Canadian Country Music Week

Blame It On The Neon: Leaving Thomas at Boots & Hearts 2017

We’ve said it before, playing the opening slot of the day on the main stage at a festival isn’t easy. You’ve got to set the tone, get people engaged, pull them into the crowd… and Leaving Thomas did all of that on Friday at Boots & Hearts 2017.

Annika and Bryton hopped up on the main stage and rolled through a 7 song set, including their latest single, Best Adventure and a banging cover of Shania’s No One Needs To Know. They worked the catwalk, they brought the energy that the afternoon slot needed, and they were fantastic.

We caught up with Leaving Thomas after their set for a little sit down in the grass to talk about how things are going, how crazy festival season is, and alter egos… and while Bryton told us that he doesn’t yet have one, we know from LT’s latest YouTube video that Annika’s alter ego of Suzie can be a real piece of work. But craziness aside, these two are enjoying the heck out of festival season right now. They told us that it’s a little wild to look back to a year ago, when they weren’t playing stages like Boots & Hearts and Big Valley Jamboree, but here in 2017, they’ve done both.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Leaving Thomas

Bryton also described the experience of looking out into the BH crowd and seeing fans singing and dancing and fully embodying Waiting Kind Of Girl as surreal.

And while it may be surreal to the duo, it’s no surprise to us. The harmonies that Leaving Thomas roll out are smooth and full. The melodies they’re producing grab listeners. And their energy brings people in. The more stages they play, the more they’re going to see people singing and dancing out the in the crowd.

I asked about what’s coming next for Leaving Thomas and we learned a few things…

1) Blame It On The Neon is scheduled to be released as their next single on September 8, 2017.
2) The duo will be at the CNE on the bandshell stage opening for Chad Brownlee on Saturday, August 26, 2017.
3) They’re excited for Canadian Country Music Week and the CCMAs in September – including the always fun MDM Recordings Party, where they’ll hop up on stage to play.
4) They are looking at an early 2018 release of an EP that we can’t wait to hear.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Leaving Thomas

Annika and Bryton are a ton of fun on stage, and we heard people talking about how good they are up there as we walked through the crowd. Those people are right, they are good. And you should keep an eye on them.

Leaving Thomas just might be the next big duo in Canadian country music.

Leaving Thomas, Boots & Hearts 2017 Setlist

🎤 Best Adventure
🎤 Call It A Night
🎤 No One Needs To Know
🎤 Blame It On The Neon
🎤 Shame On Me
🎤 Dibs/ Cruise
🎤 Waiting Kind Of Girl

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On Me: Andrew Hyatt at Boots & Hearts 2017

Rain was falling on the Friday afternoon crowd at Boots & Hearts 2017… and then it cleared and the sun came out as Andrew Hyatt and his band, The Good Intentions, took over the Front Porch stage and played their hearts out.

We caught up with Andrew after his set, and we talked about the crowd that came in to watch him play. It was a great assembly of music fans, and they were there for a good time, which always helps things. And while Andrew does love greasy, sweaty club shows – he told us that being in front of the Boots & Hearts crowd and watching them engage with the music and the band was fantastic. He told us that looking out and seeing people singing his songs back to him, the singles and the deep cuts that made the record (Iron & Ashes) because he loves them, was special because it means they’ve listened to the record that he worked so hard on.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew Hyatt

Related: Andrew Hyatt, Iron & Ashes Album Review and Q&A

On stage the boys, lead by Andrew, gave it everything they have. The sound was full, with every guitar part and bass line doing its job to create a live music experience for tracks like She Ain’t You, Most Of Me, and his very first Top 20 song at country radio, On Me. The transitions from uptempo tracks to slowed down songs was seamless and well received by the crowd, with everyone willing to follow wherever they were taken.

I asked Hyatt about landing in the Top 20 with On Me, and he told me that it’s a sweet feeling. His first calls he says were to the band to share the good news. And to celebrate, he cracked a bottle of Crown Royal special reserve that he had been saving for this specific occasion.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew Hyatt

Andrew Hyatt isn’t slowing down any time soon. With the CNE booked, and showcases and performances coming up at Canadian Country Music Week and the CCMA celebrations in September, there’s still lots to prep for and look forward to.

AND, there’s big fall 2017 news that he would love to tell you about, and that we would love to tell you that we know – but we’re all going to have to stay tuned for that.

Andrew Hyatt, Boots & Hearts 2017 Setlist

🥃 That’s How I’m Livin’
🥃 Most Of Me
🥃 Girl I Do
🥃 MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio)
🥃 We Only Kiss On Sundays
🥃 She Ain’t You
🥃 On Me

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Both Sides Of The Bar: Jojo Mason Album Review

Jojo Mason exudes the kind of energy that most of us wish we could summon on demand… and that all of us would benefit from having around us all the time.

And there may be no better representation of that energy, and the love that pours out of this dude, than his brand new album, Both Sides Of The Bar.

Note: Jojo Mason also gives really good hugs. And they also do a great job of showing his energy and love for life.

Both Sides Of The Bar is the debut full-length album from the Regina, Saskatchewan born hockey player turned country musician. And with 10 tracks playing from start to finish, it’s a solid collection of songs that will allow for the appreciation of both a few drinks and a good time, and (as we’ve heard some people are choosing) a special dance on a wedding day.

I’ve had the chance to sit and gladly listen to Both Sides Of The Bar (on repeat) over the last few days, and I’ll confess, I probably could have written this post with fewer listens… but this record is a lot of fun, and it’s exciting to think about the results that Jojo Mason is going to experience from the fans, industry, and live audiences when these songs are pumping through the speakers.

Related: 5 Quick Questions with Jojo Mason

Some of the tracks on the album will be familiar to Mason’s fans and country radio listeners. 2015 and 2016 singles, It’s All Good, Good Kinda Love, Red Dress, and Made For You lead the charge, and fit perfectly with the new tracks presented to fans, included the newest single, and lovey-dovey jam, Something To Wrap My Heart Around.

This album truly is a pleasure to listen to. The 10 songs clock in at about 33 minutes or so, and it flies by. And like I mentioned before, it’s an easy album to start again and enjoy on a repeat listen.

Jojo Mason’s voice continues to grow, and with an attitude and live presence that is already worth the price of admission, this album, and whatever comes next for the country singer will only serve to push him higher. And that’s good news for all of us, because it will mean more Jojo Mason songs.

Related: Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Jojo Mason

Now, I don’t usually pick out favourite songs on albums when I’m doing reviews, but I would be flat out lying if I said I didn’t sing along to Made For You every time it comes through my headphones or speakers, and the title track, Both Sides Of The Bar is hitting me in the feels with every spin as well. Take that info and use it however you’d like!

Both Sides Of The Bar Tracklist

1. Good Kinda Love
2. Edge Of The Night
3. Something To Wrap My Heart Around
4. Red Dress
5. Under The Rainbow
6. That’s My Jam
7. Another Now
8. Made For You
9. It’s All Good
10. Both Sides Of The Bar

5 Quick Questions with Beamer Wigley

Back in September 2016 we had the chance to catch up with teenage up-and-comer, Beamer Wigley during Canadian Country Music Week – and we took the chance to get him to answer our 5 quick questions.

Check ’em out and keep an eye open for Beamer, he’s coming hard!

Q1: If you’re in the car on a long drive, what CD can you put on repeat and let play for hours?

Beamer: Dallas Smith, Side Effects

We can’t argue with that answer. Dallas made a killer album that’s a whole lot of fun to listen to and sing along with.

Q2: What is the first song you remember knowing all the words to?

Beamer: Dixieland Delight, by Alabama

Are we impressed? Yes. Are we surprised? Not really, Beamer knows his country music. That was easy to see in the first couple minutes of hanging out with him.

Q3: What is your favourite hobby for the downtime you’re not using to work on music?

Beamer: Acting

We haven’t seen Beamer perform Shakespeare yet, but he looks good playing his role in the Boombox music video.

Q4: What do you NEED to have with you when you walk into a writing session?

Beamer: Snacks!

Beamer told us that chocolate is key, but snacks in general have to be present if there’s going to be any writing done at a session!

Q5: Can you give us a prediction for the 2016-17 NHL season?

Beamer: The Vancouver Canucks will win the Stanley Cup

We’re not sure we can support that statement… but we appreciate Beamer’s love for his team.

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