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CTV’s The Launch: Season 1 Wrap and Fan Vote

CTV’s The Launch wrapped a successful season one with six singles by six emerging artists released to the world.

Week-by-week we watched as a Canadian talent came to the microphone in front of Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta and his accompanying mentors, hoping to find themselves with the chance to record, perform and release that week’s song. And while we were treated to some very, very talented auditions and performances, only six artists moved on and will forever have the recognition of be launched in season one.

Logan Staats, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, The Static Shift, POESY, Jayd Ink, and Ethan Young all did admirable work in The Launch studio and on the live performance stage. They proved to the mentors, and to music fans, that they had what it took to be the right choice, and they’ve taken advantage of it.

And now, we want to know what you think!

Vote in our poll and tell us who you think did the best job on The Launch. Vote for your favourite song, or artist, and share through your socials to let them know you loved it!

If you don’t have them already, here are their Twitter handles – @LoganStaats | @ewxjfmusic | @TheStaticShift | @poesyofficial | @jayd_ink | @ethanyoungmusic

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If you need a refresher on any of the tracks, or just really want to jam out to your favourite right now, scroll down to your picks and hit play on any/all of the videos.

But don’t forget to vote!

Logan Staats – The Lucky Ones

Logan Staats, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine – Ain’t Easy

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

The Static Shift – Wide Awake

The Static Shift, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

POESY – Soldier Of Love

POESY, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

Jayd Ink – Codes

Jayd Ink, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

Ethan Young – Giants

Ethan Young, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions


2018 Havelock Country Jamboree Lineup Announcement

The 29th annual Havelock Country Jamboree is set for action this August, and promises to give fans a weekend of country music hits.

The festival, one of the largest in Ontario, has a long history of bringing hit makers and fan favourites from all over Canada and the United States to their Twin Stages. And in 2018 they will continue that tradition with some of the best and brightest in the genre.

Today, the Havelock Country Jamboree announced the addition of Dean Brody, Ned LeDoux, Genevieve Fisher, Mudmen, Kris Barclay, and Dave Bush to the 2018 lineup. These six newly added acts bring the current total of announced names to 16, including headliners Toby Keith, Tim Hicks, and legends Tanya Tucker and Charlie Major.

With more names left to come, Havelock is looking like it’s going to be a great time this summer, and a four day weekend that country music fans will be thrilled to be a part of.

Have a look at the full list and day-to-day breakdown of the 2018 Havelock Country Jamboree lineup so far, and stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the summer festival season!

2018 Havelock Country Jamboree Lineup

Thursday, August 16, 2018

🎙 Dean Brody
🎙 Hunter Brothers
🎙 Mudmen
🎙 Kris Barclay

Dean Brody - CNE Bandshell 2016

Friday, August 17, 2018

🎙 Toby Keith
🎙 Doc Walker
🎙 Charlie Major
🎙 Ned LeDoux
🎙 Greg Williams

Saturday, August 18, 2018

🎙 Tim Hicks
🎙 Tanya Tucker
🎙 JJ Shiplett
🎙 The Good Brothers
🎙 Genevieve Fisher

Sunday, August 19, 2018

🎙 Shania Twin
🎙 Dave Bush

3 days ago

Brett Kissel’s We Were That Song Tour Sells Out Toronto

Brett Kissel rolled into Toronto for two sold-out shows on Saturday, turning the Danforth Music Hall into a honky tonk.

The We Were That Song Tour brought Kissel (the reigning Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year) and Dan Davidson to the stage, thrilling GTA country fans. From Davidson’s energy in the opening slot, to Kissel’s cover of Callin’ Baton Rouge to end the show, there was no shortage of memorable moments for the crowd.

Brett Kissel and band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

First on the stage, as the fans filed into the Danforth Music Hall, was Dan Davidson. Fresh off wins for Male Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, and Song of the Year at the Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards, the rocker turned country singer went full speed ahead from the jump.

With a full band on stage with him, ramping up the sound, and filling the room with music and energy, Davidson wasted no time getting into things. And while his set was short and tight, country fans still had plenty of chances to sing along with favourites like Found and Barn Burner. It was also great to hear a couple of our favourites in Say We Did and No Last Call from DD’s 2017 EP, Songs For Georgia.

The Toronto fans in attendance also got to be part of a music video shoot for Davidson’s latest single, Let’s Go There, which is always a thrill.

It’s safe to say that Dan Davidson is an artist that Canadian country music fans should get used to hearing on radio and seeing on cross-country tours. This dude has got it, and we’ll continue to be happy to experience it every chance we get.

After the brief changeover of equipment, the lights came back up on stage, and Brett Kissel and his band came out to main event Saturday night’s festivities. The immediate pop from the crowd was loud, the loudest we’d heard to that point, and served as an excellent welcome to the Canadian Kid.

Kissel and the six dudes playing with him in the band, went all in from the very start, opening with the tour’s title track, We Were That Song. And from there things only picked up as Brett and the boys rolled through a 21 song set, including a medley of country favourites, covers of huge hits, and his own songs.

The release of the We Were That Song album in December 2017 gave Brett Kissel 13 new songs to work with and share with fans. But what we saw in his live show in Toronto was a well-executed mix of songs from all three of his albums (Started With A Song, Pick Me Up, We Were That Song) that gave the audience a chance to sing along to their favourites from his entire career to date.

With cameras rolling for an upcoming project (we’ll let you know when we know more) the Toronto crowd kept the energy level high all night. There was a reciprocating feeling flowing from Brett and the band on stage, to the packed general admission audience, and back again.

Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

We asked Kissel about country music in Toronto in our pre-tour interview, and he told us, “Deep down inside, I believe people from Toronto have always loved their country music… 2 shows at the Danforth Music Hall proves that. Having record crowds for the “country night” at the CNE proves that. Toronto loves its’ country music – and we love Toronto!”

And during the show, as the Danforth Music Hall attendees sang and cheered and danced along to the music, Brett Kissel looked out to the crowd and exclaimed…

“Anybody that says country music isn’t big in Toronto… that’s bullshit!”

There was no shortage of moments with huge cheers throughout the night And while we can’t list them all, here are three that made a lot of impact…

1) When Brett sang “with my 5% beer and Canadian girls”. It’s loud every time we hear it, and Saturday night was no different!

2) During the medley, Kissel’s guitar player Matty played the opening riff to Shania Twain’s Man! I Feel Like A Woman, and the place damn near exploded!

3) At the end of the set, after Started With A Song and before the encore, Brett threw a bunch of merch into the crowd, and predictably, everyone went nuts!

Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

There was another moment we loved, even though it may not have drawn the biggest cheer of the night. After Brett finished his medley, he played Cecilia, from his new record, and named for his wife. We could see the real-life Cecilia in the crowd, smiling as he sang. It was sweet and special to catch a little glimpse of that.

From beginning to end, Brett Kissel showed that he has earned his spot in the upper echelon of Canadian country music stars. He is a bona fide headliner as he crosses Canada on what is now booked as the largest Canadian country music tour in history, and he is still growing.

As a performer, we’ve seen growth in the sound, style, and polish of his live shows and records. We’ve watched as he’s learned how to both take control of and connect with a crowd. And we’ve seen his rise from the first time we interviewed him and saw him live at Boots & Hearts 2014 to the We Were That Song Tour in 2018.

If you’ve seen any of the shows on the tour so far, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t seen the show, and it’s coming to your town soon, get a ticket if you can. And, we’d be willing to promise that Brett’s got a whole lot more left in the tank, and we’ll all have more chances to see him again!

Brett Kissel, We Were That Song Tour Setlist, Toronto

🎙 We Were That Song
🎙 Something You Just Don’t Forget
🎙 Guitars and Gasoline
🎙 Canadian Kid
🎙 She’s Desire
🎙 Raise Your Glass
🎙 Cool With That
🎙 Pick Me Up
🎙 Drink, Cuss, Or Fish
🎙 Tough People Do
🎙 I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair
🎙 Airwaves
🎙 Boot Scootin’ Boogie / Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) / I Swear / Goodbye Earl / Man, I Feel Like A Woman
🎙 Cecilia
🎙 Anthem
🎙 Damn!
🎙 Ordinary Day w/ Dan Davidson
🎙 Started With A Song
🎙 3, 2, 1
🎙 Thank God I’m A Country Boy / Honey I’m Good
🎙 Callin’ Baton Rouge

We Were That Song Tour Photos – Brett Kissel – Toronto

Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Matty McKay - Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Justin Kudding - Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel and band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel and band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

We Were That Song Tour Photos – Dan Davidson – Toronto

Dan Davidson on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Dan Davidson on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Dan Davidson on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Dan Davidson on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

5 days ago

New Music Spotlight: Dallas Smith and More

New Music from Dallas Smith, Shawn Austin, Dom Fricot, Oh Geronimo and Sarah Cripps

Welcome to an all Canadian New Music Spotlight! In this edition of the Spotlight, we’re giving you country, folk and alt-indie music for your listening pleasure.

Please have a listen and if the music speaks to you, click on the links, and add these artists to your social streams.

Let’s do this!

The Music

Artist: Dallas Smith
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Genre: Country
Related: Dean Brody, Chad Brownlee, Dan Davidson
Song: 50/50
Notes: The video gives us a look backstage, side stage, from the meet and greet both and the road. It has clips of fans and family, and the message is one that we should all heed, love ain’t always 50/50.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Shawn Austin
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Genre: Country
Related: Dallas Smith, Andrew Hyatt, Jojo Mason
Song: Get Me There
Notes: We teased about this single when we chatted with Shawn during the Side Effects tour, and we’re thrilled that it’s finally out to radio. Get Me There was released on February 9th and we expect this one to break the top 10 just like Paradise Found. We’re hoping for a video release soon.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Dom Fricot
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Genre: Alternative/Folk/Rock/Soul
Related: Counting Crows, Radiohead, Tori Amos, Bon Iver
Single: Help is Needed
Notes: I’m giving this video a sad warning. The song’s lyrics and video are powerful, and they made me cry. Music that provokes emotions, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Oh Geronimo
Hometown: Burlington, ON
Genre: Post Rock/Indie Folk
Related: The Elwins, Ivory Hours, Arkells
Single: Hope Is A Gateway Drug
Notes: I love this song, and I love this lyric video. The video treatment is arty and fun, but the lyrics are poignant and deliver a message that tells a story that’s relatable. The beating hearts impaled by daggers will stick with you.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Sarah Cripps
Hometown: Brighton, ON
Genre: Alternative / Indie / Roots
Related: Hollie Smith, Stone Marmot, PeleJA
Single: HEAT
Notes: Recorded live at one of our favourite venues in Toronto, the video is warm and inviting. I like the use of focus and the casualness of the bar in the background. Sarah’s vocals are haunting, but the lyrics are full of hope, promise and passion.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

7 days ago

Giants: The Launch’s Ethan Young Interview, Review, and 5 Quick Questions

CTV’s The Launch brought us our last new artist of season one as Ethan Young’s version of Giants was selected to be released after the sixth episode. The 13-year-old Toronto singer put everything he had into the recording and performing on the song, and it showed through the television screen that he loved what he was doing, and was ready for the opportunity.

We caught up with Ethan on the phone to talk about the show, the song, and what comes next for him.

Right off the top, we asked Ethan about his live performance of Giants, which he nailed. With his past as a member of the Mini Pops in mind, we wanted to know if he was able to rely on that experience. He told us that he has always kind of been the tall kid on stage flailing around a little, but now, with some experience, and on The Launch, he decided that he was just going to go for it. He gave everything he had, and it certainly showed, and it defiantly paid off.

We also asked about the recording process, with its tight time restrictions, and pressure. Ethan said that it was a little daunting to be in the studio space with Scott Borchetta (Big Machine Records), Boy George, Alessia Cara, and Stephan Moccio, but that he was able to get through it and record a vocal that he was happy with.

On the show, and on the phone, the idea of the song becoming his was present. And so we asked Ethan about new music, and what comes next. He told us that he and his manager have started working on an EP that should be ready for the world before the end of 2018. We followed up by asking if he enjoyed the creative process from the start of a song, which he didn’t get to be a part of on the show. Unsurprisingly, he said he does, and he sounds passionate about the project, which always bodes well.

While we were on the phone with Ethan, we got him to play a round of 5 Quick Questions with us. Here we go…

5 Quick Questions with Ethan Young

Q1) Do you remember the first song you performed?

Ethan Young) Rihanna’s Umbrella

Q2) What was your first album?

Ethan Young) Ethan told us that he was given a Taylor Swift album, that he played on repeat… often

Q3) Do you have a dream collaboration partner?

Ethan Young) Miley Cyrus because of her vibe, and her crazy talented voice.

Q4) Is there a City or Venue at the top of your wish list?

Ethan Young) The Air Canada Centre in Toronto is at the top of Ethan’s list… with the chance to play in London, England coming in second.

Q5) Is there an artist that you think people should be listening to more?

Ethan Young) Billie Eilish – he told us that he loves her EP, dont smile at me, and that he thinks more people should be paying attention to her music.

Before we wrapped our call and conversation with Ethan Young, we asked if there was a favourite memory that he’s taken from his experience on The Launch. He told us that his time with Alessia Cara (the Grammy-winning surprise bonus mentor on the episode) was a big highlight. He said that they had the chance to talk for about half an hour about everything that comes with making a career in music at a young age, the changes that it brings in life, and it gave Ethan both some easy to take in advice, as well as an opportunity to talk to someone who could relate to him and what he has already experienced in his young career.

With Giants already tearing up the airwaves, and more new music on the way, we’re sure that we’ll all be seeing more of Ethan Young in the very near future. Keep up with him on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to learn more about him, and to be ready for what he’s got coming!

Giants was written by Stephan Moccio and Talay Riley, and produced by Stephan Moccio.

7 days ago

Long Live The Night: The Reklaws EP Review and Interview

After a summer 2017 Top 15 hit with Hometown Kids, The Reklaws are back with three new tracks on their first EP of 2018, Long Live The Night.

We’ve been keeping track of Jenna and Stuart’s journey since we first saw them on the Boots & Hearts stage in 2013. In that time the sibling duo have grown as artists, travelled a winding road, and have now found themselves with an opportunity make their mark on country music in Canada.

We caught up with Jenna Walker of The Reklaws to talk about the new EP, more new music on the horizon, and more. As the duo prepared for the release of their first packaged presentation of music things were busy but certainly exciting. In fact, they only made their way back from Nashville mid-week to be home for Friday’s drop.

The Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse Toronto

And while the prospect of releasing new music is always exciting itself, The Reklaws had an extra exciting moment when their new single, Love Live The Night was released to radio on Wednesday. Jenna caught the track while she was in the car at the Starbucks drive-thru, snapping a quick video, and (as she told me) screaming at the girl in the window. Every time an artist hears one of their new songs on the radio for the first time they tell us how great it feels, and this one was no exception.

The single is a fun listen, packed with nostalgia-inducing lyrics that offer listeners a chance to close their eyes and remember their favourite nights. Jenna told us that the video will follow that same vibe, and when it’s released shortly, we’ll all see for ourselves. She told us to expect a more laid back clip than we saw for Hometown Kids. Long Live The Night will be less rowdy house party, and more intimate friend group enjoying their time together.

With Long Live The Night and the three songs included, The Reklaws hope to introduce themselves a little more to country music fans. Over the last few years, there have been single releases, but never an opportunity for listeners to dig in for more than one new track at a time. Now, they’re aiming for a deeper connection. Jenna also told us that these new songs will add immediately to their live shows, and they’re looking forward to the audience having heard them before.

The Reklaws Boots and Hearts 2015

We asked Jenna specifically about Wish You Were Beer, which we’ve been hearing live for about a year, and includes James Barker Band as featured guests on the track. As label mates, it makes perfect sense that JBB would hop on a song with The Reklaws, but Jenna told us that it was still very cool to have the boys say yes. She also said that the success the Barker boys have experienced over the last couple of years has set a bar and that they want to live up to it. The combo of the two young, energetic, fun loving acts makes for 3:46 of country music entertainment and should end up on a lot of playlists.

Note: While we were talking about Wish You Were Beer, we asked Jenna which James Barker Band song she would choose to have The Reklaws jump on for a collaboration. She gave us two choices, Good Together (the brand new single), and It’s Working. We’d be totally into either one of those choices but would also like to add Living The Dream to the mix, just for kicks.

And speaking of playlists, we couldn’t help but look back to last summer when Hometown Kids landed on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s summertime playlist for Spotify. We asked, to follow that up, who Jenna would most love to see add The Reklaws on a list of their own… and her answer of Ellen Degeneres was both unexpected and wonderful. We agreed that Ellen is one of the most amazing people on the planet and that it would be a whole lot of fun to be included on a playlist of songs she loved.

Last Call, the Jenna-driven, Girls Night Out worthy jam is a pop-infused track that includes slick production, a cute story, and strong vocals. Fans may recognize a comparison to Kelsea Ballerini in Jenna’s voice as she takes the lead and tells that boy in the bar to make his move. We didn’t tell her this on the phone, but we’ve already got a video treatment in mind that includes a night at the bar just before last call, some girlfriends singing into hairbrushes while they pre-drink at home, and maybe a happy ending for a new couple.

The Reklaws BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Before we wrapped our conversation with Jenna, we asked what goals The Reklaws have set for themselves. There’s a bunch the duo wants to accomplish, but it can essentially be broken down into three things…

1) Follow up Hometown Kids making the Top 15 by pushing forward into the Top 5 and finding themselves at #1. They feel it’s attainable with the work they’re putting in and the songs they have. And it would be cool to see.

2) Build a foundation of family and fans across Canada and into the United States as they continue to release new music and connect with audiences through live shows and radio.

3) Make this the Year of The Reklaws. With the release of the Long Live The Night EP, and more new music coming in 2018 as well, Jenna and Stuart Walker are ready to make a big move in their career. Keep your eyes on them, it’s going to be an exciting ride!

The Reklaws, Long Live The Night Tracklist

1. Long Live The Night
2. Last Call
3. Wish You Were Beer ft. James Barker Band

Bonus: Check out the videos of Hometown Kids and 5 Quick Questions we recorded with The Reklaws last fall at Rock N Horse Saloon in Toronto!

7 days ago
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