Zac Brown Band

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 6

Over the last few years we’ve been sharing some of our favourite covers of pop and rock songs by country artists with you in lists of 10. We’ve been able to share covers of Fleetwood Mac, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Nirvana, Cyndi Lauper, and more… and today we’re back with 10 more.

Some of these covers were recorded recently, some of them have been around for a few years, but regardless of timeline, we like all of them.

This is our sixth edition of the 10 More Awesome Country Covers series, and as long as country artists keep covering pop and rock songs, and we keep finding them online, we’ll keep publishing new lists.

Note: We also shared a special edition of the Country Covers series in October 2017… 10 Awesome Country Covers, the Tom Petty Edition.

So, check ’em out one by one, sing along, and stay tuned for more awesome country covers part 6.

Listen to the tracks, enjoy, and leave a comment telling us which country cover you like best.

10 More Awesome Country Covers10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 210 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 310 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 410 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 5

Kalie Shorr, Kelleigh Bannen & Lindsay Ell – Look What You Made Me Do

Zac Brown Band – Use Somebody

Delta Rae – Seven Bridges Road

Eric Church – Midnight Rider

Meghan Patrick – Unknown Legend

Keith Urban – One

Dallas Smith – Radioactive

Leah Daniels – Suspicious Minds

Brett Young – Someone Like You

Johnson Crook – Bobcaygeon

New Music Spotlight: Sir Rosevelt, Sykamore, Marianas Trench, Tucker Beathard, and EXES

The new year is here, and while we hope 2018 brings a lot of new experiences, opportunities, and music – one thing remains the same… we are here to share new music that we dig.

So, here are five songs that we think deserve your attention and spins. We’ve got a mix of pop/rock/country on the list, we’ve got Canadian talent as well as American, and we’ve even got a unofficially released track to share with you all.

Ready? Let’s Do This!

The Music

Artist: Sir Rosevelt
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Genre: Pop
Related Artists: Zac Brown Band, Sam Hunt, The Cadillac Three
Single: Hurricane
Notes: Zac Brown’s side project is a lot of fun, and while it’s different than what country fans of Zac Brown Band are used to, it’s worth a listen for adventurous ears. Hit play and enjoy the Sam Hunt-esque vibes, the choral support, and the new music.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Sykamore
Hometown: Carseland, AB
Genre: Country
Related Artists: Jess Moskaluke, Madeline Merlo, Andrew Hyatt
Single: Better Half
Notes: With a brand new EP coming on January 5, Sykamore ended 2017 with her first official music video. We’ve known the song, Better Half, for a while, but now that it’s got a video, the album, and some wider exposure, we’re sure that more people will be picking up on the Alberta country singer/songwriter. Enjoy.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Marianas Trench
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Genre: Pop/Rock
Related Artists: Hedley, The Summer Set, Every Avenue
Single: Rhythm Of Your Heart
Notes: Marianas Trench knows what they’re good at, and Rhythm Of Your Heart is another example of that expertise. The pop jam from the Vancouver group comes with a video game themed lyric video that is as much fun to watch as the song is to listen to – and sets our expectations high for the official video to come.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Tucker Beathard
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Genre: Country
Related Artists: Chase Bryant, Drew Baldridge, Eric Church
Single: chasing you with whiskey
Notes: chasing you with whiskey hasn’t been released to iTunes or Spotify, and the video wasn’t posted to his official Vevo channel – but Tucker did share the link through his social channels, and it is him singing the song. Here’s what we do know: we like this track, we like the way Tucker sounds, and if this is a glimpse of what’s coming next from Tucker Beathard, we like that too.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: EXES
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Pop
Related Artists: Ella Vos, Luna Shadows, Glades
Single: Taxi
Notes: This indie electro-dream-pop track came to us from Spotify, and we’re glad it did. Exes share a beat laden pop tune that pairs Allie McDonald’s voice with a backing track that allows for a smooth groove. They say they write songs about their exes, and if that’s the case, Taxi certainly fits the bill.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

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.


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!

Cavendish Beach Music Festival 2017 Preview: Zac Brown Band Top 10

If you love country music, and you love festivals, and you love to party… then Sunday night at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival is def. going to be your scene!

Zac Brown Band have been on top of their game since Chicken Fried became a sing along favourite. And last summer when we had the chance to see them live for the first time at CMT Music Fest, they blew our minds!

To help you all get ready for ZBB on the big stage, we’ve got a top 10 list of videos that you can work through. BUT, what we can’t prepare you for are the live covers that you’ll hear if you’re lucky. We’ve seen videos of Zac Brown Band covering Rage Against The Machine, Metallica, and Charlie Daniels… and when we saw them in 2016 they played, S.O.B. – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Baba O’Riley – The Who, Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers ft. Daya, Let’s Go Crazy – Prince, and Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen.

You’re gonna have a good time. Promise.

My Old Man

Chicken Fried

As She’s Walking Away

Sweet Annie


Highway 20 Ride

Day For The Dead


Goodbye In Her Eyes

Colder Weather

Cavendish Beach Music Festival 2017

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 7th

Little Big Town

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

Saturday, July 8th

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

Sunday, July 9th

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

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

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

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

CMT Music Fest 2016: Zac Brown Band on the Main Stage!

With a huge pop from the crowd we were all well aware that the Zac Brown Band was on stage and ready to blow the doors off in their headlining spot at CMT Music Fest!

For nearly 2 and a half hours on Saturday night, ZBB played hits and covers and had the entire crowd into the action. These guys are 100% the real deal (which we already knew) and did everything they possibly could to give every single person in the audience a high note to close the festival on!

Going into the festival we talked about the things we were most excited for in this set – and one of them was the covers that we were sure Zac Brown Band was going to play live. We’ve been seeing videos online for years, and Saturday night we got a big taste live. We have the full set list for you in this post, but first, check out this list of covers…
S.O.B. – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Baba O’Riley – The Who
Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers ft. Daya
Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

CMT Music Fest - Zac Brown Band

ZBB killed all of those covers, including (and especially) the last 2 that came in the encore. And the crowd loved them just as much as they loved the 20 songs the band played from their own catalogue.

Note: There wasn’t a full cover, but during the band intros, John Driskell Hopkins dropped a little If I Had A Million Dollars and won our hearts just a little bit more than he already had.

To tell you that the Zac Brown Band is talented and that they’re entertaining isn’t enough. To tell you that they made everyone dance and clap and sing doesn’t tell the whole story. But to tell you that all of that put together – the musicianship, the energy, the harmonies, the horn section, the love for what they do, and the smile on Zac Brown’s face gave us everything we could have possibly hoped for as the sun set, night took over, and year one of CMT Music Fest came to a close might be as close as we can get.

This 25 song set didn’t include every song that everyone in the crowd wanted to hear, that would have been impossible. But you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that didn’t get to hear many of their favourites – and it would be damn near impossible to find someone that wasn’t singing along to Chicken Fried when the band played to close the set… before they came out for their encore.

Don’t believe us, watch the video!

We don’t know when we’ll see Zac Brown Band again, we don’t know where we’ll see them when they play. But whether it’s in an arena, stadium, amphitheatre, or the main stage at a festival – we know that it’s going to be a good time. And we can’t wait!

Zac Brown Band, CMT Music Fest 2016 Setlist

 Whiskey’s Gone
 Knee Deep
 Day That I Die
 It’s Not Ok
 Goodbye In Her Eyes
 Free/Into The Mystic
 As She’s Walking Away
 Baba O’Riley
 Sweet Annie
 Tomorrow Never Comes
 No Hurry
 Don’t Let Me Down
 Colder Weather
 Beautiful Drug
 The Wind
 Keep Me In Mind
 Loving You Easy
 Chicken Fried
 Let’s Go Crazy
 Bohemian Rhapsody

CMT Music Fest - Zac Brown BandCMT Music Fest - Zac Brown BandCMT Music Fest - Zac Brown Band

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest Day-to-Day Schedule and Set Times

Set times are now up for CMT Music Fest and it’s looking like there shouldn’t be too much overlap and that’s good news for all of us.

If you’re looking for more details you can hop on over to the CMT Music Fest page using THIS LINK. They’ve got some great artist profiles up if you’re looking for more details.

Friday, July 8

eric church fb cmtMaple Leaf Stage

Eric Ethridge: 4:30
Ben Hudson: 5:15
James Barker Band: 6:00
Andrew Hyatt: 7:00
Lindi Ortega: 8:00

Main Stage

Kansas Stone: 4:40
Meghan Patrick: 5:35
Brothers Osborne: 6:35
Kip Moore: 7:55
Eric Church: 9:15

Saturday, July 9

Zac Brown Band CMT Music Fest 2016Maple Leaf Stage

Them Dang Rattlers: 3:00
Leah Daniels: 4:00
The Washboard Union: 5:15
Cold Creek County: 6:40

Main Stage

Drake White and The Big Fire: 2:50
Kira Isabella: 4:10
The Road Hammers: 5:30
Tom Cochrane with Red Rider: 6:50
Zac Brown Band: 8:35

A few quicks facts you might want to know:

Where is Bingemans located?
Bingemans, located at
425 Bingemans Centre Drive,
Kitchener, ON
N2B 3X7

What are the festival hours?
Friday, July 8 – 4:00pm until 11:00pm
Saturday, July 9 – 2:00pm until 11:00pm

Is the site wheelchair accessible?

Yes, both the venue and activities are wheelchair accessible.

Is there parking on site?
There is no parking available onsite at Bingemans. There will be a drop-off zone and there is an offsite parking lot with shuttle services check out this link for all the details!

Is there camping?
There is camping for campers who are 19+, check out the camping link for all the details.

Is the event family friendly?
Children are welcome at the festival but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Note camping is only available for 19+.

The CMT Music Fest has a complete FAQ if we haven’t answered your question yet!

We’re getting very, very excited and can’t wait to see you there!

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest Preview: 5 Reasons We’re Excited to See Zac Brown Band + Top 5 ZBB Songs!

On Saturday, July 9 we’re excited to see Zac Brown Band headline the stage at CMT Music Fest in Kitchener, ON. Like, really excited.

Zac Brown Band 2016 TourThese guys are stars with a full catalogue of hits, and we have only ever heard very, very good things about their live show… but we don’t want to say too much right now because we have broken things down into the top 5 reasons we’re excited to see ZBB this summer.

Also, because this is a big deal headliner we’re talking about, we have our top 5 songs from Zac Brown Band a little further down in the post.

So check ‘em out and leave a comment to let us know if you’ve seen Zac Brown Band, what your favourite song from ZBB is, or if we’re going to see you in Kitchener at CMT Music Fest 2016!

5 Reasons We’re Excited To See Zac Brown Band At CMT Music Fest

The Musicianship

The Zac Brown Band is just that, a band. To watch these guys on stage in videos and at award shows, and then listen to their records is to hear a set of musicians that are really good at what they do. The individual playing is tight and wonderful, and putting all of the pieces together is what has made them the headliners and superstars that they are in country music now.

We can not wait for the chance to hear some solos on guitars, fiddle, and drums when the band is on stage in Kitchener.

The Harmonies

We just mentioned how great the instruments sound together… but the voices are just as great.

Whether ZBB is singing something slow and sweet like Highway 20 Ride or they’re having some fun with Toes, there’s almost always more than one voice involved in the process. Having that many voices involved can get dicey – especially when you’re using the band and not hired gun backup singers. But these boys get it done, and sound great, and we’re looking forward to hearing them nail it all.

The Covers

We haven’t seen ZBB live, but we’ve seen the videos on YouTube and they’re awesome. Covers of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name Of, Metallica’s Enter Sandman, Pearl Jam’s Black and Charlie Daniels’ Devil Went Down To Georgia have crowds on their feet and into the show. It’s true that 3 of those 4 songs aren’t country – but the new generation of music fans know them and love it!

The Energy

Those videos we talked about, plus other live clips of ZBB playing their own songs continuously show fans singing and jumping and generally just going all out – we freaking love that. The vibe that live music brings is undeniable and when the crowd is into it, as we expect they will be, it’s amped up even higher.

We’re Fans

Since Chicken Fried hit our radios in 2008 Zac Brown Band has been on our radar, and now the chance to see them and cross the band off of our list is pretty damn exciting. If you see us don’t be scared to join in on our sing along, it’s going to be loud and a whole lot of fun.’s Top 5 Zac Brown Band Songs

Chicken Fried

Highway 20 Ride

Colder Weather

Sweet Annie

Did You Know: CMT Music Fest performer Meghan Patrick‘s dog Annie is named for this song. True story!


Bonus: w/ Dave Grohl Day for the Dead

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016 Performer Q&A with The Road Hammers, Kira Isabella & Lindi Ortega!

CMT Music Fest is coming to Kitchener this summer… and it’s going to be HUGE!

For 2 days (July 8 & 9) some of country music’s biggest stars and most talented emerging artists will be taking the stage at Bingemans to entertain thousands of fans ready to have a good time in the July heat. The Friday and Saturday festival is bringing no fewer than 15 artists (more could be coming… we’re watching for that) to play, with Eric Church (Friday) and Zac Brown Band (Saturday) headlining.

The lineup also includes – Kip Moore, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Brothers Osborne, The Road Hammers, Kira Isabella, Cold Creek County, The Washboard Union, Lindi Ortega, Leah Daniels, Drake White and the Big Fire, Meghan Patrick, Andrew Hyatt, and the James Barker Band – so you should know it’s going to be a good time.

And, to get you revved up for the festival we have a Q&A with 3 of the performers right here for you! Check out these 10 answers from Jason McCoy of The Road Hammers, Kira Isabella, and Lindi Ortega.

Enjoy… and stay tuned because we’re got more coming from CMT Music Fest 2016, and you’re going to want to see it. (Trust us)

Q. Tell us a little bit about your first music festival experience, either as a performer or as a fan.

The Roadhammers Boots and Hearts 2015The Road Hammers: Festivals are always great… it’s a gathering of like minded souls both on and off stage, so the community feeling is there… better than that, it’s a family feeling in a way.

Kira Isabella: The first festival experience I ever had was going to see The Tragically Hip at Bluesfest in Ottawa. I was with my parents in the pouring rain and I just remember thinking how rock ’n’ roll, and exciting the whole experience was.

Lindi Ortega: When I was younger I went to this festival called “Another Roadside Attraction”. It was my first time seeing Los Lobos. I loved them so much because the movie “La Bamba” was my favourite and they did a lot of the Richie Valens tunes on the soundtrack. It was so cool for me to hear their original material. I had a great time. I was a kid and loved being at a festival.

Q. What’s your best piece of advice for a first time festival attendee?

Kira Isabella: The advice I’d give a first time festival attendee would be to pace yourself!! It’s a long day/weekend. Not everyone needs alcohol to have a good time of course BUT if you are planning on drinking, be responsible, and make sure you’re careful about mixing alcohol in with the very hot sun!!

Lindi Ortega: Always carry hand sanitizer in case you can’t wash your hands after using the port-o-potties. A small flashlight is great for port-o-potties at night. Wear sunscreen. And buy the artists records and support them if you like what you hear and see live!

The Road Hammers: Soak up every second, and make sure you catch the acts on early in the afternoon… you never know who will be the headliner next year… and you’ll be able to say… “I saw them when they were the opener”! Enjoy the party atmosphere, remember, CMT is the home of Country Music, so, ya’ll is at home at CMT Music Fest… let yer hair down!

Q. What can someone who’s never seen you play before expect from your live performance?

Lindi Ortega The Rivoli Toronto 2013Lindi Ortega: Well, I dance my ass off while singing my heart out and I have a killer band. So there’s that!

The Road Hammers: The Hammers are fun fun fun,… oh, and loud!… we always say, ‘if it weren’t for the fans, our show would just be a rehearsal… they’re the party, we’re the sound track… so let’s have some fun!”

Kira Isabella: I just want people to have as much fun as possible. I’ve been known to get fans on stage dancing, etc.

Q. Do you have any pre-show rituals?

The Road Hammers: We tend to drink a lot of coffee, red bull, that type of thing… Clay does about a thousand sit ups, and we rock out to some ACDC to get pumped… heck, that’s pretty much an average morning for us too!

Kira Isabella: I think the most important pre show ritual I have is my vocal warm up. I do a few exercises and then I just sing through some of my favourite songs (“Like We Never Loved At All” by Faith Hill & Tim McGraw, “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys…) and I make sure I have some quality time to spend hanging with my band talking through the show. We all have a really great energy together and we usually just hang with each other until it’s time to walk to the stage.

Lindi Ortega: I dance in a circle around a fire and sacrifice a… Oh wait never mind, that’s only on the new moon. Nah, I just goof around with my band and get pumped to jump on stage and rock out!

Q. What does being a part of the inaugural CMT Music Fest mean to you?

Kira Isabella CNE 2014 FeatureKira Isabella: Being part of the first inaugural CMT Fest means so much to me. It’s such an honour to be one of the first artists that ever play it. History!

Lindi Ortega: I’m honoured they invited me. I know I’m not your typical country artist and my style veers sometimes into blues, rockabilly and soul. But hey, it’s good to have some variety. Maybe they were thinking the same thing!

The Road Hammers: Like I said, CMT is the Home of Country Music, nobody does it better, so you know it’s all going to be about the fans… and they’re the ones who make it a party! Of all the artists on the Country Music landscape, it’s a big honour that they would invite us to be part of the launch, of what will definitely be an historical weekend!! Epic!

Q. Who/What are you most looking forward to seeing at CMT Music Fest?

Lindi Ortega: Everyone! I’m sure it will be super fun! I know new country has been a lot about the bromance lately, so I think I’ll go find the ladies performing and cheerlead for em side stage!

The Road Hammers: I got to hang with Drake White when we toured Australia with him earlier this year, so I’m looking forward to seeing him again, great guy… also pumped to see Eric Church again, ZBB, Washboard Union, Meghan Patrick, it’s going to be a great music weekend.

Kira Isabella: Other than getting to play my set, Eric Church!! I’ve never seen him live before so you’d better believe I’ll be in the crowd!!

Q. What has been your most memorable festival experience?

The Road Hammers Press Photo 2016The Road Hammers: There are too many to count, it’s been awesome. Most recently though, I’d say looking out into a sea of 30K people at CMC Rocks the Queensland in Australia and seeing people holding up Canadian flags and Road Hammer signs… unbelievable!

Kira Isabella: The most memorable festival experience I ever had was at Cavendish in 2014, the year of Hurricane Arthur. Unfortunately, they canceled the festival but all of the artists still wanted to play so we had an impromptu show at a local bar in town called Fishbones! So many people still came out to the show even though it was pouring rain and the power was going on and off etc..

I ended up getting to play the real festival the next summer… but I’ll never forget the spirit of the people out there in P.E.I during that crazy storm!

Lindi Ortega: One time I had lunch with singer Jenny Lewis and actress Kirsten Dunst at a festival in Sweden.

Q. Do you have any advice for someone who might be playing a festival for the first time?

Kira Isabella: I would tell someone who is playing a festival for the first time to just make sure they do whatever they need to do to be prepared… their rehearsals, pre show rituals, etc. But at the end of the day just be yourself and have fun. Country fans are all very genuine themselves and that’s what they want to see up there on stage.

Lindi Ortega: Have fun!!!!!

The Road Hammers: Don’t be nervous, the truth is, ain’t nobody can be ‘YOU’ so be the best you possible, and enjoy every second of it… there’s a reason they asked you to play there so play loud and be proud!

Q. Does your set list change in a festival setting?

Lindi Ortega Press Photo 2016 credit Julie MoeLindi Ortega: Depends how long the set is! If we only have a short set then we usually play more of the upbeat tunes cause we love when people dance and have a good ol’ time!

The Road Hammers: Sometimes we actually throw in songs on the fly if the spirit moves us… or if someone shouts out a song we hadn’t planned on we’ll just count it out and let ‘er rip. I think the true magic happens on the big stage when you treat it like it could be in your living room… just be yourself and have fun!

Kira Isabella: My set list doesn’t really change much in a festival setting. I think what changes is the amount of energy you’re using. I always feel like I’ve left my heart on the stage by the end of the show, but on a bigger festival stage, you’re definitely more out of breath.

Q. Name three artists that would play “your” music festival if you could book anyone in the world?

Kira Isabella Press Photo 2016Kira Isabella:
Jason Aldean
Eric Church
Miranda Lambert

Lindi Ortega: Willie Nelson, Corb Lund, and Daniel Romano!

The Road Hammers: Heck, you kidding me, they’re all at CMT Music Fest!

Click here to get your CMT Music Fest 2016 tickets… now!

CMT Music Fest 2016

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest Artist Announcement #2

CMT Fest Kip MooreAn already impressive year 1 lineup at CMT Music Fest just got bigger with the addition of Kip Moore, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Drake White and the Big Fire and Brothers Osborne to the July 8 & 9 festival.

With major headliners already in place, these additions do a great job of bringing more music to the weekend from acts that have fans happy, happy to have the chance to see them!

Related: Are Y’all Ready? CMT Music Fest 2016 Announced!

We’re already pumped for this one, we have been since February 1st when the festival was announced. And while some people may think that there are too many festivals, or that things are getting out of hand – we say this…

If you want to put on a festival with awesome music, we’ll be excited about it – and we hope you’re successful and do it again next year. Bonne chance!

Let’s take a look at the full list of CMT Music Fest performers… so far.

✩ Eric Church
✩ Zac Brown Band
✩ Kip Moore
✩ Tom Cochrane with Red Rider
✩ Brothers Osborne
✩ The Road Hammers
✩ Kira Isabella
✩ Cold Creek County
✩ The Washboard Union
✩ Lindi Ortega
✩ Leah Daniels
✩ Drake White and the Big Fire
✩ Meghan Patrick
✩ Andrew Hyatt

That’s 14 acts ready to take the stage at Bingemans in Kitchener, Ontario.

14 acts ready to give you everything they’ve got.

14 acts that we can’t wait to see in the hot summer sun.

And 14 acts that you can see too – just get yourself a ticket and meet us there! 

In all seriousness, we’re pretty pumped about this one. Add it to a busy, busy summer of music coming our way, and it would be easy to say that things are going to be pretty awesome for country music fans, and music fans of all genres in the summer of 2016.
Stay tuned for more… we have a feeling CMT Music Fest might have something else coming.

Be Awesome!

Bingemans Kitchener Ontario Map

2 years ago

Are Y’all Ready? CMT Music Fest 2016 Announced!

Well, well, well… it looks like there’s a new player on the Ontario country music festival scene in 2016, and it’s none other than CMT.

So many of us have spent hours and hours and hours watching CMT for country music videos – and now that same team will be bringing live music to Bingemans grounds in Kitchener, Ontario. And they are bringing out some big guns to play July 8 and 9, 2016!

Here are the first 10 acts announced… with a promise from that more names are coming and that we won’t be disappointed!

CMT Music Fest 2016 Artists!

Eric Church

Mr. Misunderstood himself has been tapped to headline CMT Music Fest, and it’s a great choice. We saw Church last summer at Boots & Hearts and he absolutely killed it. Ask around, many of the 40,000 in attendance will tell you that he was their highlight of the weekend.

Eric Church Boots and Hearts 2015

Zac Brown Band

One of Nashville’s biggest acts (and still one we haven’t seen live) Zac Brown and his boys look like a ton of fun when they play live. Have a look through YouTube and you’ll find awesome performances, including covers of Metallica and Rage Against The Machine.

Zac Brown Band CMT Music Fest 2016

Andrew Hyatt

From the Nickel mines in Sudbury to country music stages across Canada, Hyatt’s story is pure country music at its best. CMT Music Fest 2016 is going to be an awesome chance for Andrew to show fans what he’s got and why he belongs with the rest of the names on this list!

BSOMF Andrew Hyatt Burlington Sound of Music Festival

Cold Creek County

We just shouted them out in our Country Music Youth Movement post, and they’re another solid choice for Music Fest 2016. We’ve saw them live twice in 2015, and they’re poised to have a great year coming up…

Cold Creek County CNE 2015

Kira Isabella

Another young star in Canadian country music, Isabella has grown as a performer every time we’ve seen her over the last few years… and if that pattern holds (which we think it will) the fans in Kitchener are going to love her set.

Kira Isabella 2014 CNE Header

Leah Daniels

Yet another name from our Youth Movement piece, Leah continues to work hard and impress every time we see her. We just had a short conversation with Ms. Daniels last week and we won’t spoil any surprises – but we can tell you that a new single and video are coming soon, and you’re gonna love them.

Steak Stock 2015 Leah Daniels Go Back

Lindi Ortega

Lindi is blowing up south of the border, and her rootsy style of country music is going to be a great add to the acts on this bill. With fans like Willie Nelson in her corner, Lindi is only going to get more and more popular very soon!

Lindi Ortega, The Rivoli Toronto

Meghan Patrick

One of our fav Ontario locals, Meghan Patrick is “this close” to blowing you all away. Her debut single and album are on the way in spring 2016, and after seeing her with her old band, solo acoustic, and killing it at her CMW 2015 showcase, we firmly believe that a star will be born. Be ready for it!

Meghan Patrick Guitar

The Road Hammers

What is there to say about these guys? The Road Hammers are fixtures in the Canadian country music community, and having them at a 1st year festival is a fantastic idea. The showmanship, musicianship, and love for their fans that these 3 dudes exhibit is top notch. Plus, Jason, Clay, and Chris are solid people.

The Road Hammers Boots and Hearts 2015

The Washboard Union

Former winners of the British Columbia Country Music Association Roots Artist of the Year award, these 3 dudes put in work when it comes to their craft – and they have a lot of fun at the same time. It’s a combination of dedication and passion that has them on this list of 10 country acts for CMT Music Fest 2016!

David Robertson The Washboard Union

Tickets for CMT Music Fest 2016 go on sale thus Friday, February 5 at 10am EST… just click this link, bookmark it, or keep it open, or whatever you’ve gotta do, and be ready ->

Bingemans in Kitchener, Ontario

Bingemans Kitchener Ontario Map

2 years ago

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 2

Earlier in the year I posted a list of 10 countrified covers of pop songs in response to a list posted by Buzzfeed. It was a lot of fun to put together, but also hard because there were songs that I knew I missed when I was done with my 10 picks.

So, here we are back again with another list of 10 songs covered by country artists and twanged up to varying degrees. Have a listen and see if there are any new versions that you connect with better than the originals.


1. “The Chain” – Little Big Town

2. “Drunk” – Jess Moskaluke

3. “Heaven” – Jason Aldean

4. “Just The Way You Are” – Dustin Lynch

5. “Never Tear Us Apart” – Carrie Underwood

6. “Take It Easy” – Brett Kissel

7. “Riptide” – Taylor Swift

(She might be making pop records now, but she’ll always be a little bit country to me)

8. “Night Moves” – Frankie Ballard

9. “All Apologies” – Zac Brown Band

10. “Free Bird” – Tim Hicks

Thank you and goodnight!

3 years ago

Drunk On You, Summer Country Music Playlist!

It’s gonna be a long hot summer and I wanna be drunk on you and famous in a small town.

It’s like 700 billion degrees this week. And all I want is cold beer in my hand, cold water covering my feet and sweet tunes in the air.

I started a Country Music Playlist on YouTube that has some great summer songs.

If you like country music, you might like it.

If you don’t, sorry.

There’s more on the list now and more to come.

Grab a drink and some shade and lean back.

You deserve it!

6 years ago

Reviewing Great Music On A Summer Day

So I know that we’re knee deep in winter at this point. But I’ve got summer on my mind.

I’m a lover of music. Lots of music. I fall asleep listening to Country. I clean listening to Pop. I rock out listening to Rock. I bliss out and to Show Tunes. And so on.

8 years ago

2009, Favourites Of The Year

So, 2009 is almost done. And there are a ton of new things that have come to be this year, or that I found for the first time this year, or that I just started to appreciate more even…

Favourite New Artist of the Year: Lady Antebellum.
I <3 Country Music. I stopped being ashamed of that a long time ago. I also love harmonies and these guys bring those in bunches. Ellen DeGeneres also loves them and there are Youtube clips of them on her show to prove it.

Favourite Interview on Ellen: Kellie Pickler.
She is adorable and hilarious and down to earth and the friend that always makes you laugh. Sometimes you’re laughing with her and sometimes you’re laughing at her, but you’re almost always laughing.

Favourite New Baseball Player: This one is tough.
There are some exciting young players in baseball. And we even have a few in Toronto. But I’m not sure if any of them have staked their claim as my favourite. Adam Lind and Travis Snider may be closest to the top of the list. But if Ricky Romero can put together another good season in 2010 I may lean toward the young hurler. I guess I’m not committing right now. We’ll call it a player to be named later.

Favourite Animated Movie of the Year: UP!
I saw a few this year, but UP! had everything that I could have hoped for. There was the funny, the sweet, the sad the cute and the story. It’s available on DVD now and I highly recommend it as a gift idea for children young and old in your family.

Favourite Live Action Movie of the Year: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
It’s not as trendy a pick as Zombieland I know. But this is a movie that I was very excited for. Brought live action 3-D to the table and made me feel that 2+ hours went way too quickly. The mood has turned dark and the table has been set for the last to movies in the franchise.

Favourite New TV Show of the Year: Glee.
Was there ever any doubt? With all due respect to V and Cougartown, which did a good job of drawing me in, Glee won this one hands down. There was story and singing and singing and dancing and drama. It’s like Dawson’s Creek or Degrassi with music and dance. Love it.

Favourite New Dipping Sauce of the Year: Pizza Pizza’s Sweet Chili Thai.
This stuff is great. Maybe not so much on the pizza. But oh man, it’s the right stuff for chicken bites. Trust me on this one. Next time you place your order get them to send some of this and you won’t be disappointed.

Favourite Music Award Show Performance of the Year: The Zac Brown Band, Devil Went Down To Georgia.
At this year’s CMA’s The Zac Brown Band put on an incredible show. The musicianship was great from the guitar picking to the fiddle playing to the drumming. These guys are performers for sure. They had fun, they had spirit and they had energy. A+ to the boys in the band.

Favourite Musical of the Year: Evil Dead the Musical as presented by Sock ‘n’ Buskin, Ottawa.
The campy musical based on the Evil Dead franchise was a good show. The audience was engaged, the cast was good and the singing and dancing was well done. There were laughs and claps and smiles all over the auditorium.

So there you have it. Some of my favourites of the year. What were yours?

8 years ago
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