FM (Country 107.3), Tillsonburg-28

CMAO Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick, Kira Isabella, Leah Daniels Green Room-33CMAO Awards 2016 Tebey, Meghan Patrick Green Room-35CMAO Awards 2016 Green Room-32CMAO Awards 2016 Badges-2565

2 years ago

CMAO Awards 2016 Wrap and Photo Review!

Markham, ON – On a gorgeous Monday night, country music gathered to celebrate the Ontario artists and industry leaders that are making music so many of us are enjoying all across Canada at the Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) Awards!

CMAO Awards 2016 Jason McCoyFrom the red carpet to the award show, hosted by Jason McCoy (who was hilarious and engaging from start to finish, which was no surprise), it was a night of celebrations, surprises, amazing performances, and the chance to meet up with some of our favourite people in the country music world.

But most importantly it was a celebration… a chance for everyone to come together and celebrate just how great the country music in Ontario is. We are lucky to have great artists and producers and festivals and fans in this province, and this was a chance to recognize that.

We have a ton of photos from the CMAO awards, and we have the full list of winners for you too. But before that…

During the award pre-show, and throughout the night, we had a chance to talk to some of the artists in attendance, and we want to share some of the things we learned from them…

CMAO Awards 2016 Tebey★ Tebey was really excited to get up on stage and sing his new song, Old School, and thinks that it could turn into a real crowd favourite.

☆ Tebey also has big tour news coming for this fall… but it’s a secret right now, and we weren’t able to talk him into giving us any details. He’s sorry and we’re sorry – but we’re sure it will be exciting!

CMAO Awards 2016 Jason Blaine★ Jason Blaine is getting ready for the most exciting summer of his career with festival dates at Boots & Hearts, Pomeroy Guitars and Wagons, Lucknow Music in the Fields, and Smoke & Spurs + he’s playing with Rascal Flatts in Halifax, and more!

☆ Jason is also getting ready to golf with his 3rd annual charity golf classic coming up on June 14 at Pembrooke Golf Club. Click to learn more!

★ Runaway Angel had a great time on their radio tour for the release of their debut album No End In Sight.

CMAO Awards 2016 Runaway Angel☆ 2 of the 3 angels are all for fun stunt adventures… but 1 isn’t. We won’t tell you who, but if you have a guess we want to hear it!

★ Meghan Patrick has been rocking hard all over the country, and broke a guitar in Edmonton last week… but it will be fixed soon and ready for the summer.

CMAO Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick☆ Meghan will be at Boots & Hearts, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, CMT Music Fest, Ottawa Bluesfest, and she’ll be at the Calgary Stampede to open for Lady Antebellum. She’s excited and we’re excited for her.

★ Andrew Hyatt loves to work with his hands, and the wooden 6-pack holders he made last summer gave him a chance to marry his trades background with his 2015 EP, Never Back Down.

CMAO Awards 2016 Andrew Hyatt☆ If you want to hear more from Andrew call your local country station and request Me And A Girl And A Radio!

★ The Lovelocks have a packed summer that will take them to Havelock, Huntsville, Dauphin, Lucknow, and Tilsonburg… and they will also be at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto as part of Jim Cuddy’s Fort McMurray fundraiser on June 27. Click for more info!

CMAO Awards 2016 Ali Rainey The Lovelocks☆ Ali and Zoe are also very happy to have released Time After Time to radio. It’s their 1st cover as a single, and they couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out. We saw it live back in March, and if you haven’t heard it yet, you need to go find it.

★ The Reklaws will be MCing at Boots & Hearts this summer… extending the relationship that they’ve built with the festival. AND they’ll be taking the stage, which is always a good time.

Now, let’s get to the big info from the night… the award winners. HUGE congratulations goes out to both Jason Blaine and Cold Creek County for taking home 3 trophies each. And we’re also very excited for Leah Daniels who won the 2015 Rising Star Award and is now the 2016 Female Artist of the Year.

CMAO Awards 2016 TebeySINGLE OF THE YEAR (sponsored by KICX 106)
“When the Buzz Wears Off” – Tebey

ALBUM OF THE YEAR (sponsored by hmv Canada)
What Love Is All About – Johnny Reid

Jason Blaine, Deric Ruttan – “Country Side” performed by Jason Blaine

CMAO Awards 2016 Leah DanielsFEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Spring Tree Farm)
Leah Daniels

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Havelock Country Jamboree)
Jason Blaine

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR (sponsored by The Remington Group)
Cold Creek County

ROOTS ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Skelton Truck Lines Ltd.)
The Good Family

CMAO Awards 2016 Cold Creek CountyRISING STAR AWARD (sponsored by Slaight Music)
Cold Creek County

RECORD PRODUCER(S) OF THE YEAR (sponsored by MetalWorks Studios)
Jason Barry – Run Angel Run by Runaway Angel; Now Playing and Sweet Harriet by The Western Swing Authority; Boomerang by Genevieve Fisher; Toes by Scotty James

CMAO Awards 2016 Jason BlaineMUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Kylemore Communities)
“Country Side” – Jason Blaine

FANS’ CHOICE (sponsored by Ontario Media Development Corporation)
Cold Creek County

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (MAJOR MARKET) (sponsored by Canadian Country Spotlight)
CHKX-FM (KX 94.7), Hamilton

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (SECONDARY MARKET) (sponsored by Lucknow’s Music in the Fields)
CJDL-FM (Country 107.3), Tillsonburg

Prairie Oyster

Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, it was a great night… but we’re not done!

Check out some of the photos we grabbed of the performances and award presentations at the Flato Markham Theatre!

CMAO Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick

Meghan Patrick singing Bow Chicka Wow Wow

CMAO Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick

Meghan Patrick singing Bow Chicka Wow Wow

CMAO Awards 2016 Runaway Angel

Runaway Angel singing June

CMAO Awards 2016 Runaway Angel

Runaway Angel singing June

CMAO Awards 2016 Jessica Mitchell

Jessica Mitchell singing Workin’ on Whiskey

CMAO Awards 2016 Jessica Mitchell

Jessica Mitchell singing Workin’ on Whiskey

CMAO Awards 2016 Jason Blaine

Jason Blaine singing Dance With My Daughter

CMAO Awards 2016 Jason Blaine

Jason Blaine singing Dance With My Daughter

CMAO Awards 2016 Autumn Hill

Autumn Hill singing Good Night For Going Nowhere

CMAO Awards 2016 Autumn Hill - Tareya Green

Autumn Hill singing Good Night For Going Nowhere

CMAO Awards 2016 Autumn Hill - Mike Robins

Autumn Hill singing Good Night For Going Nowhere

CMAO Awards 2016 Autumn Hill

Autumn Hill singing Good Night For Going Nowhere

CMAO Awards 2016 Leah Daniels

Leah Daniels singing Your Kiss Is Killing Me

CMAO Awards 2016 Leah Daniels

Leah Daniels singing Your Kiss Is Killing Me

CMAO Awards 2016 River Town Saints

River Town Saints singing Cherry Bomb

CMAO Awards 2016 Chris Labelle - River Town Saints

River Town Saints singing Cherry Bomb

CMAO Awards 2016 The Road Hammers & Tim Hicks

Tim Hicks and The Road Hammers singing One Horse Town

CMAO Awards 2016 Clayton Bellamy & Tim Hicks-6951

Tim Hicks and The Road Hammers singing One Horse Town

CMAO Awards 2016 Jason McCoy & Tim Hicks

Tim Hicks and The Road Hammers singing One Horse Town

CMAO Awards 2016 Tim Hicks

Tim Hicks and The Road Hammers singing One Horse Town

CMAO Awards 2016 Lindsay Ell & Patricia Conroy

Lindsay Ell and Patricia Conroy present Male Artist of the Year

CMAO Awards 2016 Marshall Dane & Aaron Pritchett

Marshall Dane and Aaron Pritchett present Female Artist of the Year

CMAO Awards 2016 Jason BlaineCMAO Awards 2016 Clayton Bellamy & Heather BallentineCMAO Awards 2016 Jason BarryCMAO Awards 2016 Prairie OysterCMAO Awards 2016 Cold Creek CountyCMAO Awards 2016 Leah DanielsCMAO Awards 2016 Leah DanielsCMAO Awards 2016 Jason McCoy

2 years ago

2016 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards Preview: Performer Q&A

The Country Music Association of Ontario Awards are coming up quickly (Monday, May 30) and we’re pretty damn excited to see the artists show up, hang out, win some awards, and jump up on stage to perform for the crowd at the Flato Markham Theatre.

To get Ontario country fans ready we caught up with some of the artists that will be performing at the awards show to see who they’re listening to, who they’re looking forward to seeing, what the CMAO means to them… and what they will or won’t be playing on the 30th!

Big thanks and high fives to Tim Hicks, Meghan Patrick, River Town Saints, Mike Robins of Autumn Hill, and Runaway Angel for answering our questions – we can’t wait to see all of you in Markham!

Tim Hicks Performance CMAO Awards 2015-4158Q: How important do you think it is to have the Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) here to recognize homegrown excellence in Ontario?

Tim Hicks: So important. There is so much talent in Ontario when it comes to music, and Country music specifically, so having a night to recognize that is a must as far as I’m concerned. I’m really flattered that I can be a part of the CMAO celebration and proud of my home province and all the talent that resides there.

Meghan Patrick: I think it’s a great way to get to know and connect with your fellow Ontario musicians, and an excellent opportunity, especially for new and upcoming artists to be given the chance to perform and get recognition for all their hard work in a “local” setting.

River Town Saints: We think it’s super important. Having the CMAO provides an opportunity for a lot of up and coming artists/singers/song writers/musicians to be recognized in the industry, and to be supported locally. Be keeping it just in Ontario (as opposed to artists from the whole country) it allows for a smaller group to get together and celebrate each others accomplishments.

Autumn Hill: I think it’s absolutely imperative to have the CMAO recognizing homegrown talent, I think traditionally, Ontario is not the first place you think about when you think of Canadian country music. There is so much incredible talent and music coming from here, we need to nurture, promote and recognize all the amazing artists from Ontario. I think the CMAO do a superb job in that and it’s wonderful they are there to offer so much support.

Runaway Angel: We believe it is extremely important to recognize the talent we have here in Ontario and help that talent succeed within its own province and beyond. It’s wonderful that the CMAO plays that role for us.

Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016Q: We’ve been told in the past that award shows are great because the serve as mini reunions, is there anyone you’re especially looking forward to seeing?

Meghan Patrick: Too many to name… We’ve got so many great people coming out of Ontario! I’m excited to see all my old friends and to meet some new ones.

Tim Hicks: Yeah it really is like a reunion! That is the main reason I get excited about nights like the CMAOs, it’s a chance to connect or re-connect with other artists and just talk about our experiences. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone!

RTS: We love all our fellow bands in the infamous 401 club. It’ll be fun to see the girls from Runaway Angel and Leah Daniels again – we haven’t seen them since last summer and we had a great time doing some festivals and fairs together.

Autumn Hill: Awards shows are great for reunions, that’s absolutely true. I love the CMAOs for that its always a great time backstage, seeing friends that you don’t get to see all the time. I am looking forward to seeing, the Small Town Pistols, Jason Blaine, Tebey; really the whole gang. It will be great to see everyone. It’s always a blast.

Runaway Angel: We love seeing the emerging artists that keep coming back, and improving every year. It really does feel like a family, and it’s amazing to see that everyone genuinely supports each other.

River-Town-Saints-CMW-18Q: Is there anyone whose performance you’re especially looking forward to?

RTS: Tim Hicks is always a blast live, so are the Road Hammers. Having them together seems like it should be pretty wild.

Tim Hicks: I always like watching the up-and-comers perform. It’s a bit like looking into the future of Canadian Country Music.

Meghan Patrick: Super stoked to see Jason McCoy and The Road Hammers collaborate with Tim Hicks. A few of my favorite guys! And always love hearing my girl Jessica Mitchell sing.

Autumn Hill: I am a huge Jason McCoy fan, of course of his music but also as the host of the show. I think him hosting, really brings the show to another level, he is so on, and always hilarious. So of course, I can’t wait to see The Road Hammers. I’m also really excited to see Meghan Patrick, I’m loving her new album and she is going to rock it.

Runaway Angel: Honestly it’s impossible for us to choose. There is so much new talent slated to play this year, and we’re just excited to see the high quality performances we know everyone will bring.

Autumn Hill at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Q: We know it’s a little bit of a long shot, but will you tell us what song you’re playing at the show?

Autumn Hill: Well I can tell you that it’s a song I’m super excited about, it also might happen to be our brand new single. It’s one of my absolute favourites to play and I can’t wait. It’s about a great night, which the CMAO’s always are.

Tim Hicks: Not a chance. Good try though 😉

Meghan Patrick: Hmm… I might have to “bow” out of this question and keep it a surprise.

RTS: We haven’t decided yet. Might just wing it.

Runaway Angel: Of course! We’ll be playing our newest single June! Can’t wait to share it.

Runaway Angel Runaway Angel CD Release Boots and BourbonQ: If we snagged your phone right now, what three artists would we find at the top of your playlist?

Runaway Angel: Cadence: James Bay, Jessica Mitchell, Justin Bieber
Ann: Just love listening to the radio, it’s impossible for me to choose.
Stacey: Dixie Chicks, Meghan Patrick & Lindi Ortega

Tim Hicks: Right now I’m listening to a lot of Chris Stapleton, Merle, and Led Zeppelin. I tend to reach backward when I’m looking for new stuff to listen to. I like to understand where everyone came from musically, so I tend to lean towards classic in both Rock and Country. That being said, I had to see what all the hype was about with “Traveller” and let me say I totally get it.

Meghan Patrick: John & Jacob, Sturgill Simpson and Colter Wall

RTS: Chris Labelle: Kira Isabella, Leah Daniels, Petric
Jordan: Dean Brody, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Cult
Dan: Red, Killswitch Engage, Paper Tongues
Chris McComb: Maren Morris, Katy Perry, The 1975
Jeremy: The 1975, Brothers Osborne, Kim Mitchell

Autumn Hill: Keith Urban, Sam Hunt and Chris Stapleton, I am a huge fan of these artists. I love listening to whole albums and really taking them in. I am loving Ripcord, Keith’s brand new album, it’s so different and just really cool.

Tim Hicks Smoke 2014 CNEMeghan Patrick Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixelRiver Town Saints CMW 2016 Boots and BourbonAutumn Hill -8822Runaway Angel Runaway Angel CD Release Boots and Bourbon

2 years ago

She’s With Me: High Valley at Boots & Hearts 2015!

High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley loves Boots & Hearts.

It’s the only possible explanation for their appearance 4 years in a row – and they pretty much told us as much when we sat down with them after their Friday set on the main stage.

Brad and Curtis Rempel gave a crowd all the energy they had as the evening audience made their way to the big stage, and they were repaid with fans who sang along with their hits, cheered with appreciation, and generally had just as good a time as the Alberta born brothers did.

High Valley gave the Boots & Hearts crowd a set that included favourites I Will Stand By You, Love You For A Long Time, On The Combine, and A Father’s Love (dedicated to their dad) – and they also gave us newer hits She’s With Me and County Line which have received a fantastic reaction from fans and country radio.

Gospel Brunch Jason McCoy The Lovelocks High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015Note: The brothers also joined Jason McCoy and The Lovelocks on Sunday morning as part of the Gospel Brunch and gave us some good God loving fun with tracks like Hallelujah, I’m Ready To Go.

In addition to their musical duties, High Valley once again handled some of the hosting responsibilities at Boots & Hearts… it’s become their gig, and while The Reklaws may have started to creep in on their turf, we have a feeling it’s theirs until, as Brad said, they retire some day.

The boys also announced during their set that a text came in from CMT on Friday telling them that the video for She’s With Me had reached #1, their second consecutive hit on the countdown. It’s a good time to be High Valley.

High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015And if you’re looking to see them on the road in the near future you can catch them in Ottawa and Oshawa at the start of October – and keep an eye on their website for more shows to be announced.

Before our sit down time was up we asked High Valley to describe Ricky Skaggs for us… and their first reaction was “Legendary”. They expanded on that by telling us that Skaggs is “somehow a super humble guy for someone who is such a legend.” and that he is always willing to play, to help, and most of all – talk about all things mandolin.

Check out some more pics of High Valley at Boots & Hearts 2015 and stay tuned for more.

Work Hard. Play Harder. Be Awesome!

High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015Gospel Brunch Jason McCoy The Lovelocks High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015

2 years ago

2015 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards Recap

On Monday night in Markham, the brightest talent in Ontario country music gathered to celebrate the industry and the achievements of 2014.

Jason McCoy Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3739With 12 awards, and as many performances, the Flato Markham Theatre certainly was the place to be. As first time attendees and first time voters, both Trish and I were ready to celebrate with all of the friends we’ve made in the industry over the last few years – and we’re both happy to report that it was as awesome as we’d hoped.

Congratulations to all of the nominees and the winners. And high fives to all of the performers, there was a whole lot of talent on display Monday night. Also, we need to send a high five to Jason McCoy who handled hosting and performing duties – and he nailed it!

Thanks to Trish we have photos of award winners, performers, nominees and other awesome talent at the 2015 CMAOs. Have a look!

2015 CMAO Award Winners!

In the order they were handed out, here are the CMAO award winners.

Group or Duo of the Year

sponsored by The Remington Group

The Western Swing AuthorityWestern Swing Authority Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3644

Rising Star Award

sponsored by Slaight Music

Leah DanielsLeah Daniels Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3749

Jason BarryRecord Producer of the Year

sponsored by Metal Works Studios

Jason Barry

KX-947 CMAO WinnerRadio Station of the Year (Major Market)

sponsored by Canadian Country Spotlight

KX 94.7 – Hamilton

Country-1073 CMAO WinnerRadio Station of the Year (Secondary Market)

sponsored by Lucknow Music in the Fields

Country 107.3 – Tillsonburg

Music Video of the Year

sponsored by CMT

Small Town Pistols: I Only Smoke When I DrinkSmall Town Pistols Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3692

Roots Artist or Group of the Year

sponsored by Skelton Truck Lines Ltd.

Western Swing AuthorityWestern Swing Win CMAO Awards 2015-3873

Songwriters of the Year

sponsored by SOCAN

Alyssa Bonagura/Patricia Conroy/Amanda Wilkinson/Tyler Wilkinson – I Only Smoke When I DrinkSongwriter of the year Patricia Conry and Small Town Pistols CMAO Awards 2015-4010

Female Artist of the Year

sponsored by Spring Tree Farm Garden Centre

Michelle WrightMichelle Wright CMAO Awards 2015-4066

Male Artist of the Year

sponsored by ticketbreak

Tim HicksTim Hicks Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3663

Single of the Year

sponsored by Boots and Hearts

Small Town Pistols – I Only Smoke When I DrinkSmall Town Pistols Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3877

Album of the Year

sponsored by hmv

Tim Hicks – 5:01Tim Hicks Win CMAO Awards 2015-4086

2015 CMAO Award Performers!

High fives to all of the CMAO Awards performers. There were no misses, only hits – and it was awesome to see such a great  selection of talent from Ontario taking the stage. This isn’t a complete list, but here are some of our fav snaps from the stage Monday night.

Leah Daniels

Leah Daniels Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3943Leah Daniels Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3952

Autumn Hill

Autumn Hill CMAO Awards 2015-4033Tareya Green Autumn Hill CMAO Awards 2015-4035

Russell deCarle Trio

Russell DeCarle Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3966

Jason Blaine

Jason Blaine Performance CMAO Awards 2015-4091

Deric Ruttan

Deric Ruttan Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3977

Small Town Pistols

Small Town Pistols Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3877Small Town Pistols Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3889


Tebey Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3930

Tim Hicks

Tim Hicks Performance CMAO Awards 2015-4188Tim Hicks Performance CMAO Awards 2015-4158

Jason McCoy

Jason McCoy Performance CMAO Awards 2015-4231Jason McCoy CMAO Awards 2015-4255

2015 CMAO Award Favs!

And while not everyone was a winner or performer, they looked great and we love them. Here are some more pics of the great talent we have in Ontario!

Runaway Angel

Runaway Angel Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3668

Lindsay Broughton

Lindsay Broughton Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3614


Tebey Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3777

Victoria Banks, Leah Daniels, Beverley Mahood, Giselle

Victoria Banks Leah Daniels Beverley Mahood Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3717

Deric Ruttan

Deric Ruttan Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3787

Riki Knox

Rikki Knox Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3762

The Lovelocks

The Lovelocks CMAO Awards 2015-3907

Patricia Conroy


and… Joshua

josh cmao-3567

3 years ago

The Unison Jam at CMW 2015!

On Wednesday night, The Phoenix hosted a special night of fundraising and entertainment to the delight of Canadian music fans and Canadian musicians.

The Unison Jam brought together a bunch of great acts to play quick sets for the enthusiastic crowd, and to explain why they were all there.

The Unison Benevolent Fund is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. We are here to help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties.

Through partnerships with Canada’s major record labels, industry supporters, and now the fans through Wednesday’s event, the fund is dedicated to helping Canadian musicians through tough times when they may not have anywhere else to turn. It’s a commendable goal with the opportunity to help a lot of people in need. I’m glad I was there to be a part of the Canadian Music Week party – and chip in a couple bucks.

I Mother Earth with Jason McCoy and Clayton Bellamy

I Mother Earth with Jason McCoy and Clayton Bellamy

note: Congratulations to whoever ended up winning some of the awesome silent auction prizes, particularly the trip to Dublin, Ireland.

The entertainment at The Phoenix was also a whole lot of fun on Wednesday with a list of performers that you won’t see together in 1 room very often…

The Unison Jam Performers

Canadian Red Maple Leaf

  • I Mother Earth
  • The Trews
  • Finger Eleven
  • Matthew Good
  • Kim Mitchell
  • Jason McCoy
  • Clayton Bellamy
  • Tom Wilson

Both Finger Eleven and Matthew Good took turns playing solo sets (with Finger Eleven debuting 2 new tracks from their soon to be released album).

 Wilson (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) MC’d the event, and sang us a song.

And everyone else teamed up in 1 combination or another to play some good old fashioned rock and roll.

Unison Jam Highlights Included…



Much love to The Phoenix for hosting the event, the performers for donating their time, and everyone who came and had fun and made donations.

Learn more about the Unison Benevolent Fund here: unisonfund.ca

I tried to take some pics… here ya go.

CMW 2015 Unison Jam Photos

Finger Eleven.

Finger Eleven.

Matthew Good.

Matthew Good.

I Mother Earth.

I Mother Earth.

Kim Mitchell with The Trews.

Kim Mitchell with The Trews.

I Mother Earth with Jason McCoy, Clayton Bellamy and Kim Mitchell.

I Mother Earth with Jason McCoy, Clayton Bellamy and Kim Mitchell.

The Trews with Kim Mitchell.

The Trews with Kim Mitchell.

3 years ago

Boots & Hearts 2014, January 7th Line-Up Announcement!

Boots and Hearts January 7 Facebook Cover PhotoThere were 2 big announcements made this morning.

1) Team Canada revealed the 25 man roster for the Men’s Ice Hockey Team at the Sochi Olympics.

2) Boots and Hearts announced that 7 new acts have been added to the 2014 line-up:
 Toby Keith
★ Hunter Hayes
★ Lee Brice
★ Gord Bamford
★ Neal McCoy
 The Road Hammers
 Tim Hicks

Tim Hicks ThrowdownIt’s a welcome back moment for Tim Hicks who played on the Front Porch Stage in 2013 to open the show with The Stone Sparrows and Emerson Drive. I’d be willing to bet that he makes the jump to the main stage this year. And if his set last year was an indication, he’ll be great. I look forward to see what covers he comes with this year after Outkast’s Hey Ya and Willie Nelson’s On The Road Again last summer.

I’ve seen Toby Keith and The Road Hammers before, and I’m excited to see both of them again.

Toby Keith Profile PhotoToby Keith put on a great show in Toronto at the Molson Amphitheatre in September 2010, which made me happy because I’m not a huge fan of some of his music. But I will freely admit I sang along through the entire set. I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy him again this year. Keith confirmed on his Twitter account that he will be playing on August 1, which leads me to believe that he will be our Friday night headliner.

The Road Hammers Album CoverThe Road Hammers set was a little colder, with the stage set up on the Rideau Canal on a chilly February night in 2008. I was living in Ottawa at the time and my friend Terry and I dealt with the cold and sang along to most of the first Road Hammers record as well as one of the favourite Canadian country songs of all time, Jason McCoy’s Born Again in Dixieland.

Neal McCoy Profile PhotoNeal McCoy comes to Boots and Hearts in the role that Joe Diffie filled in 2013. A country legend who had big success in the 90s with some really catchy songs. And now he’s back, probably on Saturday or Sunday afternoon to play the hits (I’m excited for The Shake, Wink & They’re Playin’ Our Song) maybe something new and get everyone ready for the bigger acts later on. It’s also cool to note that Neal McCoy is of Irish and Filipino descent. There isn’t a lot of any Asian representation in country music, but Neal is there!

Lee Brice Profile PhotoLee Brice isn’t a name that I anticipated being on this list. But here he is. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. The 2 songs that I know best from his catalogue are Woman Like You and

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. The 2nd will make you cry if you’re the kind that cries when a song is built that way. I will not be surprised if I choke up when I hear it live for the first time. Wish me luck.

The last 2 names that were announced today hold a special place in my heart and that’s because I named them both in my prediction list going into Boots & Hearts 2014. Add Luke Bryan and so far I’m 3/5 in my 2014 predictions!

Gord Bamford Profile PhotoGord Bamford has been as hot as anyone else in Canadian country music in the last 3 years or so. He opened for Reba, the Queen of Country Music, on her recent Canadian tour. His biggest hit thus far is probably his most recent.

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is a honky tonk good time tune that will get people singing and dancing and drinking. Hell, the DJ played it the minute he saw Bamford walk through the door at the Rock ‘N’ Horse Saloon.

Hunter Hayes EncoreThe last name is arguably the biggest right now. With all due respect to Toby Keith… Hunter Hayes is a rising star with hits behind him and in front of him. Hayes was the 2012 Country Music Association New Artist of the Year and has had 5 hit singles, including his current duet with Jason Mraz, Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me. Oh, and by the way, he won’t turn 23 years old until a month after he performs in Bowmanville at Boots & Hearts 2o14. I’m looking for Hunter Hayes to steal the show much like Dierks Bentley did before Miranda Lambert took the stage in 2013.

My only disappointment with today’s Boots & Hearts Line-up Announcement is that we still don’t have any female country acts on the bill. There are 8 male solo artists (the new 6 plus Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan) and 1 group consisting of all dudes.

I do expect that we’ll have women on the roster before all things are said and done… and we’re waiting.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at the Boots & Hearts website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and right here on the blog!

Boots and Hearts Line Up January 7
Toby Keith Boots and Hearts 2014
Hunter Hayes Boots and Hearts 2014

4 years ago
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