Maren Morris

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

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

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

The Music

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

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

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

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

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

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

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

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

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

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify

Side A: Jillian Jacqueline Album Review

In May of 2016, Rolling Stone Magazine put Jillian Jacqueline on a list of 10 Country Artists You Need to Know… and if you didn’t get to know her then, the time is now with the release of her brand new album, Side A.

The nine song album comes in just under 30 minutes, and the time flies by as Jacqueline’s voice announces its presence on the country scene alongside modern country music making women including: Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Carly Pearce, and Lindsay Ell.

Keen observers will notice that the nine track album is truly six songs, with three acoustic versions (Reasons, Hate Me, God Bless This Mess) added in. And while we do wish that we were listening to nine or more songs on Side A, the acoustic cuts are truly a pleasure to listen to, so we’re into it.

Note: Jacqueline has Side B planned for early 2018, and if we get another six or more originals, plus some acoustic versions, live versions, or something like that to make it sparkle, we’ll be quite happy with the combined offering from the Chester Springs, Pennsylvania native.

Side A offers chances to sing along and smile, sit back and think, and in the end, a half hour to enjoy new country music. Tracks like Bleachers are catchy and will catch attention with the beat and hook in the chorus, while a song like God Bless This Mess does its best to grab reach out to touch, deep and personal like country music does when it’s doing its best work.

Jillian Jacqueline holds her own on this album, and country music fans will be smart to remember her name as she releases more new music, hits the road to tour across the United States, across the Atlantic in the UK, and if we’re lucky, back to Canada again before too long. Already she’s taken the stage at shows with Dwight Yoakam, Ryan Adams, and counts country legend Kenny Rogers as her road mentor. We’re sure there will be more big names on that list soon.

Jillian Jacqueline, Side A Tracklist

1. Reasons
2. Sugar And Salt
3. Holier Than Thou
4. Bleachers
5. Hate Me
6. God Bless This Mess
7. Reasons – Acoustic
8. Hate Me – Acoustic
9. God Bless This Mess – Acoustic

Listening through this album reminds us of all of the things we love about artists like Morris, Jessica Mitchell, Madeline Merlo, and all of the women in country music that paved the way for artists like Jillian Jacqueline to be where she is right now. It has feeling, wit, fun, and features a voice that we’ve already listened to on repeat without regret. We’re in.

We can’t wait to hear Side B and pair it up with Side A.

Life Changes: Thomas Rhett Album Review

Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes may be the most aptly titled album of 2017. The new father of two has now released his third studio album, has already gone to number one on the US Country Airplay chart with Craving You, and is set to keep that momentum going.

Life Changes is a monster album, with 14 total tracks, guest appearances by his dad, Rhett Akins, on Drink A Little Beer and Maren Morris on the CMA Musical Event and Music Video of the Year nominated, Craving You, and the potential for as many as 7 or more radio singles. From start to finish, this is unmistakably a Thomas Rhett album, in all the best ways.

Note: if Thomas Rhett truly is announcing a comeback record from his pops, Rhett Akins, on Drink A Little Beer, we’re excited about it and ready for it!

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015

Life Changes is an album that isn’t afraid to take chances. Just like he did on his last record, Tangled Up, Thomas Rhett mixes in his own personal style with the country music he grew up on. The title track and Smooth Like The Summer are perfect examples, with different vibes, they both bring a beat in the background and unique touch, and they’re both reminiscent of the feelings I got when I first heard Crash And Burn.

At the risk of being too bold on the prediction front… I’m going to say here and now that Marry Me, the fifth track on the album, is poised to be a number one single if Rhett and his team make the decision to release it to radio. The heartbreaking story is pure country, dripping with emotion, sadness, and ‘play it on repeat in the dark while drinking whiskey’ potential.

Thomas Rhett has become a leading man in country music. With headlining tour dates, a 2017 CMA Male Vocalist of the Year nomination, and eight number one singles on the US Country Airplay charts, he’s made it. And with this third album putting him firmly in the country music spotlight, still only at the age of 27 years old, he’s got the opportunity to stay there for a long time to come.

One of my favourite moments on the record comes during Life Changes when Rhett rhymes, “And I wrote a little song about holding her hand/ And now everybody wanna die happy, man”. It’s autobiographical, it’s sweet, and (to me) it’s perfect.

There are other highlights, lyrics, and tracks that I could go on and on about, but it comes down to this… Life Changes is a country record that will take you from feeling emotional to feeling like you want to dance. It tells stories, it takes changes, and it plays for more than 45 minutes of listening pleasure. Pressing play and letting the music wash over you is a great decision if you’re a Thomas Rhett fan, a country fan, or if you’re looking to broaden your musical horizons.

Thomas Rhett, Life Changes Tracklist

1. Craving You w/ Maren Morris
2. Unforgettable
3. Sixteen
4. Drink A Little Beer w/ Rhett Akins
5. Marry Me
6. Leave Right Now
7. Smooth Like The Summer
8. Life Changes
9. When You Look Like That
10. Sweetheart
11. Kiss Me Like A Stranger
12. Renegades
13. Gateway Love
14. Grave

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015Thomas Rhett-Country Thunder 2017Thomas Rhett-Country Thunder 2017

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!

Kill Your Love: Jess Mosklaluke at Boots & Hearts 2017

In the late afternoon sun, on the Boots & Hearts Front Porch Stage, Jess Moskaluke wowed the crowd with her voice, hits, and new music. The 2014, 2015, and 2016 Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year was on fire from the jump.

The Saskatchewan star had a pumped up crowd at the stage in the trees, and she didn’t let them down, as she kept the energy high and the good vibes flowing. It was a love fest from Drive Me Away all the way to Cheap Wine And Cigarettes, with sing alongs, dancing, and a whole lot of appreciation for the Canadian singer.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

One of our favourite cheers of the set came when Moskaluke announced that she’ll have a new album in November of this year – which means fans will have new songs to learn and sing along to the next time they see her up on stage. One of those new songs, Kill Your Love, is already becoming a fan favourite on country radio and during the live show, and another, Save Some Of That Whiskey, has been tapped as the next radio single from the upcoming album.

Note: Jess Moskaluke pulled double duty on Sunday, stopping in to perform on the SiriusXM popup stage in the VIP. And the hundred or so lucky fans that got to see the performance got a stripped down sound that shows off her chops in a different, but just as amazing way as she did on the Front Porch stage. We were lucky to be there, it was awesome.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

If you’ve seen a live Jess Moskaluke show before, you know a few things…

1) There are going to be some covers. And at Boots & Hearts we got to hear Chris Stapleton’s Parachute, Maren Morris’ 80’s Mercedes, Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, and TLC’s 90s classic, No Scrubs.

2) There are strong and awesome bromances on stage. Check the pics below for a little proof.

3) Jess Moskaluke continues to get better. Show after show and year after year, this is a performer who grows and gets stronger. It’s pretty awesome to see.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

So, get yourself ready for new Jess Moskaluke music soon. Stay tuned to see if she will win her fourth consecutive CCMA Award for Female Artist of the Year at the 2017 awards show on September 10 in Saskatoon. And keep singing along when you hear her hits on the radio!

Jess Moskaluke, Boots & Hearts 2017 Setlist

Drive Me Away
Night We Won’t Forget
Used
Good Lovin’
Kiss Me Quiet
Good For You
Kill Your Love
Camouflage
Right When Ya Left
Parachute (Chris Stapleton)
80s Mercedes (Maren Morris)
Shape Of You (Ed Sheeran)
No Scrubs (TLC)
Save Some Of That Whiskey
Take Me Home
Elevator
Cheap Wine And Cigarettes

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Rich da Silva Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess MoskalukeBoots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke and Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

Joshua’s 10 Most Listened to Albums of 2016!

With 2016 quickly drawing to a close (really, it’s coming faster than I thought) it’s time to start looking back at the year that was.

So, here we are today with the 10 albums that I’ve found myself listening to the most in 2016. Some were released this year and caught my ear instantly. Some were released in 2015 and carried over into this year.

And one was released almost 40 years ago, but still holds up as well as you could ever imagine.

I don’t have these albums ranked by anything other than them being on the list. I don’t have spin or stream numbers, no stats at all, but I can tell what tracks have been played the most, and a little more.

canadian-flag-emojiArkells: Morning Report (2016)

Most played track: A Little Rain (A Song For Pete)

We were lucky to hear much of Morning Report live at WayHome before the album came out. And that early (and awesome exposure) had me hooked. Being able to pop these songs on to play in sequence or on shuffle is a treat, with great hooks, fun beats, and memories attached to one of the most fun live sets of the year.

arkells-morning-report-album-cover

canadian-flag-emojiMeghan Patrick: Grace & Grit (2016)

Most played track: I Won’t Drink

We’d been waiting for Meghan to release this album for more than 2 years… and I was not disappointed. From top to bottom Grace & Grit delivers. If you want upbeat party and dance country, it’s there with Bow Chicka Wow Wow and Grace & Grit. And if you want slowed down, hit you in the heart tracks you’ll find Still Loving You and Thanks To You. If you still haven’t listened to this album yet, it’s time.

Meghan Patrick Grace and Grit Album Art

canadian-flag-emojiThe Bros. Landreth: Let It Lie (Deluxe) (2015)

Most played track: I Am The Fool

You might not know this album – but maybe you do since it’s the 2015 Juno winner for Roots Traditional Album of the Year. The instrumental and lyrical work on the album have drawn me in on many occasions since I first started listening. Put it on when you’re in a mellow mood and let it ride. Trust me.

the-bros-landreth-let-it-lie-album-cover

american-flag-emojiCharles Kelley: The Driver (2016)

Most played track: Leaving Nashville

I was looking forward to this album… and to say that I wasn’t disappointed would be one of the biggest understatements of the year. The only complaint is that there are only 9 tracks on the album. The Driver was a smash hit, but Leaving Nashville is the one that I have played the most. Take a listen and let the story hit you. Then listen to the rest of the record.

Charles Kelley The Driver Album Cover

american-flag-emojiCam: Untamed (2015)

Most played track: Village

Untamed dropped in December 2015 to all kinds of critical and fan praise… and it has stayed hot for an entire year. And while it’s nearly impossible to pick one song to connect to more than any other, Village stands out for me. It’s the one that made me cry at Boots & Hearts 2016, and it’s the one that I could listen to and think on over and over again. If you still only know Cam’s radio hits, you owe it to yourself to listen to Untamed.

Cam Untamed Album Cover

american-flag-emojiFleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977)

Most played track: The Chain

I told you one of these albums was nearly 40 years old! Fleetwood Mac made magic when they made this album. And in 2016 I listened to it on vinyl, on CD, and have it downloaded to my phone via Spotify. Track to track it holds up and is an example of music standing the test of time. Listen to the musicianship, the lyrics, the harmonies, all of it… and enjoy!

fleetwood-mac-rumours-album-cover

canadian-flag-emojiAutumn Hill: Anchor (2015)

Most played track: Mixtape

I love this duo. In fact, if there’s a list of artists I’d like to see live far more often, Autumn Hill is on it. And if they wanted to play this album from front to back, in order or on shuffle, I’d be totally okay with that. I’d also be able to sing along to every track. But the upbeat, nostalgic nature of Mixtape sits at the top of my rotation.

autumn-hill-anchor-album-cover

american-flag-emojiRyan Adams: 1989 (2015)

Most played track: Stay

Yes, I love T.Swift’s 1989, I’ve listened and loved it since it came out. But the longer these songs exist in the universe, the more I find myself listening to Adams play and sing them. They are as much reinterpretations as they are covers, and Stay has become a different song in the hands of the indie hero.

Ryan Adams 1989 Cover Art

canadian-flag-emojiBrett Kissel: Pick Me Up (2015)

Most played track: Pick Me Up

Dear Brett, keep this sh*t up. Kissel has been on fire, and the release of this record has been a big part of that. The Albertan hit the nail on the head with tracks like Airwaves and Cool With That… and his duet with Carolyn Dawn Johnson on I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair will live on as one of the most impactful songs in a long time. But Pick Me Up has been played more than any other in my ears. That’s just they way it goes.

brett-kissel-pick-me-up-album-cover

american-flag-emojiMaren Morris: Hero (2016)

Most played track: My Church

If you’ve listened to this album you know why I’ve listened to it so much. Maren Morris is at the beginning of what could be a very long, loud career. And to listen to her sing songs like Sugar and I Could Use A Love Song right beside 80s Mercedes and Rich is a privilege as a country music fan. But, for me, since the day it was released, My Church has been a jam and I’ve listened to it more than any of the other 10 tracks.

maren-morris-hero-album

1 year ago

5 Quick Questions with Sykamore!

While we were in London, ON for Canadian Country Music Week we had the chance to catch up with Carseland/Calgary, Alberta’s Sykamore to learn a little more about her with 5 quick questions.

Sykamore also volunteered to answer a bonus question – which we love – so check that out, find her single, Houseboat, on Spotify, and stay tuned for more from this emerging Canadian country star.

Q1: If you’re headed out on a long drive and you can only listen to 1 album on repeat, which album are you choosing?

Sykamore: Maren Morris, Hero

100% yes. People know who Maren Morris is because everyone has heard My Church and 80’s Mercedes… but people, you really need to listen to the rest of this album.

Q2: Think back for us, what is the 1st song you remember knowing all of the words to?

Sykamore: Achy Breaky Heart, by Billy Ray Cyrus.

Are we surprised? No. Are we proud of Sykamore for admitting it? Yes. This song took the world by storm… and I still know all the words to it too.

ccma-awards-2016-strut-social-house-sykamore-1673

Q3: When you aren’t working on music, what is your favourite thing to do?

Sykamore: Find great food.

Whether she’s making her own or finding new restaurants, Sykamore told us that food is a major driving force for her. Particularly good Mexican food, which she can’t seem to get enough of.

Q4: What is the most important thing for you to have when you walk into a songwriting session?

Sykamore: A notebook.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… notebooks are the best. And it seems that we’re not the only ones that feel that way!

Q5: Can you give us a prediction for the 2016-17 NHL season?

Sykamore: The Calgary Flames will make the playoffs.

We asked this question in September before the season started… and as of now the Flames are on the outside looking in with a lot of hockey left to be played. Let’s see how this goes.

Bonus: What artist do you think people should be paying more attention to than they might be right now?

Sykamore: MacKenzie Porter

We really like this answer. We’ve been in on MacKenzie since we first saw her at Boots & Hearts in 2013 (and did our 1st Q&A with her). And now there’s new music coming that we keep hearing is amazing… and we can’t wait!

ccma-awards-2016-strut-social-house-sykamore-1669ccma-awards-2016-strut-social-house-sykamore-1660

1 year ago

Please Welcome to the Stage… Boots & Hearts 2017 Predictions!

We’re just under 9 months away from Boots & Hearts 2017 at Burl’s Creek in Oro, ON – but it really doesn’t feel like that long at all!

In fact, we’ve already been thinking about B&H a lot, and while we can’t give you many details yet, we can tell you that we’re going to have some very, very exciting things coming up between now and festival season next year.

But for now we want to talk about the potential lineup for the 6th annual country music extravaganza… we don’t have any info that you don’t have. We haven’t talked to the Republic Live team for any tips or rumours. But I have come up with a list of 10 country artists that I think have a legit chance to play at Boots & Hearts next August.

This isn’t an old fashioned wish list, which is why you won’t see names like Garth Brooks, Shania, Reba, or Brooks & Dunn… although it would be really cool if any of those artists headlined. This list is made up of talent that we’ve either seen in the past and believe are a good fit for a return next year, or that we haven’t seen yet, and have a good reason to play such a sweet gig.

This wasn’t an easy list of 10 to make, which is why there are a few names at the bottom that could also be at B&H in 2017. And, I want you list too, so leave a comment!

In no particular order, here we go…

Doc Walker

With the release of Echo Road (their greatest hits record) and an upcoming album of new music in March 2017, Doc Walker are the perfect fit for B&H 2017. Whether they play the main stage, or the front porch, there’s no doubt that their collection of hits, and whatever new tunes they release will make for an entertaining set.

Bobby Wills

When The Lights Go Down Toronto Bobby Wills-8043CCMA nominations, top 10 singles, hot videos, and a growing legion of fans all point to Bobby Wills making his Boots & Hearts debut in 2017.

We’ve seen Bobby play some stages over the last few years, and we know that he has what it takes to pull a crowd in, have them singing along, and enjoying the party.

Little Big Town

In 2015 LBT had to pull out of the Boots & Hearts lineup… and we’re still waiting for them to come back and give us a show that we’ll be talking about long after they leave the stage.

We’ve seen them before and we can’t wait to see them again. Hopefully up on the main stage in front of 40,000 people.

Maren Morris

maren-morris-hero-albumMorris is on top of the world with the recognition that’s coming from singles like 80’s Mercedes and My Church. And if you haven’t heard the rest of Hero, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

We haven’t seen Morris live, but I have a feeling that a few thousand of our best friends singing along to My Church could be a highlight of the weekend.

Kelsea Ballerini

Love Me Like You Mean It, Dibs, and Peter Pan have been a strong start to Ballerini’s career. And after her performance at the 2016 Canadian Country Music Awards (where Boots & Hearts won for Country Festival, Fair or Exhibition of the Year) we know that a Canuck crowd can get behind she when she sings.

With another single sure to come soon, there’s no doubting Kelsi’s talent or popularity, or that she belongs at B&H 2017.

James Barker Band

James Barker Band SiriusXM Fan Stage BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016After winning the Emerging Artist Showcase in 2015 and performing on the main stage in 2016 the James Barker Band has certainly earned the love of the B&H crowd. And with the success of Lawn Chair Lazy and the release of Just Sayin’ – plus an EP coming in the (we hope) near future, we know that country fans are ready to cheer and sing and dance with James, Taylor, Bobby and Connor again at Boots & Hearts 2017!

Chris Stapleton

I know from talking to executive members of the Republic Live team that Chris Stapleton is just as adored internally as he is by the rest of the world. And after the success of Traveller, it’s impossible to think that the Boots & Hearts crowd wouldn’t go wild for the country crooner.

Stapleton played the main stage in 2014 – and he’d be welcome to do it again in 2017 we’re sure!

Brett Kissel

Brett Kissel CNE 2015Also a 2014 B&H alum, Kissel played the Coors Banquet Kick Off Party on the front porch stage… but he’s never been on the main stage.

In 2017, after winning the Fans’ Choice, Male Artist, and Interactive Artist of the Year awards at the CCMA’s this year, we know that thousands (tens of thousands) of Canadian country fans would be okay with the chance to sing along to Started With A Song, Airwaves, Come Pick Me Up, and 3, 2, 1. Bring it on Brett!

Runaway Angel

The first time we saw Runaway Angel they were on the Boots & Hearts stage in the Emerging Artist Showcase. And now, after having seen them grow and become more and more entertaining – we’re ready to see them back on the B&H stage.

Take a listen to No End In Sight (the debut album from Runaway Angel), close your eyes and imagine the songs coming from the stage.

Jessica Mitchell

Jessica Mitchell BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-Jessica Mitchell stole a lot of hearts in the last year… mine included. Workin’ On Whiskey is the kind of song that gets stuck in your soul. And songs like That Record Saved My Life and Grown Up Things prove that she’s not just a one trick pony.

After opening for Kiefer Sutherland on his 2016 tour, playing a short set of her own on the Sirius XM stage at #BH5, and taking the stage as a special guest with Lindsay Ell, we know that Jessica is ready for an full sized audience of her own at Boots & Hearts in 2017.

BONUS: Keith Urban

keith-urban-ripcord-albumIf you’ve ever seen Urban live, you know he’s killer with a big crowd. And if you haven’t seen Keith Urban live, he should be on your bucket list!

Coming into the sixth year of the festival, it makes sense to try and lock up this guitar wizard for a headlining slot. If you’ve been at any other Boots & Hearts festival over the years you can expect the exact same kind of pandemonium for this set. Plus, there’s Ripcord (March 2016) to sing along to!

Also on my list, but just outside the top 10…

Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Dallas Smith, Shae Dupuy, Terri Clark, Endless Summer, and Johnson Crook.

Who do you think we’ll see at Boots & Hearts 2017? Leave a comment telling us and we might just have some swag to send our favourite answers!

 


via GIPHY

1 year ago

5 Quick Questions with Shae Dupuy!

We caught up with Cambridge, ON’s Shae Dupuy during Canadian Country Music Week for a little sit down hang out, and got her to answer 5 quick questions for us about music, hobbies and even the Maple Leafs.

Big thanks to the Good For Me singer for taking the time… we’re sure it would have been far more comfortable to be in bed in her Calvins. 

And now, 5 quick questions with Shae Dupuy…

Q1: If you were in the car for a long drive, and could only listen to 1 CD on repeat, which album do you choose?

Shae: Ed Sheeran, +

Sheeran’s 1st album tops Shae’s list. And with songs like Drunk, The A Team, and Small Bump to sing along to, we can’t argue.

Q2: What is the first song you remember knowing all the words to?

Shae: Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett

She laughed when she told us… and we’re okay with that because we know she was going way back for some memories when she did it. Also, it kind of makes us want to karaoke with Shae at Halloween to hear her sing it now.

Q3: When you’re not working on music, what is your number 1 hobby?

Shae: Reading

This is a great answer that turned into a discussion about how great paper books are to hold and feel and read.

ccma-2016-shae-dupuy-1342Q4: What is the most important thing for you to have when you are heading into a writing session?

Shae: Coffee!

No argument here. #xocoffee

Q5: Is there an artist that you think everyone should be listening to more right now?

Shae: Maren Morris

Shae admits that everyone knows who Maren is at this point, but there are so many good songs on the Hero album that country fans may not have heard yet. Seriously, go listen to that album.

Bonus: Can you give us an NHL prediction for this season?

Shae: The Maple Leafs won’t win.

Sorry Leafs fans… the team could be a lot of fun this year, but Shae could be right.

ccma-2016-shae-dupuy-1343ccma-2016-shae-dupuy-1367ccma-2016-shae-dupuy-1354

1 year ago

Cherry Bomb: River Town Saints at Boots & Hearts 2016!

“You can tell everyone that Timberlake is our favourite Justin.”

That’s just one of the tidbits that came from our hangout with River Town Saints after their Sunday set at Boots & Hearts 2016!

Earlier in the afternoon, in front of a raucous crowd of country music loving individuals, the boys went to work and put on a helluva show with the exclamation point coming during Cherry Bomb.

The crowd was 100% ready for the boys’ breakout hit, and when the time came, they sang louder than I think any of the 5 dudes on stage could have imagined or even hoped for. In fact, when we asked them about it later on they told us that it felt like it was the loudest of the summer circuit so far. They also told us that it was cool to look out and see people singing along to songs that haven’t even been released yet meaning that A) They’ve been to a lot of shows and have learned them, or B) They’re paying attention and picking them up as they go – and Chris, Chris, Dan, Jordan, and Jeremy seem to be cool with either of those options being the truth.

Note: It can be hard to stay on track in interviews, especially when it’s not the first time you’ve talked to someone. But this one was especially hard because we’d never done an official interview together, and these guys are way to funny to keep on a tight Q&A schedule!

River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-

Between the talk about custom action figures, bobble heads, and Pez dispensers designed for the guys, we actually did find out some stuff we were looking for.

🍒 There’s an EP coming at the end of 2016!

🍒 There are plans for a full album early in 2017!

🍒 River Town Saints are working in the studio now to make those 2 things happen.

🍒 The band is super excited for their CCMA nomination for 2016 Rising Star Award…

🍒 and they’re excited to have real live passes to CCMA events this year so they don’t have to sneak in like they may or may not have done in 2015.

🍒 The guys are pumped for the 2016 One Horse Town concert in Truro, NS where they’ll open for Dean Brody and Chad Brownlee (we really wish we were going to be in Truro for that one.) on September 16.

🍒 They do a lot of driving between shows (like a lot!) and van rules dictate that the driver gets to pick the music. So we asked what’s been played lately and the list is so varied that it’s hard to know where to start. There’s Maren Morris (who we love), The 1975, Justin Timberlake’s newest record, Metal, 2000’s pop punk, and an assortment of other musical genres and artists that we couldn’t even try to keep track of.

Note: This question is what brought us to the “Justin” conversation and the statement from the top of the post.

The guys also told us to tell you to keep an eye on rivertownsaints.com and their social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for details on what’s coming up, behind-the-scenes fun stuff, and more.

The first time we saw River Town Saints was Canadian Music Week 2015… they’ve done a lot of work and come a long way since then – including to Boots & Hearts. We’re willing to bet we’ll see them back again, and we’re hoping to see them before that too!

River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-

1 year ago

Tougher Than Love: Bobby Wills EP Review and Q&A

Bobby Wills is back!

Not that he ever left really, but every time an artist releases new music it feels like we’re getting them back after they’ve gone away for a little while.

Bobby Wills When The Lights Go Down Toronto-8020For the Calgary country singer it’s been nearly 2 years since his last album, Crazy Enough was released to the world, and now the follow-up EP, Tougher Than Love, is ready to come to fans and stick some songs in people’s heads.

The 6 track set of songs is a great showing of what Bobby offers to country music, a mix of uptempo tracks that you can sing along and stomp your feet and clap your hands to… and some slowed down moments that will drag you deep into a story and put your feelings at risk of being twisted in a knot.

Across all of the songs it’s easy to see that Bobby Wills is still in love with what he does. His voice is true, not trying to be something that he isn’t or hasn’t shown us that he can be in the past – but not sitting back on his past successes either.

Do you follow?

Lead single Won’t You Be Mine is already a Top 10 hit in Canada, and there’s a strong chance that 2 or more other songs on the EP make that kind of statement on the charts.

Bobby Wills Tougher Than Love Track List

1. 30,000 Feet
2. Down By The River
3. Won’t You Be Mine
4. Tougher Than Love
5. If It Ain’t Broke
6. You Lost Me There

If we’re playing a guessing game for the next single to come from Tougher Than Love we’re stuck between the choice of the title track and 30,000 Feet. Both songs are top quality, but are very different. If you’re holding our feet to the fire, we’d pick Tougher Than Love… and we’d be okay with that.

In the middle of all the work he’s been doing to promote the new EP, and being a dad and a Calgary Flames fan, Bobby took a few minutes to play along in a brand new Q&A about the new EP, the fan response to Won’t You Be Mine, and more for us. Check it out!

Q. A year ago you were crossing Canada on the When The Lights Go Down Tour (with Chad Brownlee and Jess Moskaluke), and this year you get to release new music to country fans, how busy has that year in between been for you?

A. It’s been a whirlwind! 2015 was an incredible year, and 2016, with the release of my new album Tougher Than Love, promises to be even crazier!!

Q. How happy are you with the 6 tracks that you’re releasing with Tougher Than Love?

A. I am very excited to share these songs with my fans! With each new project I like to mix it up a bit, integrating my sound with a little something new. On this album we experimented with various sounds and incorporated varied instrumentation; it was an incredible experience to create and record this album!

Bobby Wills Tougher Than Love EP ArtQ. The album art for the EP is different than a lot of what we see these days (you face isn’t on the cover!), and we dig it (not that we don’t love your face)… were you in on the design?

A. Geoffrey Hanson designed the album. He is an incredible talent!! He’s done work for Kings Of Leon, Robert Plant and Ryan Bingham (just to name a few). Honestly, I can’t claim any credit for design, the only instruction was to do something different than what we normally see. He crushed it!!

Q. Won’t You Be Mine is already a fan favourite, and people haven’t even heard the rest of the music yet… how great is to get that response to kick off a project?

A. It’s very cool! We performed it for the first time last summer during festival season. We were pretty confident it was going to work based on the fan reaction, it was wild!

Q. There’s a lot of great new music on the country scene right now, is there anyone that you’re listening to and loving?

A. The diversity that is country music right now is so great! I am listening to the new Lovelocks record a ton these days, along with Chris Stapleton. The Maren Morris record is killer as well.

Q. In 50 words or so, can you tell us what you hope country fans take away from Tougher Than Love?

A. The making of this album was fun, with a capital F, and I hope my fans enjoy it just as much! Mixing a little something for everyone, for me this album is a happiness-fuelled musical experience, exploring classic country sound with a modern edge. The tracks resonate with me, not only as an artist, but as a music lover as well. This album is about simply enjoying the music and sharing that joy with my amazing fans!

Bobby Wills When The Lights Go Down Toronto-8068

2 years ago

thereviewsarein.com February 2016 Playlist!

A new month is here… and we’re ready to fall in love with new music. And If you’re looking for some new tracks to learn and love in February, we’re here to help.

Check out our February 2016 playlist for some emerging talent, huge stars, and personal favourites.

If there are songs you think we should be adding to our playlist, because you LOVE them already – please leave a comment and let us know.

Check back in March to see what’s got our ears perked up then!

thereviewsarein.com February 2016 Playlist!

Maren Morris: 80s Mercedes

Jess Moskaluke: Take Me Home

When The Lights Go Down Toronto Jess-8076

The Katherines: Primitive

Autumn Hill: Mixtape

Autumn Hill

The Dirty Nil: Zombie EyedThe Dirty Nil Canadian Music Week 2014

Cam: Village

River Town Saints: A Little Bit Goes A Long Way

River Town Saints

Alive Through Memories: Keep Me Alive

Old Dominion: Snapback

Old Dominion Boots and Hearts 2015

Kelsea Ballerini: Peter Pan

Madeline Merlo: Whatcha Wanna Do About It

Justin Moore: You Look Like I Need A Drink

Justin Moore Boots and Hearts 2015

Mieke: Move On

Runaway Angel: Around The Bend

Dylan Scott: Crazy Over Me

Dylan Scott Boots and Hearts 2015 2

Tim McGraw: Humble And Kind

Keith Urban: Break On Me

Ian Thornley: Feel

Ian Fletcher Thornley at The Mod Club

Sia: Cheap Thrills

Weezer: King of the World

Weezer Riot Fest 2015

 

2 years ago

Keith Urban Announces RipCORD World Tour – Including Toronto Stop, July 9, 2016!

Country superstar Keith Urban is going back on the road, and for fans lucky enough to be within driving distance of Toronto… you’ll have the chance to see the guitar hero live!

Keith Urban Concert Photo

via keithurban.net

With a new album, Ripcord, in progress (come on man, finish up!) it makes sense that the Australian hit-maker is ready to tour again. He’ll have John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 & Break On Me to add to his impressive set list, and something tells us that there will be at least 1 more single released before the tour comes to Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 9th.

Read: Keith Urban Lights The Fuse, Blows Up Toronto

So far, tour openers have been announced as Brett Eldridge and Maren Morris, which is awesome because they are both talented singers who will no doubt get the crowd going. And it’s always awesome to have a female singer on the bill with Urban so we can cross our fingers and hope for duets like We Were Us.

Note: The last time Keith Urban came through Toronto and hit the stage was October 2015 when he was the surprise guest of Taylor Swift at the Rogers Centre. And the time before that was January 2014 when we headlined the Air Canada Centre with Little Big Town and Brett Eldridge opening… yup, he must really like Brett Eldridge.

via keithurban.net

via keithurban.net

Having seen Urban in concert, we can promise you that it’s worth seeing. As a performer, guitar player, and singer – he knocks it out of the park. He knows what his fans want to hear, he keeps the energy high… and if someone is lucky enough, he might just give away a guitar.

There are no ticket details available as of today (January 11), but we’re sure that they’ll pop up soon, so keep an eye out at canadianamphitheatre.net.

Keith Urban is coming… and that’s good news.

Be ready!

Be Awesome!

2 years ago
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