CCMA Awards

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 drives 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.

That’s My Jam: Jojo Mason at the 2017 Port Perry Fair

A couple hundred small town country music fans got the best deal of the Labour Day long weekend when they paid $12 to hang out at the Port Perry Fair, and got a Jojo Mason concert as the cherry on top.

The Canadian Country Music Association 2017 Rising Star Award nominee hit the stage after Jesse Slack warmed up the crowd, and the demolition derby was complete out on the fairgrounds. It was the same small town fall fair experience that generations have embraced and passed down to their children… but this time there was a special little something for the Port Perry fair goers.

Earlier in the afternoon, before the demolition derby and live music action, we had the chance to catch up with Jojo. It had been almost a full year since we last got to chat with the It’s All Good singer at Canadian Country Music Week 2016… and we’re hoping it won’t be that long again. We talked about his CCMA nomination, and what it’s going to feel like when they call his name and flash his face up on the screen. Jojo admitted that he’s not sure how he’ll react, but he’s excited for the weekend.

Related: 5 Quick Questions with Jojo Mason

We also asked about his summer, and Mason told us about his busy June and July, with shows all over the place, for crowds that showed him all the love he could have hoped for. And while August slowed down, there was still work to do, including new songwriting.

Related: Kira Isabella and JoJo Mason at Mohawk Racetrack

During his set, Jojo Mason was fun, funny, and engaging with the crowd. He made them smile and laugh, and he made them sing and dance. His stage presence was the same at the small town fall fair that it would have been in an arena or theatre. And along with his band, the sound on stage was strong and smooth from start to finish.

Peterborough’s Jesse Slack was also strong as the show’s opener. His selection of covers and originals were an excellent start to the live music. The crowd filed into their seats and the standing and sitting areas to the sides. And before the set was over Jesse had done his job, warming things up and making sure that the country music fans at the fair would be looking for him again in the future.

Note: During our hang, we talked CFL football with Jojo for a few minutes, and his love for the Saskatchewan Roughriders is clear. So, if you ever see your dude out and about in a watermelon helmet or green face paint, don’t be alarmed, he’s just in Green Rider mode.

From Red Dress to It’s All Good, Jojo Mason put on an honest to goodness headlining show in Port Perry, Ontario. His 15 song set was revved up and it was slowed down. There were intimate moments when Jojo shared parts of his story, and there were laugh out loud moments when he egged on one super enthusiastic member of the crowd who just wanted to dance. And whether he walks away with a trophy from the 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Awards in Saskatoon or not, Jojo Mason is a rising star. You can be sure of that.

Related: Both Sides of the Bar, Jojo Mason Album Review

As Jojo’s set ended and he walked off the stage while the band played their outro, a group of three teenagers ran over to the small fence that separated Mason from the crowd. And in a moment that once again showed how good of a dude he is, Jojo leaned over the fence, gave hugs to all three, and then promised to meet them again over at the merch tent in a few minutes. It was an awesome end to the rising star’s stop in small town Ontario.

Jojo Mason Setlist, Port Perry Fair 2017

🎡 Red Dress
🎡 Wagon Wheel
🎡 Edge Of The Night
🎡 Sweet Love
🎡 That’s My Jam/ No Diggity
🎡 Something To Wrap My Heart Around
🎡 I’m Yours
🎡 Endless Summer/ One Love
🎡 I Was Made For You
🎡 Free Fallin’
🎡 That’s Gonna Get You Kissed
🎡 Good Kinda Love
🎡 Under The Rainbow
🎡 Chicken Fried
🎡 It’s All Good

Jojo Mason at the 2017 Port Perry Fair

Jesse Slack at the 2017 Port Perry Fair

Kill Your Love: Jess Mosklaluke at Boots & Hearts 2017

In the late afternoon sun, on the Boots & Hearts Front Porch Stage, Jess Moskaluke wowed the crowd with her voice, hits, and new music. The 2014, 2015, and 2016 Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year was on fire from the jump.

The Saskatchewan star had a pumped up crowd at the stage in the trees, and she didn’t let them down, as she kept the energy high and the good vibes flowing. It was a love fest from Drive Me Away all the way to Cheap Wine And Cigarettes, with sing alongs, dancing, and a whole lot of appreciation for the Canadian singer.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

One of our favourite cheers of the set came when Moskaluke announced that she’ll have a new album in November of this year – which means fans will have new songs to learn and sing along to the next time they see her up on stage. One of those new songs, Kill Your Love, is already becoming a fan favourite on country radio and during the live show, and another, Save Some Of That Whiskey, has been tapped as the next radio single from the upcoming album.

Note: Jess Moskaluke pulled double duty on Sunday, stopping in to perform on the SiriusXM popup stage in the VIP. And the hundred or so lucky fans that got to see the performance got a stripped down sound that shows off her chops in a different, but just as amazing way as she did on the Front Porch stage. We were lucky to be there, it was awesome.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

If you’ve seen a live Jess Moskaluke show before, you know a few things…

1) There are going to be some covers. And at Boots & Hearts we got to hear Chris Stapleton’s Parachute, Maren Morris’ 80’s Mercedes, Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, and TLC’s 90s classic, No Scrubs.

2) There are strong and awesome bromances on stage. Check the pics below for a little proof.

3) Jess Moskaluke continues to get better. Show after show and year after year, this is a performer who grows and gets stronger. It’s pretty awesome to see.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

So, get yourself ready for new Jess Moskaluke music soon. Stay tuned to see if she will win her fourth consecutive CCMA Award for Female Artist of the Year at the 2017 awards show on September 10 in Saskatoon. And keep singing along when you hear her hits on the radio!

Jess Moskaluke, Boots & Hearts 2017 Setlist

Drive Me Away
Night We Won’t Forget
Good Lovin’
Kiss Me Quiet
Good For You
Kill Your Love
Right When Ya Left
Parachute (Chris Stapleton)
80s Mercedes (Maren Morris)
Shape Of You (Ed Sheeran)
No Scrubs (TLC)
Save Some Of That Whiskey
Take Me Home
Cheap Wine And Cigarettes

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Rich da Silva Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess MoskalukeBoots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke and Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

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!
jesse-slack-ccma-1 jesse-slack-ccma-2 jesse-slack-ccma-3 jesse-slack-ccma-4 jesse-slack-ccma-5 jesse-slack-ccma-6
It’s been a while but kids, Doc Walker is back!
doc-walker-ccma-1 doc-walker-ccma-4 doc-walker-ccma-5 doc-walker-ccma-6 doc-walker-ccma-7 doc-walker-ccma-8 doc-walker-ccma-12 doc-walker-ccma-13 doc-walker-ccma-14 doc-walker-ccma-15
We hear that Dead Flowers were awesome and you can check out The London Free Press’ coverage here!

1 year ago

2016 CCMA Awards Green Carpet Photo Review

Tim and Amanda HicksCCMA Awards 2016 Tim Hicks Green Carpet CCMA Awards 2016 Tim and Amanda Hicks Green Carpet CCMA Awards 2016 Tim and Amanda Hicks Green CarpetJessi Cruikshank
CCMA Awards 2016 Jessi Cruickshank Green Carpet
Chris Lane
ccma-awards-2016-chris-lane-green-carpet-2561ccma-awards-2016-chris-lane-green-carpet-2582ccma-awards-2016-chris-lane-green-carpet-2584Jess MoskalukeCCMA Awards 2016 Jess Moskaluke Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Jess Moskaluke Green CarpetJess Moskaluke and The LovelocksCCMA Awards 2016 Jess Moskaluke and The Lovelocks Green CarpetThe LovelocksCCMA Awards 2016 The Lovelocks Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 The Lovelocks Green CarpetWes MackCCMA Awards 2016 Wes Mack Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Wes Mack and Girlfriend Green CarpetKelsea BalleriniCCMA Awards 2016 Kelsea Ballerini Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Kelsea Ballerini Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Kelsea Ballerini Green CarpetThe Washboard UnionCCMA Awards 2016 The Washboard Union Green CarpetAlisha NewtonCCMA Awards 2016 Alisha Newton Green CarpetJessica MitchellCCMA Awards 2016 Jessica Mitchell Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Jessica Mitchell Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Jessica Mitchell Green CarpetJonny HarrisCCMA Awards 2016 Jonny Harris and date Green CarpetMike StevensCCMA Awards 2016 Mike Stevens Green CarpetThe Road HammersCCMA Awards 2016 The Road Hammers Green CarpetJason McCoyCCMA Awards Jason McCoy Green CarpetCCMA Discovery Program Participants
Two Shine County, Tenille Arts, Eric Ethridge, Runaway Angel, Livy JeanneCCMA Awards 2016 Discovery Green CarpetTwo Shine CountyCCMA Awards 2016 Two Shine County Green CarpetMeghan PatrickCCMA Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick Green CarpetGord BamfordCCMA Awards 2016 Gord Bamford Green CarpetBobby WillsCCMA Awards 2016 Bobby Wills Green CarpetShahir Massoud, Steven Sabados, Amanda BainCCMA Awards 2016 Shahir Massoud, Steven Sabados, Amanda Bain Green CarpetHigh ValleyCCMA Awards 2016 High Valley Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 High Valley Green CarpetChad BrownleeCCMA Awards 2016 Chad Brownlee Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Chad Brownlee Green CarpetMurray McLauchlan and Denise Donlon
CCMA Awards 2016 Murray McLauchlan and Denise Donlon Green CarpetWestern Swing AuthorityCCMA Awards 2016 Western Swing Authority Green CarpetTom PowerCCMA Awards 2016 Tom Power Green CarpetDavid JamesCCMA Awards 2016 David James Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 David James Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 David James Green CarpetDean BrodyCCMA Awards 2016 Dean Brody Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Dean Brody Green CarpetYoanCCMA Awards 2016 Yoan Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Yoan Green CarpetMadeline MerloCCMA Awards 2016 Madeline Merlo Green Carpet CCMA Awards 2016 Madeline Merlo Green CarpetCold Creek CountyCCMA Awards 2016 Cold Creek County Green CarpetMichelle WrightCCMA Awards 2016 Michelle Wright Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Michelle Wright Green CarpetDeric Ruttan, Kristian Bush, Jason BlaineCCMA Awards 2016 Deric Ruttan, Kristian Bush, Jason Blaine Green CarpetLeah DanielsCCMA Awards 2016 Leah Daniels Green CarpetCCMA Awards 2016 Leah Daniels Green CarpetGeorge CanyonCCMA Awards 2016 George CanyonCCMA Awards 2016 George CanyonBrett and Cecilia Kissel ccma-awards-2016-brett-kissel-green-carpet-3081ccma-awards-2016-brett-and-cecilia-kissel-green-carpet-3104ccma-awards-2016-brett-and-cecilia-kissel-green-carpet-3093Carolyn Dawn Johnsonccma-awards-2016-carolyn-dawn-johnson-green-carpet-3116ccma-awards-2016-carolyn-dawn-johnson-green-carpet-3119Terri Clarkccma-awards-2016-terri-clark-green-carpet-3048ccma-awards-2016-terri-clark-green-carpet-3043River Town Saintsccma-awards-2016-river-town-saints-green-carpet-2889ccma-awards-2016-river-town-saints-green-carpet-2895Aleeccma-awards-2016-alee-green-carpet-3028ccma-awards-2016-alee-green-carpet-3033Lindsay Ellccma-awards-2016-lindsay-ell-green-carpet-2927ccma-awards-2016-lindsay-ell-green-carpet-2929Damien Warner and Melissa Bishop
ccma-awards-2016-damian-warner-and-melissa-bishop-green-carpet-2919Sam Huntccma-awards-2016-sam-hunt-green-carpet-2960ccma-awards-2016-sam-hunt-green-carpet-2984ccma-awards-2016-sam-hunt-green-carpet-2982ccma-awards-2016-sam-hunt-green-carpet-2981Kira Isabellaccma-awards-2016-kira-isabella-green-carpet-3015ccma-awards-2016-kira-isabella-green-carpet-3022Billy (The Exterminator) Brethertonccma-awards-2016-billy-the-exterminator-green-carpet-2996ccma-awards-2016-billy-the-exterminator-green-carpet-2998Mike Robins – Autumn Hillccma-awards-2016-mike-robins-green-carpet-3053ccma-awards-2016-mike-robins-green-carpet-3057The Baeumler Familyccma-awards-2016-baeumler-family-green-carpet-3073Lindi Ortegaccma-awards-2016-lindi-ortega-green-carpet-3010ccma-awards-2016-lindi-ortega-green-carpet-3009ccma-awards-2016-lindi-ortega-green-carpet-3013Johnny and Jennifer Reidccma-awards-2016-johnny-and-jennifer-reid-green-carpet-3113

1 year ago

Lonely Girl: David James at Boots & Hearts 2016!

2016 Canadian Country Music Award nominee David James is still trying to wrap his head about the success and love he’s seeing as an emerging artist. But the more we see and hear from the Rising Star hopeful, the more we believe he should start accepting it!

We checked out David on the Boots & Hearts front porch stage and then had a chance to hang out for a few minutes in the shade to talk about how things went, what’s coming up, and then posed for some pics!

On stage we got to hear and see David James entertain the Friday crowd with songs from his debut EP. We heard The One I Always Wanted, Lonely Girl, What We Weren’t Looking For, Some Hearts, Starts With A Girl, and Lay It On Me. David also peppered in covers like Sweet Thing (K. Urban), Can’t Feel Me Face (The Weeknd), Treasure (Bruno Mars), Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin), and You Wreck Me (Tom Petty) to keep everyone in a singing and grooving and dancing mood at the tented stage.

David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

During the set, as David James sang What We Weren’t Looking For we saw a couple together in the crowd, singing at each other – it was very lovey and sweet.

We asked David about seeing people singing in the crowd and he told us that it’s cool, especially as a new artist to see and hear the connection country fans are having with his music.

When we talked to David we asked him about being the only MDM artist at the festival this year, and he told us that he was happy to be there to represent, and that Jess Moskaluke and Chad Brownlee gave him some advice and encouragement coming in… and then when we were talking about the upcoming CCMAs and related festivities, he let it slip that he’ll be closing the MDM party in London… and we can’t wait to see that. It’s going to be one hell of a party, and he’s going to be a big part of it.

Here’s what we know, the success that David James has experienced so far in his early career is just the start of what’s the come. If he can keep doing what he’s doing we’re going to be seeing him and talking to him again real soon!

David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-Greg Keyes - David James' Band BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James with Joshua Murray BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016David James BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

2 years ago

CMT Music Fest 2016: Kira Isabella Main Stage & Interview!

On Saturday at CMT Music Fest we got to check out Canadian country music sweetheart, Kira Isabella on the main stage – and back stage for a little chit-chat interview.

With a mid-afternoon slot on the big stage, Kira did what she has consistently done over the last few years, show us that she is getting better and better and better as time goes by. The fans were all about it, singing and dancing and getting their phones out, to enjoy and also capture the moments as they were happening during day 2 of the festival.

CMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaWhen we sat down with Kira after her set we asked her about the year 1 fest and how she thought it was going – and she had nothing but love to share. She cited the enthusiasm of the fans and the way the whole thing was running (weather excluded), calling it a hit… and hopes she’ll be back again to play in Kitchener for the same fans and more.

On stage Kira shared a few hits of her own with Real Good Radio, Gone Enough, Quarterback, A Little More Work – and her current single, I’m So Over Getting Over You. And then there was the medley.

If you’ve seen Kira live before you know that the medley is a staple of her show – but at CMT Music Fest we heard new songs thrown into the mix. In order (we think) it went something like this…
Hotline Bling (Drake)
Honey I’m Good (Andy Grammer)
I’m Just A Girl (No Doubt)
Counting Stars (One Republic)
Jackson (Johnny Cash and June Carter)
Sorry (Justin Bieber)
Stuck Like Glue (Sugarland)
Can’t Hold Us (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)

CMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaWe mentioned the I’m So Over Getting Over You tank tops we saw girls wearing in the crowd and how much we loved them – and Kira told us that she thinks it might be good to get some guys shirts made too… and I agreed. And then we laughed. It was a moment. And you can see it in our Facebook Live video. For real. Click Here.

Before we were done chatting we also talked about September’s CCMA Awards in London, ON which is getting more and more exciting the closer it gets, especially having it back in Ontario. And we talked about what’s coming next, and while Kira says there isn’t a “next” single picked yet, she did come back from her last trip to Nashville with a bunch of tracks she’s into… but first she wants to ride the wave that I’m So Over Getting Over You has brought her, and we can’t argue with that.

Kira wrapped her set on the CMT Music Fest main stage with A Little More Work, and the feet tapped and the girls danced and the voices in the afternoon crowd sang along.

This Ontario country girl is a fan favourite, and one of ours too. If you have a chance to see her any time soon, take it. In a bar or a club or at a festival like this one – you won’t regret it!

CMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaCMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaCMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaCMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaCMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaCMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaCMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaCMT Music Fest - Kira IsabellaCMT Music Fest - Kira Isabella

2 years ago

Free Soul: Madeline Merlo Album Review & Contest!

BC born and raised, Madline Merlo has been working and waiting for this moment… and now it’s here.

Merlo’s debut album, Free Soul, two years in the making, comes to country fans this Friday, April 29 from Open Road Recordings, and will not leave listeners disappointed. It’s a treat to get an 11 song album from a young artist, with the resurgence of EPs in music recently, and it’s a treat we’re excited to receive.

We’ve had a chance to sit down with Free Soul over the last few days and take in the tracks… over and over again. And the reason we’ve done it is simple. We like it.

Fans who have followed Madeline, or are familiar with 2015’s breakout hit, Honey Jack, know that she can sing. Add her 2015 Rising Star award from the Canadian Country Music Association, and it’s no secret that Madeline Merlo has talent. But talent alone doesn’t equal a great album.

Madeline Merlo, Free Soul Tracklist

MadelineMerlo_FreeSoul Album Cover1. Whatcha Wanna Do About It
2. War Paint
3. Over and Over
4. Holding on to Freedom
5. Tumbling
6. Honey Jack
7. Ready to Say Goodnight (ft. Tim Hicks)
8. Crush
9. Sinking Like a Stone
10. Alive
11. Twist of Fate

Free Soul features 4 songs that may sound familiar… 2014 singles Sinking Like A Stone & Alive, 2015’s Honey Jack, and her current Top 10 single, Whatcha Wanna Do About It. All four of those tracks, plus the 7 new songs that fans will soon have their hands on are well written, well produced, and well executed on the microphone by Ms. Merlo.

It can sometimes feel early to add young talent to the list of names demanding attention and radio play, but this album will firmly put Madeline Merlo in the same company as Canadians Jess Moskaluke and Kira Isabella, and it should. It’s that good.

The songs, top to bottom, combine sweetness and sass, with energy that makes it fun to listen to. You’ll want to dance at points, you’ll want to close your eyes and listen at others, and it won’t be long before you’re singing along.

Madeline Merlo The Phoenix Toronto December 2015On the singing along front, we’re looking forward to seeing Madeline at Boots & Hearts this summer where we know the crowd will be 100% involved. And while we can’t promise anything… it would seem like a perfect opportunity (if scheduling permits) for Tim Hicks to hop up on stage to sing Ready to Say Goodnight.

Madeline told us how excited she was for this album to be completed and out into the world when we spoke with her last December… and now that it is, we want to help you get your hands on it.

Enter now using the widget below and you could win 1 of 3 copies of Madeline Merlo’s new album, Free Soul. Take care to follow all instructions provided to confirm your entries count, and for an extra chance to win, follow @thereviewsarein on Twitter this Wednesday, April 27 for your chance to win as well.

Good luck!

Whatcha Wanna Do About It

2 years ago

2015 Breakout Country Artists of the Year!

2015 was a fun year for country music.

Established radio stars kept pumping out the hits with Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, and Sam Hunt owning the #1 spot on the Billboard’s 2015 Hot Country Chart most of the year, plus Eric Church, Zac Brown Band, and Carrie Underwood all releasing new albums that fans loved – but they weren’t the only ones being noticed out of Nashville… or Canada.

This year I’ve got 4 acts to name in my country breakout artists of the year, and it was NOT easy to pick them.

Note: As recently as October I had no idea who was going to be on this list. I talked with some friends who love country and between us there was no real consensus pick… and then the last 3 months of the year happened.

Let’s start in Canada where I have a tie marked down as the Canadian Country Music Breakout Artists of the year…

Cold Creek County

Cold Creek County CNE 2015The boys of Cold Creek County found the Top 20 twice in the year, and their debut single, Our Town went as high as number 7 and really introduced the group to country music fans in Canada.

We had a chance to see the boys twice in the year, first at Ajax Downs’ Steak Stock in July, and again when they opened for Dallas Smith at the CNE in September. Both times they put on a hell of a set and truly showed that they are ready to be part of the new wave of Canadian country music talent coming through the ranks.

Congrats to Cold Creek County on their big year, we won’t be surprised if 2016 is just as impressive and successful.

Madeline Merlo

Madeline Merlot Bright Lights Big City Toronto The PhoenixMiss Madeline Merlo had an impressive year of her own with a successful summer single in Honey Jack, and the Canadian Country Music Association Award for Rising Star of the Year.

We got to sit down with the BC born songstress in December and then watched her hop up on stage to open for 2014 Canadian breakout artist, Jess Moskaluke.

Madeline held her own that night, and is super ready to drop her album in the spring of 2016 so more country fans can hear what she has to share. 2015 seems to be just the start of what Madeline Merlo has coming in country… stick around to see what’s coming.

And in the United States, making waves in Country in 2015 we have 2 winners. 1 male and 1 female… each putting themselves on the map this year, and each deserving of being named as top breakout artists.

Chris Stapleton

via facebook

via facebook

Already known by many as Nashville’s favourite singer, Chris Stapleton really broke out in 2015 when he cleaned up at the Country Music Association Awards in November.

After performing with Justin Timberlake in the best live TV performance of the year, Stapleton cemented his night with wins for New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Album of the Year.

He’s a super talented, humble, hard working man, who has more success coming to him, and as breakout artist of the year, he’s nearly beyond compare.

If you still haven’t listened to Traveller yet, you’re missing out – it took a lot of year for him to get here, but Chris Stapleton has arrived, and it was worth the wait.


via Facebook

via Facebook

What a year it was for the lady who loves yellow!

Cam scored a monster hit with Burning House, and her year only got bigger from there. The December 11 release of her full length album, Untamed, came late in the year, but not too late to be celebrated by many as one of the top albums of 2015.

2015 was a breakout year for Cam, and as she leads in to 2016, things are looking bright and bold for the singer. We know we’re not alone in anticipating her appearance at Boots & Hearts in August!

Congrats to Cam on a big 2015!

Honourable mention needs to go out to Cory Marquardt, Livy Jeanne, Kelsea Ballerini, Jason Benoit, River Town Saints, Old Dominion, Dylan Scott, Mickey Guyton, A Thousand Horses and more…

We can’t wait to see who breaks out from the pack in 2016!

2 years ago

Catching Up with Madeline Merlo: Live in Toronto

If you’re looking for a great way to introduce yourself to the country music fans in Canada, there’s not much better way than winning a major award on the biggest night of the year.

And while it might not be what Madeline Merlo had planned, that’s what happened at the 2015 CCMAs when her named was announced as the winner of the Rising Star Award.

Madeline Merlot Bright Lights Big City Toronto The Phoenix-0031We sat down with Madeline before she hit the stage at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto with Jess Moskaluke, The Lovelocks, Jesse Labelle, Eric Ethridge, Dani Strong, and Sykamore for a little pre-holiday country extravaganza to talk about her big year, honey flavoured whiskey, what’s coming up in 2016, and what she wants for Christmas this year.

The first thing we asked about was Madeline’s recent addition to the Spotify Canada Spotlight on 2016 list… she told us that she was (and still is) super excited to be on the list, and to be the only country artist included is just a little bit sweeter and rewarding. It’s a cap on what Ms. Merlo calls “the greatest year of my life”, and also one of the busiest.

Next we backtracked to Sunday, September 13 when Madeline sat in the audience at the CCMA Awards in Halifax and heard her name read along with the other nominees in the Rising Star Award category. She tells us that she didn’t expect to win. Didn’t have anything prepared, and really was just enjoying taking in her first CCMA experience. And then it happened… her name was read, she stood up, made her way to the stage, and did her very best to get through her speech.

Madeline Merlot Bright Lights Big City Toronto The Phoenix-9999We asked what it felt like, and in one word she described the moment as a blur.

We also asked how long it took to sink in, and with little surprise Madeline told us that it was a few days before she really had a grasp on it all. She would wake up and kind of ask herself if it had really happened… and she got to tell herself yes every time.

The last question we asked about 2015 centred on her time on tour with Paul Brandt and Dean Brody. Here are the highlights as described by Madeline…

▸ Watching Paul and Dean up on stage killing it every night. Just seeing them do what they do, connecting with the crowd and putting on a great show.
▸ Experiencing such a professional and fun tour as her first big one. Extra bonus: The Candy Table!
▸ Puppies! Yup, the SPCA brought itty bitty puppies to every venue and before every show Madeline and everyone else got to snuggle up to some adorable little balls of fur for some love.
▸ Performing for new fans. Coming from BC to play Ontario dates on the tour meant new faces in the crowd every night. And it also meant new country music fans to win over. By all accounts, she did.

Madeline Merlot Bright Lights Big City Toronto The Phoenix alternate crop-0039After all of our looking back at 2015, we started asking about what’s coming in 2016. There’s a bunch!

Coming up in April 2016, Madeline will release her first full length album. It’s a record 2 years in the making, which has her very excited. But she’s not done tinkering just yet. Songs are ready, but before she’s done, Madeline will be heading to Nashville to write and record a couple more in hopes of capturing the moment she’s living in right now. Together with the songs that got her to where she is now, it should be a great ride of a record, covering her experience and growth.

Also coming up in the spring (tentatively) is the release of Country Crush, a movie Madeline acted in along side Jana Kramer and Sophie Simmons. It was a great experience she tells us. Not necessarily something she planned, but something she’s very glad she did. PLUS, it’s a country musical, so we’re excited to see it and sing along too.

The last 2016 question we threw was about other people’s music, asking if there are any artists she’s looking forward to hearing from. Her top two answers: Miranda Lambert (she can’t wait to hear what she has to say after everything that’s gone on in her life. Neither can we) and Chris Stapleton who wowed the world at the CMA Awards in November.

Madeline Merlot Bright Lights Big City Toronto The Phoenix-6663Just before we let Madeline escape to eat some dinner and get ready for the stage we asked three more questions, just for fun.

1) If you could pick any Canadian country artist to duet with, who would you choose.
This always seems to be a hard question for artists to answer (because they can’t choose), but Madeline did give us two names at the top of her list… Dean Brody (who she shares a producer with, and loves as an artist with a great sound) and Dallas Smith, who has been named more often than any other artist when we ask this question.

2) What are you most excited to get for Christmas this year?
There’s nothing big on the list this year, but when we started talking about the essentials that her mom wraps up under the tree there was a smile on her face. Sometimes it really is the little things 🙂

3) Do you have an open bottle of Honey Jack at home?
The answer, yes! In fact, with the success of her Honey Jack single, Madeline has received bottles of Honey Jack Daniels from family and friends to celebrate. She’s not complaining, but we do agree with her that it can seem to go down a little to smooth.

Thanks to Madeline for sitting down. We can’t wait to do it again – and check out the full show review from the Bright Lights, Big Country show for more info from the night and photos!

Be awesome!

2 years ago

Pick Me Up: Brett Kissel at the 2015 CNE!

Brett Kissel CNE 2015Brett Kissel is a busy man.

He’s got a brand new album (Pick Me Up) coming to the world on September 11, 2015 – he’s got baby #1 on the way with his wife Cecilia – he’s up for 4 awards at the upcoming CCMAs (Male Artist of the Year, Single of the Year: 3, 2, 1, Video of the Year: Tough People Do, Interactive Artist of the Year) – and judging by his performance at the CNE on Wednesday night, he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

It’s been a bit since we saw Brett up on stage last (Boots & Hearts 2014) so to say that we were excited for the chance to see him get up and do it all again would be an understatement.

And we weren’t disappointed.

Yoan CNE 2015In the middle of the week Brett took over the bandshell stage and banged out a 20 song set with a pile of enthusiasm and energy – and a couple of surprises along the way.

His first special guest won season 2 of TV’s La Voix had been on the stage earlier in the evening. Yoan did a great job opening the show with his blend of original songs (Goodbye Mother) and classic covers (Waylon Jennings, CCR) that featured his super deep voice and increasing grasp of English. And on stage with Brett he did the same as the pair dueted on Waylon’s Good Hearted Woman.

After Yoan, the set turned back to Brett and the band as they peeled off covers of Garth Brooks, Alabama, John Denver, and Andy Grammer to go along with 2 tracks from that upcoming album (Pick Me Up & Airwaves) and one of his biggest hits to date, 3, 2, 1 before we got surprise #2.

Brett Kissel Randy Bachman CNE 2015And after those half a dozen songs,  Kissel introduced Canadian Music Hall of Famer, legend and The Guess Who and Bachman – Turner Overdrive alumni, Randy Bachman and welcoming him to the stage for a fantastic rendition of BTO’s classic Takin’ Care Of Business. Bachman was fantastic with his guitar and on the mic, turning back the clock and leading the band and crowd through the 1974 hit. And for the first time (but hopefully not the last) we got to hear a fiddle solo in the middle of the song.  

Note: Takin’ Care Of Business was great, but our favourite cover of the night was Walk The Moon’s Shut Up And Dance!

While the surprises were great – this was definently a Brett Kissel concert. From opening the show with Girl In A Cowboy Hat to unveiling a new t-shirt during Canadian Kid (we love the shirts tagline… 5% Beer & Canadian Girls) to ending the set with Started With A Song – Brett was 100% on.

And while he smiled and sweat and worked the crowd, they cheered and sang and clapped along. The only thing we aren’t sure about was Kissel’s declaration that the Toronto Maple Leafs would make the playoffs this season. But good on him for giving the local fans something extra to cheer about.

Brett Kissel CNE 2015Note: Our favourite thing Brett said came mid-way through the show when he invited everyone to get their phones out to take pictures and videos and snapchats. It went something like this…

You know when you look at a ticket stub from a concert and it says no cameras, no videos, no flash photography? That’s bullshit. I hate that. Take as many pictures and videos as you want!

As the set finished and Brett said goodnight, he invited everyone to the merch table where he promised to take selfies all night… but then, he came back for an encore and told the crowd that they’d put him in a rock and roll mood so they were going to play a rock and roll song. And they did. And we all sang along to Livin’ On A Prayer!

Big love to Brett who continues to grow as an entertainer. We can’t wait for the new album (and the Hunter Hayes duet on I Can Play Guitar) and to see where his career goes next.

Check out the set list, more pics and stay tuned because we’re working on some special ideas for the pretty near future!


Brett Kissel CNE Set List

 Girl In A Cowboy Hat
 I Can Play Guitar
 Canadian Kid
 Something You Just Don’t Forget
 Tough Times Don’t Last
 Check Yes Or No
 Cool With That
 Good Hearted Woman (with Yoan)
 Callin’ Baton Rouge
 I’m In A Hurry
 Pick Me Up
 3, 2, 1
 Thank God I’m A Country Boy/ Honey I’m Good
 Takin’ Care Of Business (with Randy Bachman)
 Shut Up And Dance
 Raise Your Glass/ Pour Some Sugar On Me
 We Will Rock You
 Started With A Song
 Livin’ On A Prayer

Brett Kissel CNE 2015Brett Kissel Yoan CNE 2015Brett Kissel Randy Bachman CNE 2015Brett Kissel CNE 2015Brett Kissel CNE 2015Brett Kissel CNE 2015Brett Kissel CNE 2015

2 years ago

Bringing Down The House: Dean Brody & The Toronto Blue Jays

Last Friday night Canadian Country Music star Dean Brody took to the TD Music Stage to kick off the Blue Jays Summer Friday Fan Festivals schedule… and it was a home run.

Dean and the band put on a great set outside of gates 10 and 11, giving the fans songs they knew so they could sing along, and tracks from Dean’s newest album, Gypsy Road that is getting a lot of love – but more on that later.

Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays First PitchAfter the set Dean took the field in a brand new Blue Jays uniform to throw the ceremonial first pitch, and I’m happy to say that he threw a strike, even if he told me there wasn’t any heat on it. The important thing here is that he didn’t bounce it, and now the pressure is on Chad Brownlee to do it on July 31st.

And because Dean Brody is a great guy, I had the chance to talk with him for a few minutes on the phone about baseball, the CCMA’s, his upcoming tour and more…

Right off the top I asked him about some baseball stuff, since he did just play a Blue Jays show, and while he did say that he was never a ball player, and he was a little nervous before he threw his pitch, I’ve got to give him an A grade for getting it to Mark Buerhle without a bounce. I also asked him who his favourite baseball player was, and we went back a few years to 1992 World Series Champion, #17 Kelly Gruber. Nice Pick.

Dean Brody Gypsy Road Album CoverFrom there we moved on to the music, and with 6 personal nominations + 1 more for album design, I asked Dean how it felt to be recognized in a time when country music is really strong in Canada. He told me that it feels like that strength has been here for the last 10 years or so, and in the midst of changes from an album driven market to a singles driven market in the new digital age it’s still really great to be nominated for CCMA’s by people who are in the industry. The people who do what you do, know what it takes, and hear your music and say, that’s pretty cool, I like it.

For the record, Dean Brody is nominated for…
Male Artist of the Year
Album of the Year (Gypsy Road)
Single of the Year (Another Man’s Gold)
Songwriter of the Year (Upside Down)
Video of the Year (Upside Down)
Fans’ Choice Award

When I asked him if there were 1 or 2 of those awards that he would like to win the most it didn’t take long for him to tell me that Fans’ Choice was at the top of the list, because they are the ones who buy the music and tickets – and Songwriter of the Year came in 2nd, because that’s where he started out, and as Dean said, “it all starts with a song”.

Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays Friday Summer Fun Festival-7215While we were talking about songwriting, I asked if there was something special to Dean about Mexico now that we’ve seen it show up more than once (Bounty, Sweet Lola, Monterey, etc.) in his songs. He told me that it still feels like there’s a feeling of the Wild West and the Frontier when it comes to Mexico, and that makes it fit really well for country music story songs. It’s a place that we can all picture and accept in the story telling that we love country music for. He also told me that he and his brother grew up watching John Wayne movies, and that western story is always fun to write.

A shift in gears came next when I asked about The Dean Brody Foundation and how important it is to him to be giving back and making a difference. Dean told me that it’s really important to both he and his wife to being giving back now that they’re able to, when there were times that they wished they could have, but didn’t have the resources.

He also shared that the process can be both extremely rewarding and discouraging at the same time as they navigate the path to helping young girls who have been placed in dangerous and vulnerable situations. But it’s the feeling that there is a chance to change even a few lives that keeps them pushing forward. A+ to Dean, his wife and everyone who works with The Dean Brody Foundation – because all of that is amazing.

Dean Brody-7163From there we got back to the music, and the really exciting stuff coming up for Dean with the Road Trip Tour!

This fall, Dean Brody and Paul Brandt will take the Road Trip Tour coast-to-coast bringing country music to fans in what promises to be a great show. Dean told me that they’re having production calls and meetings now to get ready, and that he’s really looking forward to the tour.

A big part of that is Paul Brandt, someone that Dean has always looked up to as an artist, songwriter, and a Canadian who was able to make it in Nashville, and show him that he could too. And while they’re just starting to get to know each other, this tour looks like it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.

And with female acts like Lindi Ortega, Whitney Rose, and Jess Moskaluke joining the tour for select dates, Dean will hopefully have a duet partner for Bounty every single night… though he tells me that he still has to ask.

If you’re looking for tour dates and tickets for the Road Trip Tour CLICK HERE!

Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays Friday Summer Fun Festival-7226The last question I asked Dean Brody caught him off guard and came from somewhere in left field… if you’re out for someone’s birthday at a karaoke joint and your name gets called – what is your song?

Dean’s answer: Yer So Bad by Tom Petty.

We both agreed that you can’t go wrong with Tom Petty, and that it’s a great pick.

Thanks to Dean for taking the time out of his busy day (really, like building a house busy) to call and talk – we can’t wait to see the tour this fall!

Find Dean online at these fine locations…

Facebook: Dean Brody
Twitter: @deanbrody
Instagram: @deanbrody
YouTube: Dean Brody
iTunes: Dean Brody

Dean Brody-7121Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays Friday Summer Fun Festival Crowd-7237Dean Brody-7151Dean Brody-7093Dean Brody Toronto Blue Jays Friday Summer Fun Festival-7210Ace Riding the Bull-7064Ace Riding the Bull-7067

3 years ago

Here Comes The Thunder: Tim Hicks at the PanAm Games Ontario Celebration Zone

Even on a Monday night in Toronto, there are opportunities to have a country music party!

This week Canadian country star Tim Hicks took over the West Jet stage at Harbourfront, currently serving as part of Ontario’s Celebration Zone at the PanAm Games… it was a free show, with fans dressed in plaid, boots, cowboy hats – with many enjoying a beer or two to start the week.

Hicks has been red hot over the last two years with six Top 10 singles, two hit albums – and now 3 new Canadian Country Music Association Award nominations for Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year (5:01), and Interactive Artist of the Year.

The PanAm show gave us a full 90 minutes of Tim Hicks, with his signature party feel pumping through the speakers. We’re hoping to see it again soon on a fall tour that just might be coming…

Check out the set list from Harbourfront and a new Q&A that includes some Canadian pride, the CCMA’s, 5:01+, the new single Young, Alive And In Love, and more!

Tim Hicks PanAm Games Set List

Tim Hicks -7805 Hell Raisin’ Good Time
So Do I
Greasy John Deere Cap
Young, Alive And In Love
Buzz Buzz Buzzin’
Here Comes The Thunder
Dust & Bone
A Little Drinkalong
I Got A Feeling
She Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore
Don’t Wanna Go
Get By
Stronger Beer
Cheers To You



Tim Hicks 2015 Summer Q&A

Q. First, how cool is it to be performing as part of such a huge Canadian event – and to that point, representing Canada?

A. It’s SO cool! I’m honoured to be a part of the whole celebration. I love events like the Pan Am Games cause they bring out everyone’s national pride, which makes the games themselves a lot of fun. Go Canada!

Tim Hicks -7747Q. Second, how did it feel to hear your name called 3 times as part of the Canadian Country Music Association Awards nominations?

A. Hearing my name called was really surreal. It still feels like this ride is happening to some other guy named “Tim Hicks”. It’s a humbling experience to be included in the CCMA Nominations. I never thought I’d ever be in this position, but that being said, I’m so proud of Canadian Country as a whole. The level of talent has gotten really high and the bar keeps being raised- plus the people in this industry are great people. I’m also super proud of Jeff Coplan for getting the “Producer” nomination for 5:01 and of Mitch Nevins for getting the “Album Design” nom as well.

Exciting times!

Q. The new single, Young, Alive & In Love is getting some great response from the fans, and it’s a whole lot of fun. Are you excited about having a summer jam out for festival season?

Tim Hicks -7589A. Yeah for sure!  The thing about a “summer” song is they are hard to come across and often you don’t even know you have one until you hear it on the radio and feels good in the summer weather. When I heard the demo for YAIL, I knew instantly that it would sound great blasting out of the speakers with the windows down on a summer day. I’m pumped for people to hear it!

Q. 5:01+ is coming in September, how excited are you to get some new tracks out to your fans, and invite new fans to check out tracks like Here Comes The Thunder and She Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore?

A. Very excited! I had all these songs piled up and wasn’t sure what to do with them. When it was decided that we would add 4 new tracks to 5:01 to make it 5:01+, I got really excited. I feel like it’s a creative way to get some fresh material out to people while I’m working on the third record. Plus, it always makes the live show more interesting when there’s some new songs to toss into the mix!

Q. What’s the plan for the rest of the summer, any big dates that you’re really looking forward to?

Tim Hicks selfieA. I’m looking forward to them all!  I just love to play live. It’s where I come from as an artist and performer and for me, it’s the best part of this whole trip! When the band and I are on the road, the best part of my day (aside from Facetime with my family) is that 75 mins on stage. There isn’t a rollercoaster out there that compares to the rush I get while I’m doing my thing out there on t he stage!

Q. Last question, to wrap things up… if you’re out at a karaoke bar and they call your name, what song are you singing?

A. I never go to Karaoke bars lol! Ha!

Note: Tim might not go to karaoke bars, but we heard him sing part of Luke Bryan’s Country Girl Shake It For Me – and we think that would be a solid pick for him!

Tim Hicks -7769Tim Hicks -7673Tim Hicks -7445

3 years ago

Steak Stock 2015: Good Country Fun at Ajax Downs!

Combining BBQ, beer, country music, and horse racing is a fantastic idea – and we’re glad that the people at Ajax Downs had it.

Steak Stock 2015 Brewery RowSteak Stock took over the grounds on Saturday and Sunday, bringing with it a bunch talent, tastes and chances to check out things we love – and wanted to love. Going into the event we knew that Manantler Craft Brewing (Bowmanville) was a winner, and we thoroughly enjoyed a few samples of The Citra Situation while also taking the chance to check out…

‣ Brock St. Brewing Company (Whitby)
‣ Underdog’s Brewhouse (Oshawa)
‣ The Publican House Brewery (Peterborough)
‣ Shiny Apple Cider (Niagara on the Lake)

Steak Stock Caplansky'sAnd because we were there all day Saturday and Sunday, we had to eat. So shout outs to Caplansky’s for the brisket tacos & grilled cheese with brisket, and to Jimmy Guaco’s for the nachos (pulled pork) and quesadillas (steak). If you see these food trucks, line up – and make sure you get napkins because you’re going to need them!

When we weren’t eating and drinking, and sometimes when we were, we spent Saturday listening to a whole bunch of pretty great live country music.

With a lineup of Livy Jeanne, Kaitlin Kozell, Lindsay Broughton, Cold Creek County, and headliners Autumn Hill – we had a lot of great moments.

Steak Stock 2015 Livy Jeanne soloIt was the 1st time we’d had a chance to see Livy Jeanne up on stage, and we’re glad we finally got it. She put on a sweet little set with the help of her guitar man, which included the title track of her brand new Dashboard Renegade record, her first ever single Invisible, her current single All Kinds of Crazy, another fun one in Wrong Side of the Dirt, and an awesome little medley of I Want You Back – You Shook Me All Night Long – That Don’t Impress Me Much – Hot and Cold & Royals! We can’t wait to catch up with Livy again at Boots & Hearts in a few weeks.

Steak Stock 2015 Lindsay BroughtonIt was also awesome to see Brooklin girl and CCMA Rising Star nominee, Lindsay Broughton hit the stage on Saturday. The last time we caught up with Lindsay was at the CMAO Awards, and it was great to see her in action. She treated the mid-day crowd to a mix of covers and her own singles which included, Trouble With You, Cold One (Eric Church), I Can Do Anything, River Wide Enough Song, Take Me There, Born To Be Wild (Steppenwolf), Holdin’ On To You, Now You Don’t, and a medley of Mama’s Broken Heart – Cruise – Downtown & Trouble.

It’s awesome to see local talent thriving, and Lindsay is doing that with a huge summer so far.

After a fun set by the 6 dudes that make up Cold Creek County, we got to the headliners of the evening, Autum Hill.

Mike and Tareya are Juno and Canadian Country Music Association nominated as Autumn Hill, and with their 2nd record, Anchor now available, things are looking really good. They recently charted their first Top 5 single with Blame, and last Wednesday picked up a Duo or Group of the year nomination for the 2015 CCMAs.

On Saturday the duo gave the audience everything they were hoping for with a mix of songs from their 1st record, Favourite Mistake, and the new…

Steak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill 1⚓ Anchor
⚓ Good Night For Going Nowhere
⚓ If She Wants This Town
⚓ It Don’t Get Better Than This
⚓ Fire
⚓ Mix Tape
⚓ Return Policy
⚓ Can’t Keep Waiting
⚓ Anything At All
⚓ Blame
⚓ Memphis

Sunday brought us back to the track for more food, more beer, more music – but also live quarter horse racing!

Ajax Downs Finish Line Steak StockAnd while we didn’t come out the big money winners we hoped we would, it was a whole lot of fun to read the sheets, watch the odds, place some bets – and cheer on the horse when they came to the finish line!

High fives to Casey Spencer, Jack Connolly and Sawmill Road for playing before, between, and after the 7 races of the day. The stopping and starting mini-sets were a little different than we’re sure they’re accustomed to, but they handled it well for the crowd.

Steak Stock 2015 Leah Daniels Dream Without YouAnd after a bout of thunder and rain that shut down the stage area, we were treated to a more acoustic, stripped down set from Sunday headliner and Uxbridge local, Leah Daniels.

Leah has been on a tear lately with her first Top 20 appearance thanks to Go Back, and steady video and radio play of her current single, Dream Without You.

She also picked up a CCMA Rising Star nomination last week, so she is definitely riding a little high right now. Leah put on a fun little set, interacting with an adorable 4 year old who danced up front, and then stole hearts when she sang her own little song. But it was when Leah Daniels had the mic, she was in control. Belting out big notes, stellar yodelling, and huge smiles, she won new fans at Ajax Downs, and made the fans who were there for her happy.

Steak Stock 2015 was a bunch of fun – with a little bit of something for the whole family… and we’re hoping they bring it back again in 2016 with more music, more BBQ, more beer, and more horse racing!

Here, check out some more pics…

Steak Stock 2015 Livy Jeanne 1Steak Stock 2015 Kaitlin KozellSteak Stock 2015 Kaitlin Kozell bandSteak Stock 2015 Lindsay Broughton BandSteak Stock 2015 Manantler Brewery TentSteak Stock 2015 Cold Creek Country Full 6Steak Stock 2015 Cold Creek County HamoniesSteak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill 2Steak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill Tareya GreenSteak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill Mike RobbinsSteak Stock 2015 Autumn Hill 3Steak Stock 2015 Leah Daniels Honey I'm GoodSteak Stock 2015 Leah DanielsSteak Stock 2015 Leah Daniels Go BackAjax Downs Starting GateAjax Downs Post-Race 4 HorseAjax Downs Horse Hose Down

3 years ago

Pistology: Catching Up with the Small Town Pistols [Interview]

Small Town Pistols 2015“I grew up with that band” it’s a thing you hear a lot of people say. But in the case of the Small Town Pistols, it rings just a little bit truer.

Amanda and Tyler Wilkinson started their career in country music with their dad (Steve) as The Wilkinsons. They were celebrated and successful and I knew every word to every song. And when that ended, both siblings took time to work on their own projects before eventually coming back together to work together as the Small Town Pistols. Their 1st record as a duo won them the 2014 CMAO for Album of the Year and the Canadian Country Music Association Award for Group of the Year.

Now they’re nominated again for 4 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards (Single of the Year, Songwriters of the Year, Group or Duo of the Year & Music Video of the Year) and prepping to drop a new album.

But before any of that happens, we caught up with Amanda and Tyler for a little Q&A action so we can all get answers about the CMAOs, new music, Boots & Hearts and more straight from the source.

Here we go!

Small Town Pistols home pageQ. First thing we have to ask… How great did it feel on Wednesday to hear that you’d been nominated for 4 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards?

Tyler: We were super excited! Obviously awards are not the reason why we make music but to have your peers and friends think you made something worth nominating is a huge honour.

Amanda: it’s a huge deal for us. We are incredibly proud of the province we live in. We’ve been saying for years that we need an award show in Ontario because so many other provinces have had their own. It’s insane how much talent we have in our own backyard and now we get to celebrate it.

Q. We’re hoping that you’re going to be in Markham for the awards, can you tell us if you’ll be performing?

Amanda: We’ll most certainly be there for the show. As for performing, only time will tell!

Small Town Pistols InstagramQ. I Only Smoke When I Drink is the track that put your name on this year’s ballot… and now fans are starting to hear Can’t Wait To Meet You on country radio – how do you feel about the new track and the reaction so far?

Tyler: So far the tracks has received great response. It’s always exciting to write, record and then release a song. We are attached to it in a different way so it’s great to watch the fans make it their own

Amanda: You always hope as a writer your songs resonate with the fans. Whether you are an expecting new parent or already have children or if you’re a family member or friend who is anticipating the birth of a child this song is about those honest feeling you feel. It’s been amazing to see the reaction to it.

Q. And now we need to ask… can you tell us when the new album is going to be released in full?

Amanda: The album will be titled Pistology and is set to be released May 26th

Small Town Pistols facebookQ. We saw Tyler a little while ago checking out The Lovelocks and The Stellas (both CMAO nominees) in Toronto – have either of you seen any other great live music lately that we should try to catch when we can?

Tyler: One of the last shows I got to go to was Bad Suns… they were so good live and carry such great melodies. People should definitely check them out!

Amanda: Brothers Osborne is a new fav of mine. And Elle King.

Q. Looking ahead a few months, you’ll be playing Boots & Hearts this summer for the first time – what have you heard about the festival, and what are you looking forward to?

Tyler: We have a lot of friends who have been to B&H they said it was nothing but a blast. We are soooo stoked to play with Brad Paisley again!

Amanda: Apparently the audience is a blast!!!! I love summer festivals. Honestly if we weren’t playing we’d be in the audience. 🙂

Q. Last question, in 50 words or less, tell us what’s coming next for the Small Town Pistols.

A&T: Promotion our new single ‘Can’t Wait To Meet You’ and the upcoming album. Gearing up for shows this summer and hopefully a tour in the fall!!!

Big thank you to Amanda and Tyler for playing along! We can’t wait for the new album to drop in May (the day after the CMAO Awards) and our fingers are already crossed for a local stop on a fall tour!

Find the Small Town Pistols online at these fine locations…
Facebook: Small Town Pistols
Twitter: @smtownpistols
Instagram: @smalltownpistols
iTunes: Small Town Pistols

3 years ago
Scroll to top