Budweiser County Fair

Hometown Kids: The Reklaws Interview and Performance, Toronto

The first time we interviewed The Reklaws they were coming off of their 2013 Emerging Artist Showcase win at Boots & Hearts and preparing for their performance at the 2014 festival in Bowmanville, ON. A lot has changed in the three and a half years between then and our afternoon hangout in Toronto this fall.

The sister/brother duo of Jenna and Stuart Walker have had their share of ups and downs in their young musical careers, from singing on big stages at major festivals to playing shows to small crowds in dark rooms. From releasing songs to country radio to wondering if it was time to give it up and try something new. But through the journey so far, The Reklaws have managed to come out on the positive end of things, signing with Universal Music Canada and releasing their 2017 single, Hometown Kids.

The Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse Toronto

Before the country duo signed their Universal deal, they made the move to Nashville to write. They put their heads down, they worked day after day, and they learned that this whole thing was going to be a process. There was no overnight success coming, no snap of the fingers that was going to make them a household name, just more work and dedication and perseverance needed if they were going to accomplish the things they had set their hearts on from the beginning.

The Walker siblings also made a point that we’ve heard from other artists in the past… the people around you matter. The Reklaws have been careful and deliberate about the people they’ve surrounded themselves with over the last few years. Knowing that the support, guidance, and opportunities that they needed would come from the relationships they built.

While we hung out with Jenna and Stuart at Toronto’s Rock N Horse Saloon, we played a round of 5 Quick Questions. Hit play to learn their favourite Shania jams, childhood nicknames, and more!

That work, dedication, and perseverance that The Reklaws have displayed landed them in a pretty good spot this summer. Hometown Kids made a splash, offering The Reklaws the chance to play shows like The Budweiser County Fair in downtown Toronto, Trackside Music Festival in London, ON and The Kee To Bala on Canada Day. The track also ended up as the only country song on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Summer Playlist with Spotify.

It’s a banger of a track that puts all of the youthful enthusiasm and energy that The Reklaws have on display. And in listening to it, we can hear the growth in Jenna and Stuart’s voices since we first came across their music.

We asked about the summer of 2017 and the hometown kids told us that things were crazy – in the best way. Between their shows and appearances, they filmed and released a music video for the single, and put in work on the music that will make up their debut album in 2018. And while all that was happening, Hometown Kids was climbing the charts, breaking the top 20, marking the first time the duo had reached that plateau.

To see where The Reklaws are now without context is to see a young duo making their way into the country music mainstream in Canada. To see where they are now as part of a longer timeline is to see the culmination of hard work and patience and taking advantage of opportunities.

It’s a story that’s been lived and told many times by many artists, and one that never gets easier for any of the emerging acts involved. However, the upside, the top 20 singles, videos, record deals, interviews, features, TV appearances, concerts and more are the payoff for the dedication that The Reklaws and many others can look to as the reward for sticking it out.

It hasn’t been fast or easy, but Jenna and Stuart Walker are closer to reaching their dreams and achieving their goals than they’ve ever been before. They aren’t unknowns playing for a panel of judges at Boots & Hearts anymore.

Before we finished our hang with The Reklaws we got Jenna and Stuart to give us an acoustic performance of their breakout single, Hometown Kids. Watch the video now and stay tuned for more from these two farm kids from Cambridge, ON – they’re comin’ for ya!

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4 weeks ago No Comments Views

Giddy Up: Budweiser County Fair Toronto!

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

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

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

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

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

Budweiser County Fair Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesse Gold Budweiser County Fair TorontoBudweiser County Fair Toronto Jesse Gold Budweiser County Fair Toronto

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

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

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

The Reklaws Budweiser County Fair Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

More Photos from Budweiser County Fair, Toronto – 2017!

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4 months ago Views

Cowboy Up: Budweiser County Fair is Coming to Toronto

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

The County Fair is offering a full experience, including:

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

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

2017 Budweiser County Fair Lineup and Schedule

Friday, July 14th

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

Vanessa Marie Carter The Ranch

8:30pm – Johnson Crook

Johnson Crook at The Dakota Tavern

10:00pm – Andrew Hyatt

CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt

Saturday, July 15th

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

Kaitlin Kozell BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

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

The Reklaws Boots and Hearts 2015

10:00pm – Emily Reid

via YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 months ago Views
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