Madeline Merlo

Women, Whiskey, and Music: Country Songs and Cocktails for a Cause

On A Wednesday night in the heart of the city, we gathered with country music fans and whiskey lovers at the newly opened Love Child Social House for an evening of Jack Daniels cocktails and celebrations of the power of songs and the women who sing them.

Jessica Mitchell, Madeline Merlo, The Lovelocks, and Jenna Walker of The Reklaws took turns at centre stage, playing short three song sets and telling stories about what they do and what brought them to where they are.

As the stories, songs, and the whiskey flowed, money was being raised for the victims and affected families of the Las Vegas shooting during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Dollars from the sale of tickets and special Jack Daniels cocktails were donated to the Music City Cares Fund. It’s a great cause, for the worst reason… and if you have a willingness or ability to help, please consider making a donation or sharing the link: MUSIC CITY CARES FUND.

Jenna Walker - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House The Reklaws - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

The music began with Jenna Walker taking the stage, with her brother, and the other half of The Reklaws, Stuart joining her to play guitar and sing a little backup for her. It was special to see Jenna open up and have Stuart step back to give her all of the space she needed and was supposed to have on that night.

Miss Walker’s voice was strong, steady, and started things off with the proof that we had all come to the right place on a Wednesday night. Jenna sang new music (that we can’t wait to hear on an album from The Reklaws) including Boy’s Don’t Cry, I Can Wait, and That Makes Two Of Us. It was a great start to a special evening.

The Lovelocks - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House The Lovelocks - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

Ali and Zoe, The Lovelocks, with all of the rich and sweet harmonies that we are used to and blessed with every time they sing, were next on the Women, Whiskey, and Music stage. We’ve been fortunate to listen to these two talented women over the last few years, and the chance to hear them stripped down and acoustic is never something we want to miss.

The Lovelocks shared two favourites with the crowd, and added in a sneak peek at their next single. The crowd was 100% into Home Sweet Home, Lovely, and the new track, Staycation. And while everyone surely wished they could have heard more, everyone was happy to have seen and heard Ali and Zoe perform.

Madeline Merlo - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Madeline Merlo - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

Madeline Merlo was the next to step up on the Love Child Social House stage, doing what she does and wowing the crowd with the depth and strength in her voice. The B.C. native has made her mark in Canadian country over the last two years, and on Wednesday night she left that mark again in Toronto.

With War Paint, a new song called Unravelling, and her summer 2017 jam, Motel Flamingo, Madeline had the crowd both emotionally pulled in, and tapping toes and singing along. In just three songs she was able to take everyone along with her, and nobody was disappointed with the short journey.

Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

Jessica Mitchell was the last of these wonderful women to come on stage on Wednesday night, and reminded everyone that she’s a shining star in Canadian music. The stripped down setting fit her perfectly, the weight of the event and cause weren’t too much for her, and if anything – it played perfectly into Mitchell’s performance.

With new songs, Bulletproof and Heart Of Glass opening her set, and her powerhouse hit, Workin’ On Whiskey wrapping it up, all eyes were on the stage and the songstress as she poured everything she had into the songs. It’s hard to explain the feeling of watching Jessica Mitchell, it’s like we should know better than to be surprised by her, but then she goes and wows you and you just stare and sing along.

At the end of Jessica’s mini-set, she invited and welcomed all of the women who had performed back to the stage and as a group they sang a stirring and powerful rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. It was sweet and strong and was the perfect ending for a good night for a good cause.

Jenna Walker, Zoe Neuman, Ali Raney, Madeline Merlot, Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Jenna Walker - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Madeline Merlo - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House The Lovelocks - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social HouseJessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

3 weeks ago No Comments Views

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!

4 weeks ago 53 Comments Views

15 Boots & Hearts 2018 Artist Predictions

With the dates for Boots & Hearts 2018 released and our recovery from the 2017 festival complete, it’s time to look at our predictions for BH7 next August.

As always, the names listed below have been picked because we fully believe there is a chance that they could play the festival. Yes, we’d love to see Garth and Reba, but the odds are very, very, very long on that happening. So, we’ve put together this list of 15 country artists that we’re predicting for Boots & Hearts 2018.

When you’re done reading, please leave a comment telling us who you think we got right, and who you think will be at Burl’s Creek next summer.

Note: All artist names have been listed in alphabetical order… not in order of preference or how certain we are with the prediction.

Boots and Hearts 2018 Headliners

Chris Young

Chris Young Trackside Fest 2016

The newest invitee of the Grand Ole Opry is on quite a run. With 5 studio albums (plus a Christmas record) on his resume, there’s no shortage of material for Young to bust out in a 90 minute headlining set. And with songs that are guaranteed to get people singing along at the top of their lungs… this would work.

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney may be the biggest gamble here. The four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year winner has a reputation for putting on a great show, and with 14 studio albums worth of material, we know that he could have 40,000+ country music fans singing along from start to finish.

Little Big Town

Little Big Town was on the original schedule for Boots & Hearts 2015, but had to cancel due to medical issues. We’ve been hoping and waiting ever since for them to be added back to the list. In these last couple of years the quartet has elevated themselves to legitimate headlining status, and we truly hope that the Canadian fans that love B&H get to see them sing.

Zac Brown Band

CMT Music Fest - Zac Brown Band

We’ve seen the Zac Brown Band headline for at CMT Music Fest in 2016… and we’d gladly do it all over again at Boots & Hearts 2018. With a long list of hits and fan favourites, and a reputation for playing amazing covers of songs people love, ZBB could headline any night of the festival.

We’re good with all four of these options. None of them have played Boots & Hearts in the first six years of the festival, making them exciting options for year seven, and all of them come with hits, fan favourites, and star power.

Supporting Talent

Andrew Hyatt
Andrew Hyatt - Northern Comfort Saloon - CNE 2017With his first Top 20 single on the books, upcoming tour dates with Dallas Smith that will earn him new attention and fans, and the kind of energy that delivers a great show – Andrew Hyatt should make his main stage debut at Boots & Hearts 2018.

Brett Kissel
Brett Kissel - CNE 2017We’ve been waiting for a Canadian opener since Boots & Hearts year 1, and while Brett may be at the top of our list to nab that spot – we’re look at him as the direct support for someone like Zac Brown or Little Big Town on Saturday or Sunday night

Brett Young
Brett Young’s star is rising fast! We saw him this summer on tour with Lady Antebellum, and this dude has what it takes to entertain a crowd. Look for him late in the afternoon as party heats up.

Carly Pearce
Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017Pearce is another rising star in American country. Her debut album drops this fall, and with success already coming to her with her first single, Every Little Thing, we’d be surprised not to see her bring the Big Machine bus to Boots & Hearts 2018.

Dan Davidson
Dan Davidson - Rod, Gun and Barbers ParkdaleLikeable, talented, and always ready to play music, Dan Davidson is a great bet to come east to Ontario and play for the Boots & Hearts crowd. Fans already dig Found and Barn Burner, and by next summer we’re guessing they’ll be ready to sing along to even more.

Dustin Lynch
A cowboy hat, jeans, and t-shirt looks good on the Boots & Hearts stage, we’ve seen it before. And if Dustin Lynch shows up in that outfit and plays his hits (the dude’s top 10 Spotify tracks have more than 200,000,000 plays) we know the Canadian country fans would be seein’ red.

Jojo Mason
JoJo Mason BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016The first time Jojo Mason played Boots & Hearts the crowd chanted his name and made it a day he’ll never forget. Now, fans have had a chance to learn more about Jojo with his debut album, Both Sides Of The Bar, and his CCMA nomination for 2017 Rising Star. If Jojo were to come back with his energy and those songs, it’d be all good.

Kelsea Ballerini
Kelsea Ballerini has been number 1 with Dibs, Peter Pan, and Love Me Like You Mean It, and fans are in love with her voice and her style. We’ve seen her live, and the chance to see it again at Boots & Hearts with some of the biggest names in country music makes perfect sense to us.

Madeline Merlo
Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo rocks a summer vibe like almost nobody we’ve ever known, so seeing her back on the Boots & Hearts stage on a sunny summer afternoon seems like a perfect fit. Whether she plays the main stage, or a late slot on the front porch, we know a crowd of Canadian country fans would be there to sing along with the B.C. native.

Maren Morris

A post shared by Maren Morris (@marenmorris) on


Maren Morris is quickly becoming one of the young queens of country music. Her debut album, Hero, is filled with jams from front to back, and her duet with Thomas Rhett on Craving You earned her two CMA nominations (Vocal Event and Music Video of the Year) to go along with her Female Vocalist of the Year nomination. Let’s see her on the big stage!

The Reklaws
Budweiser County Fair The ReklawsThese Boots & Hearts vets are due back to the country’s biggest summer festival after releasing a banger with Hometown Kids, and the promise of more new music on the way. Be ready to see them back at their old stomping grounds.

Bonus

Thomas Rhett
Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015With main stage talent and charisma, Thomas Rhett could headline Friday night, or be the perfect lead in to Kenny Chesney or Little Big Town. I’d lean towards headlining option, only because we’ve already seen him in the direct support spot at Boots & Hearts already. Also, if you haven’t heard it yet, go listen to Thomas Rhett’s brand new album, Life Changes!

Who do you think I got right? Who do you think I got wrong? Who do you think I missed?

Leave a comment and tell me!

2 months ago Views

Dean Brody, Tim Hicks, Carly Pearce and Special Guests Take Over Toronto

On a summer Thursday night down by the lake, Toronto embraced Canadian country music at the biggest homegrown show in our memory. Dean Brody & Tim Hicks put their Canadian names on the tickets, with U.S. rising star Carly Pearce as their opener, and special guests promised – and everyone, from the start to the finish – delivered a night that thousands of fans are glad they were a part of.

Before the show on the big stage got started, Leah Daniels hit the River Bar for a pre-show set as the gates opened. We talked to Leah for a minute and she told us that there are some exciting things coming soon. So stay tuned for more news from the Canadian country singer.

The Budweiser Stage show started with Kentucky native, former Dollywood performer, and Top 20 charting, Carly Pearce. The Big Machine artist, preparing to drop her debut full length album this fall (October 13, 2017) made her first Canadian performance count, wowing the crowd from start to finish.

With songs including her single, (and the title track to her upcoming album) Every Little Thing, and songs that we’ll hear on the new record including, Careless, Doin’ It Right, and If My Name Was Whiskey, Pearce showed that she’s ready for that release.

The tracks offered an opportunity for Carly to showcase her voice, and it’s impressive. The notes, inflection, and emotion that she’s able to share through the words in her songs are strong, and those qualities are exactly why there’s hype from outlets like Rolling Stone for her young career.

Be ready to hear a lot more about Carly Pearce here and everywhere.

Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017

After Carly Pearce finished her Canadian debut, the true north country show started with Tim Hicks and his band hitting the Budweiser Stage… hard. The moment Hicks and the boys hit the stage, it got loud. The Toronto country fans love this dude, accepting him as one of their own over the last few years as he’s put out hit after hit.

Hicks made a point of telling everyone in the crowd how special this show was to him. Making the journey in his career from fronting the house band at Grace O’Malley’s to playing the amphitheatre by the lake is big for him, as it would be for anybody.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

Note: Many thanks to Tim for hanging out with us for a little chat and catch up session before the show. It’s always a good time.

Hicks also made an announcement at the end of the set, just before playing his last song, that the track, Forever Rebels, will be released as his next radio single. And, having listened to the track, and having seen the reaction of the fans to it, we’re pretty comfortable telling you that we think Tim Hicks has another Canadian Top 10 on his hands.

We should also tell you this… Tim Hicks had the second loudest singalong we’ve ever heard at the Budweiser Stage. When Stronger Beer was being belted out by thousands of voices we could feel it just as much as we could hear it. It was special. It truly was. And the only time we’ve heard it louder was when Florida Georgia Line stripped it down to perform H.O.L.Y in 2016.

Even though it’s only a 15 minute drive, Tim Hicks has come a long way from playing covers in downtown Toronto. And every stop along the way has been a hell raisin’ good time.

Tim Hicks Setlist Budweiser Stage, Toronto

🍻 Shake These Walls
🍻 Burn
🍻 Hell Raisin’ Good Time
🍻 Slide Over
🍻 She Don’t Drink Whiskey
🍻 I Got A Feelin’
🍻 Stompin’ Ground
🍻 Get By
🍻 Stronger Beer
🍻 Forever Rebels

Dean Brody headlined the Thursday night concert in every sense of the word. With a boatload of energy, and more special guests than we could have predicted, the B.C. native took over the Toronto stage and showed everyone what he’s got.

It was immediately clear, from the moment he walked on stage and started playing Bush Party with the band, that the crowd was in love with him. They were loud, attentive, out of their seats, singing and dancing at every opportunity. And that was before the surprises started popping out onto the stage.

Note: Dean told the crowd that he’s a Toronto resident now, so if you see him walking around reenacting the Mountain Man video, say hi.

Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017

Six songs into the show the first special guest came out to play – and Toronto got loud for Dallas Smith as he partnered with Brody on Undone, and then borrowed the band to play Somebody Somewhere. Then, just a new moments later, Madeline Merlo (fresh off the bandshell stage at the Canadian National Exhibition) came out to sing Lindi Ortega’s part on Bounty. Next, after Dean pulled on our heartstrings with acoustic versions of Time and Brothers, his duet partner, Shevy Price, came out to hammer home a high energy performance of Beautiful Freakshow.

And just when we thought that had to be it, Alan Doyle, a repeat partner in Dean Brody’s career, came out on stage to collaborate on both Soggy Bottom Summer and It’s Friday, before borrowing the Brodeo for Great Big Sea’s classic, Ordinary Day.

Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017

It was highlight after highlight. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the special guests were the only high spots. Dean Brody worked the stage, commanded the crowd, danced, smiled, and rolled through his biggest hits for the Toronto crowd. He headlined the hell out of that concert, proving that he was more than ready for that big city spotlight on the Budweiser Stage.

Dean Brody is a stud and a homegrown star. And he showed that Canadian talent can not only compete, but can put thousands of butts in seats, get them back out of those seats to sing and dance, and headline shows for country music fans.

We’re glad we were there to see it. And we can’t wait to see Dean, and a whole crop of Canadian artists follow in those footsteps.

Dean Brody and Special Guests Setlist, Toronto

🍻 Bush Party
🍻 Dirt Road Scholar
🍻 Upside Down
🍻 People Know You By Your First Name
🍻 Roll That Barrel Out
🍻 Monterey
🍻 Undone (with Dallas Smith)
🍻 Somebody Somewhere (Dallas Smith)
🍻 Love Would Be Enough
🍻 Bounty (with Madeline Merlo)
🍻 Time
🍻 Brothers
🍻 Beautiful Freakshow (with Shevy Price)
🍻 Soggy Bottom Summer (with Alan Doyle)
🍻 It’s Friday (with Alan Doyle)
🍻 Ordinary Day (Alan Doyle)
🍻 Canadian Girls
Encore:
🍻 Mountain Man
🍻 Bring Down The House

More Photos of Dean Brody at Budweiser Stage, Toronto

Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017More Photos of Tim Hicks at Budweiser Stage, Toronto

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Graham Mallany - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Geoff Torrn - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Chris Altmann - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Rob Wells - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

More Photos of Carly Pearce at Budweiser Stage, Toronto

Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce Band - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017

3 months ago Views

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! 

4 months ago Views

2017 Canadian National Exhibition Bandshell Stage Lineup and Schedule

Every Toronto summer ends the same way, with the Canadian National Exhibition and its rides, food, and entertainment.

And now, still a month and a half away from opening day, we have a schedule and lineup for the legendary CNE Bandshell stage.

As always, all concerts are included with the price of CNE admission, making these some of the best value buys of the summer concert season for all music lovers.

Note: Monday to Thursday (excluding the Labour Day holiday) the CNE will offer an $8 a
After 5pm admission deal. We recommend taking advantage of it!

 

CNE 2013 Ill Scarlett

The 2017 schedule is packed with some awesome talent across genres. Canadian rock and roll veterans, Sam Roberts Band are an early must-see, joined by local favourites, USS and Dear Rouge, and former Rolling Stone cover boys, The Sheepdogs. And on the country music side, Chad Brownlee, Aaron Pritchett, and Canadian actor/singer/songwriter Kiefer Sutherland will all headline the Bandshell stage.

We would also encourage you to check out the opening acts on this year’s schedule.

Madeline Merlo, The Zolas, Leaving Thomas, Jane’s Party, and Ascot Royals will all be worth being at the stage early for… trust us.

Note: There may be more opening acts added as we get closer to the Exhibition, there are some spaces open. And remember, all of these acts and dates are subject to change.

Now, get your calendar out, look at the schedule and make your plans for the CNE.

2017 Canadian National Exhibition Bandshell Schedule

Saturday, August 19
Jane’s Party
Sam Roberts Band

Sunday, August 20
Meghan Patrick
Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland Band at The Horseshoe Toronto Jazz Festival 2016

Monday, August 21
The Box
Michel Pagliaro

Tuesday, August 22
Port Cities
Colin James

Wednesday, August 23
Jay Douglas
Marcia Griffiths

Thursday, August 24
Madeline Merlo
Aaron Pritchett

Friday, August 25
I Mother Earth
The Watchmen

Saturday, August 26
Leaving Thomas
Chad Brownlee

Chad Brownlee Boots and Hearts 2015

Sunday, August 27
Ascot Royals
John Kay & Steppenwolf

Monday, August 28
Pavlo

Tuesday, August 29
The Sheepdogs

Wednesday, August 30
Virginia to Vegas
Shawn Hook

Thursday, August 31
The Zolas
Dear Rouge

Dear Rouge

Friday, September 1
Beamer Wigley & Abby Stewart 
Brett Kissel

Saturday, September 2
USS

USS GreaterTorontoDay

Sunday, September 3
Desi Sub Culture
A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red OMDC Mod Club 2016

5 months ago Views

Beautiful Freakshow Tour Review: Dean Brody, Madeline Merlo & James Barker Band

Four and half years ago I photographed my first ever Dean Brody concert, actually it was the first concert I photographed professionally on my own! I still remember how scared I was, tried to avoid eye contact at all times and kept my distance from Dean and everyone on his team. Looking back I don’t know why I was so nervous, Dean made me so comfortable by encouraging me and cracking jokes! Dean has to be one of most humble, kind and down to earth artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. And I’m so honoured this was my 6th concert that I had the pleasure of photographing him.

When I got approved to photograph Dean’s Beautiful Freak Show Tour in Edmonton I couldn’t have been more excited. Over the past four and a half years I have seen Dean grow so much, from his confidence on stage, his energy and performances becoming bigger and better every time. I was even more ecstatic seeing the artists who were joining The Beautiful Freak Show Tour; James Barker Band and Madeline Merlo. This was my first time seeing these two groups perform and I have to say if you have never seen James Barker Band perform or Madeline Merlo you need to check their tour dates.

Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26

What makes this tour so special/unique is the differences between all three acts! First up was the Canadian Country group who won the 2015 emerging artist showcase at Boots and Hearts Music Festival, The James Barker Band. Looking out into the crowd I saw so many young kids with their parents, I couldn’t help but smile seeing them all screaming and dancing to the lyrics of their most popular songs; Lawn Chair Lazy, Just Sayin’ and Chills. These guys sure know how to entertain, and their music makes you want to grab a lawn chair, grab a cold one, turn on the bbq and enjoy the summer with your friends. I cannot wait to see these guys grow and take on bigger stages!

Related -> Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: James Barker Band

(more photos below)
James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton

Madeline Merlo brought a whole different look to the stage for The Beautiful Freak Show Tour. Covered with flamingos, neon lights, pink laces and palm trees to showcase her new song Motel Flamingo. If you’re looking for a fun summer song to get you moving, this one you need to grab on ITunes now! I completely loved her 2016 album Free Soul featuring two of my favorite songs from her; Honey Jack and War Paint, but I can tell you her new song has made me super excited for her new music.

This Canadian beauty took over the stage looking absolutely gorgeous in her palm tree bandana. Madeline’s soft voice had a little bit of an edgy side that I’ve never heard before; she really knows how to connect with you with the emotions in her voice, and I have to say that’s what makes her stand out so much in this industry.

Related -> Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Madeline Merlo!

(more photos below)
Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton

I don’t even know where to start with this 2012 CCMA Album of year and Juno nominee Dean Brody. He has had such an incredible career, constantly merging on the charts and taking over the radio. Dean’s Beautiful Freak Show Tour had to be the most energetic and memorable show I have seen yet. I was very caught off guard when Dean got on stage, usually you see him in a t-shirt and jeans but this time I wasn’t sure If he forgot to check his outfit before getting on the stage ha. Within two songs passing Dean told the crowd “It was getting hot in here”… and with a couple hip shakes Dean broke down into a little Magic Mike performance for everyone ripping his cameo pants off, which the ladies loved!!! But don’t worry! Dean stripped right down to faded blue jeans and continued to steal our hearts at Northlands Coliseum.

I can’t wait to see more of this tour, it’s sad to know all three acts will be leaving Alberta soon but I’m positive they will be back soon. James Barker Band, Madeline Merlo and Dean Brody certainly left their mark that’s for sure.

Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26 Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26 Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26 Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Shane Guse - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26

More Photos of Madeline Merlo!

Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton

More Photos of James Barker Band!

James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonJames Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton

6 months ago Views

Cavendish Beach Music Festival 2017

The folks at Cavendish Beach Music Festival have been busy today. We’re here to give you all the #CBMF2017 news and there’s lots of it. Where to start?

Let’s start with the newly announced Tailgate Party on Thursday, July 6th. This free event allows you to check out the venue, pick up your wristbands and enjoy some awesome music. Our good friends Johnson Crook are part of the tailgate party along with John King, DJ Bad Ash and Mountain Faith Band.  You can expect some great music from all of these acts and a tailgate party is just the thing to get you ready for the weekend.

Also announced today is the official Cavendish Farms Kitchen Stage Lineup. Heading up the Kitchen Stage is CMA Award-winner and multi-platinum selling artist Billy Ray Cyrus. Supporting acts include Amanda RileyDJ Bad Ash, Eloie Richard, EmiSunshine, Endless Summer, Jason Price, JJ Shiplett, Rawlins Cross, Rik Reese, Sykamore, The Good Brothers, The Lovelocks, The Mountain Faith Band, The Stanfields, TJ King  and Tony Jackson.

We don’t have the daily schedule yet, but we’ve broken down the artists by day for you.

Friday, July 7th


Little Big Town

High Valley
Gord Bamford
Brandy Clark
The Good Brothers
Port Cities
Endless Summer
Mountain Faith Band
Sykamore
Rawlins Cross

Saturday, July 8th


Kip Moore
Kane Brown
Chad Brownlee
Canaan Smith
Madeline Merlo
Andrew Hyatt
Makayla Lynn

Sunday, July 9th

Zac Brown Band
Brothers Osborne
Tim Hicks
Aaron Goodvin
Jessica Mitchell
Lucas Hoge

For your full weekend lineup check out the Cavendish Lineup Page.

What else do you need to know? How about ticket info. Tier One tickets are on sale right now for $169.00. There are VIP options, Sunroof Options and Hayloft Reserved seating options. Check out all the ticket info here.

Additionally, there are some pretty amazing food vendors for you this year including the return of Mr. Donair.  And last but not least… Cavendish Beach Music Festival is running a Mother’s Day Contest. Check out their Facebook Page for all the details.

6 months ago Views

CMW 2017: SiriusXM House w/ High Valley, Jess Moskaluke & Madeline Merlo

Saturday night at Canadian Music Week is a big one. Big shows, big crowds, and the unofficial end to a week jam-packed full of music. So it should come as no surprise that the country music show at The Great Hall was busy, loud, and pumping out fantastic music that everyone in the room was into.

The SiriusXM House lineup of Madeline Merlo, Jess Moskaluke, and High Valley brought a heap of hits, energy, and star power to the stage. Canadian country fans know their music, buy their albums, and see them on tour whenever they come through town. So it was no surprise to hear cheers and sing-alongs through the night.

What was an awesome surprise was hearing brand new, unreleased music from both Madeline and Jess. We’ve been lucky, as fans, to hear everything these two women have released to date, and all of their fans are going to be lucky to hear these new songs… because they were good, and a lot of fun.

And while it was no surprise at all, High Valley was awesome. But more on that coming up.

The first on stage, and very clearly ready to put on a show and get the Saturday party started, was Madeline Merlo.

With her energy up, a big smile on her face, and the band ready to go, Madeline started with Honey Jack, which is always a good choice for her. The crowd, full of energy, just as much as Madeline on stage, sang along to the radio hit and set the tone for what was to come.

And what came, was awesome. Brand new music, including Fresh Out and Flamingo Motel, which will be her next radio single, was awesome to hear. The upbeat track is a lot of fun, and got feet moving and heads nodding and people excited for what’s next from the Maple Ridge, BC artist.

We already knew that Madeline was good, Canadian country fans already knew, but the strength in her voice and performance on Saturday night at CMW was as much confirmation as we’d ever hope to see. She killed it and proved that her name belongs in the conversation with any of the top female artists that anyone can think of or name or want to see and hear.

Job well done!

Madeline Merlo, CMW 2017 Set List

✰ Honey Jack
✰ Whatcha Wanna Do About It
✰ Motel Flamingo
✰ Over And Over
✰ Fresh Out
✰ Sinking Like A Stone
✰ Summer Made Me Do It
✰ Neon Love
✰ War Paint

Jess Moskaluke, the 2014, 2015, and 2016 CCMA Female Artist of the Year and 2017 Juno Winner for Country Album of the Year hit the stage in the middle of the show.

Adored by the crowd, and her fans from coast-to-coast, Moskaluke hit the stage and got a full buy in from the Toronto audience at The Great Hall. They loved her. Loved her voice. Loved her band. Loved her energy and willingness to give everything she had in her show.

And her voice… in top shape, and impressing the hell out of everyone, was sweet and powerful and exactly we could have hoped to hear. But the best thing we heard from her was that there will be a new album in 2017.

That’s right, Jess Moskaluke will release a new album, full of new music, in 2017!

To see where Jess is now, from where she started and where she was when we first met and featured her with a Q&A. She’s amazing. She’s talented. And she deserves every single bit of success that finds its way to her.

High fives and hugs.

Jess Moskaluke, CMW 2017 Set List

✰ Night We Won’t Forget
✰ Used
✰ Save Some Of That Whiskey
✰ Kiss Me Quiet
✰ Good For You
✰ Kill Your Love
✰ Take Me Home
✰ Elevator
✰ Lightning Bolt
✰ Drive Me Away
✰ Cheap Wine & Cigarettes

Brad and Curtis Rempel, the farm boy brothers from Alberta that are High Valley, closed the show and were the main event headliners that we knew they were.

These guys are the real deal, earning a reputation for themselves in the United States the way they have in Canada since we first heard songs like On The Combine and I Will Stand By You.

On stage on Saturday night, High Valley hit the ground running. They were there for the Toronto crowd, and were clearly prepared for a big night. The crowd was prepared too, they were loud (like really loud), and they sang along (like really loud), and it was easy to see that these brothers were loved.

And even early in the set, before they’d had a chance to get to some of their biggest hits, there was an energy spike when they turned County Line into Fishin’ In The Dark, just for a minute.

We’ve seen High Valley a few times over the last few years, and we will continue to see them whenever we have the chance. They are that fun to watch. They are that good on stage. And album by album, they continue to put out music that we can get into – and that country fans in Canada, the United States and beyond can get into as well.

High Valley, CMW 2017 Set List

✰ Dear Life
✰ Come On Down
✰ Rescue You
✰ County Line
✰ Be My Baby Tonight
✰ Young Forever
✰ Every Week’s Got A Friday
✰ Roads We’ve Never Taken
✰ Father’s Love
✰ I’ll Fly Away
✰ Love You For A Long Time
✰ She’s With Me
✰ Make You Mine
✰ I Be U Be

More photos from SiriusXM House, Canadian Music Week 2017!

7 months ago Views

CMW Preview: 19 Songs You Need to Hear at Canadian Music Week 2017!

The schedule is crazy. There are bands all over the city from all over the world. So here we are to try and give you some guidance.

Even if you can’t make it to every concert and showcase, you can start finding new music, and singing along to the tracks you know, with these 19 songs. Click any of the song titles to watch a video… or press play on the playlist at the bottom of the post and get your groove on!

Enjoy – and leave a comment telling us which songs you already loved, and which ones you’re happy you found…

Bleeker – Highway
Canada/Rock
Bleecker Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016

High Valley – She’s With Me
Canada/Country

Silver Love Club – Rachel
Australia/Rock
Mabel The Nightowl CMW 2016

Jess Moskaluke – Drive Me Away
Canada/Country
Jess Moskaluke Bright Lights Big City Toronto The Phoenix

The Dead Love – Summer
Australia/Rock
The Dead Love CMW 2016 Horseshoe

Madeline Merlo – Whatcha Wanna Do About It
Canada/Country
Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

The New Electric – T-Shirt
Canada/Pop

Alee – Moonshine
Canada/Country

The Beaches – Give It Up
Canada/Rock

Drake White – Livin’ The Dream
United States/Country
CMT Music Fest - Drake White & The Big Fire

The Honest Heart Collective – Liar’s Club
Canada/Rock

James Barker Band – Chills
Canada/Country
James Barker Band SiriusXM Fan Stage BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Texas King – Come Find Me
Canada/Rock
Texas King Adelaide Hall 2016

Andrew Hyatt – MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio)
Canada/Country
CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt

Courage My Love – Stereo
Canada/Rock

Dani Strong – Wild One
Canada/Country
Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016

Melissa Etheridge – I’m The Only One
United States/Rock

The Rifle & The Writer – Gig & Colour
Canada/Country

Repartee – Dukes
Canada/Pop
REPARTEE at Adelaide Hall - TORONTO WOMEN IN MUSIC

7 months ago Views

CMW 2017: Joshua’s 3 Don’t Miss Shows ft. The Honest Heart Collective, The Beaches, High Valley

Canadian Music Week 2017 is coming faster than you might be ready for… and that’s freaking exciting. It means there’s a week of music coming that will mix what you know, what you don’t know, what you already love and what you’re going to fall in love with.

And to get you started with your planning, I’ve picked three shows that you shouldn’t miss during CMW 2017!

The Honest Heart Collective – Adelaide Hall

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Honest Heart Collective / Texas King / Bad River – all on stage to put on a show… and if the Facebook event is to be believed, The Danger Bees and our Aussie boys, Silver Love Club (formerly Mabel) will be there too!

If there ever was a time to go out and see live music on a Tuesday night, it’s during CMW… and if you’re looking for the show you want to be at – this is the one.

Last year Trish hooked up with The Honest Heart Collective for a CMW preview which was awesome, and we’ve seen Texas King on the Adelaide Hall stage before – add together all of the previous experience and I’m sure that this is a Tuesday night concert that you do not want to miss out on.

Get ready to have some fun and kick off your week.

The Beaches – The Horseshoe Tavern

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Beaches / The Brains / shy kids / The Dead Love

1) Who doesn’t want to hang at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern on a Friday night?
2) You should want to see The Beaches be the bad ass women they are on stage during CMW!
3) Aussie rockers, The Dead Love are on the bill – and we certainly don’t want to miss that!

For real, this is going to be a Friday night concert that goes loud and hard and punches you right in the face – in the best way.

We’ve seen and hung out a little bit with The Dead Love, and we can’t wait to do that again. AND we saw The Beaches in all of their GRL BAND glory at the WayHome Xmas party in 2016… and we liked it a lot. Add in some new to us music from The Brains and shy kids and this is going to be a Friday night worth talking about on Saturday morning.

SiriusXM House w/ High Valley – The Great Hall

Saturday, April 22, 2017

High Valley / Madeline Merlo/ Jess Moskaluke

As far as country music shows go, this is going to be a good one! With three Canadian acts lined up to take over The Great Hall stage, we know what we’re going to get. Or at least we think we do.

UPDATE: 3-Time CCMA Female Artist of the Year and 2017 Juno winner for Country Album of the Year, Jess Moskaluke has been added to this show!

We’ve seen all of these performers more than once, and have had the chance to talk to each of them as well. They’re all doing what they love. They’re all good at what they do. And they’re all good to their fans.

There may be a few surprises on this Saturday night full of music… and that’s fine with us. We’ll be ready!

Now… check out some pics of the acts we’ve seen before, and get ready for more this April during Canadian Music Week 2017!

Texas King

Texas King Adelaide Hall 2016Texas King Adelaide Hall 2016

Silver Love Club

Mabel The Nightowl CMW 2016

The Beaches

The Dead Love

The Dead Love CMW 2016 HorseshoeThe Dead Love CMW 2016 HorseshoeThe Dead Love CMW 2016 HorseshoeThe Dead Love CMW 2016 Horseshoe

High Valley

High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley CNE 2016 Bandshell

Madeline Merlo

Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

River Town Saints

River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints CMW 2016 Boots and BourbonRiver Town Saints CMW 2016 Boots and Bourbon

 

9 months ago Views

Canadian Music Week 2017 – The Early Preview!

Every year Canadian Music Week takes over Toronto and turns us into the music city we dream about for the rest of the year… and 2017 will be no different with a pile of talented artists – including up-and-comers and headlining legends.

This year CMW comes to town from April 18 to 23 and will feature shows at nearly 40 venues across the city. It’s guaranteed to be a packed schedule that offers challenges to music fans and will force people into difficult decisions and a heavy reliance on Google Maps.

In all honesty, it’s impossible to see everything at CMW. So it’s important that you don’t let yourself fall victim to FOMO. Live 100% in the moment and enjoyment of the shows you are at every single night and you’ll have a good time. We promise.

We know it’s only January, and there’s a lot of time left before the first shows on the 18th of April, but it’s hard not to get excited when you look at the list of performers already locked in and ready to come to town.

Already we can tell you that we’re penciling in Melissa Etheridge on our schedule. She’s a bucket list type artist that you just don’t get to see every day, or every year even… and that makes her show special.

We can also tell you that we’re excited for Saturday, April 22 when High Valley will headline The Great Hall, supported by Madeline Merlo. If you love country, this is going to be the joint you want to be at. We’ve seen all three acts, we know what they all bring to the table, and we can’t wait to see it all come together on one night on one stage.

High Valley CNE 2016 Bandshell

Also announced for this amazing spring week of music are Hollerado, Weaves, Charlotte Day Wilson, Bitch Falcon, hey! dw, Greys, Wild Rivers, Texas King and more. In fact, there are already more than 120 acts listed on the Canadian Music Week website (honestly, click here to see them all).

In past years we’ve had a blast seeing CMW shows featuring JJ Shiplett, MabelKira Isabella, Bleeker, SATE, Tommy Stinson, Daniel Lanois, and even the late Scott Weiland. It’s impossible not to finish Canadian Music Week with new music to listen to and memories that you’re going to hold onto as a music fan for a long, long time.

CMW wristbands are one sale now… and you know how these things go, prices are inclined to increase as we get closer to the festival. So hit up the website now (click here for wristbands) and get one for you and one for a friend. It’s a good thing to do for someone.

And stay tuned for more CMW previews for us as we get closer to the festival, including interviews, and our must-see lists!

10 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.

11 months ago Views

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from thereviewsarein.com and Friends!

This year, to celebrate the holiday season, we asked some of our musician friends to send us pics and videos sharing their best wishes to you!

We would like to thank everyone that helped us out with this project, the artists and their teams, and we would like to thank all of you for enjoying the messages when you’ve seen them on social media.

Now, in case you missed any of them, here are a heap of wishes that we would love to pass on to you!

And from our team at thereviewsarein.com, we would like to wish you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a safe and awesome New Year!

Dean Brody

Jessica Mitchell

Chad Brownlee

Madeline Merlo

Panicland

Mabel

Leah Daniels

Kansas Stone

The Lovelocks

River Town Saints

The Dead Love

The Hunter Brothers

Leaving Thomas

The Dead South

Andrew Hyatt

The Katherines

Mike Robins of Autumn Hill

Andrew Allen

Shae Dupuy

Alee

11 months ago Views

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Madeline Merlo!

On Saturday afternoon at Boots & Hearts we saw the 2015 CCMA Rising Star, Madeline Merlo hit the stage to entertain country music fans in the sun… and it was worth the heat!

A nice afternoon crowd assembled to watch Madeline and her band perform on the main stage. Some sat in lawn chairs, some lay in the grass, and some were right up front to take in the music from the BC songstress.

As Madeline played through her set she did a great job of working with that crowd, having them engaged with the set and the songs. And the songs themselves were all on point. The band did a great job behind her as she rolled out tracks like Whatcha Wanna Do About It, Over And Over, Honey Jack, and Alive… and she threw in a little something extra with her mashup of The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back and ABC.

Note: We also stopped for a few minutes to catch Madeline on the SiriusXM fan stage on Saturday where we heard her strong voice belt out a stripped down version of Whatcha Wanna Do About It for some lucky fans right in front of her.

Keep an eye on Madeline Merlo, she’s going to be doing more big things. We’d bet on it!

Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

1 year ago Views
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