It’s been a hell of a year for Chris Stapleton.
That might be a simple statement, and it probably isn’t enough to truly describe just how big 2017 has been for the long haired, bearded singer-songwriter. But it’s a good place to start.
The calendar year included the release of two albums (From A Room: Volume 1, From A Room: Volume 2), a massive tour, shows on festival stages, and made a memory for life when he joined Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Wrigley Field on June 29.
And while Stapleton doesn’t seem like the kind of artist that chases trophies, the Kentucky native was named Male Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards in November. He also picked up the Album of the Year award for From A Room: Volume 1 on the same night, and Chris Stapleton has three Grammy nominations (Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Song) that we’ll find out about in late January 2018.
On May 27, 2017 Stapleton released the first of his two albums in the year. And it was immediately clear that success was coming. Fans and critics bought in, with From A Room: Volume 1 debuting at #1 in Canada and #2 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. In fact, the US album sales in week one were the most sales for a country album in one week in more than a year and a half.
The country, bluesy, southern rock touched music flows from track to track on both of the albums – guided by Stapleton’s rich voice and songwriting chops. And at nine songs and 32 minutes each, the two records compliment each other well. Listening to one may leave you feel like you want more… but listening to both won’t make you feel like you’ve overdosed on the music.
We could use Stapleton as the start of a long and in depth discussion about the country music single charts, because it feels like Broken Halos and Either Way should have been top ten hits. They weren’t, but did hit #13 and #17 respectively, and didn’t do anything to slow the momentum that Chris Stapleton has created over the last few years, and particularly in 2017.
Chris Stapleton also endeared himself to the internet in 2017, most recently on Jimmy Kimmel Live with guest host Chris Pratt. If you haven’t seen the clip, press play on the video here and watch Stapleton and Pratt sing (I’ve Had) Time Of My Life, and get up to some fun antics.
Stapleton also participated in Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets, Country Music Edition #3 this November, following up his involvement in 2016. Check those out too!
Before Chris Stapleton became a fan favourite after the release of his debut album, Traveller, and his #1 single, Tennessee Whiskey, he was known as Nashville’s favourite singer. He was a hit songwriter. He was a dude that worked hard and had the respect of the people he worked with and in proximity to in the industry.
And now, after three albums, hundreds of live shows, hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify and YouTube, and well deserved award wins, Chris Stapleton is the well-known and beloved artist that he deserves to be.
2017 gave country music fans 18 new songs from Chris Stapleton on two albums. And while part of me wished for all of the songs in May, it was awesome to listen to From A Room: Volume 2 when it was released on December 1.
To enjoy the songwriting and storytelling of Chris Stapleton is to love music. And if you’re looking for music to enjoy while you sit and drink your choice of Tennessee whiskey or Kentucky bourbon, Mr. Stapleton’s songs are damn fine choices.
So, do yourself a favour, pour yourself a drink, and hit play on From A Room: Volumes 1 and 2. There’s a reason you’re going to see them on Album of the Year posts all over the internet… and it’s because Chris Stapleton had a hell of a year in 2017.
From A Room: Volume 1 Tracklist
1. Broken Halos
2. Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning
3. Second One To Know
4. Up To No Good Livin’
5. Either Way
6. I Was Wrong
7. Without Your Love
8. Them Stems
9. Death Row
From A Room: Volume 2 Tracklist
2. Hard Livin’
3. Scarecrow In The Garden
4. Nobody’s Lonely Tonight
5. Tryin’ To Untangle My Mind
6. A Simple Song
7. Midnight Train To Memphis
8. Drunkard’s Prayer
Schyler London released her debut album, Love Rebellion, on October 27, and then, to show that she had a little more to give in 2017, she released My Favourite Time Of Year on November 20 to get in the Christmas spirit.
Hit play to listen to My Favourite Time Of Year now…
To celebrate the release of her Christmas single, and help get everyone ready for the holiday season and festivities, we asked Schyler to share her favourite holiday recipe with us (and you).
Schyler threw us a little bit of a curveball with her recipe, shying away from a traditional dessert, turkey, stuffing, or even holiday cocktail. But what she did share sounds pretty delicious, and she wants you to know that she’s serious about it…
In her words… “Are you ready? Meatballs. Yes, I’m serious.”
Schyler London’s Favourite Meatball Recipe
What You Need
Small mixing bowl
Large mixing bowl
1/2 cup Milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
1/2 cup Fine Breadcrumbs
1 large Egg
1 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 cup Italian Parsley, finely minced
1 pound Ground Meat, beef, pork, turkey, chicken, or veal, or a mix
1/2 cup Onion, finely chopped or grated
1 clove Garlic, finely minced
1. Combine the milk and bread crumbs: Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and set aside while preparing the rest of the meatball mix. The breadcrumbs will absorb the milk and become soggy.
2. Whisk the egg, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and parsley: Whisk the egg in a large bowl until blended. Whisk in the salt and a generous quantity of black pepper, then whisk in the Parmesan and parsley.
3. Combine the egg and ground meat: Add the meat to the egg mixture. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the egg into the ground meat.
4. Add the onions and soaked breadcrumbs: Add the onions, garlic, and soaked breadcrumbs to the meat. Mix them thoroughly into the meat with your fingers. Try not to overwork the meat; pinch the meat between your fingers rather than kneading it.
5. Form the meat into meat balls: Pinch off a piece of the meat mixture and gently roll between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Continue shaping until all the meat is used.
6. To roast the meatballs in the oven: Arrange the meatballs spaced slightly apart on a baking sheet. Cook under the broiler for 20 to 25 minutes or bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes. (Watch closely if cooking meatballs made with lean meat.) The meatballs are done when cooked through and the outsides are browned, and when they register 165°F in the middle on an instant read thermometer. Serve immediately.
7. To cook the meatballs in sauce: Bring a marinara sauce or other pasta sauce to a simmer and add as many meatballs as will fit comfortably in the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. The meatballs are done when they’re cooked through and register 165°F in the middle on an instant read thermometer. Serve immediately.
As we tick down our advent calendars, we’re getting more and more ready for parties, presents, eggnog and holiday music. And to help us get even more in the Christmas spirit, Livy Jeanne is here to play a holiday edition of 5 Quick Questions.
And, if want an extra kick of Christmas, hit play on Livy’s rendition of Santa Baby!
Many thanks to Livy for playing…
In the words of Miss Livy Jeanne -> “HERE WE GOOOOOO!!!”
5 Quick Holiday Questions with Livy Jeanne
Q) Did you have a favourite Christmas songs when you were a kid?
Livy) My favourite xmas song when i was little was probably Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Q) Do you have a favourite Christmas song to play?
Livy) I really love the Cee Lo Green song What Christmas Means To Me.
Q) If you could partner up with any artist for a collaboration on a Christmas song, who would you choose?
Livy) If i could pick an artist to do a Christmas collab with it would probably be Michael Buble! He is literally the king of Christmas!
Q) What is your favourite beverage for a holiday party?
Livy) Eggnog. HANDS DOWN
Q) If you could only have 1 dessert after Christmas dinner, what would you choose?
Livy) Butter tarts!
And since Livy loves butter tarts, and we love butter tarts, we thought we’d share a sweet butter tart recipe with all of you!
The Best Classic Canadian Butter Tarts
2 ¼ cups flour pastry flour is best to use but all-purpose will do
1 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening Very cold and cut in cubes
1/2 cup butter Very cold and cut in cubes
6 tbsp ice water approximately, enough to bring the dough together
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
½ cup raisins substituting, pecans, walnuts or chocolate chips also make good variations
1) Pulse the cold butter and shortening into the flour sugar and salt using a food processor until the shortening or butter is reduced to pea sized pieces.
2) Sprinkle the water over the surface and toss with a fork until the water is just incorporated into the dough. Do not overwork the dough; handle it only enough so that the dough stays together.
3) Form the dough into two rounds about an inch thick.
4) Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for about a half hour.
5) Roll out on lightly floured surface. Cut into rounds with 4 inch cutter. Fit into muffin cups. Chill in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the filling. Cold pastry heading into a hot oven will always be flakier.
1) Combine all filling ingredients except raisins.
2) Mix well.
3) Sprinkle raisins in a single layer in the bottom of the pastry lined muffin cups.
4) Fill 2/3 full with syrup mixture.
5) Bake on bottom shelf of oven at 425 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes.
6) Cool completely on a wire rack and remove tarts from from pans.
There is considerable debate about whether the filling in a butter tart should be runny or firm. Preferences vary, especially geographically but if you want a firmer, less runny filling simply add an additional egg, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup and decrease the corn syrup to 1/4 cup.
Recipe via rockrecipes.com
Photos by Trish Cassling
As Toronto’s historic and legendary Horseshoe Tavern celebrates its 70th birthday with a series of concerts this December, we’re looking back at some of our favourite shows over the last few years.
We’ve been fortunate to see big names and up-and-comers take the stage at Queen Street West’s most iconic music venue, and we’re proud to have captured and shared the memories of those days and nights.
Look back with us at some of our favourite photos from The Horseshoe Tavern, and stay tuned for more coverage in the future as artists and fans continue to visit those checkerboard floors.
The Dead Love
Silver Love Club/ Mabel
One Bad Son
Birds of Bellwoods
The Julian Taylor Band
The Dead South
SounDrive Records Presents: Drivewire
It was an interesting atmosphere for a rock show. I would say they took the “All Ages” thing very literally. There were babes in strollers, kids breakdancing, white-haired men and women dancing and yes, headbanging. It was pretty cool. A good portion of the audience, at least early on in the evening, were family and friends of the bands and there is no support quite like family.
In case you were wondering, I can tell you that Brampton rocks and SounDrive Records will be back next year with three events instead of two!
If you missed this show, you can see Last Bullet on January 27th at The Horseshoe Tavern with one of our favourites, Crown Lands. Get your tickets here.
Related: 2017 SoundDrive Coverage
Photos of Last Bullet
Photos of Uforia
Photos of Break the Trend