~photos by Ray Williams

Country Music’s Sexiest Men, 2017

The internet is buzzing with rumours that Blake Shelton will be named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2017.

We aren’t here to tell you that they made the wrong choice, but we are here to put a spotlight on some of the other sexy men in country music.

In the last couple of years we’ve had the chance to see these men perform on stage, and as great as they are with the microphone in their hands, they elicit a whole lot of cheers for their look up there on stage.

Have a look at our list and pics of Blake Shelton and our 10 more sexy country music men, and leave a comment to tell us who you think is tops OR who you think we missed.

Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton-Country Thunder 2017 Blake Shelton is one of the biggest stars in the world today. Between his regular appearances at the top of the country music charts and his seat in the spinning chair on The Voice, he’s everywhere. And as the 41 year old Oklahoman adds more salt and pepper to his look, the sexier he seems to get.

Luke Bryan

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Luke Bryan What do we need to say to share the point that Luke Bryan is sexy?! The dude has women pawing at him so much he’s had to make rules about it. When he rotates his hips, it turns into gifs. This Georgia daddy has got to be on every ‘sexy men in country music’ list.

Brett Eldredge

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Brett Eldredge Boots and Hearts 2017 - Brett EldredgeThis rising star is smooth as silk and dapper as hell. Whether he’s on stage with a couple buttons undone, or he’s in a tux on the way to an awards show, he shines. The eyes, the smile, the voice, and the laugh… they add up for Brett Eldredge.

Dallas Smith

Dallas Smith CNE 2015Dallas Smith-Country Thunder 2017This Canadian country music rockstar has it all going for him. Give him some ripped jeans, roll up the sleeves to see the ink, and give him a little stubble of a beard if you’re into that sort of thing. Dallas Smith is legit.

Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016 Dylan Scott BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016This country boy has muscles to spare, looking like he could lift a truck if he wanted to. And Dylan Scott‘s eyes – staring right to your soul. Dang it, he’s got Mmm, Mmm, Mmm all wrapped up.

Mark Wystrach

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Midland Boots and Hearts 2017 - MidlandAs the lead man of Midland, Mark Wystrach is turning heads. If you didn’t already know, you could probably also guess that he’s had a career as a model. He’s chiseled and has the look and we could probably forgive him if he had a Drinkin’ Problem.

Chad Brownlee

Chad Brownlee - CNE 2017 Boots and Hearts 2017 - Chad BrownleeAnother good Canadian boy, this hockey player turned country star has it in spades. Chad Brownlee knows how to work the stage, the ladies scream for him every time we see him, and when he sings sweetly, it’s everything you dream about.

Chris Lane

Chris Lane-Trackside_Fest Chris Lane Sugar BeachChris Lane is a 33 year old from North Carolina, sharing a laid back cool that drips with sexy. And with his twin brother Cory on the drums, it’s double trouble when this country boy takes the stage in front of a crowd.

Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016 Sam. Hunt. This quarterback turned country superstar drive women wild, and put tears in their eyes when he proposed to his fiancée. On award show carpets and on stage, Sam Hunt is sexy as hell.

Jake Owen

Jake Owen BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Barefoot Jake has that Florida beach cool sexy going on. Long hair or short, Jake is sexy – and when he pushes that sweaty hair back and does his thing… he nails it!

Andrew Hyatt

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew Hyatt Andrew Hyatt in the shower - Side Effects Tour - OshawaAndrew Hyatt loves to work with his hands, he’s got a great beard, and this newly minted top 10 charting rising country star from Sudbury is picking up new crushes in every city he visits.

1 month ago

In Memoriam: Gord Downie Legacy, Influence, and Top 10

Gord Downie was an artist, activist, and great Canadian. His legacy and legend will be remembered for the music he made, the political and social change he sought, and the way he touched music fans from coast-to-coast, across generations, and with a reach that can not be understated.

After a brave, public, and well-documented fight against cancer (glioblastoma), Downie died on October 17, 2017, leaving his family (including four children), his bandmates, friends, and countless fans to remember the man they knew and loved.

If you ever had the chance to see Gord Downie on stage, doing what he loved, you got a look at something special. Whether he was touring with The Tragically Hip, playing his own solo music, collaborating with The Sadies, or any number of other appearances he made during his long and fruitful career, he was the one to watch. To see him dance and move and feel the lyrics and music was almost hypnotic. There were always moments of magic hidden in plain sight when Downie was doing his thing.

photo: Mike Homer

Note: I will admit to sometimes being frustrated when trying to sing along to my favourite songs from The Tragically Hip when Gord was singing them live. The way he transformed them into something more than the record version was hard for me to understand and explain – but having seen more live music now, I get it. And he owned it.

To explain the influence that Gord Downie has had on musicians in Canada is probably a fool’s errand. There are too many. There’s too much. There is just no way to list everyone that took something from the lyric writing, performing, passion, and perseverance that the man, his bandmates, and his career. We see glimpses of Downie when we watch Max Kerman fronting the Arkells, and we can hear Hip-like cadence and feel in singer/songwriter tracks and new rock hits from all across Canada. We’re confident in saying that isn’t going to change any time soon.

And to the general public, the influence is real as well. The work that Downie did to help put Indigenous rights into the light will not be forgotten. And the songs. My God, the songs he sang will continue to be sung.

Walk into any karaoke bar and wait a little while, you’re likely to hear a song from The Hip. And if you want even higher odds, go find a campfire anywhere in Canada – if there’s an acoustic guitar we can almost guarantee that someone is going to strum Wheat Kings or Bobcaygeon.

Campfire Guitar

On August 20, 2016, when The Tragically Hip played the K-Rock Centre in Kingston, ON to wrap their tour, a nation stopped to watch. The CBC reported that nearly 12 million viewers took in the feed. In Toronto, the CNE bandshell stage schedule was adjusted so they could show the concert on a big screen. Across the country there were viewing parties filled with family, friends, and fans. And together we watched as a real life musical hero to so many stood tall, sang, dripped with sweat, cried, and pour every ounce of what he had into the show that we won’t be able to forget.

At home, I cried. I watched and I sang and I sat in silence and I cried as the band played through a monster set and Downie sang with everything he had in him. It was beautiful.

Canadian movie lovers will remember Downie as well from his appearances in films like One Week (2008) and even his quick cameo with the rest of The Hip in Men With Brooms (2002). This clip from One Week is sobering, and will be one of the non-concert performance moments that I remember most of his career…

With the Order of Canada, a star on the Walk of Fame, Canadian Music Hall of Fame status, awards for his music, and recognition for his work outside of it, Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip achieved more than most – and just as much as he deserved.

We all knew this day was coming. This shouldn’t have surprised us. But still, it feels like I’ve been blindsided by the news. Maybe I thought there was still time. Maybe Downie’s relentless fight and work in the face of what was coming tricked me. Either way, this hurts.

Canada lost a legend when Gord Downie died. But his stories, his legacy, his inspiration and influence will live on and be remembered.

Rest easy Mr. Downie. Thank you for everything.

Gord Downie Cheers

Joshua’s Top 10 Tracks, The Tragically Hip

★ Wheat Kings
★ Bobcaygeon
★ Ahead By A Century
★ Courage
★ Grace, Too
★ Cordelia
★ Little Bones
★ Fiddler’s Green
★ Blow At High Dough
★ Gift Shop

We Are Thankful For Music

As Thanksgiving is celebrated in homes this weekend, we would like to stop for a moment and give thanks for all that we have and are able to do.

As music fans, we are thankful for the abundance of new music we are able to discover and listen to on a regular basis. Whether those new songs and albums come from artists that we already know, or they are sent to us by bands that we’ve never heard of, those opportunities are awesome and we’re lucky and thankful to have them.

We are also thankful for the chances we have to see so much live music. At small clubs, on big stages, and at major festivals, we get to see artists sweat and scream and croon and cry as they give part of themselves to the audience in front of them. There’s nothing in the world quite like the feeling we get when an artist and audience find each other perfectly, and we’re thankful for those rare moments.

The Lazys - crowd - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

Trish and I also need to express our deep gratitude for the fact that we have always felt safe when attending these live shows. Yes, there are moments of anxiety that sweep through us sometimes, but when all is said and done, we’re free to watch, listen, document, and enjoy the experience that we’re having. We know that not everyone gets that. We cry and grieve for the lives lost in Manchester and Las Vegas this year by live music fans. We are grateful for the first responders who helped to save as many lives as possible. And we send our thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by those events.

We’re thankful as well for music fans. Across all genres, from all countries, music fans are amazing communities that come together to celebrate big hits, sing along to their favourites, and give artists the opportunity to keep doing what they love and are meant to do. We get to see a lot of familiar faces when we go to concerts, award shows, and conferences, and these fans are what keep the wheel turning.

Crowd Canadian Flag St. Vincent WayHome Art and Music Festival

And those artists that the fans love, we are thankful for them too! We have had the good fortune to meet, get to know, and hug it out with some amazingly talented musicians and singers and performers over the years. And while some, like Scott Weiland, may no longer be with us, we’re thankful for all of the opportunities we have to share the same time and space with talented and driven individuals.

At the risk of forgetting important people in our lives, we also want to express our thanks for our family, friends and collaborators. These are the people that help us to live our lives, support us, push us forward, and allow us to do what we do. Thank you to them.

Lastly, though not the last thing on the list of things we’re thankful for in our lives, we are thankful for music. The emotion, escape, therapy, love, comfort, and inspiration that music provides to us is immeasurable and invaluable. As content creators in the music world, we rely on music… but as fans and ordinary day-to-day people, music is vital to our lives and we can’t imagine a world without it.

We are thankful for music.

Danger Bees - Adelaide Hall - Canadian Music Week 2017High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 Silver Love Club - Adelaide Hall - Canadian Music Week 2017 Washboard Union CMT Music Fest CMT Music Fest - Leah Daniels CMT Music Fest - Tom Cochrane Meghan Patrick-CMT MusicFest Dear RougeThank You Neon Sign

15 Boots & Hearts 2018 Artist Predictions

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

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

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

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

Boots and Hearts 2018 Headliners

Chris Young

Chris Young Trackside Fest 2016

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

Kenny Chesney

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

Little Big Town

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

Zac Brown Band

CMT Music Fest - Zac Brown Band

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

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

Supporting Talent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maren Morris

A post shared by Maren Morris (@marenmorris) on


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

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

Bonus

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

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

Leave a comment and tell me!

The Project: Lindsay Ell Album Review

The long awaited debut full-length album from Lindsay Ell is finally here, and it was… worth the wait. Lindsay’s skills and talents shine through all 12 tracks on The Project, starting with Waiting On You and finishing with Worth The Wait.

The Calgary born – Nashville based, singer/songwriter/guitar hero has created a record that shows off a lot of angles. There are bluesy guitar licks, catchy lyrics that fit the modern country landscape, and slowed down numbers that will make you feel the feels. It’s a complete package that isn’t scared to be itself and present personality and varied musical tastes to the world and the listeners. And with songwriting credits on nine of the 12 songs on the album, Ell holds a true sense of ownership on these songs, not just as the woman who recorded them in the studio and plays them on the road, but as their creator.

Fans of Lindsay Ell have been aware of her talent for a long time – they’ve seen her at the Opry, on tour with headliners like Brad Paisley, and at giant festivals like Boots & Hearts, but new fans are coming, and this album is going to bring them in. Appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and the Today show have helped to increase awareness, and her performances on those shows were the hook. Seeing Lindsay play and sing is enough to draw you in. If you’re going to be a fan, it’s going to happen fast.

Lindsay Ell BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Related: Lindsay Ell at Boots & Hearts 2016!

The Project is very similar. Press play and give it 10 minutes and you’ll have heard Waiting On You, Champagne, and Castle. By that time you’ll have been able to get a feel for what’s coming and what Lindsay Ell is sharing. And, if you’ve made it through those three songs, we highly recommend that you keep going with the next nine. You don’t want to miss the power in her voice on tracks like Space, and if you don’t stick around for Always Kiss The Girl and Worth The Wait, you’re missing out.

We’ve had the good fortune to see Lindsay Ell over the last few years as she’s gained momentum and come back to Canada for award shows and festivals. We’ve seen her talent up close, we’ve marveled at her guitar skills, we’ve sat back and listened to her voice, and we’ve been all in, all the way through.

Lindsay Ell BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

And if we had to make a prediction now, we’d tell you that there’s more of the same (and more) coming for Lindsay Ell. This album, and her willingness to play every stage she can get on will take her to new places in front of new faces, and it’s going to pay off.

If you haven’t seen Lindsay live yet, listen to The Project, and then get a ticket when she comes to town. And if you have seen her live, press play on The Project and imagine her playing these new songs when you see her again!

Lindsay Ell, The Project Track List

1. Waiting on You
2. Champagne
3. Castle
4. Good
5. Wildfire
6. Mint
7. White Noise
8. Criminal
9. Just Another Girl
10. Space
11. Always Kiss the Girl
12. Worth the Wait

Lindsay Ell BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Boots & Hearts 2017 Preview: Day-to-Day Schedule and Stage Lineup

Boots & Hearts 2017 is coming, and we’re getting ready for all of the live music action that we can handle. And now we know which day, stage, and time we’ll be catching our favourite country music artists from August 10 to 13th in Oro-Medonte, ON.

Now, we know that there are going to be some overlaps in artists you want to see, so it’s important that you start planning now for your busy days at the festival. Don’t be afraid to run from one to stage to the other so you get the chance to see as many of these acts as possible.

And, when there’s a time slot that doesn’t have an artist you know, we highly recommend taking that chance to discover some new music – you might just fall in love with what you hear.

So, without any further ado, here is the 2017 Boots & Hearts day-to-day stage schedule…

Thursday, August 10

Front Porch Stage

Emerging Artist Showcase
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Vanessa Marie Carter
7:25pm – 8:05pm
Love and Theft
8:30pm – 9:15pm
Doc Walker
9:40pm – 11:10pm
KICX Late Night Dance Party
11:30pm – 1:00am

Doc Walker Boots and Hearts

Friday, August 11

Main Stage

Leaving Thomas
2:15pm – 2:45pm
Endless Summer
3:15pm – 3:45pm
Brooke Eden
4:15pm – 5:00pm
Frankie Ballard
5:30pm – 6:30pm
Dan + Shay
7:15pm – 8:30pm
Keith Urban
9:15pm – 10:45pm

Dan + Shay Boots and Hearts

Front Porch Stage

Sykamore
2:00pm – 2:25pm
Andrew Hyatt
2:45pm – 3:15pm
Jessica Mitchell
3:35pm – 4:20pm
Drake White and the Big Fire
4:45pm – 5:45pm
Kiefer Sutherland
6:15pm – 7:15pm
KX Country Late Night Dance Party
11:00pm – 1:00am

CMT Music Fest - Drake White & The Big Fire

SiriusXM House

Music Row Happy Hour with Buzz Brainard
4:00pm – 8:00pm

Saturday, August 12

Main Stage

The Abrams
2:30pm – 3:00pm
JJ Shiplett
3:30pm – 4:00pm
Aubrie Sellers
4:30pm – 5:15pm
Chad Brownlee
5:45pm – 6:45pm
Eli Young Band
7:30pm – 8:45pm
Brantley Gilbert
9:30pm – 11:00pm

Chad Brownlee Boots and Hearts 2015

Front Porch Stage

Patrick Dorie
2:00pm – 2:30pm
Nice Horse
3:00pm – 3:30pm
Jesse Gold
4:00pm – 4:30pm
Lindi Ortega
5:00pm – 6:00pm
Tucker Beathard
6:30pm – 7:30pm
Country 105 Late Night Dance Party
11:00pm – 1:00am

Tucker Beathard - The Rivoli

Sunday, August 13

Main Stage

Alee
2:00pm – 2:25pm
Dani Strong
2:45pm – 3:15pm
Delta Rae
3:40pm – 4:40pm
Cold Creek County
5:30pm – 6:30pm
Brett Eldredge
7:15pm – 8:30pm
Luke Bryan
9:15pm – 11:00pm

Luke Bryan Boots and Hearts

Front Porch Stage

Tomi Swick*
2:25pm – 2:55pm
Kelly Prescott
3:15pm – 3:45pm
Midland
4:30pm – 5:30pm
Jess Moskaluke
6:15pm – 7:15pm
Country 101.1, 93.5, 106.7 Late Night Dance Party
11:00pm – 1:00am

Jess Moskaluke Trackside Fest 2016

*Tomi Swick replaces Colt Walker on the B&H schedule.

105 Years Strong: 2017 Calgary Stampede Preview

Words cannot explain how excited I am to be a part of the Calgary Stampede again this year! And if you’ve been following the weather forecast, like myself, you already know it’s going to be a lot better than last year! But don’t worry about the 30+ temperatures the next two weeks, there’s tons of amazing food trucks with cold treats that will keep you cool throughout your stay!

I don’t even know where to start with all the jaw dropping, mouthwatering flavours that the midway has to offer. I am most excited to try the Double Bacon Mac N’ Cheese Dog, Clam Chowder Poutine, Deep Fried Jell-O, Maple Walnut Cotton Candy, Unicorn White Hot Chocolate and The Chili Lime Popcorn Shrimp Perogies! It’s a good thing there’s so much to do at The Stampede because I’m going to have to walk off all the taste testing i’ll be doing.

Since its Canada’s 150th birthday this year The Stampede has added even more musical acts to the powerful lineup! The Coca Cola stage, I believe, will be the biggest crowd pleaser of them all. Over 30 insanely talented bands/solo artists will be taking over the stage through the two weeks.

My top ten acts who I can’t wait to see are…

Ria Mae
Nelly Furtado
Marianas Trench
Alessia Cara
July Talk
Michela Sheedy
Jonathan Roy
USS
Theory of a Deadman
Sabrina Carpenter

All of these performs are so different one another, their style, sound and stage presence, I cannot wait to capture it.

Josh Ramsay Marianas Trench ACCJuly Talk - The Edge Sugar Beach Session

Another stage that I absolutely loved last year was The Nashville North Tent. This tent is full of cold drinks and two stepping until the early morning! Over 40 entertaining acts will keep you dancing the night away, such as; The Dungarees, The Cadillac Three, Endless Summer, Cam, Doc Walker, Jess Moskaluke, The Dead South, Cold Creek County, Tristan Horncastle, Jojo Mason, Chris Buck Band and Meaghan Patrick just to name a few. One act I am particularly excited to see is Cam, I remember hearing her first song on the radio Burning House and automatically falling in love with her soft effortless voice, since then I have become a huge fan! And have you seen her hair? She has to have the most beautiful hair in all of country music.

JoJo Mason BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016Meghan Patrick BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

One thing I love so much about the lineup this year is the diverse music varieties. Whether you like rock, pop, alternative, folk, country, soul, acoustic or EDM, there is something for everyone.

I have to say this year after viewing The Saddledome’s lineup I might have screamed like a little girl. After scrolling through the lineup list my heart dropped into my stomach when I saw Usher was coming as one of the main headliners. I couldn’t believe it! I remember forcing my poor father to constantly play his cds in the car when I was younger and now I finally get to see him live and singing every song… sadly dad won’t be joining. I can’t wait to see what Usher brings to the stage, I truly believe he’s going to put on a show that we won’t forget.

A couple of other events I am extremely excited to see this year are the chuckwagon races, bull riding and the incredible Transalta Grandstand show that ends the evening with fireworks lighting up the whole sky! If you enjoy fireworks, you need to make sure this is on your “must do” list because I have never seen such a spectacular light show in my life. I am filled with so much excitement and adrenaline I don’t know if i’ll be able to sleep before the kick off Stampede parade. I encourage those looking for a new experience or wanting a fun adventure to remember forever, to come on down to Calgary and experience these lifetime memories The Stampede has to offer! This city is incredible and I can’t wait to show everyone all the photographs and memories we make this year!

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

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!

5 Quick Questions with Jason Benoit!

We caught up with Newfoundland’s Jason Benoit during Canadian Country Music Week in London, ON and had the chance to sit down with the All Wanna Party singer to play through 5 quick questions.

Jason has been putting in work on the country music scene, and we know there’s a lot more coming to add to what we’ve seen and heard in the last couple of years. And we’re looking forward to all of it.

Learn a little more about Jason Benoit and check out photos from our sit down and from his performance at Boots & Hearts 2016.

Q1: If you were on a long drive and could only listen to 1 album on repeat, what would you choose?

Jason: The Eagles, Greatest Hits

I love The Eagles, and am currently hunting for old vinyl to add to our collection – so I have no argument with Jason wanting to sing along to songs like Take It Easy, Lyin’ Eyes, and Take It To The Limit on a long drive.

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Q2: What is the first song you remember knowing all of the words to so you could sing along?

Jason: Chattahoochee, by Alan Jackson

This is a solid answer. It’s fast, fun, and about as classic as 90s country gets. Grab your ripped jeans and water skis!

Q3: When you’re not working on music, what is your favourite down-time hobby?

Jason: Carpentry and working with reclaimed wood.

Jason is a hands on kinda guy, so when he has the time he likes to dig into a project at home and make something. I wonder if I should tell him that I need some pieces for the condo?

Jason Benoit BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

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

Jason: A guitar.

Makes sense to us. I mean, if you’re going to write a country song and it’s going to be guitar driven, you’d be in good shape to start there.

Q5: Which artist do you think we should be paying more attention to right now than we probably are?

Jason: Chris Thile.

Thile is a hell of a musician, and Jason is right, we probably don’t pay enough attention to him. Check him out on the mandolin with Nickel Creek, and as the new host of U.S. radio program, A Prairie Home Companion.

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1 year ago

CCMA Awards 2016: Saturday Night w/ Doc Walker, Jesse Slack & Johnson Crook Photo Review

On Saturday we were pulling double duty covering both the Canadian Country Music Association‘s First 2016 Awards Ceremony and the Outdoor Stage. Night after night, the crowd at the Country Music Week’s outdoor stage continued to grow and by Saturday evening the Talbot Street/Covent Market space was jammed with concert goers.

Opening up was Johnson Crook, followed by Jesse Slack and fan favourite, Doc Walker.

First up from Toronto was one of our favourites, Johnson Crook. The boys look happy and right at home playing on the big stage!
johnson-crook-ccma-16 johnson-crook-ccma-12 johnson-crook-ccma-10 johnson-crook-ccma-8 johnson-crook-ccma-7 johnson-crook-ccma-6 johnson-crook-ccma-3 johnson-crook-ccma-1Next up was Jesse Slack, we’ve been following Jesse but this is our first time seeing live. We like what we see!
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It’s been a while but kids, Doc Walker is back!
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We hear that Dead Flowers were awesome and you can check out The London Free Press’ coverage here!

1 year ago

Peller Estates Wine Country Fare 2016 Photo Review!

Do you like photos of country musicians up on stage and doing their thing? Well then you’re in the right place!

We were at Peller Estates for the 3rd annual Wine Country Fare and got to see Brad Battle, Jessica Mitchell, Ty Owens, Meghan Patrick, and Blackjack Billy take their turns up on the stage for some singing and dancing and jumping and partying.

Oh, and Blackjack Billy had a special guest join them to… you could say Tim brought the thunder.

Check out this super sized photo review and stay tuned for more pics from more shows and festivals coming soon!

Jessica Mitchell

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Brad Battle

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Ty Owens

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Meghan Patrick

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Blackjack Billy

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1 year ago

Havelock Country Jamboree 2016 Photo Review: Tebey

Canadian country star, Tebey hit the Havelock Country Jamboree stage on Friday night to play for thousands of country music fans, and we were there to take it all in and document the action in photos.

Have a look and be ready for more photos from more shows and festivals coming soon!

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1 year ago

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Aaron Pritchett, The Reklaws & Kaitlin Kozell

Boots & Hearts was full of amazing country talent in 2016… some of it well known to Canadian audiences, some of it well known to the B&H crowd, and some of it on the cusp of breaking through.

And we put together three artists that check off those tiers in one photo review right here!

Check out the photos of Aaron Pritchett, The Reklaws, and Kaitlin Kozell – three artists who hit the Boots and Hearts stage and showed the country music fans assembled in the summer heat that they know how to work a stage, and can sing their boots off!

Aaron Pritchett

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The Reklaws

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Kaitlin Kozell

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1 year ago

Good Night For Going Nowhere: Autumn Hill at Boots & Hearts 2016!

On the first full day of Boots & Hearts 2016, Autumn Hill hit the main stage and continued to show us why we see them as one of country’s brightest rising stars in Canada, and truthfully, one of our favourites.

The opportunity to see Tareya and Mike backed by a full band was also a treat, something we haven’t seen in a while… and we loved it. And while it’s almost an embarrassment of riches to have a lead guitar player in the band when Mike has his own six string strapped on, nobody in the Friday sunshine was complaining at all.

Note: I really could watch Mike play guitar all day. Pair him with Lindsay Ell as my two favourite guitar playing singers of the weekend at BH5!

🍂🏔 #autumnhill #country #countrymusic #bh5 #bootsandhearts #bh5 #bootslife

A photo posted by M E A G A N J U K E S✨💕 (@meagaanjaay) on

The smiles and energy from the stage were noticeable, and they worked to get the impressive afternoon crowd into the action early and often. It was great to see pockets of dancing throughout the fans in the field, and to see many, many voices singing back at Autumn Hill as they rolled through their set.

That set, btw, included some of our favourite songs from Favourite Mistake and AnchorAnything At All, Return Policy, If She Wants This Town, Burn, Good Night For Going Nowhere, Mixtape, Memphis (w/ an I Love Rock & Roll interlude), and Blame were all hits with the crowd. And when the band added in Livin’ On A Prayer and Somebody Like You, the singing continued and everyone was all in.

Note: The bluegrass breakdown that Autumn Hill put together at the end of Livin’ On A Prayer was top notch and one of the most unexpectedly fun things I’ve seen on stage in some time. High five.

Autumn Hill has released 2 albums and 8 singles. The first 7 singles all found the top 25, and Blame got as high as number 4 on the Canadian country chart… we’re 100% sure there are more hits coming, and we’re looking forward to seeing just how high Good Night For Going Nowhere can climb as the current single.

If you don’t know these albums yet, this is our recommendation for you to go and listen now. Today. Find them and just listen to the songs. Sing along to the ones you know, replay the ones you don’t, and enjoy.

And we’ll see you in the crowd the next time we’re there to watch Autumn Hill put on a show!

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1 year ago

Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Tim Hicks!

Y’all know Tim Hicks.

He’s the Southern Ontario country singer and family man responsible for bangers like Here Comes The Thunder, So Do I, and Hell Raisin’ Good Time… and his latest single, Stompin’ Ground!

Well, for the fourth time in five years, Hicks was back at Boots & Hearts where the fans always love him, sing with him, cheer for him, and generally just enjoy the hell out of the show. It’s no surprise really, Tim Hicks has become a crowd favourite through his extensive touring schedule, good nature with the fans, and the energy that he brings to the stage every single time we’ve seen him.

Oh, and Tim also made a special appearance on the SiriusXM fan stage with The Highway’s Buzz Brainard – nice little bonus action!

And we know we’ll see it again!

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1 year ago
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