Toronto

If My Name Was Whiskey: Carly Pearce Green Room Interview, Toronto

For the second time in the last few months, Carly Pearce came north to Toronto and shared her music with country music fans. And this time, with her debut album, Every Little Thing, released to the world, she was wowed by the response.

We stopped in at Rock N Horse Saloon on Wednesday night to see Carly play an acoustic set for some lucky contest winners, and just like at the Budweiser Stage earlier this summer, she was strong, charming, and showed off a mountain of talent.

As she sang her set (Color, If My Name Was Whiskey, Doin’ It Right, Hide The Wine, Every Little Thing) she noticed people in the intimate crowd singing along with songs and immediately told everyone that this was going to be a night that she wouldn’t forget. When we sat down with Carly on Thursday morning we asked her about it and she shared those same feelings again. To be this far from home, playing songs that aren’t at radio and have only been available for the 5 days since the album’s release, and seeing people sing along was special for her.

Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto

We asked her about that same thing on bigger stages this year when fans sang along to her first hit single, Every Little Thing, and she said that the feeling is more than she can explain. She also admitted that there have been times that it has overwhelmed her and she’s started to cry on stage as the band plays on and she brings herself back to the microphone. It’s something Carly told us that she used to dream about, and now, it’s turned into a dream come true.

There will soon be more chances for Carly Pearce to see the crowd singing as she hits the road with Brett Young on his tour. She told us that it’s an exciting opportunity, and one that she’s never had before. She’s had the chance to play on tours and open shows, but this tour will be the first that she’s officially on and part of all the way through.

While we had Carly with us, we got her to play a quick round of 5 Quick Questions… have a look and find out what album she loves, her favourite Shania jam, and more.

Note: Carly Pearce is charming as all get out. Whether she’s got a microphone in her hand or she’s sitting on a couch in the morning drinking coffee, she’s got it. With a laugh/ smile/ joke combination she has the ability to light up a room, and she uses it.

We talked to Carly about her new album, and the process that brought it together. Knowing that she’s a songwriter, we were curious about the songs she wrote that made the final cut. Carly told us that she wrote eight of the 13 songs on the record, and that seven of them were done and ready when it was time to start working with Big Machine. The eighth track, If My Name Was Whiskey, was written just three days before it was cut, sliding in at the wire.

Carly also told us that she is appreciative of the chance to make a full album of 13 songs. She remembers listening to and loving the 90s albums from Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and other powerhouse women in country music, and she wanted to release the same thing. She added that Scott Borchetta’s “go get it” attitude was a big help and piece of encouragement when it was time to start working on the project.

Carly Pearce at Corus in Toronto

We flipped the script on a question Carly’s heard before when we asked her what she thinks 16 year old her, the girl who moved from Kentucky to Tennessee to work and perform at Dollywood would tell her now. She laughed a little and told us that her 16 year old self was confident and absolutely sure that she was going to make it, so the success of her single, and the release of her record probably wouldn’t be a surprise. She did add that she thought it was going to happen sooner. That she was sure that when she moved to Nashville at 19 she was going to be Carrie Underwood, but that’s she’s glad now that it didn’t happen then, and that she had a chance to live and grow and write the songs she has now with the experience of the last 10 years or so.

Carly Pearce is an emerging star. Her voice, songwriting, charm, and overwhelming talent are going to grant her more opportunities in her career, and music fans will be lucky to be along for the ride.

For now, we’d recommend you press play on Every Little Thing and learn the words so you can sing along when you see her on stage. We know she’d love to see it.

Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at Corus in Toronto Carly Pearce at Corus in Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto

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Kill Your Love: Jess Moskaluke Green Room Interview, Toronto

Jess Moskaluke, three time Canadian Country Music Association award winner for Female Artist of the Year, Juno winner for Country Album of the Year (2017, Kiss Me Quiet), and one of Canada’s biggest country stars, has new music to share with the world, and is making the rounds to tell her stories.

We caught up with Jess in Toronto, in the green room before her CBC Music First Play performance, to talk about her new EP, writing with new collaborators, awesome feelings on stage, and more.

The new album, Past The Past, is scheduled to be released on November 3, and it seems like it can’t come soon enough for the Saskatchewan native. She told us that it feels like the music has been done forever, and that she’s excited to share it with country music fans. She also told us that it’s been nice to start folding in new songs on stage, allowing her and the band to freshen up the setlist and have some new fun in the show.

While we had Jess for a few minutes we also jumped into a quick round of 5 Quick Questions. Hit play and find out what album she is listening to on repeat, her favourite Shania jam, her late night fast food go to, and more…

We asked Jess about writing with new people on this album, and as we talked she realized that there were more and more new minds on this set of songs. She told us that there’s a comfort that grows between collaborators, and that adding new people to that process of creativity and creation can be both exciting and sometimes can make her a little nervous.

On Past The Past she had a little of that when she wrote with Neil Mason from The Cadillac Three. Neil’s reputation and success are well known in the industry, and when you hear Right When Ya Left, you’ll see how that session turned out.

Spoiler: It went well.

Before we were done chatting with Jess Moskaluke we asked about the feeling that she gets when she’s on stage and the fans are singing along and singing back to her. It was hard for her to put into words what it is. She told us that it’s one of those things that you really only know after you’ve felt it for yourself.

When we asked if she remembers the first time it happened she wasn’t able to pinpoint it, but she remembers when Cheap Wine And Cigarettes became that songs and she could see people in the crowd at shows singing along with her.

We’ve asked other artists this exact question before, and Jess’s answer lines up with theirs. And we’re sure she’d agree with Chad Brownlee, who told us that when he stops getting that awesome feeling when everyone sings with and to him, it’ll be time to hang ‘em up.

Big thanks to Jess Moskaluke for hanging out with us pre-show, and for letting us invite some contest winners to see her perform at the CBC.

Keep your eyes out for video from the night. And stay tuned for a Past The Past album review and your chance to listen, coming soon!

Jess Moskaluke, CBC Music First Play Setlist

Drive Me Away*
Used
Night We Won’t Forget
Good Lovin’
Kiss Me Quiet
Good For You
Kill Your Love*
Camouflage*
Right When Ya Left*
Strong As I’ve Ever Been
Past The Past*
Parachute (Chris Stapleton cover)
Save Some Of That Whiskey*
Take Me Home
Elevator
Cheap Wine And Cigarettes

*songs from Past The Past

5 days ago No Comments Views

NXNE Moves Back Downtown for 2018!

The 2018 music festival season just got a boost in Toronto with the news that NXNE will be coming back to Yonge-Dundas next summer.

The move by the 10-day festival will include three days of programming from June 15 to 17 – that will transform Yonge Street into a full on festival village that will offer concerts, talk sessions and comedy shows – all free to the public.

The return to Yonge-Dundas Square comes after attendance numbers appeared to be down in 2017 at the Port Lands. It feels to us like the NXNE organizers are listening to festival-goers by making the decision to head back into the heart of downtown Toronto. We’re very happy for the relocation as it will offer more fans the chance to see music, more bands the chance to make new fans, and us to capture it all.

The Anti-Queens - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

Building on the success of 2017’s curated showcases, the 2018 festival promises to expand and hit harder with shows and showcases at more than a dozen venues across Toronto including Yonge-Dundas Square, The Garrison, The Baby G, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern and more. With venues like that, and curated content like we saw this summer, NXNE 2018 should be another in a long line of good years for the fest in the city.

With the introduction of a video game component in 2016, NXNE added a brand new element bringing in a new audience. Reaching out to gamers by bringing in professional players from around the world and offering top-level prizes this seemed like a great way to increase attendance. Gamers were able to participate and play along online. The festival organizers are promising bigger things for Game Land, with new innovations to come.

Founded in 1995, the 24-year-old festival has seen some pretty big changes over the years. The 10 day music festival supporting local acts has turned into an event with internationally recognized music acts, industry experts, top-shelf comedians, pro-level gamers and so much more every single year.

Stay tuned for artist announcements and ticket info as we get closer.

NXNE - Yonge Dundas Square

via NXNE Facebook

 

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Tenderheart: Sam Outlaw, Michaela Anne, and The Rifle & The Writer in Toronto

On a warm Monday night, Sam Outlaw brought country music to Longboat Hall in Toronto. With openers Michaela Anne and The Rifle & The Writer in tow, Outlaw’s show put a groove into the evening, and kept the audience tapping their toes from start to finish.

Outlaw has been touring extensively in 2017 in support of his album Tenderheart, which he released in April. With shows all over North America, including recent stops in Nashville and Brooklyn, and upcoming shows in Nashville again, the Los Angeles native has put the work in, making new fans, and entertaining loyal listeners along the way.

The Toronto show opened with Brockville, Ontario’s The Rifle & The Writer – a brother/sister duo that have been playing up and down the highways as often as they can. In April, the duo played at Boots & Bourbon during Canadian Music Week, and just like then, they showcased their singing and songwriting talent on the Toronto stage. With a mix of originals and covers, Rebekka and Colby got things rolling. The combination of musicianship and vocals works well for the duo, and it’s clear to see they are continuing to find their voice.

The Rifle and The Writer

Related: The Rifle & The Writer, CMW Preview Q&A

The twangy singing of Colby’s pedal steel and Rebekka’s sweet/soft/strong voice on tracks like Gig & Colour is something that we truly can’t get enough of… and hope to see more of soon.

Following the Canadian content, Michaela Anne took the stage, solo at first, to bring Toronto her Nashville sound. Standing at the microphone with her acoustic guitar, Michaela Anne charmed the crowd with her words and songs as she made her return to the city.

Songs like I’m Not Her, Take Me Back, and Luisa all showed the assembled country music fans what she has to offer as a singer and performer as her voice captured the room from the first note to the last. And when she told the story of her love affair with the song, Me And Willie, and then shared her cover of the song first recorded by the legendary Emmylou Harris, you could feel the intimate connection that she has with the song and its writer, Laurie Hyde-Smith. Americana/Country fans will see and hear more of Michaela Anne in the future – and they’ll be happy for it.

Michaela Anne

The main event of the evening, the man Toronto came out to Longboat Hall to see, all the way from sunny Los Angeles, Sam Outlaw headlined the Monday night gig with all of the showmanship and talent that we all expected.

The twangy, old-school, California country voice of Outlaw rang through the speakers as his band (including Michaela Anne on keys) played through a set of songs that included tracks from Tenderheart and fan favourites like Who Do You Think You Are and I’m Not Jealous.

Sam Outlaw

With his best silk shirt rolled up high at the sleeves, and his cowboy hat tipped low in the front, Sam Outlaw gave Toronto to full experience that he offers on tour. And while it was a Monday night in the city, the fans in attendance didn’t care, embracing the chance to see the American singer live.

Outlaw’s sound was full and rich, which was no great surprise as he and six bandmates worked through his catalogue. And while we’re certain that we could sit and listen to Sam Outlaw if he sat on a stool and strummed a guitar by himself, it was lovely to hear the entire room filled with the music that Outlaw presents to the world.

2017 has been a big busy year for the singing California cowboy, and while he’s earned some downtime, we hope it won’t be too long before he’s back to play in Toronto again.

Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Band Sam Outlaw Band Sam Outlaw Band Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw

More Photos of Michaela Anne at Longboat Hall, Toronto

Michaela Anne Michaela Anne Sam Outlaw band - Michaela Anne Michaela Anne

More Photos of The Rifle & The Writer at Longboat Hall, Toronto

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3 weeks ago No Comments Views

Forever Rebels: Tim Hicks Backstage Interview, Toronto

From the small stage of a downtown Toronto bar to making dreams come true in front of thousands of country music fans on the Budweiser Stage, Tim Hicks has been on a hell of a ride.

Canadian country music fans know Tim Hicks as the singer of top 10 hits, fan anthems, and major tour appearances with some of the genre’s biggest names. But before all of that success, Hicks fronted the house band at Grace O’Malley’s, singing covers of country favourites and drunken rock and roll standards like Pour Some Sugar On Me.

We caught up with Tim Hicks backstage before his Budweiser Stage show with fellow Canadian star Dean Brody to talk about the highlights, family, his live record, CCMA weekend and more.

It was clear that Tim was excited for the amphitheatre show. Even if he hadn’t told us about the excitement specifically (he did), it was plastered all over his face. He called it a bucket list event, a highlight that he’ll not only look back on as a big moment, but that he could appreciate as it was happening.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

That feeling of excitement flows over into everything that is happening in Tim Hicks’ career. He’s still very happy to be writing, recording and performing his music. But as much as he enjoys making a living doing what he loves, he fully admits that it isn’t always easy. “It doesn’t come with a manual”, he told us when we talked about the process of creating music, being on the road and juggling that with his responsibilities as a husband and a father. He told us that when he’s home he makes a conscious effort to put his phone away and just be dad. Whether that means colouring, crafts, puzzles or playing outside, that time is important to him and his young family.

While there may not be a manual, there has been help along the way. In 2014, at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto we talked to Tim and he told us that Dierks Bentley had become an amazing resource of advice and information as they prepared for their tour dates together. And as the years add up in his own career, Hicks feels like he’s ready to start sharing his insights and advice to the next wave of Canadian artists coming through the pipeline.

Note: As we talked on a balcony backstage, a group of Tim Hicks fans lined up for their meet and greet with him below us. When they saw him, they called his name, waving and trying to get his attention. We stopped for a second as he turned and smiled and waved at them. And when he turned back around he looked at us with a look of awe and told us that he was a little speechless. It was real and endearing and one of the small moments that still hasn’t gotten old for the homegrown star.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

While we had Tim we asked him about his live record, Tim Hicks Live, that dropped in May. Hicks told is that the 6 song release was a happy accident. He had been recording his shows live from the board and listening back to them to see where things could get tighter, better, and more exciting at the next stop – and then it happened. When Tim listened back to the Sudbury show he loved it. The sound was strong, his vocals were on point, and it got the wheels turning. After sharing it with his label, the tracks were sent to Nashville for a little cleanup and mastering, and from there all that was left as the release. Hicks told us that he’s especially proud of the fact that his vocals weren’t tuned or touched in the production of the record. And he also told us that he’d love to see more Canadian country artists follow his lead with their own live releases. He didn’t go so far as to challenge anyone by name, but as a fan himself, we’re sure there are some live releases he’d love to hear.

We also talked to Tim about the upcoming CCMA awards and weekend in Saskatoon. He told us what so many other artists have, that he’s looking forward to seeing all of the industry friends that he so rarely gets to hangout with. Tour stops like the Toronto show offer quick chances to say hi to local radio hosts and fellow artists, but Canadian Country Music Week will offer the chance for some real catch up time, and maybe a drink or two. Tim is also up for two awards on Sunday, September 10 – Male Artist and Interactive Artist of the Year – and taking home either of those trophies would most certainly be another highlight to add to Tim Hicks’ growing list.

On stage in Toronto, Tim Hicks and his band let it all hang out. With fire shooting into the sky, guitars ringing, and the fans singing along, it was a special night for the folks in the back row all the way to the man standing at the microphone. And don’t for a second think that he’ll forget it.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

1 month ago Views

Anthem: Brett Kissel and Friends at the 2017 CNE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related: Brett Kissel at the 2015 CNE!

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Kissel Setlist, CNE 2017

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

Brett Kissel at the 2017 CNE

Andrew Hyatt at the 2017 CNE

Abby Stewart and Beamer Wigley at the 2017 CNE

2 months ago Views

Sam Outlaw Ticket Giveaway: Longboat Hall at The Great Hall – September 25, 2017

Hey country music lovers, this one’s for you!!!

On September 25th we’ll be attending the Sam Outlaw show at Toronto’s Longboat Hall at The Great Hall – and we want you to come too! Our friends at Collective Concerts have given us two pairs of tickets to give away and we can hardly wait to see your smiling faces.

Sam is on tour supporting his brand new album Tenderfoot, you can have a listen here!

Joining Sam will be Michaela Anne and The Rifle & The Writer (we did a Q&A with them in April). What can you expect? Great country music in the heart of the city. Here’s a link to the Facebook event page – Sam Outlaw at Longboat Hall at The Great Hall.

Here’s how the contest is going to work …

Use the form below to earn up to 9 entries, and add to your chances by tagging a friend on the contest post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We’ll be giving double points for all social entries – and we’ll email you if you’re the winner.


Note:
 This is a 19+ event and the winner and guest must be of Ontario legal drinking age to claim the prize and attend the show.

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.

A post shared by Leah Daniels (@imleahdaniels) on

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

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More Photos of Carly Pearce at Budweiser Stage, Toronto

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2 months ago Views

TerraForm: Sam Roberts Band with Jane’s Party at the 2017 CNE

The next time someone tries to tell you that rock and roll is dead, or if you yourself feel that thought rolling through your brain, remember the Sam Roberts Band.

On Saturday night, at the legendary CNE Bandshell, we caught the Montreal rock outfit and were completely sucked in and entertained by their straight ahead, no gimmicks, Canadian summer night rock and roll show. There were no flames, fireworks, or lasers. But there were guitars, bass, drums, keys, and a whole lot of energy at the bandshell park as the boys played a mix of new songs, fan favourites, and their biggest hits in a 90 minute set.

CNE 2017 - Sam Roberts Band

It’s also important to shout out Jane’s Party, the Toronto band that opened the show and did an excellent job of representing their hometown’s rock and roll vibe. Tracks like Til You Got Yours, Cigarette Buzz, and It’s Been Years showed off their sound, and allowed the guys to put on a fun set to warm up the park. We also need to give love for the versatility in the band, with three of the four members taking a turn at lead vocals during their time on the CNE Bandshell stage.

CNE 2017 - Jane's Party

I’ve been listening to Sam Roberts and the Sam Roberts Band for all of the summers in my adult life, starting with the, The Inhuman Condition EP, in 2012, and have sung along to the hits, watched the videos, and being a fan of their rock and roll vibe. So to see them on stage in 2017, with that same spark and enthusiasm for what they do, paired with the appreciation that Sam repeatedly showed for the opportunity to play in Toronto at such a venerable venue, was a wonderful thing.

Note: Sometimes I miss Sam’s longer, floppy hair, especially when he’s dancing and playing guitar on stage.

With a 15 song setlist, and a three song encore, the Sam Roberts Band filled their time on stage completely. And from TerraForm to kick things off to Brother Down to send us all home, the Toronto crowd was engaged, singing, dancing, clapping, and raising their hands in the air with glee and gusto. Heck, Sam Roberts has so many hits to pack into his set now that it wasn’t until morning that I realized the band hadn’t played Don’t Walk Away Eileen, but if that’s the only thing missing from my idealized show, we all should be happy with what the Sam Roberts Band shared on Saturday night.

CNE 2017 - Sam Roberts Band

These five rock and rollers know what’s up. They put on a show that would have worked in a smaller, sweaty room like the Horseshoe Tavern, or in a bigger setting like the Budweiser Stage. And the fans in Toronto at the 2017 CNE knew it.

When you get the chance to see the Sam Roberts Band live, take it. The Inhuman Condition and We Were Born In A Flame put them on the map 15 years ago, but their songs, skills, and dedication to what they do has made TerraForm and their new music just as compelling and entertaining as ever.

We can’t wait to see the band again. After all, we’re all in this together.

Sam Roberts Band, 2017 CNE Setlist

※ TerraForm
※ Shapeshifters
※ Fixed to Ruin
※ Rogue Empire
※ Human Heat
※ Metal Skin
※ Hard Road
※ Spring Fever
※ Bridge to Nowhere
※ Where Have All the Good People Gone?
※ Detroit ’67
※ Roll with the Spirits
※ If You Want It
※ Them Kids
※ Chasing the Light
Encore:
※ We’re All in This Together
※ FIEND
※ Brother Down

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Jane’s Party at the 2017 CNE Bandshell Stage

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2 months ago Views

Freeze Me: Death From Above at WayHome 2017

Death From Above are back to their original name… and they’re still banging out loud rock and roll music like they always have. And their set on the main stage at WayHome 2017 was a ringing example of that fact.

With heavy hitting punch, right from the jump, Death From Above had the fans active and engaged – including a raucous bunch in an awesome mosh pit right in front of the stage. There were hands up, bodies moving, and crowd surfing bodies taking in, and becoming part of, the action.

Sebastien and Jesse pumped out their brand of rock to the sunny field of the WayHome main stage, giving their eager fans a taste of Always On, Trainwreck 1979, Right On, Frankenstein!, Freeze Me, and more as the Toronto duo produced a whole lot of sound… especially considering it’s just the two of them!

If you’ve ever wondered if Death From Above has still got it, they do. And if you’re wondering if you should go see them live in 2017, you should!

3 months ago Views

Take My Hand: Picture This at WayHome 2017

In the early afternoon sun and heat, Picture This took to the WayBright stage at WayHome and introduced themselves to Canada for the first time.

The Irish hit makers, brought a ton of energy to their set, firing into their songs without hesitation, and charming the WayHome crowd with their music and accents. Bringing together a rock and roll sound, and pop/folk lyrics, they bend genres… and they know it. We sat down with Jimmy and Ryan after their set, and they explained that they’re perfectly happy to to worry about fitting into a single genre’s expectations. Their goal, they told me, is to create uplifting music, songs that people want to hear and smile and sing along with.

WayHome 2017 - Picture This

On stage, that desire shone through as they played their songs and the crowd clapped and danced along from one track to the next. To the band it was an unexpected reaction, to us, it seemed reasonable. Let’s Be Young, All For You, Never Change, and Take My Hand all connected with the audience in an organic and rather lovely way.

Back home, Picture This are getting used to those types of reactions. They’ve sold out historic venues, opened for The 1975, had their 2016 debut EP stay on the charts for a year – and just sold out a show in under five minutes, adding a second show for good measure.

That popularity started online. Before a record deal, before a record, before a single live show, the band started writing and releasing music to the masses and building their following. That DIY attitude continues now, with the band writing and playing their own songs, as well as conceiving and shooting their own music videos.

WayHome 2017 - Picture This

The WayHome crowd showed their appreciation one more time as the band finished their set, chanting Picture This as they left the stage. There wasn’t an encore, but the good news is that the boys will be in Toronto on September 14 at the Velvet Underground.

During our hangout I asked 2 more questions that I really wanted to know the answer to…

1: If you were putting your music on a playlist, what other bands would you put on that list?
Answers: Snow Patrol, The 1975, 30 Seconds to Mars, Oasis, Coldplay.

2: What Irish Whiskey would you recommend to this Canadian boy?
Answer: Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey (with the caveat that it’s expensive, and should be saved for a special occasion)

With songwriting skills and passion to spare, plus the talent and charm it takes to woo a crowd, we’re sure that we haven’t heard the last of Picture This… and we’d bet that you’ll be hearing them too.

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3 months ago Views

Laugh When You Lie: Dan Davidson, Live in Toronto

Dan Davidson may be becoming known for his wacky videos, but country radio and country music fans know that he’s the real deal, And he’s just getting started.

We met up with the former Tupelo Honey rocker at Parkdale’s Rod, Gun & Barbers during a stop in Toronto to talk about his music, DIY videos, dad life and more.

As Davidson’s current single Say We Did rolls through country radio, CMT, and streaming services across the country (and beyond) the singer/songwriter continues to put in work on new music and his live show.

We asked about an album and Dan told us that he’s be perfectly happy to be a singles guy. Writing, recording, releasing and playing a new song and then moving onto the next one… but he also understands the importance of an album, and told us that there will be an EP release this fall after the CCMA awards in Saskatoon.

With two nominations (Rising Star Award, Songwriter of the Year + Video Director of the Year: Travis Nesbitt for Davidson’s Found) at this year’s awards, Dan Davidson is quickly making sure his name has been added in the up and coming crop of country music talent in Canada. And with bangers like Found and Barn Burner leading the way, he is definitely making it easy to put his name in that group.

Dan Davidson - Rod, Gun and Barbers Parkdale

We would have been foolish not to ask Davidson about the video for Say We Did. The fan favourite features a DIY construction of the Starship Enterprise’s bridge in Dan’s garage… with costumes to complete the look. He told us that the build took about two days, and was a lot of fun. Added to his previous videos, the reputation as a dude who has fun with this part of the process is becoming more solidified – and he’s happy to be that guy, and not just another dude standing in a field or on a river bank to shoot a country video.

He also told us that his indie status allows him to come up with these kinda ridiculous ideas without worrying about anyone telling him that he can’t. And he loves that freedom.

When he’s not on the road, Dan Davidson is probably at home having tea parties or playing in the sprinkler with his little girls. It’s easy to tell when you talk to him that dad time is important to him and he truly loves it. And while he’s not sure his girls understand what dad does (it all seems like a lot of playing dress up and singing songs with his friends), we’re sure they’ll figure it out sooner than later.

As we hung out by the pool table at the back of Rod, Gun & Barbers, we hit the subject of the Canadian Country Music scene and Dan echoed what we hear so often, that it’s a good place to be. He told us about the supportive feel that flows from artist to artist. And he shouted out artists like Brett Kissel, Dallas Smith, and Chad Brownlee who he’s toured with and given him their time along the way.

Dan Davidson - Rod, Gun and Barbers Parkdale

We also talked about the country music fans, and how cool it’s been for him to see them cheering and singing along when he takes the stage all over Canada. We saw it in person this spring at Boots & Bourbon during Canadian Music Week, and the assembled mass of music lovers that night certainly got into it. They sang along, danced and whooped it up – showing Davidson that his tracks had travelled from the west to Ontario, and were working.

He told us about not being sure if anyone would know who he was while on tour with Chase Rice… and then being blown away by the fans in London as they popped for him and his songs. And with more music coming for those country fans, we’re betting that those reactions are going to continue – and his surprise at them should fade.

Dan Davidson - Rod, Gun and Barbers Parkdale

While we had Dan Davidson for photos and hangs, he pulled out his guitar and played a sad one for us… with haircuts in the background and Parkdale’s Queen Street West in the far background, we were pulled in.

Plugged in on stage, or on a stool next to a pool table, Dan Davidson is one to watch.

Stay tuned for new music, show announcements and more from Dan… it’s coming soon.

And press play now for a special live performance of Laugh When You Lie, recorded at Rod, Gun & Barbers on Queen Street West in Parkdale, Toronto.

Dan Davidson - Rod, Gun and Barbers Parkdale Dan Davidson - Rod, Gun and Barbers Parkdale

3 months ago Views

Giddy Up: Budweiser County Fair Toronto!

In the heart of the city, country took over. The Budweiser County Fair brought country music, BBQ, beer and more to King Street West, and country fans were there to soak it all in while they soaked up the sun.

The two day festival featured a list of rising stars on stage, and paired with the food, drinks, games, line dancing, pie eating, bull riding, and general good times, we’re calling it a win for Toronto and the live music scene in the city.

We were at the County Fair on Saturday, and to say there was a lot going on would be an understatement…

Line dancing lessons popped up between sets all day, with beginner, and more advanced dances being taught to the crowd. It was awesome to see the combination of men and women, in everything from flip-flops to broken in cowboy boots.

The mechanical bull was a hot spot all day, with some entertaining rides – and a contest that saw male and female winners take home tickets to Boots & Hearts 2017.

Budweiser County Fair Toronto

The pie eating contest was a hot mess of cherry pie filling and crust all over contestants, the table, and the ground… but it was also awesome.

There were well deserved lineups for food, including the pig roast by Chef Kevin Castonguay and the hot dogs from Chef Stephen Payne.

And the live music from MacArthur Clark, Kaitlin Kozell, Jesse Gold, The Reklaws, and Emily Reid was on point!

MacArthur Clark took the stage first with a stripped down set of tunes that showed off his rich voice. With sweet, sad, true, and real notes that come from good singer/songwriter music.

The Peterborough, ON native is strong on stage, and songs like Blinded rang through the early afternoon crowd with the kind of soul that MacArthur Clark is known for to their fans. And, the cover of Cash’s Ring Of Fire was an excellent end to the set, offering a personal take on the classic song, and a dedication to Travis Berlenbach’s dad made it extra special.

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Kaitlin Kozell took the stage after a break for line dancing and festival fun. And along with her band, they filled the King Street West space with the country sound we’ve heard from her at events like Boots & Hearts and Steak Stock in the past.

Songs like Highway 28 and Right As Rain gave the crowd a taste of who the singer is and what she does. Kaitlin’s crowd work was also great, with a great highlight leading into Incognito. Her request for a little help from the crowd if the form of a baseball cap lead to one dude tossing her his Detroit Tigers lid, which probably looked better on her than it did on him.

Kaitlin Kozell is one to keep your eye on… trust us.

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After another break for line dancing, food, games, and the search for shade, Natasha Zimbaro hit the County Fair stage, accompanied by her band and some awesome silver balloons displaying her initials.

Natasha’s energy was a perfect fit for the late afternoon crowd, with some pep in her step, and her songs, she let her strong voice and solid performing chops show everyone what she has to offer.

Tracks like Cardboard Box (now available at CMT Canada) and Obvious, as well as her covers of Rascal Flatts’ Riot and Mötley Crue’s Home Sweet Home, rang across the space, and made new fans out of the Toronto country fans.

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As afternoon turned to evening, Jesse Gold took the County Fair stage, and the combination of his guitar picking + his accompanying guitar picking + and the songs he brings to the stage, he put on a show worth seeing.

The vibe reminds us of a Jack Johnson or Ed Sheeran – acoustic picking, sweet words, and the kind of music that you’re very comfortable listening to. The Electric/Acoustic hybrid on the stripped down set brought an interesting and appreciated feel, and songs like Lake Girl, and Chris Stapleton’s I Was Wrong were the hook Gold needed to grab our attention and make us take note that we’ll be seeing more of him in the future.

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As the dinner hour passed, the beers continued to flow, and the pie eating and bull riding contests were wrapped – The Reklaws prepared for their turn on the stage.

The Hometown Kids, duo had been seen at the County Fair all day in their position as hosts, but in new outfits, with amped up energy, and their entertaining vibes turned up to 11, Jenna and Stuart hit the stage with their band, and put on the kind of show that we were hoping for.

The downtown Toronto crowd was given everything they hoped for as the brother/sister act rang through their set of originals and covers, allowing even the most casual of country fans to get in on the action.

The Reklaws Budweiser County Fair Toronto

We got to hear The Reklaws jam out to originals, Wish You Were Beer, Boys Don’t Cry, Last Call, and their current single, Hometown Kids – and they sounded great doing it. And when they dipped into their bag of tricks for covers of Shaggy’s Angel, The Steve Miller Band’s The Joker, Rihanna’s Four Five Seconds, Sum 41’s In Too Deep, and Kip Moore’s Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck – there were jumps and sways and singing along all throughout the County Fair.

And with an awesome little acoustic medley that had everyone singing along, the Budweiser County Fair got to hear Stuart and Jenna slip together clips of Snapback (Old Dominion), Better Man (Little Big Town), Body Like A Back Road (Sam Hunt), My Church (Maren Morris), and H.O.L.Y. (Florida Georgia Line). We love a good medley, we love country music, and we loved this little addition to the set.

We know we’re going to see The Reklaws again soon, you will too.

And we’re already looking forward to next year when the Budweiser County Fair comes back to Toronto. See you there.

The Reklaws Budweiser County Fair Toronto Stuart Walker The Reklaws Budweiser County Fair Toronto Jenna Walker The Reklaws Budweiser County Fair Toronto

More Photos from Budweiser County Fair, Toronto – 2017!

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3 months ago Views

WayHome 2017 Preview: Death From Above Top 5

WayHome is coming faster than you might think… and it’s time to get ready!

On Saturday, July 29 thousands of music fans will crowd around the stage to see Death From Above do their thing and entertain the masses. There’s about a 100% chance that we’re going to hear the brand new single, Freeze Me, along with more hits and previous singles.

Toronto boys, Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler are back to their original band name, they’ve got new music, and things should be plenty exciting when they take the stage for their Saturday set. We’re not sure what’s not to be excited about.

And while we can’t guarantee anything on the set list, we’re pretty confident that we’ll hear these Top 5 tracks from Death From Above when they play WayHome 2017!

Trainwreck 1979

Crystal Ball

Cheap Talk




Virgins

Little Girl

via WayHome

Don’t have tickets for WayHome 2017 yet? Click Here! 

3 months ago Views

Cowboy Up: Budweiser County Fair is Coming to Toronto

For the last few years we’ve been talking about Toronto’s emergence as a country music hot spot. And now, the city is getting their own country music festival when the Budweiser County Fair comes to 525 King Street West, July 14 and 15, 2017.

The County Fair is offering a full experience, including:

Carnival Games And Prizes
Succulent BBQ Eats From 6 Of Toronto’s Hottest Chefs
The County Fair Mechanical Bull Championships
Carnival Food Classics
Drink Samplings
Tomorrow’s Stars Of Country Music
Line Dancing Lessons And Coyote Ugly Dancers

Don’t have your tickets for the fair yet? Stop wasting time and get them now: Budweiser County Fair Tickets!

2017 Budweiser County Fair Lineup and Schedule

Friday, July 14th

6:00pm – Jade Eagleson
7:00pm – Vanessa Marie Carter

Vanessa Marie Carter The Ranch

8:30pm – Johnson Crook

Johnson Crook at The Dakota Tavern

10:00pm – Andrew Hyatt

CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt

Saturday, July 15th

2:00pm – MacArthur Clark
3:30pm – Kaitlin Kozell

Kaitlin Kozell BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

5:00pm – Natasha Zimbaro
6:30pm – Jesse Gold
8:30pm – The Reklaws

The Reklaws Boots and Hearts 2015

10:00pm – Emily Reid

via YouTube

Do you remember that line about Succulent BBQ Eats From 6 Of Toronto’s Hottest Chefs? Well, it’s legit.

Via thecountyfair.ca, The Budweiser County Fair has rounded up 6 of the city’s well renowned chefs to showcase their unique style in a fire fuelled BBQ experience. Satisfy your cravings and indulge in some succulent BBQ eats and local fare. From heat to sweet, this is one tasty experience you don’t want to miss out on!

Steve Gonzalez
Executive Chef, Baro Restaurant
Kevin Castonguay
Executive Chef & Founder, Provisions
Elisa Corrigan
Executive Chef & Owner, The Green Wood Restaurant
Matt Blondin
Chef & Owner, OMAW Restaurant
Stephen Payne
Executive Chef & Owner, Kung Fu Dawg
Nate Middleton
Executive Chef, Home of the Brave

We don’t know exactly what’s going to be on the menu(s), but given the pedigree of the chefs coming to party… we’re damn sure that things are going to get tasty!

Note: Please remember to grab a napkin, good BBQ gets messy, and this should be good.

All in all, this 2-day country party in the heart of downtown looks like it’s going to be a blast. From the afterwork excitement of Friday night, to the all-day festivities of Saturday, there will be feet stompin’, drinks pourin’, and good country singin’.

Check out the promo video, get your plaid and boots ready, and we’ll see you at the Budweiser County Fair in downtown Toronto!

4 months ago Views
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