Lindsay Broughton

Anthem: Brett Kissel and Friends at the 2017 CNE

As Friday night grew darker and the music played on, Brett Kissel looked out over the CNE crowd and exclaimed, “I think it’s safe to say that country music is alive and well in Toronto!”.

The Alberta native couldn’t have been more correct on a day when 5 Canadian country artists took the stage at the Canadian National Exhibition. On the Northern Comfort Saloon stage both Ty Baynton and Andrew Hyatt played three hour sets for exhibition attendees, and on the legendary bandshell stage, Abby Stewart and Beamer Wigley opened for Brett Kissel himself, the 2016 Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year and Fans’ Choice Award winner.

Note: Not on stage, but also seen catching the music and enjoying The Ex were Elyse Saunders and Lindsay Broughton, talented country singers in their own rights!

As the bandshell stage began with Abby Stewart and Beamer Wigley, the crowd began to build. The two teenage country singers and songwriters played a selection of original songs and covers of popular duets including Keith Urban/Miranda Lambert’s We Were Us, Chris Young/Cassadee Pope’s Think Of You, and Jason Aldean/Kelly Clarkson’s Don’t You Wanna Stay. Both of the up-and-comers showed the kind of stage presence that will carry them into the future of their careers, and their talent (which continues to grow) is apparent now to anyone who sees and hears them.

Keep your eyes open for more from Abby Stewart and Beamer Wigley on the Canadian country music scene.

During a break in the bandshell action we jumped over to the Saloon to see Andrew Hyatt on stage, and the Nickel City native didn’t disappoint. As we know him to do, Hyatt put on a show that featured covers like Keith Urban’s Cop Car, his own fan favourites including, MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio) and She Ain’t You, plus his first radio Top 20 single, On Me.

When the time came for the main event on the bandshell stage, Toronto was ready.

Brett Kissel and his band hit the stage hard, opening the set with Started With A Song and continuing with a string of hits, covers, and new songs that stretched into the night and kept summer alive as the Labour Day long weekend started.

As cheers rang out, Kissel and his dudes gave their last show of the summer everything they had. Their enthusiasm and energy were likely boosted (very reasonably) by the pre-show presentation of gold records for Started With A Song and Pick Me Up – his first two golds – but not his last.

It’s obvious to say that Brett Kissel is one of Canadian country music’s biggest stars, but what has become clear to us is that he keeps getting better and better as the songs, albums, shows, and years accumulate in his career. The differences are small, but visible. The showmanship, the engagement, the comfort levels, the willingness to take a chance, the heart on his sleeve, the passion for the show – they have all increased since we first saw him in 2014, and when he played the CNE bandshell stage two years ago in 2015.

Related: Brett Kissel at the 2015 CNE!

One of our favourite moments in the set came when Brett introduced Take It Easy by his favourite band, The Eagles. He told the crowd that it was his band’s favourite song to play by the legendary rockers, and that they’d like to play it in tribute of Glenn Frey, who passed away in 2016. Kissel also sent the song out to his dad who is currently in hospital, but we hope will be home very soon. It was emotional and sweet, and everything we love about moments that come from live music experiences.

Note: We would like to send our best wishes to Brett, his family, and his dad. If you would like to pass on your positive vibes, click here and send him a tweet.

Another of our favourite moments came earlier in the show when a five year old named Reggie and his dad came up on stage to meet Brett. Reggie was a little shy on stage, but his fandom was rewarded with a signed guitar from the singer, and his name being chanted loudly by the Toronto crowd. It was a special moment, and one we hope he repeats as often as possible.

This Canadian kid, the dude nominated for five Canadian Country Music Association awards (Male Artist, Single, Video, Songwriter, and Interactive Artist of the Year ) in 2017, and performing on the award show Sunday, September 8 on the CBC, is the real deal. He’s legit. He’s a star. And we’re happy that we’ve seen him along the way.

Friday night in Toronto, Brett Kissel and his band finished their summer with a bang. They were loud, they were happy, they were strong, and they made everyone in the crowd hope that they’ll be back again soon.

Brett Kissel Setlist, CNE 2017

🇨🇦 Started With A Song
🇨🇦 Something You Just Don’t Forget
🇨🇦 She’s Desire
🇨🇦 Canadian Kid
🇨🇦 Tough People Do
🇨🇦 Anthem
🇨🇦 Pick Me Up
🇨🇦 Cool With That
🇨🇦 Take It Easy (The Eagles)
🇨🇦 We Were That Song
🇨🇦 I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair
🇨🇦 Airwaves
🇨🇦 Ordinary Day (Great Big Sea)
🇨🇦 Callin’ Baton Rouge (Garth Brooks)
🇨🇦 Raise Your Glass/Pour Some Sugar On Me (Def Leppard)
🇨🇦 Thank God I’m A Country Boy (John Denver)/Honey, I’m Good (Andy Grammer)/Mountain Music (Alabama)
Encore:
🇨🇦 3,2,1

Brett Kissel at the 2017 CNE

Andrew Hyatt at the 2017 CNE

Abby Stewart and Beamer Wigley at the 2017 CNE

2 months ago Views

Songs, Success, and Standing Ovations: The Overdue Rise of Canadian Women in Country Music

2016 was a big year. A lot of people will look back at it and see all of the turmoil, loss, and general destruction that came from it – but there were positives that some of us will look back on from the year and use a fence posts for timelines and stories.

Some of those highlights came in the form of success for female artists on the Canadian country music scene. While we never hit a complete zero of radio play or live shows – the Bro Country movement, along with the general dominance of the genre by male artists, and the influence and import of American music in the genre certainly hindered the growth and bloom of women making country music north of the border.

And while we haven’t evened the scales, or even come close in some areas of the business, 2016 showed great promise for a 12-month period, and with any continued momentum, the future.

Before taking a deeper dive, let’s take a quick look at some of the accomplishments and milestones reached this year…

☆ Jess Moskaluke won her 3rd consecutive Female Artist of the Year award from the Canadian Country Music Association and was awarded a Platinum award in recognition of the success of Cheap Wine & Cigarettes.
☆ Meghan Patrick (#5) and Madeline Merlo (#9) landed on the Top 10 first week album sales charts.
☆ Jessica Mitchell went viral, saw exciting success, and earned critical acclaim for her single, Workin’ On Whiskey.
☆ Whitney Rose saw plenty of success and critical acclaim for her work on Heartbreaker Of The Year and the upcoming release of South Texas Suite in both Canada and the United States, including multiple mentions from Rolling Stone.
☆ Lindsay Ell continued her ascent in the U.S. playing at the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium half a dozen times.

Participate in a conversation about female artist representation for any length of time and you’re likely to hear someone say “it shouldn’t matter if an artist is male or female, quality will play”, and that’s all well and good to say. But it doesn’t fly. Going back even as recently as May 2015 we had to deal with Tomatogate and Keith Hill’s comments about women not being as important as men on the country radio landscape. That’s only a year and a half ago. We’re not talking about a quote from 1955 and a station manager living in the past generation. This is now and we’re still seeing the real life fight for equality in the entertainment world just like we are in business and personal life.

Jess Moskaluke (MDM Recordings) has seen her presence and success increase in the three years since the release of Cheap Wine & Cigarettes. We first saw and interviewed her in 2014, and named her as one of our breakout stars of that year. In the time since then country music fans in Canada have embraced the Saskatchewan songstress and singles like 2016’s Take Me Home and Elevator, which reached #7 and #15 on the Canadian Country Charts. Her performances have grown stronger, her fanbase has grown larger, and we’ve heard more spins on country radio as her popularity and viability have risen.

Jess Moskaluke Bright Lights Big City Toronto The Phoenix

We asked Moskaluke about the swing in country, with more female success and recognition being seen, and she told us, I think country music is cyclical. In the 90’s, the women dominated. In the 2010’s, it’s been the men’s turn. But it’s coming around, and I think in the next couple of years, it’ll be the women’s turn again (or at least it’ll be 50/50, which would be ideal!). We’re seeing strong content both lyrically and sonically on both sides of the border from female artists such as Kelsea Ballerini, Madeline Merlo, Maren Morris, Meghan Patrick, etc. That’s not going to go away. I have always believed that the music industry is one of the most difficult industries, so musicians tend to be extremely driven. The struggle has only made me want to work harder! I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, as, like I had mentioned earlier, the women are coming back bigger and better than ever before!”

That work ethic, the one that makes Jess Moskaluke want to work harder, isn’t new to this year. In fact, we looked back at our 2014 Q&A where she said, “I would love to be the one that breaks the door down in Canada and makes it easier for women to gain popularity in country music.” And with the first Gold (and now Platinum) single by a solo female country artist in Canada since Shania Twain, we’re tempted to say that she has done a significant job of doing just that.

Along with the accomplishments and accolades have come more opportunities for Jess Moskaluke and other female country artists in Canada. In 2016 alone Moskaluke performed across Canada at shows and festivals that featured some of the biggest names in the country genre. At Trackside Music Festival in London, ON, at the Havelock Jamboree in Havelock, ON and at Country Thunder Music Festival in Calgary, AB, Moskaluke put on shows to thousands on the same stages as big-time acts like Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, The Band Perry, and Luke Bryan.

Jess mentioned the 90s dominance of country by women. In Canada we saw awesome success in that decade from artists like Shania Twain, Terri Clark, Michelle Wright, Patricia Conroy, and K.D. Lang. And when looking at the Single and Album of the Year Awards handed out by the CCMA from 1990 to 1999 we can see a total of 13 awards won in the two categories out of a possible 20. That’s an impressive 65 percent. However, in the 17 award shows from 2000 to 2016 women have won only 3 Album of the Year awards and 4 Single of the Year awards for a total of seven wins out of 34 awards. A much less impressive or encouraging 20%. The cycle has taken long enough in our opinion, it’s time to see some turnaround.

One of the artists that had a big breakout in 2016, and looks forward to more in 2017 was mentioned in Moskaluke’s quote. Meghan Patrick (Warner Music Canada) burst into the market, playing her own sets at festivals and shows all over the country with some of the genre’s biggest stars, and by the end of the year it has started to feel like she’s been here all along.

Patrick’s album, Grace & Grit, was released in April, following the February release of her debut single Bow Chicka Wow Wow, and quickly became a fan favourite. The lead single and video have combined for nearly 1 million plays (official YouTube and Spotify streams) and reached #17 on the Canadian country charts. The title track follow-up reached #12, and has added another nearly half million plays to her 2016 total.

When we asked Meghan Patrick to talk about 2016 and the role and success that Canadian women saw in country music she said, “It’s very inspiring. It has been great to see these women climb the charts this year, sell albums and make big impressions on the Canadian country music scene, and I don’t say that just because they are women… I say that because they deserve it. These are women with great talent as songwriters, performers and who are so dedicated to their craft. Women who have truly created their own sound and product and stayed true to themselves. That’s where truly great music lives… within artists who are sure of themselves, who know their strengths and who have the drive to make it a reality. I’m very proud to be considered one of those artists amongst both my male and female peers, and I am especially proud of the impression my female colleagues and I have made in country music this year.”

To tell you that you should expect to see Patrick’s name in tier one company on the nominee list for 2017 CMAO and CCMA Female Artist of the Year awards is not a bold prediction. But to tell you that we believe there could be another two or three radio singles (following current single Still Loving You) from the album should give you some indication of how much Meghan Patrick could end up accomplishing with this album, as she actively writes and prepares for her follow-up release.

To get a look at the situation for Canadian women in country music from a different perspective we talked to Jenn Dalen (Program Director at CCMA Medium or Small Market Radio Station of the Year, Real Country 95.5 Red Deer, AB and Newcap Alberta South) and asked her to tell us about the genre and scene from where she sits. And her excitement shined through when she said, My favourite part about Canadian country music at the moment is that it’s filled with strong, passionate, determined, fierce, and talented women who are also as real and genuine as it gets! They are hopping on stage with some of the World’s biggest country stars, shredding it like no ones business, earning Platinum titles, writing award winning songs, earning standing ovations, and stealing everyone’s hearts! As a woman it makes me both excited and proud for what’s going to come in 2017! And I think the rest of the country should get ready… because they’re comin’ in hot!”

To have someone like Jenn making programming decisions is a big deal and should not be overlooked. Her enthusiasm for the genre as a whole is palpable, and her support for women in the industry has the chance to go a long way towards success and recognition for the talented performers we know, and the ones on their way like Lindsay Broughton, Raquel Cole, Livy Jeanne, and Shae Dupuy. With the increase in online streaming and digital listening there are those who doubt the importance or relevance of radio, but don’t be fooled, it still matters and it is important that women, and most importantly Canadian women, are represented at country radio.

The second Canadian mentioned in Jess Moskaluke’s quote is a fellow 2016 Canadian Country Music Award Female Artist of the Year nominee, the reigning British Columbia Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year, and 2015 CCMA Rising Star Award winner – Madeline Merlo. With two successful singles released in 2016 (What Ya Wanna Do About It #10 and War Paint #13) Merlo was seen and heard from coast-to-coast. Adding together her YouTube and Spotify streams for the two songs gives an impressive total of more than 2 million plays on the year… but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

The power and reach of War Paint was one of the genre’s best stories of the year. Pulled from the real life tragedy of mental illness and suicide, the song tells a story that is real and personal. It connected with many listeners, and Madeline Merlo made the most of that connection. In August, Merlo partnered with Spokehaus in Toronto in support of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She also talked about the significance of the song in interviews on TV and online. And those appearances helped to show her charity as a person and an artist. The song itself continues in the tradition of country music anthems with a powerful message. On merit alone War Paint is a fantastic song and deserves to be recognized as it has been by fans, critics, and on the charts regardless of gender – which is exactly what happened, and what we’re happy to see.

As a rising star in the Canadian country music community (we named her a breakout performer of the year in 2015), Madeline Merlo has already proven that she belongs. And a strong 2017 will be a surprise to nobody that has been paying attention to her career, has listened to her album (2016’s Free Soul), or has seen her perform live at venues like Boots & Hearts, Lucknow Music in the Fields, Calgary Stampede and more.

One of 2016’s biggest, and most pleasant surprises, in Canadian country music came courtesy of Jessica Mitchell. If you haven’t heard of Jessica by now, you’ve probably been under a rock. Her year was an exciting blur of shows, accolades, standing ovations, viral videos, and the kind of recognition that a hard working artist earns when all of the pieces come together.

Mitchell’s breakout single, Workin’ On Whiskey, is the kind of country song that gets stuck in your head and changes the beat of your heart. It’s country music in all of its heartbreaking, liquor pouring, songwriter glowing glory. And it’s a song that has put Mitchell on the damn map. At the end of May, Mitchell played Workin’ On Whiskey at the Country Music Association of Ontario awards show and earned the night’s only standing ovation with her acoustic performance. And in mid-July the song was the most added track by country radio (week of July 13) across the country. She also earned Rising Star (CMAO) and Roots Artist of the Year (CCMA) nominations, proving that the industry admires and appreciates her soulful, heart-felt country contributions.

It is a refreshing thing to see the same kind of respect that’s being paid to artists like Chris Stapleton, given to a woman with those same talents. Do not be surprised to see Jessica Mitchell’s name on award nomination lists again in 2017 – with Female Artist of the Year nominations more than just an outside possibility.

The list of talented Canadian female artists making country music is long (go listen to Kira Isabella, Lindsay Ell, Whitney Rose, Lindi Ortega, Leah Daniels, Trinity Bradshaw, Olivia Rose, and more). The list of names that the average fan is learning and listening to is growing. And the trend of increased popularity in sales, radio play, and online streams is encouraging.

But we aren’t where we need to be yet.

CanCon rules require radio stations to meet a 35% to 40% Canadian song threshold. And if we’re looking for equality, we should be looking for an even split between Canadian men and women. If we can get there on country radio, if fans make the effort to call and request the songs they want to hear from female artists, if they show programmers and advertisers that the women in Canada who make country music are valued and valuable, then maybe we can stop rolling our eyes when we hear someone say, “it shouldn’t matter if an artist is male or female, quality will play”. Because it will be true, and won’t need to be said in the first place.   

The success of women in Canadian country in 2016 should be a beacon of good things to come. But we need to see continued momentum and success in 2017. We need to see the industry recognize this talent at the highest and most visible levels. We need to see support for grassroots and marque names. And it needs to happen now.

We promise to do our part. We hope you’ll do yours. 

Let quality play.

10 months ago Views

Boots and Hearts 2016 Playlist

We’ve put together our Boots and Hearts 2016 Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.

With over thirty artists on the #BH5 lineup (we’ve included the emerging artists who were on Spotify), we’ve got you covered for just over six hours!

There are a couple of artists who, are not on Spotify, we’ve listed them separately and we’re sure you’re going to like them, so make sure you scroll through the post.

*EDIT* Johnson Crook’s first single, Minnedosa  is now up on Spotify. We’ve updated our playlist to include it!

If you haven’t got your tickets yet, here’s the link and we’ll see you there!

Did we miss your favourite track? Let us know and we’ll add it!

1 year ago Views

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.

Enjoy!

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

1 year ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Daily Lineup Announcement!

They’re Here!!!

After months of waiting, weeks of speculation, and more patience than we generally have, the Boots & Hearts 2016 daily lineups have been announced.

We don’t have stage assignments or set times yet, but we promise we will share them with you as soon as we do.

For now we can start planning our must-sees for each day of B&H year 5… and dreaming about the set lists we hope we’ll hear.

Get ready, August is coming!

Boots and Hearts 2016 Thursday Kickoff PartyThursday, August 4, 2016

★ Jake Owen
★ Emerson Drive
★ Tebey
★ Meghan Patrick
★ Johnson Crook

Remember, this is a short day, 1 stage event for the Coors Banquet Kick Off Party, so don’t be concerned about the shorter list of artists here.

Jake Owen is a great name to headline this party, he’s a summer lovin’, beachin’, bare footin’, good time waiting to happen – and with support from 4 Canadian acts we really dig, it’s shaping up to be a good night!

Boots and Hearts 2016 Friday LineupFriday, August 5, 2016

★ Dierks Bentley
★ Sam Hunt
★ Cam
★ Tim Hicks
★ Chase Bryant
★ Autumn Hill
★ The Dungarees
★ The Reklaws
★ David James
★ Cory Marquardt
★ Lindsay Broughton
★ Brea Lawrenson

Man, what a way to spend a Friday in August!

Bentley showed us how awesome he was on the main stage in Bowmanville, Sam Hunt was been on fire since he played in 2014, and Cam is one the most anticipated sets of the weekend for sure. Plus, we LOVE the Canadian acts getting some time and know that Tim Hicks, Autumn Hill, The Reklaws, David James, Cory Marquardt, Lindsay Broughton, and Brea Lawrenson will make us all proud!

Boots and Hearts 2016 Saturday LineupSaturday, August 6, 2016

★ Blake Shelton
★ Dean Brody
★ Aaron Pritchett
★ Alan Doyle & The Gypsies
★ Raquel Cole
★ Madeline Merlo
★ Jojo Mason
★ Macarthur Clark
★ SiriusXM Emerging Artist Showcase

Blake! What more do you need?

But really, with Dean Brody as support, clearly a list of artists that aren’t to be messed with, this is going to be a really fun day of country music.

And don’t sleep in because the Emerging Artist Showcase is a perfect place to scout new talent. Just look at Tim Hicks, Tebey, Wes Mack, Runaway Angel, Trinity Bradshaw, Johnson Crook, Eric Ethridge, and the James Barker Band as some of the examples we’ve seen in the last few years!

Boots and Hearts 2016 Sunday LineupSunday, August 7, 2016

★ Tim McGraw
★ Chase Rice
★ Diamond Rio
★ Jason Blaine
★ Dylan Scott
★ Lindsay Ell
★ River Town Saints
★ Jason Benoit
★ Jordan McIntosh
★ James Barker Band
★ Kaitlin Kozell

It’s the last day of the festival, but don’t be sad. Sunday is going to rock!

Tim McGraw returns after his year 1 headlining performance at Boots & Hearts, and it’s a set we will not miss. Add Chase Rice, Diamond Rio (bucket list!), Dylan Scott (emerging star), and even more awesome Canadian talent with Jason Blaine, Lindsay Ell, River Town Saints, Jason Benoit, Jordan McIntosh, James Barker Band, and Kaitlin Kozell and we promise you will wish this festival had a Monday night because you won’t want the music to stop!

Blake Shelton Boots and Hearts 2014dierks-bentley-at-boots-and-hearts-2013Sam Hunt Wheels Up Tour Toronto 2015Tim Hicks -7769Dean Brody-7163Madeline Merlo Bright Lights Big City Toronto The PhoenixMeghan Patrick Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016 Photo Credit Ray Williams - @APerfectPixelBSOMF Tebey Sound of Music Festival-6491River Town Saints CMW 2016 Boots and BourbonJohnson Crook The Horseshoe 2016Dylan Scott Boots and Hearts 2015 2jason-blaine-at-boots-and-hearts-2013jordan-mcintosh-boots-and-hearts-2014-wm-0994

1 year ago Views

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 Views

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 Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Preview: International Women’s Day Top 5

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2016, we also look ahead to August and how excited we are to see some very talent women take the stage at Boots & Hearts!

We are lucky in country music to have so many awesome, talented, strong women making music that we can listen to live, online, and on country radio – and today we’re going to give 5 of those women a little love in another Top 5 preview.

Be ready for more Boots & Hearts previews coming… and a brand new contest that will send some country fans to the festival + camping!

Enjoy the music, and remember to tell all of the awesome women in your life how great they truly are, and how much you appreciate them!

In alphabetical order…

Autumn Hill – Blame

Cam – Burning House

Lindsay Broughton – Take Me There

Lindsay Ell – By The Way

Madeline Merlo – What You Wanna Do About It

2 years ago Views

Welcome to the Country Music Youth Movement

Music, like all things in life, goes through phases. We embrace the things and people we love and hold onto them for years at a time, sometimes overlooking what and who comes next because of our tunnel vision. But right now we are knee deep in a country music youth movement that is turning over the landscape and offering up new music to the masses.

And for anyone still holding onto that tunnel vision of the music and musicians they’ve been in love with… it’s time to start looking around at what’s on the horizon.

In Canada alone we could book an entire emerging artists festival with the talent that is piling up with major labels and on the indie circuit. Their songs are earning radio play, streaming at great numbers, and climbing download charts right beside heavyweights that we know and love.

The Roadhammers Boots and Hearts 2015Note: I don’t at all mean for this post to say that we don’t love the music and musicians that have paid their dues and paved the way for this new wave. Artists like Paul Brandt, Terri Clark, Jason McCoy, Michelle Wright, Patricia Conroy, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Charlie Major are the reason we love Canadian country music in the first place – and that won’t ever change.

We’ve done the fantasy booking thing before, so we’re not going to do that right now. But we do want to share some of the names that are shaking up the country music world in this country. And we’ll give some love to the artists from the US that are doing the same thing.

We also want to know who you’re loving on the up and coming side of things… because sharing is caring, and one of the best ways to find new music is to be told about it by other people who have discovered it. So leave us a comment, give us a link, tell us what young country artists you’re loving right now.

Brett Kissel in the crowd Boots and Hearts 2014

Brett Kissel

Across the country, names like Brett Kissel, Jess Moskaluke, Kira Isabella, Madeline Merlo, and Autumn Hill are already becoming well known. Their hit songs, big tours, and great talent have pushed them into the conversation with stars like Dean Brody, Small Town Pistols, Chad Brownlee, Dallas Smith, and High Valley – and they deserve to be there. But… that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Some of you will also know names like Cold Creek County, River Town Saints, Wes Mack, Leah Daniels, Lindsay Broughton, Jordan McIntosh, Livy Jeanne – they’ve popped up on your playlists, on the radio, and on tour with some of the biggest names in the business. Hell, when Wes Mack opened for Shania Twain in 2015 he took a GIANT step forward in his career, but it’s because his album, Edge Of The Storm, that he remains in the minds of fans who saw those shows.

What’s even more awesome is that we’re a full dozen names into this list of emerging Canadian talent in country music and we are nowhere near done shouting out the singers and songwriters that we came up with in a 10 minute brainstorm.

The Reklaws Boots and Hearts 2015

The Reklaws

Raise your hand if you’re familiar with any of these names… Runaway Angel, Meghan Patrick, Lisa Nicole, Trinity Bradshaw, Cory Marquardt, Twin Kennedy, Jason Benoit, Abby Stewart, Petric, The Reklaws, Johnson Crook, Leanne Pearson, Robyn & Ryleigh, Tenille, Whitney Rose, The Lovelocks, Lindsay Ell, One More Girl, Yoan, Kaitlin Kozell, Eric Ethridge, James Barker Band, Dani Strong – 23 more country young country acts that are making their way in the business.

This whole group plays rib fests, fairs, small festivals, big festivals (shout out to Boots & Hearts for doing an amazing job of including emerging Canadian talent) and bars from coast to coast. They work hard, they write and play and sing and perform whenever and wherever they get the chance, and each and every time they do, they’re earning new fans.

Note: Nobody asked us to write this post. We weren’t approached by an artist or label or PR team to get someone included. Every artist on this list is here because they’ve impressed us with their work and talent. They deserve every success that they’ve earned so far, and everything that they receive in the future.

Dylan Scott Boots and Hearts 2015 2

Dylan Scott

Now, go ahead and add these names to the young artists that are tearing up country music south of the border, and we really are seeing the future – and the present of the genre we love. Artists like Maddie & Tae, Kelsea Ballerini, Cam, Dylan Scott, Kane Brown, Maren Morris, etc. etc. etc., are blowing up YouTube and Facebook with their videos, they’re climbing the Billboard charts, and they’re creating their own space among superstars like Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, and Eric Church.

I know that there are a lot of names in this post… 58 if I’ve counted correctly, but they all deserve to be here. They’re either the big names that we’ve loved for years, or the new crop of country that has a chance to be here for a long time.

And as much as we love supporting new music, and the artists that make it, the coolest thing about all of it is this… a year from now, at the start of 2017, there are going to be even more names that have come out of the woodwork and announced that they deserve to be on a list like this.

We love it.

Country music is alive and well.

And Canada is a big part of that. So turn up the speakers, dance in the kitchen, and sing along, because it’s a great time to fall in love with some new artists on the scene.

Jess Moskaluke Bright Lights Big City Toronto The Phoenix

Jess Moskaluke

Kira Isabella 2014 CNE Header

Kira Isabella

Madeline Merlo Bright Lights Big City Toronto The Phoenix

Madeline Merlo

Autumn Hill

Autumn Hill

Cold Creek County CNE 2015

Cold Creek County

Wes Mack Boots and Hearts 2015

Wes Mack

Livy Jeanne CNE 2015 Northern Comfort Saloon

Livy Jeanne

Leah Daniels Performance CMAO Awards 2015-3952

Leah Daniels

Lindsay Broughton at Liuna Station Gibson at the Junos 2015

Lindsay Broughton

Cory Marquardt CNE 2015

Cory Marquardt

jordan-mcintosh-boots-and-hearts-2014-wm-0994

Jordan McIntosh

Trinity Bradshaw Boots and Hearts

Trinity Bradshaw

2 years ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Lineup Announcement #3 – Jake Owen, Dean Brody, Diamond Rio, Dylan Scott and More!

It’s a big morning for country music fans in Ontario with 16 new names added to the 2016 Boots & Hearts lineup!

There are personal highlights for me (DIAMOND RIO!!!) and some big names that people have been waiting to see on the B&H stage, plus acts that we’ve seen before and are very happy to see returning to the Boots & Hearts stages.

We’re also excited to see emerging talent represented on this list, and while the Republic Live team has always shown us that they’re willing to give young artists a chance, it’s still awesome to see every year.

So, let’s take a look at some of the highlights and what we think we can expect from these fine country music acts.

❤️Jake Owen
Jake Owen CMT AwardsJake is an artist that I am very very happy to see on this list. I can not wait to see him on stage in either jeans or board shorts, swaying and singing, and generally making sure we’re all having a good time. My guess is that this is a set that’s going to happen as the sun is getting ready to go down on us at Burl’s Creek, and we can’t wait for that barefoot blue jean night.

❤️Dean Brody
Dean-Brody-Boots-and-Bourbon-Toronto-2015 SLIDERMr. Brody is one of our favs here on the blog. We talked to him last summer while he was on his lunch break at the sawmill (building his own house) and watched him kill it pre-game with the Blue Jays. It’s always a good time when he takes the stage, and the Boots & Hearts crowd has always shown that they love him. Here’s hoping we get some whistle and ukulele this August!

❤️Diamond Rio
Diamond RioI LOVE Diamond Rio, I have since I was a boy, and I am thrilled to see them announced for B&H 2016. I’ve predicted them before, and here we are… I can not wait to hear tracks like One More Day, Meet In The Middle, Norma Jean Riley, How Your Love Makes Me Feel, and more! Don’t mind me if I’m singing along to every single song in this set.

❤️Chase Bryant
Chase BryantChase Bryant is an artist on the rise… he’s only 22, but already making a name for himself on the country music scene, and that’s why he’s on this list today. Chase has two Top 20 singles already, and we won’t be surprised if there are 1 or 2 more before he gets to Boots & Hearts this summer.

❤️Dylan Scott
Dylan Scott Boots and Hearts 2015 2My man-crush is back baby! We were introduced to Dylan largely because of Boots & Hearts 2015, and it’s been a great ride as a fan ever since. From our first Q&A he’s been surprising us, and when he rocked the small stage last year the roof almost blew off the tent. Be ready for more of that in 2016 as the boy from Louisiana comes back to Ontario to make more fans, and to hear more ladies scream for him.

❤️Lindsay Ell
Lindsay EllSpeaking of crushes, have you heard Lindsay Ell play guitar? Because that alone is enough to make you stop and stare. Add her voice and you’ve got the reason she’s coming to play ont he B&H stage. There’s a chance the some of the 45,000 in attendance won’t know what they’re getting into when Lindsay plugs in, but they’ll know exactly why they need to follow her when she’s done!

❤️Raquel Cole
Raquel ColeRaquel is going to get to introduce herself to a whole bunch of country music fans at B&H. With a sweet voice, the ability to command attention with just a guitar and microphone, and a smile on her face – Boots fans are going to be happy with this performance. We’re willing to bet on that.

❤️River Town Saints
River Town Saints CMW 2015These guys?! Love it! We first saw River Town Saints opening for Kira Isabella at Canadian Music Week last spring… and now look at them. A Little Bit Goes A Long Way has people taking notice for all the right reasons, they fill the stage with sound when they get started, and the energy levels are going to be high from start to finish. This is a set that you need to circle on your schedule. Trust us.

❤️Madeline Merlo
Madeline Merlot Bright Lights Big City Toronto The PhoenixThis announcement makes us happy! Madeline is awesome on stage and in person, and with a new album coming in 2016 we know that she’s going to be ready to give the fans a show in the summer sun at Boots & Hearts. Here’s hoping we get to meet up with the rising star for a little Honey Jack and conversation to talk about everything that she’s got planned for the fans at this big show!

❤️David James
David JamesRepresenting the MDM stable of artists, David James is ready for his turn up on the stage this summer! With a new EP on the way, this Manitoba boy has been making waves with Some Hearts, and his hard work in the country music industry. We know that he already has a fanbase that’s growing day-by-day, and by this summer David should have no problem at all with name recognition and entertaining the crowd.

❤️Lindsay Broughton
Steak Stock 2015 Lindsay BroughtonWe love Lindsay. She’s awesome. Oh, also she has some great music to share with the country fans, and we know that she loves to get up and put on a show. We’ve seen it before, we’ll see it again, and this summer at Boots & Hearts a whole bunch of people are going to see it too. We’re already planning a hangout with Lindsay to talk about the festival and just how great this is going to be!

❤️The Reklaws
The Reklaws Boots and Hearts 2015They’re Back! Jenna and Stuart are becoming part of the Boots & Hearts DNA, and that’s totally okay with us. Last year they did a great job getting the Thursday night kick off party started, and we know they’re going to bring it again in 2016. There’s also a strong chance that we see them grab the microphones to host the weekend on the main stage, and we’ll probably get to hear their original Boots & Hearts track again this August.

❤️The Dungarees
The DungareesThey’ve opened for Blake, Reba, Miranda… they’ve played Big Valley Jamboree, Dauphin CountryFest – and now The Dungarees are ready to at Boots & Hearts 2016 to their list of big show accomplishments. These 5 boys look like they mean business… and at B&H thousands of us are going to see exactly what they’re brining to the party!

❤️Kaitlin Kozell
Steak Stock 2015 Kaitlin Kozell bandWe saw Kaitlin last summer at Steak Stock in Ajax, ON and were really impressed with everything she brought to her set. She’s got the guitar, the songs, the smile, the energy, and you can tell that she really loves being up on the stage with the crowd in front of her. The Boots & Hearts crowd will be bigger than the one at the race track, and we’re excited to see how she responds!

❤️Brea Lawrenson
Brea Lawrenson 2The CMAO nominated Lawrenson is coming to Boots & Hearts, and y’all should be happy about that. Brea has been performing her songs, writing new songs, recording songs, and continuing the cycle with the passion it takes to make it in country music. It’s great to see more Ontario music added to the lineup and we are happy that Brea Lawrenson is part of this list.

❤️MacArthur Clark
MacArthur ClarkAll the way from Peterborough, ON MacArthur Clark are coming back to Burl’s Creek after taking the stage for both WayHome and B&H in 2015. The boys offer a offers an new take on traditional Country, R&B and a touch of Gospel that we know the Boots & Hearts crowd can get into… that’s why they’re coming back again in 2016!

2 years ago Views

Feels Like Freedom: Twin Kennedy at Indie Week 2015

Born and raised in a small British Columbia, twin sisters Carli and Julie Kennedy have been performing together, and generally attached at the hip (figuratively) since they could talk.

Twin Kennedy-8931We sat down with the girls of Twin Kennedy at Boots & Bourbon Saloon in Toronto as part of Indie Week 2015 to talk about home, their new single, what to do in Nashville, and more… and then we stuck around to hear the girls hop up on stage and show their stuff as part of the night’s showcase event.

Back in May we ran in the same circles as Carli and Julie during Canadian Music Week, and now they’re back again. We asked what it is they love about Toronto, and why they keep making the trip to visit.

Both Kennedy sisters told us that one of the big reasons they love it in Ontario’s capital is the country music family they get to see. Between Toronto and Nashville it seems you can find most of Canada’s country singers and songwriters. They are happy to have scheduled co-writes and meetings and hangouts with friends they don’t get to see very often. And if we’re lucky new music and projects will come out of that!

Since we were talking about cities, and Nashville came up, we had to ask about their favourite things about Music City.

Julie’s first answer: The People
Carli’s first answer: The “Small Town City” feel

Twin Kennedy-3956The girls told us what so many artists have told us, we need to take the trip ourselves to hang out and enjoy the city. From the honky tonks to the Sunday night swing dancing there is something to do all the time. Plus, Twin Kennedy regularly hits writers circles to perform when they’re in town, and we’d love to catch some of that.

Did You Know: Salsa dancing skill can be translated to swing dancing? We didn’t either until Carli and Julie told us that they had salsa skills and one night they wandered into a swing night in Nashville where women were limited, and they fit right in. They tell us that they’ll be back for more of that fun!

This year Twin Kennedy was nominated for their first Canadian Country Music Award (Interactive Artist of the Year) so we had to ask a couple questions about it, and their week in Halifax this September.

1) How important is social media to you as emerging artists to stay connected to your existing fans, and also bring new fans in?

The twins told us that social media has been great for them, allowing them to connect with people in Canada, the United States, and all over the world. In fact, 1 super fan made the drive from Massachusetts to Toronto to see their CMW set after interacting almost daily through Twitter. These girls are awesome on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – click any of those links to check them out and give them a follow.

2) How was the Rise & Shine show at the CCMAs and how did that come together?

Twin Kennedy It's A Love Thing Album CoverIt turns out that Twin Kennedy put together the show in partnership with Hilton hotels. They called up Trinity Bradshaw, Livy Jeanne, Lindsay Broughton, and Tenille to put together the ladies of country music morning, and had a great time doing it. They also enjoyed the rest of the week, playing a set at The Lower Deck before hitting the award show and loving the heck out of every minute of the experience.

After we were done talking about all of this and more (we got off track a few times, naturally) Carli and Julie took the Boots & Bourbon stage to play songs from their new album It’s A Love Thing and entertain the Indie Week crowd.

Included in the set was Feels Like Freedom, their newest single which has been at country radio for the month, and getting great reviews and love from fans and the country music community. There’s also a video on the way very soon, so keep your eyes on the Twin Kennedy YouTube channel for that!

We want to thank Twin Kennedy for taking the time to hangout and talk with us for way longer than we planned or expected, it was a lot of fun and we hope to do it again soon. AND we also want to thank them for being awesome.

Carli and Julie have donated 2 CD copies of It’s A Love Thing that we will be giving away to 2 people who donate to our MusiCounts fundraiser on Tilt. Any donation, even $1 enters you to win these CDs and other awesome swag on the way.

Click on the widget to join us in helping a great cause.

And if you still haven’t checked out Twin Kennedy, the time is now!

 

Twin Kennedy-3903Twin Kennedy-3886Twin Kennedy-3866Twin Kennedy-3871Twin Kennedy-3933Twin Kennedy-3941Twin Kennedy-3911

2 years ago Views

2015-16 NHL Canadian Country Music Season Preview

The NHL season starts this week with Montreal in Toronto, Vancouver in Calgary, New York in Chicago, and San Jose in Los Angeles… and to get us all ready for hockey we recruited 10 of our own Canadian Country Music All-Stars to give us their preview!

We asked each artist 3 questions (Favourite Team, Why/How Long Have You Loved Them, What Do You Expect This Season) and got some awesome answers.

HUGE thanks are going out to Chad Brownlee, Brett Kissel, Bobby Wills, Lindsay Broughton, Tim Chaisson, David Roberts, Cory Marquardt, Tim Hicks, Petric, and Yoan for playing along with our brand new idea this season. We love that there is so much love for puck in the country music community.

So, have a look and see which singer shares the same NHL team love affair as you – and leave a comment to tell us your favourite team, the story of you loving them, and what you expect from them this season!

2015-16 NHL Preview!

Chad Brownlee

Chad Brownlee NHL Preview 2015What is your favourite NHL team?
Vancouver Canucks

Why / How long have you loved them?
Since I can remember. Growing up in BC with my Dad being a huge Canucks fan made it pretty easy to decide which team to cheer for!

What do you expect from them this season?
I think the changes they made last season was the beginning of something great. This year is simply going to add to the success that I see growing in years to come!

Brett Kissel

Brett Kissel CNE 2015What is your favourite NHL team?
EDMONTON OILERS

Why / How long have you loved them?
“I’ve literally loved the Oilers since I was born. Interesting story, I was born the day the Oilers won their last Stanley Cup in 1990. My brother thinks I’m a curse to the team, because as long as I’ve been alive, they haven’t won the cup since…”

What do you expect from them this season?
“I truly believe that the Oilers will make the playoffs this year. With all that young star power, I mean, they’ve got to! If Calgary got into the playoffs this past season, then the Oilers NEED to!”

Note: On September 3, 2015 at the CNE in Toronto, Brett gave the crowd a guarantee that the Maple Leafs would make the playoffs this season. Remember that 😉

Bobby Wills

When The Lights Go Down Toronto Bobby Wills-8043What is your favourite NHL team?
Calgary Flames

Why / How long have you loved them?
My favourite team as a little guy was the Bruins as we have Massachusetts roots, but the battle of Alberta pulled me in.

What do you expect from them this season?
A playoff spot, hard to say from there. The west is so competitive it is going to be a dog fight!!

Lindsay Broughton

Lindsay Broughton at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

What is your favourite NHL team?
The Detroit Red Wings

Why / How long have you loved them?
HA! Weeell this isn’t awkward at all! To be quite honest I’m fairly new on the Detroit bandwagon! I was a long time lover, supporter and most often defender of the Leafs (stop laughing!) However I was forced to change my ways, burn the blue clothes, convert and become the enemy when I started dating a player in the Detroit organization about a year and a half ago. Yep, I am the ultimate traitor but if it’s any consolation sometimes I still secretly cheer for the Leafs… shhh..

What do you expect from them this season?
Uhmm a cup? haha..kidding. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens without Babcock being there but obviously I’m excited about the season and have faith that the new changes are going to bring big things. 🙂

Tim Chaisson

Tim Chaisson Lost in the Light Release Party ShowWhat is your favourite NHL team?
Montreal Canadiens!

Why / How long have you loved them?
Well, my father pretty much brainwashed my brothers and I since we were born to love the Habs, so as long as I can remember I guess!

What do you expect from them this season?
I’d love to see a strong play-off season myself! I also think it’s pretty cool that P.K. Subban is giving so much back to the community.

David Roberts of The Washboard Union

David Robertson The Washboard UnionWhat is your favourite NHL team?
Toronto Maple Leafs

Why / How long have you loved them?
Since I was a kid of 6, we had seasons tickets at Maple Leaf Gardens, up in the Blues, Section 29

What do you expect from them this season?
Here are my ​2015/2016 predictions:
a) ​In a Wed Oct 7th press release it will be revealed that ​The L​eafs will work a deal with ​season ticket holders who will now only pay for winning games.
b) It’s a rebuild year, or decade or whatever the term is for the 49 odd years they have been waiting to win the cup back….
c) Record Producer and world’​s biggest Leaf fan GGGarth Richardson will be hired as the new head coach and will guide the team to ​victory and win ​the ​2015/2016 Stanley Cup aka La Coupe Stanley
d) The Leafs will continue to sell out night after night…Go Leafs Go

Cory Marquardt

Cory Marquardt CNE 2015What is your favourite NHL team?
Toronto Maple Leafs

Why / How long have you loved them?
My Dad is from Toronto and my grandpa was a big fan. I still picture them in 94-96 Potvin, Clark, Gilmore, Tie Domi and the list goes on

What do you expect from them this season?
They made some pretty big changes and I’m sure they’ll be making more. Not sure what to expect but I see them winning a cup in 20**…

Tim Hicks

Tim Hicks -7769What is your favourite NHL team?
I’m a Leafs guy

Why / How long have you loved them?
It’s sort of ingrained in the culture where I grew up that you must be a Leafs fan or face the consequences lol! Geographically, they’re the closest Canadian team and I always root for home.

What do you expect from them this season?
I’m expecting them to finally throw us a bone! Come on boys!!

Petric

Petric Live in StudioWhat is your favourite NHL team?
We’re both huge Jets fans! Toms also has a love for the Detroit Red Wings

Why / How long have you loved them?
We’ve been proud jets fans, even the years they didn’t exist in the league. Those were the years the Red Wings jersey got worn a lot. The year we both started playing hockey the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, and Stevie Yzerman was Toms all time favourite player.

What do you expect from them this season?
The Jets have a lot of young blood, which may bring some growing pains, but should also bring a lot of exciting hockey. GO JETS GO!

Yoan

Yoan CNE 2015What is your favourite NHL team?
The Montreal Canadians.

Why / How long have you loved them?
I think Hockey is a part of our culture and heritage and so are the Montreal Canadians. I played hockey for 5 years and my dad has always been a really big fan of the team so we used to watch the games together when I was growing up. The last two years have been so busy for me that I don’t have as much time to follow hockey religiously as I did before but I try to support the team every time I can.

What do you expect from them this season?
I wish them the best and hopefully the Stanley Cup!

2 years ago Views

5 Tips for Finding More New Music

We wish you guys could hear it all…

Laptop and Headphones New MusicThere is so much music being made right now. We’re lucky enough to be sent links and streams from local artists in Toronto, the rest of Canada, across the United States, and Europe. There’s just not enough time in the day to write about it all or see all of the shows or tell you about the great new stuff we’ve discovered.

But trust this, there is no shortage of talent or passion or dedication when it comes to the music scene right now.

For every record or single released by an artist/band you already know and love, there are dozens of others that you may never hear. And while that’s sucky, it’s the reality.

So how can we all discover more music to love?

Keep your eyes out for links…

All of these hungry new acts are using social media to get the word out about their music. If you see a band name you don’t recognize in your Twitter stream or on Facebook, click through and see if you like it.

Go to more local live shows…

CMW 2015 Aussie BBQ The HorseshoeI know I just said at the top that there isn’t enough time to go to every show, and there isn’t. But if you can get to 1 show a week or 1 show a month or every 2 months, whatever, you will see new acts you just might fall in love with. Pay the $10 cover and see 3 or 4 new bands plus the 1 you already know in the lineup. Have a drink or three and enjoy the night.

Note: if you have a chance to hit a festival like Boots & Hearts or WayHome or TURF, etc. hit the side stages to see new music. Even the main stage is a great place to check out early in the day before the headliners start to put on their bigger sets.

Spotify and Apple Music…

Yes there are more options for streaming music, but right now we’re using both Spotify and Apple Music to listen to music from artists we know and love, as well as new acts that we’re auditioning for future playlists. Take a chance and listen to a new releases playlist. It could be very worth it.

Share with friends…

If you start sharing new music that you find with your friends you may just find that they have all kinds of recommendations for you as well. It’s just as impossible for you as it is for us to know every new band… but if we pool our resources and experiences and new favourites, we can all be winners and have new music to love!

Follow thereviewsarein.com…

When The Lights Go Down Toronto Jess-8076We will continue to try and balance our coverage between established acts and new and emerging artists. We love watching artists like Jess Moskaluke and Dylan Scott blow up after we’ve already fallen in love with them. And we know that some of the other new acts we love are going to find love in the world of listeners as well.

Keep your ears open for Trinity Bradshaw, The Reklaws, Johnson Crook, Mieke, Birds of Bellwoods, Lindsay Broughton, Whitney Rose, Tim Chaisson, Runaway Angel, Livy Jeanne, Cory Marquardt, The Luke Austin Band, Meghan Patrick, and more and more and more – the talent is out there. And they aren’t going away, they’re only getting stronger.

We love music. That’s why we do this. And discovering new music is a huge part of the whole experience. Don’t miss out on that part.
You’ll regret it.

2 years ago Views

Steak Stock 2015: Good Country Fun at Ajax Downs!

Combining BBQ, beer, country music, and horse racing is a fantastic idea – and we’re glad that the people at Ajax Downs had it.

Steak Stock 2015 Brewery RowSteak Stock took over the grounds on Saturday and Sunday, bringing with it a bunch talent, tastes and chances to check out things we love – and wanted to love. Going into the event we knew that Manantler Craft Brewing (Bowmanville) was a winner, and we thoroughly enjoyed a few samples of The Citra Situation while also taking the chance to check out…

‣ Brock St. Brewing Company (Whitby)
‣ Underdog’s Brewhouse (Oshawa)
‣ The Publican House Brewery (Peterborough)
‣ Shiny Apple Cider (Niagara on the Lake)

Steak Stock Caplansky'sAnd because we were there all day Saturday and Sunday, we had to eat. So shout outs to Caplansky’s for the brisket tacos & grilled cheese with brisket, and to Jimmy Guaco’s for the nachos (pulled pork) and quesadillas (steak). If you see these food trucks, line up – and make sure you get napkins because you’re going to need them!

When we weren’t eating and drinking, and sometimes when we were, we spent Saturday listening to a whole bunch of pretty great live country music.

With a lineup of Livy Jeanne, Kaitlin Kozell, Lindsay Broughton, Cold Creek County, and headliners Autumn Hill – we had a lot of great moments.

Steak Stock 2015 Livy Jeanne soloIt was the 1st time we’d had a chance to see Livy Jeanne up on stage, and we’re glad we finally got it. She put on a sweet little set with the help of her guitar man, which included the title track of her brand new Dashboard Renegade record, her first ever single Invisible, her current single All Kinds of Crazy, another fun one in Wrong Side of the Dirt, and an awesome little medley of I Want You Back – You Shook Me All Night Long – That Don’t Impress Me Much – Hot and Cold & Royals! We can’t wait to catch up with Livy again at Boots & Hearts in a few weeks.

Steak Stock 2015 Lindsay BroughtonIt was also awesome to see Brooklin girl and CCMA Rising Star nominee, Lindsay Broughton hit the stage on Saturday. The last time we caught up with Lindsay was at the CMAO Awards, and it was great to see her in action. She treated the mid-day crowd to a mix of covers and her own singles which included, Trouble With You, Cold One (Eric Church), I Can Do Anything, River Wide Enough Song, Take Me There, Born To Be Wild (Steppenwolf), Holdin’ On To You, Now You Don’t, and a medley of Mama’s Broken Heart – Cruise – Downtown & Trouble.

It’s awesome to see local talent thriving, and Lindsay is doing that with a huge summer so far.

After a fun set by the 6 dudes that make up Cold Creek County, we got to the headliners of the evening, Autum Hill.

Mike and Tareya are Juno and Canadian Country Music Association nominated as Autumn Hill, and with their 2nd record, Anchor now available, things are looking really good. They recently charted their first Top 5 single with Blame, and last Wednesday picked up a Duo or Group of the year nomination for the 2015 CCMAs.

On Saturday the duo gave the audience everything they were hoping for with a mix of songs from their 1st record, Favourite Mistake, and the new…

Steak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill 1⚓ Anchor
⚓ Good Night For Going Nowhere
⚓ If She Wants This Town
⚓ It Don’t Get Better Than This
⚓ Fire
⚓ Mix Tape
⚓ Return Policy
⚓ Can’t Keep Waiting
⚓ Anything At All
⚓ Blame
⚓ Memphis

Sunday brought us back to the track for more food, more beer, more music – but also live quarter horse racing!

Ajax Downs Finish Line Steak StockAnd while we didn’t come out the big money winners we hoped we would, it was a whole lot of fun to read the sheets, watch the odds, place some bets – and cheer on the horse when they came to the finish line!

High fives to Casey Spencer, Jack Connolly and Sawmill Road for playing before, between, and after the 7 races of the day. The stopping and starting mini-sets were a little different than we’re sure they’re accustomed to, but they handled it well for the crowd.

Steak Stock 2015 Leah Daniels Dream Without YouAnd after a bout of thunder and rain that shut down the stage area, we were treated to a more acoustic, stripped down set from Sunday headliner and Uxbridge local, Leah Daniels.

Leah has been on a tear lately with her first Top 20 appearance thanks to Go Back, and steady video and radio play of her current single, Dream Without You.

She also picked up a CCMA Rising Star nomination last week, so she is definitely riding a little high right now. Leah put on a fun little set, interacting with an adorable 4 year old who danced up front, and then stole hearts when she sang her own little song. But it was when Leah Daniels had the mic, she was in control. Belting out big notes, stellar yodelling, and huge smiles, she won new fans at Ajax Downs, and made the fans who were there for her happy.

Steak Stock 2015 was a bunch of fun – with a little bit of something for the whole family… and we’re hoping they bring it back again in 2016 with more music, more BBQ, more beer, and more horse racing!

Here, check out some more pics…

Steak Stock 2015 Livy Jeanne 1Steak Stock 2015 Kaitlin KozellSteak Stock 2015 Kaitlin Kozell bandSteak Stock 2015 Lindsay Broughton BandSteak Stock 2015 Manantler Brewery TentSteak Stock 2015 Cold Creek Country Full 6Steak Stock 2015 Cold Creek County HamoniesSteak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill 2Steak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill Tareya GreenSteak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill Mike RobbinsSteak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill 3Steak Stock 2015 Leah Daniels Honey I'm GoodSteak Stock 2015 Leah DanielsSteak Stock 2015 Leah Daniels Go BackAjax Downs Starting GateAjax Downs Post-Race 4 HorseAjax Downs Horse Hose Down

2 years ago Views

Steak Stock Brings Country to Ajax Downs

Ajax Downs is Getting Ready to go Country!

Steak Stock 2105 FB AdThe Downs is already home to weekly Quarter Horse racing, they’re upping their game July 18 and 19 with the inaugural Steak Stock. It promises to be a Saturday and Sunday packed with BBQ, Beer, and live country music – something for everybody and fun for the whole family.

I’ll get to music in a minute – but first, let’s talk about food and entertainment.

There’s a long list of Food vendors coming to Ajax Downs for the weekend to serve up some really tasty goodies – but most importantly BEEF & BEER!

And since I’m sometimes in the business of giving suggestions, here are 4 joints that I think you should make a point of visiting at Steak Stock…

Steak Stock Beer & Food Recommendations

Brock Street Brewery: This Whitby brewery just celebrated their Grand Opening! These Durham brewers have a mission of creating great tasting beer with all-natural ingredients – and Steak Stock is going to give them a chance to make some new fans. I’ll be ready to taste it.
Horn Dawgs: They pride themselves in providing their customers with the best Authentic Southern BBQ this side of the border. They’ll be fresh off Whitby Ribfest, and ready to serve up some samplings from their menu that also includes Brisket, Pulled Pork, Wings and more. Can’t wait.
Underdog BrewhouseCaplansky’s: This Toronto staple will be rolling in and I’m hoping they bring some smoked meat and corned beef for sandwiches – plus a healthy assortment of their awesome mustards. Seriously, they have Classic Ballpark, Super Extra Hot, Hot and Horseradishy, and Mild and Delicious. I really love mustard.
Underdog’s Brewhouse: Beer with no excuses! Brothers Jeff and Eric Dornan are bringing their All Or Nothing Hopfenweisse to Ajax from Oshawa – and hoping that people like it enough to look for it at The Beer Store and LCBO. I’m ready for a taste. Who doesn’t like to cheer for the underdog?

Now, you’re going to need something to do while you eat, and if you still haven’t made your way to the stage to hear some music you can check out the Live BBQ Cook-off, or you can finish your eats and take a spin on the mechanical bull. I don’t know if the BBQ contestants will be giving out samples of their meet – but I’m hoping yes. Oh, and while you’re watching other people cook, don’t miss out on the chance to enter to win a brand new BBQ of your own – and then invite me over for steaks and burgers and hot dogs!

Mechanical Bull Riding Tips

I’ve had a little experience riding mechanical bulls… and it’s awesome – but I want you to keep these tips in mind.
1) Don’t wrap the rope around your hand. As the bull whips you around that rope gets tighter and tighter and squeezes a lot and can put a hurt on your hand.
2) Let yourself fall. I know that you want to stay on the bull as long as you can, but when it’s time to go, let go. Don’t risk an injury.
3) Keep your balance forward. This is a personal experience tip. Scoot up as close as you can to the head, bring your legs forward and get ready.
4) Have fun!

Now, the Steak Stock Music!

Starting with Livy Jeanne at on Saturday and wrapping up with Leah Daniels on Sunday, Steak Stock has a pretty great country music lineup. Here’s the set schedule…

Saturday July 18

Livy Jeanne Steak StockLivy Jeanne: 12:15pm
We just got to catch up with Livy in our Cavendish Beach preview, and can’t wait to see her Dixie Chicks and Katy Perry inspired live show.
Kaitlin Kozell: 1:15pm
Kaitlin is coming to Boots & Hearts this summer, which makes Steak Stock a great little preview for that. Looking forward to hearing her voice, seeing her interaction with the crowd, and maybe even eating some BBQ after?!
Lindsay Broughton: 2:30pm
Much love to Lindsay, looking forward to this one – she’s sweet, has a great voice, and we know that the 2013 CMAO Rising Star Award Winner is going to give everyone a great show.
Cold Creek County: 5:00pm
These 5 dudes have opened up for Dallas Smith, Emerson Drive, Kira Isabella, and more – and they’re doing an awesome job. Their single Our Town is whole lot of fun, and seeing it live should be a real good time. 
Autumn Hill: 6:30pm
Great choice for a Saturday headliner. Tareya and Mike have been putting in huge work, and Steak Stock comes just weeks after the release of their new album, Anchor. It’s also going to be a great chance to celebrate the current Top 5 success of Blame. Give it a listen so you can sing along! 

*There’s also a TBA slot on Saturday at 4pm… that could be fun!

Sunday July 19

Live Quarter Horse racing starts at 12:50 pm! 

Steak Stock 2015Casey Spencer: 12:40pm & 1:00pm
Casey kicks off the music on Sunday and will be getting the crowd ready for a full day of racing, BBQ, beer, and country!
Jack Connolly: 1:25pm & 1:50pm
Originally from Vancouver Island and now working out of Toronto, this folk-country singer/songwriter will be bringing his tunes to Ajax Downs to fill the break between horse races and keep the party going!
Sara Mione: 2:15pm & 2:35pm
19 year old Sara Mione has had her sound compared to Sheryl Crow, and that’s fine by me. She’s and up and comer and Steak Stock attendees should be ready to hear her single Bring It On Back live and in living colour.
Sawmill Road: 3:30pm & 3:55pm & 4:20pm
These Northumberland boys are known to put on a good live show. WIth 2 albums under their belts, and tight harmonies that fill the air with sound, this show should pair perfectly with BBQ and beer.
Leah Daniels: 4:50pm
Leah closes out the weekend, and with good reason. Fresh off her Rising Star award from the Country Music Association of Ontario the Uxbridge girl is well on her way to the top. With a top 20 track in Go Back, her new single Dream Without You out now, and a new album in the works, I can’t wait to see her belt out her songs!

Click here to get your tickets. $25 to see this lineup is a bargain any day of the week. Trust. 

Can’t wait to see y’all there!

Leah Daniels at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Leah Daniels at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Lindsay Broughton at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Lindsay Broughton at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Autumn Hill at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

Autumn Hill at the 2015 CMAO Awards.

2 years ago Views
Scroll to top