Lindi Ortega

5 Quick Questions with Ben Hudson: Holiday Edition and Fancy Spiced Rum & Eggnog Recipe

With the holiday season coming up on us, we’ve been sliding into the spirit with some of our favourite artists. And to help get us a little more excited for gifts and friends and family and holiday music, Ben Hudson has joined the fun.

We caught up with Ben for a quick, holiday edition, round of 5 Quick Questions, and found out his favourite childhood Christmas song, who he’d love to duet with, and how he likes his eggnog.

Note: Congratulations to Ben – he’s been named a winner in the Kick It With Kissel contest and will be opening for Brett Kissel in North Bay, Ontario on February 23, 2018.

Check it out!

5 Quick Holiday Questions with Ben Hudson

Q) Did you have a favourite Christmas songs when you were a kid?

Ben) I’m old enough to remember staying up all night listening to the radio just to hear your favourite song again. I barely slept one Christmas Eve waiting for Bob and Doug McKenzie’s version of Twelve Days of Christmas to come on. By far my favourite Christmas song as a kid.

Q) Do you have a favourite Christmas song to play?

Ben) I don’t yet but I am currently working on some good ones for the upcoming ‘Home for the Holidays’ Christmas Concert with Leah Daniels and Beverley Mahood. Christmas Cookies by George Strait is a lot of fun.

Q) If you could partner up with any artist for a collaboration on a Christmas song, who would you choose?

Ben) Lindi Ortega. It would be a Christmas song with a twist for sure.

Q) What is your favourite beverage for a holiday party?

Ben) Spiced rum and eggnog could be the best thing about the holiday season.

Q) If you could only have 1 dessert after Christmas dinner, what would you choose?

Ben) Spiced rum and eggnog.

eggnog photo from thespruce.com

Ben Hudons’s Fancy Spiced Rum & Eggnog

Ingredients:

2 oz Captain Morgan spiced rum
4 oz eggnog
1 pinch fancy nutmeg

Directions:

1. Pour spiced rum into glass.
2. Add eggnog to spiced rum.
3. Stir and sprinkle with fancy nutmeg

A post shared by Ben Hudson (@benhudsonmusic) on

Country Closet Cleanout Contest

To celebrate the launch of our brand new website design and features, we’re cleaning out our country music prize closet with a monster giveaway of CDs, clothes, and merch.

This prize package has 15 pieces that will all go to 1 lucky winner. They’re perfect to keep for yourself, perfect to share with friends and family… and absolutely perfect to wrap up and give out as gifts.

You can do anything you want with this prize – we just want to give it to you!

Entering is easy. We promise!

Now, without any further ado, here’s the list of country music swag included…

Clothing:
Dolly Parton Baseball Tee – Womens (Large)
Rock N Horse Saloon T-Shirt – Womens (Medium)
Rock N Horse Saloon T-Shirt – Mens (X-Large)
Music:
Meghan Patrick CD – Grace & Grit
Madeline Merlo CD – Free Soul
Blake Shelton CD – If I’m Honest
Aaron Pritchett CD – Body Of Work
The Lovelocks CD – Born To Love
Johnson Crook CD – The EP
Lindi Ortega CD – Faded Gloryville
Cory Marquardt CD – This Man
Merch:
Cavendish Beach Music Festival Bandana
Calgary Stampede Bandana
Boots and Hearts Sunglasses
Boots and Hearts Beer Koozie

Country Closet Cleanout Contest CD Collage

If you’re counting, there are 8 country artists’ CDs on that list, merch from 3 festivals, and t-shirts from one of our favourite spots in Toronto AND the legendary Miss Dolly Parton herself.

Like we said, entering is easy. All you have to do is use the widget here in the post to earn up to 7 entries for your chance to be the big winner.

Note: Please pay attention to the details in the comment entry. We need you to use the comment section at the bottom of the post to leave your comment – and then click the button on the widget to say you did it. Got it? Good!

Good luck to everyone. We can’t wait to name a winner and ship off this monster prize!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi OrtegaBoots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi OrtegaBoots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi Ortega Band Boots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi Ortega Band Boots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi Ortega BandBoots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi Ortega Boots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi OrtegaBoots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi OrtegaBoots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi Ortega Boots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi Ortega

Boots & Hearts Preview: JJ Shiplett Q&A

If you haven’t seen JJ Shiplett on stage, we highly recommend that you change that as soon as possible. And if you’re going to Boots & Hearts 2017, your chance is coming soon!

We caught up with the Something To Believe In singer for a little pre-festival Q&A action, and as usual, JJ was awesome.

Thanks for JJ Shiplett for playing along, check out his answers and stay tuned for more previews, and more JJ soon!

Q: We’ve seen you play club shows at The Dakota Tavern and the Moustache Club, what’s the biggest difference between playing those shows, and big festival shows?

JJ: Usually festival gigs are a bit more hectic. You only get a line-check and it’s hop up and go. Where Club gigs are a bit more greasier. A little more intimate. I dig that. I want people to feel like this show is the most important thing in the world. Like there’s no where else to be…

Q: What is your favourite part about the country music fans across Canada?

JJ: I find most music fans in Canada to be good people. Whether they’re country, rock, folk or blues fans. Doesn’t seem to matter. I think most Canadians wanna see other Canadians do well and create quality art.

JJ Shiplett at The Dakota

Related: 5 Quick Questions with JJ Shiplett

Q: Which act are you most excited to see at Boots & Hearts this year?

JJ: Lindi Ortega. She’s the best singer in Canada right now. Her voice has the warmth of Emmylou Harris and the attitude of Dolly Parton. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know her over the past while and she’s as cool as they get

Q: Can you tell us something about you that we wouldn’t find in a Google search?

JJ: I won an award at my grade school graduation for being the Athlete Of The Year. I immediately retired from playing sports and took up music. Get out on top…

Q: What is your number #1 festival tip for the fans?

JJ: As a red head the only answer here is sunscreen.

JJ Shiplett

Have Your Say: 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Awards Nominees!

The Canadian Country Music Association has announced the full list of 2017 CCMA Awards nominees… and it’s an impressive list of Canadian country talent!

We are lucky and privileged to have covered, met, and seen these artists put on amazing lives shows, record fantastic music, and grow into their careers.

But now, because we know you have an opinion, we want to know who you think should win at the 2017 CCMA Awards in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Sunday, September 10th. Use the polls to vote and support your favourite artists, and use the link at the bottom of the list to cast your official vote for the Fans’ Choice Award!

Have fun – and congratulations to all of the nominees in 2017, you should all be proud of your accomplishments, we can’t wait to hear what you’ve got coming for us next.

Click Here to submit your official vote for the Fans’ Choice Award!

And Click Here to see the full list of nominees in all 2017 Canadian Country Music Association categories! 

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

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

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

Get yourself ready, this is getting big.

Today’s Announcement Includes…

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

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

Chad Brownlee Boots and Hearts 2015

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Jess Moskaluke Trackside Fest 2016

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

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

Kiefer Sutherland Band at The Horseshoe Toronto Jazz Festival 2016

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

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

Tucker Beathard - The Rivoli

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

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

CMT Music Fest - Drake White & The Big Fire

 

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

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

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

Be ready, this one is going to get loud.

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

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

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

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

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

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

CCMA Awards 2016 Strut Social House Endless Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jessica Mitchell at The Horseshoe Toronto Jazz Festival 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt

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

You won’t be disappointed.

and more…

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

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 Country Music Association of Ontario Award Nominees!

Autumn Hill at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Autumn Hill at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Over the last few years it’s been clear to see that Ontario is becoming a country music hotbed. Artists like Tim Hicks, Tebey, Small Town Pistols, Autumn Hill, and Kira Isabella have lit up country radio + stages all over the province, and across Canada… and it’s been awesome to watch.

2016 looks like it’s going to be another big year, and today we’re happy to help announce the Country Music Association of Ontario award nominees. All of the CMAO Awards categories are packed with talent, which makes things both exciting and difficult.

As voting members of the CMAO we won’t be sharing any predictions or votes in this post, but we can tell you that these categories are so hard to choose winners in that we have not agreed on more than a couple of our choices. Really, it’s not easy!

Tebey Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3930

Tebey at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

The CMAO Awards will be handed out on Monday, May 30 at the Flato Markham Theatre… and you could be there. Very soon we will welcome all Ontario country music fans to enter for your chance to win 2 tickets to both the Country Music Association of Ontario Award Show and the CMAO R2I Spring Tune-Up Conference in Markham (May 28 & 29). Plus you should stay tuned to our Twitter over the next few weeks because we’ll have more prizes to give away as well!

Now, the big news… if you’re ready!

2016 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards Nominees

Single of the Year

“Blame” – Autumn Hill
“Bring Your Own Sunshine” – Tianna Woods
“Country Side” – Jason Blaine
“Go Back” – Leah Daniels
“My Someday” – Runaway Angel
“Our Town” – Cold Creek County
“When the Buzz Wears Off” – Tebey

Album of the Year

5:01+ – Tim Hicks
Anchor – Autumn Hill
Pistology – Small Town Pistols
Tianna Woods – Tianna Woods
What It Feels Like – Leah Daniels
What Love Is All About – Johnny Reid

Songwriter(s) of the Year

Deric Ruttan, Jonathan Singleton – “Don’t It Feel Good” performed by Deric Ruttan
Jason Blaine, Deric Ruttan – “Country Side” performed by Jason Blaine
Leah Daniels, Beverley Mahood, Patricia Conroy – “Dream Without You” performed by Leah Daniels
Shane Guse, Larry Wayne Clark – “Sweet Harriet” performed by The Western Swing Authority
Stacey Zegers, Cadence Grace, Ann Chaplin, Dave Thomson – “My Someday” performed by Runaway Angel
Tebey – “When The Buzz Wears Off” performed by Tebey

Female Artist of the Year

Genevieve Fisher
Jessica Mitchell
Kira Isabella
Leah Daniels
Lindsay Broughton
Tianna Woods

Male Artist of the Year

Deric Ruttan
Jason Blaine
Johnny Reid
Marshall Dane
Tebey
Tim Hicks

Group or Duo of the Year

Autumn Hill
Blackwell
Cold Creek County
Runaway Angel
Small Town Pistols
The Western Swing Authority

Roots Artist or Group of the Year

Heather Ballentine
Lindi Ortega
The Good Family
The Lovelocks
The Western Swing Authority
Whitney Rose

Rising Star Award

Ben Hudson
Brooklyn Roebuck
Cold Creek County
Cory Marquardt
Heather Ballentine
Jessica Mitchell

Music Video of the Year

“A Picture of You” – Johnny Reid
“Country Side” – Jason Blaine
“My Someday” – Runaway Angel
“Old Piano” – Leah Daniels
“One Horse Town” – The Road Hammers Feat. Tim Hicks
“When The Buzz Wears Off” – Tebey

Record Producer(s) of the Year

Dave “Dwave” Thomson – Old Piano by Leah Daniels
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
Jason Blaine & Deric Ruttan – Country Side by Jason Blaine
Rick Hutt – Bring Your Own Sunshine by Tianna Woods
Scott Cooke – Our Town by Cold Creek County
Tebey & Danick Dupelle – When The Buzz Wears Off/Jealous Of The Sun by Tebey

Radio Station of the Year – Major Market

CHCQ-FM (Cool 100.1 FM), Belleville
CHKX-FM (KX 94.7), Hamilton
CICX-FM (KICX 106), Orillia
CJKX-FM 95.9 (KX 96), Oshawa
CKBY-FM (Country 101.1), Ottawa
CKDK-FM 103.9 (Country 104), Woodstock
CKKL-FM (New Country 94), Ottawa

Radio Station of the Year – Secondary Market

CFCO-FM 92.9 (Country 929), Chatham
CFRM-FM (Country 103), Little Current
CHVR-FM 96.7 (Star 96FM), Pembroke
CJDL-FM (Country 107.3), Tillsonburg
CJQM-FM 104 (Country 104.3), Sault Ste Marie
CKYC-FM 93.7 (Country 93), Owen Sound

Fans’ Choice Award

Autumn Hill
Cold Creek County
Jason Blaine
Steven Lee Olsen
Tebey
Tim Hicks

Congratulations to all of the nominees – including Jason Blaine, Leah Daniels and Tebey, who lead the way with five nominations apiece!

CMAO Album of the Year 2016CMAO Female Artist of the YearCMAO Male Artist of the Year 2016CMAO 2016 Group or Duo of the Year

jason-blaine-red-carpet-cmao-awards-2015-3602

Jason Blaine

Tim Hicks Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3663

Tim Hicks

Runaway Angel

Runaway Angel

The Lovelocks CMAO Awards 2015-3907

The Lovelocks

Tebey Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3777

Tebey

Leah Daniels at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Leah Daniels

Lindsay Broughton at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Lindsay Broughton

Deric Ruttan Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3787

Deric Ruttan

Small Town Pistols Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3692

Small Town Pistols

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

Big Valley Jamboree 2016 Lineup Announcement!

We talk an awful lot about how proud we are to see country music making an impact in Ontario… but let’s not forget just how HUGE county has been in Alberta for a long, long time!

Part of that country music tradition is the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta for more than 20 freaking years. It’s an impressive stretch that has seen some of the biggest and best in country music make the trip out to entertain fans over a full weekend every summer.

Lindsay Broughton at Liuna Station Gibson at the Junos 2015This morning the good folks at BVJ announced new additions to the 2016 lineup, spreading out 7 new acts over the 4 festival days. We can only imagine how happy Doc Walker, The Doll Sisters, Lindsay Broughton, Clare Bowen & Charles Esten (ABC’s Nashville), Alee, Lindi Ortega, and The Dead South.

You add those names to headliners Randy Houser, Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, and Carrie Underwood – and impressive lineup to say the least, and it makes us wish we were taking a road trip west this summer. Heck, maybe we will.

Here’s a look at the BVJ lineup so far (more names are coming!) on March 15, 2016.

Big Valley Jamboree 2016 Lineup

Thursday

✨ Randy Houser
✨ Doc Walker
✨ The Doll Sisters

Friday

✨ Dierks Bentley
✨ Jo Dee Messina
✨ Collin Raye
✨ Aaron Goodvin
✨ Lindsay Broughton

Saturday

✨ Blake Shelton
✨ Gary Allan
✨ Autumn Hill
✨ Clare Bowen & Charles Eston
✨ Alee

Sunday

✨ Carrie Underwood
✨ Sam Hunt
✨ High Valley
✨ John Michael Montgomery
✨ Lindi Ortega
✨ The Dead South

Stay tuned for more names, more excitement, and more news from the Big Valley Jamboree!

Be Awesome!

BVJ Carrie UnderwoodBVJ Blake SheltonBVJ Randy HouserBVJ Dierks Bentley

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

Lindi Ortega: Faded Gloryville CD Giveaway!

In case you missed it, Lindi Ortega has had a HUGE year in 2015.

It will be 3 years since we 1st covered Lindi in Toronto at The Rivoli, and this success doesn’t surprise us one bit!

Her album, Faded Gloryville, has been heaped with praise from Rolling Stone, NPR, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and a whole whack of other publications.

OH, and she won her 2nd consecutive Roots Artist of the Year Award at the CCMAs.

Lindi Ortega Faded Gloryville Album CoverSo, as a holiday gift to someone awesome, we’re giving you all a chance to win a CD copy of Faded Gloryville right now.

Use the app, earn your entries, tell your friends, and we’ll email the lucky winner so we can send them their prize!

It’s really that easy.

And if you wanted proof that people are loving Lindi, here are some of the things that have been written…

#29 “Lindi Ortega’s edgy lyrics are often hard, speaking of drug deals and interventions, messy break-ups and missed opportunities. Yet her torchy, noir-ish twang can cast a soft, vulnerable light, especially when the tremolo in her vocals kicks in. “You’re too clean-cut with polished shoes, I like ’em rugged with tattoos,” she trills on “I Ain’t the Girl,” one of the album’s highlights. She may not know what she wants, but she knows emphatically when it isn’t right.”Rolling Stone, Top 40 Country Albums of 2015

Lindi Ortega, “Ashes” Roy Orbison is smiling somewhere in his blue heaven, listening to torch queen Ortega’s take on sublime heartbreak.NPR Music’s Favorite Songs of 2015

“After the August release of her follow-up that was co-produced by studio magician Dave Cobb, her career has continued to take off. A filled-up touring calendar has included her Grand Ole Opry debut in November, and a slew of appearances throughout the United Kingdom, Sweden and Spain are scheduled to start off 2016. Don’t think that success will prevent her from writing the saddest of sad songs, though. As evidenced by “Ashes,” Ortega knows heartache — and isn’t afraid to write or sing about it.”Huffington Post, Music’s Fantastic 15 of 2015: Here’s Wishing These Top Performers a Very Best Fest

“Ortega is a full-spectrum Americana revivalist with the kind of soaring vocals that evoke the greats of yesteryear (Cline, Lynn, Parton). Yet her visual flair is more akin to Gwen Stefani or the late Amy Winehouse.”The Washington Post

2 years ago

Bringing Down The House: Dean Brody & The Toronto Blue Jays

Last Friday night Canadian Country Music star Dean Brody took to the TD Music Stage to kick off the Blue Jays Summer Friday Fan Festivals schedule… and it was a home run.

Dean and the band put on a great set outside of gates 10 and 11, giving the fans songs they knew so they could sing along, and tracks from Dean’s newest album, Gypsy Road that is getting a lot of love – but more on that later.

Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays First PitchAfter the set Dean took the field in a brand new Blue Jays uniform to throw the ceremonial first pitch, and I’m happy to say that he threw a strike, even if he told me there wasn’t any heat on it. The important thing here is that he didn’t bounce it, and now the pressure is on Chad Brownlee to do it on July 31st.

And because Dean Brody is a great guy, I had the chance to talk with him for a few minutes on the phone about baseball, the CCMA’s, his upcoming tour and more…

Right off the top I asked him about some baseball stuff, since he did just play a Blue Jays show, and while he did say that he was never a ball player, and he was a little nervous before he threw his pitch, I’ve got to give him an A grade for getting it to Mark Buerhle without a bounce. I also asked him who his favourite baseball player was, and we went back a few years to 1992 World Series Champion, #17 Kelly Gruber. Nice Pick.

Dean Brody Gypsy Road Album CoverFrom there we moved on to the music, and with 6 personal nominations + 1 more for album design, I asked Dean how it felt to be recognized in a time when country music is really strong in Canada. He told me that it feels like that strength has been here for the last 10 years or so, and in the midst of changes from an album driven market to a singles driven market in the new digital age it’s still really great to be nominated for CCMA’s by people who are in the industry. The people who do what you do, know what it takes, and hear your music and say, that’s pretty cool, I like it.

For the record, Dean Brody is nominated for…
Male Artist of the Year
Album of the Year (Gypsy Road)
Single of the Year (Another Man’s Gold)
Songwriter of the Year (Upside Down)
Video of the Year (Upside Down)
Fans’ Choice Award

When I asked him if there were 1 or 2 of those awards that he would like to win the most it didn’t take long for him to tell me that Fans’ Choice was at the top of the list, because they are the ones who buy the music and tickets – and Songwriter of the Year came in 2nd, because that’s where he started out, and as Dean said, “it all starts with a song”.

Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays Friday Summer Fun Festival-7215While we were talking about songwriting, I asked if there was something special to Dean about Mexico now that we’ve seen it show up more than once (Bounty, Sweet Lola, Monterey, etc.) in his songs. He told me that it still feels like there’s a feeling of the Wild West and the Frontier when it comes to Mexico, and that makes it fit really well for country music story songs. It’s a place that we can all picture and accept in the story telling that we love country music for. He also told me that he and his brother grew up watching John Wayne movies, and that western story is always fun to write.

A shift in gears came next when I asked about The Dean Brody Foundation and how important it is to him to be giving back and making a difference. Dean told me that it’s really important to both he and his wife to being giving back now that they’re able to, when there were times that they wished they could have, but didn’t have the resources.

He also shared that the process can be both extremely rewarding and discouraging at the same time as they navigate the path to helping young girls who have been placed in dangerous and vulnerable situations. But it’s the feeling that there is a chance to change even a few lives that keeps them pushing forward. A+ to Dean, his wife and everyone who works with The Dean Brody Foundation – because all of that is amazing.

Dean Brody-7163From there we got back to the music, and the really exciting stuff coming up for Dean with the Road Trip Tour!

This fall, Dean Brody and Paul Brandt will take the Road Trip Tour coast-to-coast bringing country music to fans in what promises to be a great show. Dean told me that they’re having production calls and meetings now to get ready, and that he’s really looking forward to the tour.

A big part of that is Paul Brandt, someone that Dean has always looked up to as an artist, songwriter, and a Canadian who was able to make it in Nashville, and show him that he could too. And while they’re just starting to get to know each other, this tour looks like it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.

And with female acts like Lindi Ortega, Whitney Rose, and Jess Moskaluke joining the tour for select dates, Dean will hopefully have a duet partner for Bounty every single night… though he tells me that he still has to ask.

If you’re looking for tour dates and tickets for the Road Trip Tour CLICK HERE!

Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays Friday Summer Fun Festival-7226The last question I asked Dean Brody caught him off guard and came from somewhere in left field… if you’re out for someone’s birthday at a karaoke joint and your name gets called – what is your song?

Dean’s answer: Yer So Bad by Tom Petty.

We both agreed that you can’t go wrong with Tom Petty, and that it’s a great pick.

Thanks to Dean for taking the time out of his busy day (really, like building a house busy) to call and talk – we can’t wait to see the tour this fall!

Find Dean online at these fine locations…

Website: deanbrody.com
Facebook: Dean Brody
Twitter: @deanbrody
Instagram: @deanbrody
YouTube: Dean Brody
iTunes: Dean Brody

Dean Brody-7121Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays Friday Summer Fun Festival Crowd-7237Dean Brody-7151Dean Brody-7093Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays Friday Summer Fun Festival-7210Ace Riding the Bull-7064Ace Riding the Bull-7067

2 years ago

2014 Canadian Country Music Association Awards Predictions

2104 Canadian Country Music Association Awards PredictionsThis Sunday night the Canadian country music industry will gather and celebrate the people that make the music. There will be performances from Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Paul Brandt, Terri Clark, Kira Isabella, Brett Kissel, and more.

Canadian Country Music Association LogoAnd there will be awards. Lots of awards.

If we’ve learned anything this year covering Boots & Hearts and talking to artists and seeing small shows and listening to the radio – Canadian Country Music is doing just fine.

In fact, things are going so well that predicting the 2014 CCMA Awards isn’t easy at all. But I’ve tried. So have a look, agree or disagree as you will… and watch this Sunday to see who wins!

FANS’ CHOICE AWARD
Paul Brandt and Joshua Boots and Hearts 2014Gord Bamford
Paul Brandt
Dean Brody
George Canyon
Johnny Reid

It’s a fan vote based system – so there’s no real handicapping to be done on my end. But my gut says that Canadian country star and role model to a new generation of artists, Paul Brandt will be the winner here.

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Bounty – Dean Brody
Started With A Song – Brett Kissel 
Take The Week Off – Deric Ruttan
Tippin’ Point – Dallas Smith
When Your Lips Are So Close – Gord Bamford

I know the words to all 5 of these songs, I can and do sing along to them when they come on my playlist or the radio. But looking at them on a list I have to think that Started With A Song comes in 1st as it has launched what looks like a huge career for Brett Kissel.

Tim Hicks 2014 CNE Side BannerALBUM OF THE YEAR
All Kinds of Crazy – Codie Prevost
Crop Circles – Dean Brody
Started With A Song – Brett Kissel
Throw Down – Tim Hicks 
Tippin’ Point EP – Dallas Smith

Hicks went Top 10 three times and Top 15 another with singles from his debut album Throw Down. Brody’s Crop Circles has also gone Top 10 three times and would be my second choice in this category.

SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR
Bounty (Written By: Dean Brody, Performed By: Dean Brody)
Hell Raisin’ Good Time (Written By: Jeff Coplan, Tim Hicks, Casey Marshall, Neil Sanderson, Performed By: Tim Hicks)
Mine Would Be You (Written By: Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, Deric Ruttan, Performed By: Blake Shelton)
Started With A Song (Written By: Brett Kissel, Craig Wiseman, Performed By: Brett Kissel)
When Your Lips Are So Close (Written By: Gord Bamford, Brent L. Baxter, Byron Hill, Performed By: Gord Bamford)

It might be lame to pick a song recorded by an American artist to win a Canadian award, but Deric Ruttan has proven time and again that he knows how to write a hit song – and Mine Would Be You is no different.

Brett Kissel Gibson Bus Interview Boots and Hearts 2014CMT VIDEO OF THE YEAR
3-2-1 – Brett Kissel
Bounty – Dean Brody
Duet – Wes Mack ft. Carly McKillip
Friends Of Mine – Jason Blaine
Got A Feeling – Tim Hicks ft. Blackjack Billy
Take The Week Off – Deric Ruttan

When we spoke with Brett Kissel at Boots & Hearts and asked him which award he would like to win and Video Of The Year for 3,2,1 was one of the two that he mentioned. I have a feeling that he walks away with that award on Sunday night.

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2014Terri Clark
Kira Isabella
Jess Moskaluke 
Lindi Ortega
Mackenzie Porter

This is one of the hardest categories to pick in the whole show. We asked Brett Kissel what he thought and he wouldn’t answer. We asked Tim Hicks and he told us that all 5 deserve it… but he also said it would be cool to see Jess or Mackenzie win – and I agree. My edge goes to Jess on the back of Cheap Wine And Cigarettes.

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Dallas Smith Boots and Hearts 2014Gord Bamford
Dean Brody
Brett Kissel
Dallas Smith
Bobby Wills

Dallas has gone Top 10 with each of his last 5 singles (spread over 2 albums) and is a very strong performer on stage. If this goes to Bamford, Brody, Kissel or Smith I won’t be surprised at all. But if I’m picking a winner – it’s Smith.

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
Autumn Hill
The Boom Chucka Boys
The Road Hammers 
Small Town Pistols
The Western Swing Authority

This was another hard one. My first instinct said Small Town Pistols, but I think that The Road Hammers have this one to go with their new album. But don’t count out Autumn Hill either… 3 options – I’m hedging.

ROOTS ARTIST OF THE YEAR
The Lovelocks
Corb Lund
Lindi Ortega 
Jimmy Rankin
The Western Swing Authority

Lindi isn’t my pick for Female Artist, but she is my pick for Roots Artist Of The Year. It’s tough sledding against Corb Lund and Jimmy Ranking – and I LOVE The Lovelocks – but I think Ortega takes this one.

RISING STAR
Lindsay Ell
Tim Hicks
Wes Mack
Jess Moskaluke
Tebey

I know it’s crazy to pick Jess as Female Artist Of The Year and not Rising Star – but Tim Hicks just had such a HUGE year, and now 5:01 is already topping the charts as his 2nd record. It’s really hard to pick against him. So I won’t.

INTERACTIVE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Leah Daniels
Brett Kissel
Jess Moskaluke
Johnny Reid
Tenille

This is another fan vote category, so I don’t know how to make my pick other than to tell you that Brett Kissel does such a great job of interacting with his (growing) fanbase on social media that he locks in my vote. Special mention to Leah Daniels who has been great with us through her social as well!

3 years ago

Meet Toronto’s New Country Duo: The Lovelocks – Exclusive Interview

The Lovelocks On Stage Black and WhiteA few weeks ago I was gearing up for my birthday and talking a lot about country music on Twitter with friends who typically don’t talk a lot about country music. And while that’s always fun, there was an unexpected pay off when Ashley Gibson told me about her friend’s band, The Lovelocks.

I was at the office when the tweet came in so I wasn’t able to instantly go looking for the new to me music, but within a couple hours I was on The Lovelocks’ YouTube channel and listening to covers of some songs I absolutely love (which can be a very satisfying or very awful experience depending on the quality of the cover) and much to the joy of my ears, I very much liked what Ali and Zoe had to offer.

After listening some more, and before picking up their self-titled EP at HMV, I reached out to the girls on Twitter and asked if they would be interested in answering some questions for a piece here on the blog.

I am quite excited that they said yes and to be able to share their answers with you all here today.

And in the spirit of Twitter and a little bit of back-and-forth in the interview, The Lovelocks asked me a question after I sent them a selfie of me and the album…

Now, without further ado, I present to you, our feature and exclusive interview with Toronto’s own, The Lovelocks.

Q. Your bio lists The Dixie Chicks, Lumineers and Mumford & Sons as comparables to your sound. But who influences your music when you’re writing and performing?

A. We would definitely cite Alison Krauss and Union Station as a major influence in our approach to writing and performing. We are also very inspired by writers like Joni Mitchell, Kathleen Edwards, Dean Brody, Ashley Monroe, Kacey Musgraves, and Lindi Ortega.

The Lovelocks BackstgeQ. It seemed for a lot of years that Toronto wasn’t especially “country music friendly”, but it feels like there has been a shift recently. Why do you think Toronto has opened its arms to country now?

A. We have artists like Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers, and even the crossover success of Taylor Swift, to thank for bringing banjos, fiddles and acoustic guitars back into the mainstream market. It makes sense that an urban centre like Toronto wouldn’t necessarily have country music as a main focus, but the city has always had a deeply committed country music fan base. Cadillac Lounge and the Dakota Tavern are great examples of that, as they have brought people together over the acoustic stylings of bluegrass and country twang for years. As city girls and country music lovers, we are happy to see this resurgence!

Q. There’s a lot of talk, and justifiably so, about the lack of women on country radio and the country charts right now. Do you think we’re just in a cycle, or is there something that needs to be done to bring balance back?

A. Something definitely needs to be done to bring the balance back. And to be honest, we hope we’re part of the change. There are an incredible number of talented female artists whose stories and talent should be heard. It’s important that we, as a progressive industry and nation, give a voice to these women.

Q. Before Little Big Town blew up with Tornado, they made some waves on YouTube with their off-genre covers (Scattered, Smothered and Covered). What makes you want to cover songs like Skinny Love (Bon Iver) and Part of Me (Katy Perry) to share with your fans?

A. Last year, we had the pleasure of partnering with our community to crowdfund $30 000 in order to support our project. As part of this crowdfunding campaign, we rewarded select fans with their favourite song and dedicated it to them on YouTube. Through this experience, we covered songs like Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”, Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison”, Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”, Fleet Foxes “Meadowlarks”, Katy Perry’s “Part Of Me”, and more! It was a fun experiment that introduced us to new songs and gave us lots of material to work into our live show.

The Lovelocks at the Cameron HouseQ. We know that the music business isn’t always easy or glamorous, and there’s no such thing as an overnight success. What makes you want to keep doing what you’re doing?

A. The answer is simple! We are dear friends who love to create, sing and play music together. We love the music, and we love pursuing our passion together.

Q. Wish List Time: You’re building a dream line-up for a summer country festival and you’ll be on the bill with 5 other country music acts, who are they?

A. Hmm…such a good question. It would be great to share the stage with Alison Krauss and Union Station, The Dixie Chicks, Kacey Musgraves, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. Now wouldn’t that be a killer show!

Q. In 50 words or less, tell us all why we should pick up the EP and come and see The Lovelocks on stage 🙂

A. You should pick up The Lovelocks EP because it went to #2 on the iTunes country chart on Day 1, and it was the top selling country album in Canada last week! If you see us live, you’ll never forget the soaring vocals, sweet harmonies and sultry strings. Oh, and the amazing hair. Need we say more? 🙂

Big thank you to both Ali and Zoe for taking the time to answer my questions. I really am digging the EP, and if you love country music with great voices and musicianship – pick it up. It’s cheap and you won’t be disappointed.

Check out their website, www.thelovelocksband.com

And if you have any awesome new country music recommendations, let me know!

The Lovelocks Full Band On Stage
The Lovelocks Follow Us

4 years ago
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