country music

New Music Spotlight: Serena Ryder, David James, KPT, The Lovelocks, Bülow, and Taylor Swift

We love sharing new music with the world. Across genres, from indie artists and well known stars, new songs have the ability to grab you by the ears and take you away… even if it’s just for three minutes.

Today we’ve got a mix of genres, some artists that you may or may not know, and five songs (and a special bonus, sixth) that we think are definitely worth a listen.

Ready? Let’s do this!

The Music

Artist: Serena Ryder
Hometown: Millbrook, ON
Genre: Pop/Rock
Related Artists: Sarah Harmer, Jann Arden, Chantal Kreviazuk
Single: Ice Age
Notes: With Serena Ryder’s recognizable voice and sound shining throughout the song, Ice Age‘s video shows a withdrawn elderly woman who is reinvigorated when music causes a flood of long-lost memories to return to her. It’s a message of the power of music, and we dig it.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: David James
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
Genre: Country
Related Artists: Jojo Mason, Dan Davidson, Chad Brownlee
Single: Sun Set On It
Notes: If you want to have a laugh, hit play on this video from David James. Sun Set On It is a whole lot of fun on its own – and this no frills, zero pretension, smile on everyone’s faces, music video is a perfectly put together, good timin’ companion.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: KPT
Hometown: MLPS.
Genre: Dark Electronic
Related Artists: Die Antwoord, Justice, The Orb
Single: Sequel
Notes: The video for Sequel is straight-up cinema. Watch it with your attention on the screen as the music hits and the visuals take over your screen. If you really want it to have its full effect, turn the lights off first.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Soundcloud

Artist: The Lovelocks – Staycation
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Genre: Country
Related Artists: Jessica Mitchell, Jess Moskaluke, Meghan Patrick
Single: Staycation
Notes: The Lovelocks are back with something a little different than fans are most used to from the Toronto country duo. Staycation could be a breakthrough radio and mainstream track for Ali and Zoe, and if it is, it will be well earned. Have a listen today and have yourself a little staycation.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Bülow
Hometown: Worldwide
Genre: Pop/Electronic
Related Artists: Blitz//Berlin, ROMES, Ria Mae
Single: Not A Love Song
Notes: If you want new everything… here you go. Bülow, the teenage pop breakthrough, offers a fresh sound, fresh voice, and a sound that’s going to get stuck somewhere in your head. Get ready for it. And more where this came from.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple


Artist: Taylor Swift
Hometown: Reading, PA
Genre: Pop/Country
Related Artists: Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez
Single: New Year’s Day
Notes: New Year’s Day is the 15th and final track on Swift’s new album, reputation, and is the closest to the country Taylor that her early fans remember. The ballad fits perfectly with her very first single, Tim McGraw, and now that it’s been released to country radio, we’ll all have a chance to see how the multi-genre star performs in her original setting.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

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Boots & Hearts 2018 Lineup Announcement #1: Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Thomas Rhett, and more

Boots and Hearts is one of the biggest weekends on our calendar every summer. We’ve been at each of the first six festivals, and are looking forward to lucky number seven in 2018.

And now we know who to start getting excited for as B&H have announced their first round of performers, including three headliners that will take the main stage and run the show at Burl’s Creek.

We don’t know which night each Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, and Thomas Rhett will take the stage, but we’ll be ready to share that info with y’all when it becomes available.

Now, let’s have a look at the first six names on the Boots and Hearts 2018 artist roster…

Florida Georgia Line

Back again after a Sunday night gig as headliners, Florida Georgia Line, will hit the Boots and Hearts stage in front of tens of thousands of fans who should be in a party mood.

Yes, this is Florida Georgia Line, so there will be a whole bunch of people who complain about their return to the festival… but the truth is that Tyler and BK are headlining stars who know how to command a crowd, have a list of radio hits, and put on a show.

If we’re lucky (fingers crossed) we’ll hear the entire crowd singing along to H.O.L.Y. like we did in Toronto in 2016. It was an amazing live music moment, and we’d love to try to duplicate it at B&H 2018.

Florida Georgia Line Boots and Hearts 2015

Alan Jackson

I’m not entirely sure that I’ve processed this news to its complete extent yet. True story.

Alan Jackson is one of the country music stars that shaped my fandom when I was young. I listened and learned and sang along… and as when he starts singing Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow, Don’t Rock The Jukebox, and Chattahoochee, I’ll be the adult feeling like a kid who’s singing along as loud as I can.

This is huge. Really big. I’m excited.

Thomas Rhett

In our Boots & Hearts 2018 predictions post I included Thomas Rhett as the bonus name… and we nailed it!

Rhett’s Life Changes album will give him an expanded live library, and his showmanship and entertainment value are sure to get the crowd going. We know he loves to dance, and we’re sure we’ll see it on Crash And Burn, and we can’t wait to hear new songs like Smooth Like Summer and Sixteen this August.

We said we wanted to see Thomas Rhett in a headlining role – and here he is.

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015

Billy Currington

Currington has 11 US Country Airplay #1 hits, and six other songs that made it into the Top 5 on the country music charts. He’s been making music that’s been hitting country radio since 2003, and we’re finally going to see the Georgia native at Boots and Hearts this year.

We can’t wait to sing along to Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right, People Are Crazy, and the Sam Hunt penned, We Are Tonight. It’s gonna be fun!

Dallas Smith

One of the biggest country music stars in Canada is coming back to Canada’s biggest country music festival… and it’s going to be good.

We’ve seen Dallas Smith headline Thursday night’s kick off party, we’ve seen him main stage as the evening crowd poured in, we’ve seen him play arenas and amphitheatre stages – and this dude rocks every stage.

Related: Side Effects Tour: Dallas Smith, The Cadillac Three and Friends Rock Oshawa

Be ready for the hits, high energy, and the chance to give some Canadian love to Dallas Smith next summer!

Dallas Smith CNE 2015

Brett Young

Here’s another we got right in the prediction post… and man we’re happy about it. Brett Young is an emerging star and he’s got a ton of talent.

He’s going to get up on that stage, and he’s going to kill with songs like Sleep Without You, In Case You Didn’t Know, and Like I Loved You. Be ready for it to get loud and happy and give you goosebumps when the country music loving crowd starts singing along.

Stay tuned for more names to be added to the Boots and Hearts 2018 lineup – and if you’re wondering who else we predicted for next year, check out our 15 Boots & Hearts 2018 Artist Predictions.

5 days ago 1 Comment Views

Indie Week 2017 Independent Women: Supermarket, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

M88 Entertainment Group LogoPresented by M88 Entertainment Group

Indie Week continued on Thursday night as we hit the Supermarket to see more talented women show Toronto music fans what they’ve got.

The M88 Entertainment Group showcase had a stacked bill which had us stopping in to check out Amanda Jordan, Alessia Cohle, and Alexis Lynn. It was fantastic to see more women on stage, and experiencing their sets.

As a sponsor of Indie Week, and the showcase organizers, M88 continued to show their support for emerging talent. We’ve seen it at events like this before, and we know that artists like Alessia Cohle have greatly benefitted from the branding, development, strategy, and management services that they offer to up and coming artists. They’re tag line is pretty clear, “We focus on the business, so you can focus on the music.”.

Amanda Jordan started the show, working with her guitar player to fill the room with music and start grabbing the attention of the assembled Indie Week crowd.

The Smith Falls, ON native was strong and smooth on stage, with a sweet voice and seemed to be effortless as she displayed all the little nuances that makes a live vocal performance special.

Amanda worked through her set of originals and covers, playing her 2014 single, Lettin’ It Go Tonight, as well as more recently tracks including Driving In The Dark, Unknow You, You Fit Me Better, and Kinda Like A Guy Like You, which Amanda performed for the first time in front of a live crowd.

It was great to hear Amanda’s versions of Miranda Lambert’s heartbreaking Tin Man, as well as Rascal Flatts more upbeat, I Like The Sound Of That. The two covers were a good balance, and rounded out the set well.

We’re not sure what’s coming next for Amanda, but we won’t at all be surprised if we start seeing and hearing more from her in the near future.

Alessia Cohle hit the stage next, bringing a full band and her own mix of originals and covers to the Supermarket crowd for Indie Week.

The Mississauga, On native came prepared to show off her voice, and her ability to perform on stage. Her energy was palpable, and it was easy to see the growth and strength that has come over the last couple of years since we were first introduced to the country singer.

Alessia played a selection of songs from her 2016 album, Talk To Me, as well as her brand new EP, Wanderlust, which was released on November 3.

Songs like the two title tracks, along with How Bad, Two Steps Ahead, and More all helped to show off the sound and vibe that Cohle is cultivating in her young career, and they offer a look into where she may be headed in the future.

Her choices of covers on the evening were a lot of fun too. With Kelsea Ballerini’s Love Me Like You Mean It, Lady Antebellum’s You Look Good, Elle King’s Ex’s And Oh’s, Carrie Underwood’s Smoke Break, Dusty Springfield’s Son Of A Preacher Man, and Maren Morris’s My Church all hitting their mark and encouraging the Thursday night audience to sing along.

Look for Alessia to hit a lot of stages in the next few months to play her new material, and then be ready for what comes next after that.

Alexis Lynn, all the way from Vancouver, BC was our last Indie Week act of the evening. The teenaged singer/songwriter brought her pop/R&B vibe to the stage and showed off what she’s got in a strong way.

Already tabbed as a top 20 under 20 talent in the 2016 CBC Searchlight Contest, the 18 year old showed all of the confidence you’d ever hope to see from a teenager on stage. And while she admitted that she’s most comfortable on the keys, she stripped it down to play her own acoustic guitar and didn’t miss a beat.

Alexis Lynn told the Toronto crowd that she’s working towards an EP release sometime soon, and to be honest, it won’t be soon enough. The power and smoothness in her voice was attention grabbing, and when she announced that she was going to play a cover by one of her favourites, nobody should have been surprised when she started singing Alicia Keys’ Fallin’.

Original songs like Same Girl, That Kiss, Even Friends, and I Love You I Do, all worked to show off what she’s got ready to share with the musical world. And her closing number, Promises, did an excellent job of wrapping things up in style.

Alexis Lynn, along with her guitar/keys/beats player Caesar, brought a groove that people danced and bobbed and rocked to from start to finish.

She’s one to watch.

Check out some more photos from Thursday night at Indie Week, and stay tuned for more live music coverage!

Amanda Jordan

Alessia Cohle

Alexis Lynn

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Liar: Shae Dupuy Single Release Q&A and Contest

Hot on the heels of her Indie Week 2017 performance at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto, Shae Dupuy has a new single ready for the world.

Fans may feel familiar with Liar, but Shae is excited to release the version of the song that she’s been envisioning since it was written. As a bonus track on her 2016 EP, Brave, the acoustic version of Liar connected with fans and became her most streamed song on Spotify – and now she’s hoping to connect with them again.

We caught up with Shae for a quick Q&A – that we used to ask about the single… and what’s next. Thanks to her for playing along, check it out!

We’ve also teamed up with Shae Dupuy for a contest. Use the widget below to earn up to 8 entries for your chance to be the winner of a Shae Dupuy prize pack. Good luck!

AND, right below the last question we’ve got Liar lined up and ready for you. Just hit play!

Q: What made you want to go back to this song to record and release it again?

SD: Liar was one of my favourite songs off the last project but we never released it to radio or as a single, because it was just meant to be an acoustic bonus track off of the EP. The response we received was more than we expected and I knew then that I had to re-record this song. After the year I’ve had, now just feels like the perfect time for it.

Q: Does it still feel like the same story and bring the same feelings, or has it evolved?

SD: I think the emotions and sentiment is still there but I do feel like the song has grown with this new version.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern

Q: What feelings do you have when you release new music?

SD: It’s always a lot of nerves mixed with excitement. I put a lot of time, effort and myself into my songs, so putting them out into the world is always a bit scary.

Q: Is there anything you can share about new music coming for fans?

SD: There’s a lot of new music being written and recorded, but it won’t be released for a little while. So, if fans wanna hear the new stuff they’ll have to come on out to see some shows! Keep any eye on my socials for all upcoming shows!

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern

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Country Sorta Way: Danielle Bourjeaurd at Indie Week 2017, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

M88 Entertainment Group LogoPresented by M88 Entertainment Group

Danielle Bourjeaurd came to Toronto for Indie Week 2017, hitting The Dakota Tavern for a set with her band on Wednesday night. But before she climbed up with her boys to play, we had the chance to hang out with Country Sorta Way singer/songwriter for a little acoustic performance and more.

She may be country girl, but Danielle was ready to sing on a chilly night in the city as we found a light in the alley beside the venue. And as you’ll see when you press play, her voice carried into the evening in a fantastic live rendition of What Difference Does She Make.

On stage Wednesday night, Danielle was revved up and ready to go. With the support of her band, her songs rang out and connected with the mid-week crowd at The Dakota Tavern.

With songs like Lakeside, What Difference Does She Make, and Happy Hour from her EP, Country Sorta Way, Danielle showed Toronto that she has the chops to hang with anyone in the genre we’re seeing right now.

But, as impressive as she was singing the songs that put a smile on her face from start to finish, we were further blown away when she slowed it down to sing an emotional tribute to her father with, This Guitar. She told the crowd that it was going to be a hard one, and as she sang we saw her look to the sky a couple of times. And whether it was for strength, or with thanks, it was the kind of thing that reminds us exactly how powerful music can be.

Danielle also shared some of her Nashville learned southern hospitality, leading the crowd in a toast during her set. It was a show of charm, but not the only one of the evening. Throughout the set she showed the crowd as much love as they showed her as we watched people singing along with her songs.

One of our other favourite performances of the night from Danielle was Bigger Glass. As suckers for a ‘getting over you’ song, this one is a winner. And both the live solo performance and the album version with Drew Smith are a great listen.

Note: We aren’t the only ones who thought Danielle had a great show. It was later announced by Indie Week that she was the winner of the Wednesday night showcase, and will be playing Saturday night at the Cameron House. Congratulations to Danielle!

This was our first chance to see Danielle Bourjeaurd live on stage. If we’re lucky, it won’t be our last. And if you’re looking for new music, and a new artist to add to your list of indie favourites, we suggest you look up this singer/songwriter soon.

While we had Danielle with us before the show, we sat with her for a round of 5 Quick Questions… check it out along with some more photos from the evening!

Q1) If you could put one album on in the car on a long drive, and let it play on repeat without skipping songs, which album would you choose?

DB) Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

That’s a good choice. Go put it on and don’t even try to pretend that you don’t want to sing along!

Q2) What is your favourite Shania jam?

DB) Any Man Of Mine… or Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under

We forgive her for choosing two songs… that’s a hard question.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Danielle Bourjeaurd at The Dakota Tavern

Q3) What is your favourite late night fast food joint?

DB) McDonald’s.

We asked about her go to order, and she told us it’s cheeseburger happy meal, with a strawberry milkshake. Nice!

Q4) What is the one thing you always have to have in a writing session?

DB) My phone

Danielle told us that she uses her phone for notes, to brainstorm, and to help her write.

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

DB) Ian Janes

She raved about his voice and talent, and because she thinks he’s that good, he sang on her album.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Danielle Bourjeaurd in the alley behind The Dakota Tavern

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Indie Week 2017 Women of Country Music: The Dakota Tavern, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

M88 Entertainment Group LogoPresented by M88 Entertainment Group

Wednesday night was good for country music at Indie Week 2017 in Toronto with some very talented women taking the stage at the Dakota Tavern.

The energy in the room was fantastic from the start, with a great crowd coming in early, and support for the Indie Week artists on full display. In one of our favourite rooms in the city, we got to experience some fantastic live country music from Shae Dupuy, Julia Haggarty, and Dani Strong – that’s a pretty great way to spend a Wednesday night.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern

The mid-week entertainment started with Shae Dupuy on stage, bringing a full band and a full sound with her.

With a set that included Tin Man, Drink About It, a cover of Little Big Town’s Boondocks, a brand new song called Top Shelf Whiskey, and her upcoming single, Liar, Shae showed the Indie Week crowd what she brings to the party.

The energy and enthusiasm from Shae and her band filled the room and did an excellent job of getting things started, which isn’t always easy. But it was clear that the country singer was ready and comfortable on the Dakota Tavern stage.

Stay tuned for more from Shae Dupuy, it sounds like exciting things are coming from her very soon. We’re ready.

Julia Haggarty was next to take the Dakota Tavern stage, giving us our first chance to see the London, Ontario native perform live.

The singer/songwriter did her thing in a strong way on Wednesday, and with the band keeping pace, she put in work. In the live setting Julia showed that she’s got a lot to offer to music fans, starting with a powerful voice that can go for miles.

On songs including Him, Skydive, I Can’t Stand Still, and a track she co-wrote with Jessica Mitchell – Alone In Love, she shared herself with the Indie Week crowd, and they responded with praise and applause.

Julia Haggarty’s set ended with a stripped down version of her song, Anybody Like You, and the opportunity to hear it all scaled back was a great way to finish her time on stage.

Dani Strong followed with her band, doing everything we know she can when she gets up in front of a crowd.

Dani is one of the hardest working indie artists we know, and she has fun doing it. Through laughs, jokes, and sweet stories, she played a set that included Fallout, Mountains, Mrs. Jones, Where The Heck Is Dixieland, Wild One, and more.

We had the chance to see Dani recently at the Rivoli with Johnson Crook, and heard her play Healing, a song she wrote about mental illness, with thoughts of people she knows and cares about in mind. Having that song as well as, my personal favourite, What You Need, in the set was wonderful, and did all of the things that we know music can do when it comes to feelings and depth.

The Indie Week showcase at the Dakota Tavern was further proof that there’s a whole lot of female talent in country music, right here, and ready to play. We hope we get the chance to see all of these women again soon, and to hear new songs and stories.

Check out more photos from Wednesday night, and stay tuned for more Indie Week coverage!

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Shae Dupuy at The Dakota Tavern

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Goals: Andrew Hyatt, the Feature, presented by New Country Spirit

Presented by New Country Spirit

Andrew Hyatt is goal oriented, he told us so. Whether those goals are releasing an EP and full length album, getting his songs on the radio, or even just getting good enough at music to open for a local band, he’s willing to work to achieve them.

Hyatt told us that the last one mentioned there is the one that kind of got him started. He knew he wanted to give music a try, and so he set a goal of being good enough on his guitar and on the microphone to open for Parry Sound band, Red Umbrella. And now, as 2017 comes to a close, Andrew Hyatt has well surpassed that original goal.

We’ve had the chance to catch up with the Sudbury native a few times over the last couple of years, most recently in Oshawa on a Friday afternoon before he took the stage with Dallas Smith to sing a duet of his first Top 10 hit single, On Me. And as we’ve become more familiar with Andrew (and kept tabs on him through his social media accounts), we’ve known him to be a dude that likes cold beer, good whiskey, and isn’t afraid to take or make a joke.

In fact, before we sat down to talk to Andrew in Oshawa, he was 100% game when we suggested standing in the visitor’s locker room showers at Tribute Communities Centre for a photo op. Hell, he even turned on the water behind him before he posed for his shots.

Andrew Hyatt in the shower - Side Effects Tour - Oshawa

While Andrew is dedicated to setting and achieving his goals, there’s a certain amount of opportunity and perseverance that comes with launching a career in music, including Hyatt’s.

When we asked him what moment made him want to go all-in on the idea of music as a career, he told us about a chance he got in 2012 to open for Dean Brody at a sold out show in Sudbury. He had been playing local shows and open mics, and the right person saw him and asked if he and his band would be interested in opening for Brody (who was touring his latest release at the time, Dirt). Hyatt said yes, and the band plugged in to play for a sold out crowd. And that was the moment that he knew what he wanted to do.

He told us that there was video available online somewhere from that show… so we went looking for it! Watch Andrew Hyatt and his band on stage in front of his hometown Sudbury crowd, as Dean Brody’s opener on September 15, 2012 at the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre.

The idea that it would all be fast and easy after that show was quickly, and repeatedly nixed for Hyatt. He told us that he moved to Toronto three times to try to make music for a living, finally getting a foothold on the third attempt. He also told us that he put in his share of time in shitty apartments, with sketchy roommates that he didn’t trust. He also worked any and every job he could find – quitting to play a show if he couldn’t get the time off, and then finding another job when he needed to pay the rent.

It would be enough to make anyone wonder if they were doing the right thing. But Andrew Hyatt had goals.

On January 1, 2014, Andrew Hyatt released Love Drunk, his first track that country fans could find and buy from iTunes. And while that might have been one goal, it wasn’t enough.

Note: Texas, an earlier song from Hyatt, was released in 2012 on the Up & Coming Hitmakers, Round 1: East album – which can still be found iTunes.

Hyatt continued to write and work after the release of Love Drunk, and in 2015 he released Livin’ The Dream as a single, and followed it up with his EP, Never Back Down. The EP was a collection of six songs that achieved another goal, and afforded him the chance to release his first official lyric video.

He kept working, doing everything he could to get his music on the radio and out to the world. And when it was time for MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio) to be released to radio, Hyatt put together some handmade six pack beer can holders in his shop to send out to stations.

As many artists do when they’re starting out, Andrew Hyatt followed up the release of his EP by playing as many shows on as many nights in as many towns as he could. A look back through his dates on shows him on stages across Ontario and as far as Calgary in 2015.

And he hasn’t slowed down since.

In May 2017 we did a Q&A with Andrew and asked him about playing live. Here are two questions and answers from that interview…

Q. What is your favourite thing about playing a stripped down set?

A. I love being able to tell the stories and let people in a little more on the intimacy of the songs.

Q. What is your favourite thing about playing a set with the full band?

A. The energy of standing in stage with some of your best friends is amazing. Before shows, no matter how tired we are we always remind each other that at 65 (if we make it) we will be wishing for it!

Note: In that same interview, Hyatt gave one of my favourite answers of all-time when he told us that he’d choose to be in an Alan Jackson cover band… so he could “grow a duster and water ski in jeans!”.

While we had Andrew with us in the locker room in Oshawa, we got him to play a quick round of 5 Quick Questions with us. Find out where Andrew’s going for a late night snack, his favourite Shania jam, who he thinks you should be listening to, and more…

On May 12, 2017, Andrew Hyatt released his debut full-length album, Iron & Ashes, crossing another goal off of his always evolving list.

The 12 track record quickly gained traction with some love from CMT and two One Shot videos for She Ain’t You and We Only Kiss On Sundays. Pairing those views with the pre-release hype that Andrew helped create with Canadian Music Week shows at The Phoenix and Boots & Bourbon Saloon in Toronto, and the pre-album single releases of MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio), That’s How I’m Livin’, and She Ain’t You, Hyatt found himself with an album that fans were excited for, and ready to dive into right away.

We asked about the songs and if there was a theme for Iron & Ashes and he told us that he had been going through a lot of personal changes in his life, and that he really needed to write it all down.

He also told us that there’s a quote from Tolstoy, “truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”, that helped set him in the direction of writing the record and explains how refining life can be uncomfortable but worth it.

Fast forward a couple months to the summer of 2017, and the release of On Me to country radio. The single quickly became Hyatt’s highest charting release, climbing into the Top 30, the Top 20, and then this September the track moved into the Top 10, crossing another goal off of every country singers list.

When we talked to Andrew in August 2017 at Boots & Hearts we asked him about hitting the Top 20 with the single. He told us that his first calls after he got the news were to the band. And to celebrate, he cracked a bottle of Crown Royal special reserve that he had been saving for this specific special occasion.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew Hyatt

We aren’t sure what Andrew did to celebrate moving into the Top 10 for the first time, but we’re hoping there was another bottle involved.

Jump forward again with us to fall 2017 and Hyatt’s guest spot on Dallas Smith’s Side Effects Tours. This is part of the news Andrew Hyatt told us that he couldn’t share in August… the other part being that Dallas Smith (the four time #1 hit maker) has become his manager. It’s a big step for the Sudbury native, having someone that knows the ropes, the ins and outs, and has made his own climb to the top, on his side.

We asked Smith about working with Andrew while we were in Oshawa at the Side Effects Tour stop, and the Sky Stays This Blue star told us that he was excited to be working with the emerging star. He also tipped us off to new music being on the way…

And then, on October 27, 2017, Andrew Hyatt dropped a brand new single. Do It With You isn’t from the album, it isn’t a song we’ve heard Hyatt play live, and it isn’t something we knew was coming so soon.

But, Andrew did tell us that new music was coming, and that it was giving him a chance to continue to grow as an artist and find out who he is. And in listening to Do It With You, we can hear the new perspective and story. This isn’t a post-breakup song, this one’s for the girls.

He also told us that there’s a trip to Nashville coming soon so he can get some more writing done, which will mean even more new music again in the future.

Andrew Hyatt - Northern Comfort Saloon - CNE 2017

Andrew Hyatt told us that things have felt like they’re snowballing in the last few months. He’s gaining momentum, things keep moving forward and getting bigger. And that’s a good thing.

He also acknowledged that it’s been a lot of hard work since we first talked to him about MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio) at those CMAOs in Markham. And that it’s been a long ride… and a good experience.

We don’t know exactly what’s coming next for Hyatt, his career is still in a fast moving, ready for action mode. But we do know this…

Andrew Hyatt will continue to set goals, because that’s what he does. And if he continues to put the work in, and pairs it with his talent, dedication, and the opportunities that continue to come his way, he’ll be crossing more goals off of his list – and often.

Andrew Hyatt in the locker room - Side Effects Tour - OshawaAndrew Hyatt in the shower - Side Effects Tour - OshawaAndrew Hyatt with Joshua Murray in the locker room - Side Effects Tour - OshawaBoots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew HyattBoots and Hearts 2017 - Andrew HyattCMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt

2 weeks ago 1 Comment Views

National Country Girls Day: Dean Brody Contest and Q&A

Dean Brody is used to looking out into the crowd and seeing country girls. And now, with the release of his newest single, 8th Day, he’s celebrating those women, and giving them a day of their own.

In fact, Wednesday, November 8, 2017 will be all theirs as Dean presents National Country Girls Day in Canada – and to celebrate, we’re teaming up with the Beautiful Freakshow singer to give away a special prize!

Dean and his team have given us a signed poster that we’re going to give away to a fan who plays along. Here’s what you have to do…

1) On Wednesday, November 8, 2017 post a photo or story celebrating National Country Girls Day on social media.

2) Use the hashtag #NationalCountryGirlsDay to make sure that everyone can find it.

3) Tag Dean Brody (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram) AND tag thereviewsarein (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram) so we can see your posts and you have a chance to win!

It’s really easy. If you’re a country girl – or you love country music and you’re a girl, post a picture that shows it off and add #NationalCountryGirlsDay in the caption. And if you’re a boy who loves a country girl, or girls that love country music, post a pic or tell a story and add #NationalCountryGirlsDay in the caption.

Someone that posts something awesome is going to win an awesome signed poster from Dean Brody for participating – and we can’t wait for it!

Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017

To celebrate the release of 8th Day we also asked Dean a couple questions about the song, and country girls…

Thanks to Dean for playing along with us. Check it out.

Q: What inspired this song while you were working on Beautiful Freakshow?

Dean: I’ve seen the saying before in a slightly different way: “on the eighth day God made a farmer.” So we thought (with co-writer/producer Matt Rovey) it would be cool to do a take on that saying and make a song about country girls, because, they are definitely a unique and awesome part of creation themselves.

Q: Every show you play you get to look out over the crowd and see these country girls singing along to your songs. Is this song a gift back to them from you?

Dean: If they accept it, yes!

Q: Do you have any advice for boys who fall in love with country girls?

Dean: Listen to them. You’ll probably learn something. And be thankful you have someone who appreciates the things in life that you do.

Q: If God made country girls on the 8th day, what do you think he made on the 9th?

Dean: He was exhausted so he went fishing and rested. Again. They took a lot of work. Ask any country girl’s father. But they were worth it!

Remember to keep an eye on the #NationalCountryGirlDay hashtag on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 – this is going to be fun! Good luck!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Dean BrodyDean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017Dean Brody - CNE Bandshell 2016

2 weeks ago 1 Comment Views

Past The Past: Jess Moskaluke Live at Toronto’s YouTube Space

Jess Moskaluke wanted to do something different to celebrate and promote the release of her brand new album, Past The Past. So, the Juno and Canadian Country Music Association award winner came to Toronto, teamed up with YouTube, and live streamed an acoustic release party for the world to see.

It was a full circle type of project for the Saskatchewan native who started her career and fanbase on YouTube more than six years ago.

We’ve had the chance to talk to Jess about YouTube and the internet about how important it has been and continues to be for her career, and she acknowledges, accepts, and embraces it. As she’s told us, she doesn’t know any other way really, this is how it works for her.

On Friday night in Toronto, fans gathered around as Moskaluke and her band played songs from the new album, and some fan favourites. Some of those fans were contest winners that we were happy to send to the event – thanks to Jess’s team for helping us make that happen.

We also want to shout out Paul McGuire, who we all love, for doing a great job hosting the live stream at the Toronto YouTube space. Yes, we all miss seeing Paul on CMT Canada… but if you love country music, keep your eyes open, because he’s still going to be around and you’ll have lots of chances to see him. Stay tuned.

If you haven’t taken the chance to listen to Past The Past yet, we highly recommend that you do. And, when Jess announces tour dates and live shows in 2018 (they’re coming, we’ll tell you when we know more), we suggest that you get a ticket to see her perform.

Now, check out the recording of the live stream YouTube video, some more photos from the evening, and listen to the full album. Enjoy!

If you want to listen to the live acoustic performances of Jess singing… you can jump from song to song at times listed here.

Jess Moskaluke, Past The Past Album Release Setlist, YouTube Live Toronto

📹 Drive Me Away (14:25)
📹 Kiss Me Quiet (18:10)
📹 Kill Your Love(28:45)
📹 Camouflage (32:55)
📹 Right When Ya Left (44:55)
📹 Save Some Of That Whiskey (49:00)
📹 Take Me Home (58:08)
📹 Past The Past (1:02:45)
📹 Cheap Wine And Cigarettes (1:15:50)

And if you want to sit back and enjoy the music, the stories, some laughs and more – start the show, and enjoy!

Jess Moskaluke at YouTube in Toronto

2 weeks ago 1 Comment Views

Superman: Peter Donegan Q&A

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been listening to Peter Donegan‘s Superman EP. My first thought was, I really wish there were more songs, that’s a good thing. Peter is a great storyteller and the music is warm and inviting. He sings about family, friends, love and life, all of the things that matter to us. On the title track, Superman, I hear a little Thomas Rhett, and I have to think when listening to I’m Yours, that we would all be lucky if someone were writing this song about us.

Donegan grew up in a musical family. His dad was legendary skiffle singer, songwriter and musician, Lonnie Donegan, the King of Skiffle. You may be wondering, what’s skiffle? Think jazz, blues, and folk played with homemade or improvised instruments like washboards and jugs and then go check out his Spotify link, it’s super cool.

Growing up side stage, Peter Donegan always knew music was his path. A multi-instrumentalist, he plays guitar, banjo, keyboards, mandolin, and harmonica and his years of experience have all come together to bring us a pretty special recording.

Thanks to Donegan for taking the time to answer our questions about his life, his music and his new EP.

Peter Donegan Q&A

Q: What are your earliest musical memories?

PD: To be honest I have so many. I could point to dad (Lonnie Donegan) playing Willie Nelson’s “Willie and The Family” album and I becoming totally obsessed with “May the Circle Be Unbroken”, in particular, the piano being played by Willie’s sister Bobbie. You see the album was recorded in Lake Tahoe where we were living back then so it had a lot of relevance for us. I was around 4 or 5 years old. That I can safely say is one of the first times I decided I was going to play piano and I wanted it to sound like that. Dad didn’t think I was seriously interested in tinkling the ivories and to my grateful dismay bought me my first acoustic guitar. I tried to play it but I couldn’t pass a piano while we were out so dad eventually signed me up for piano lessons. My mom reminds me of me sitting in a stroller on the side of the stage at my father’s concerts adamantly not going to sleep as I was fixated on the music. You see I was born on tour in the UK in 1983 and I got the nickname “Trunk Baby” for spending my time asleep in the back of my dad’s old Ford.

Q: Do you split your time between London and the US?

PD: Yeah I do! I’m a permanent resident in the USA and this is home. I never got my citizenship as it was easier coming on tour with a British passport and coming back home to Florida. Britain has a great place in my heart, I was born there but also with dad being originally from Glasgow we get such a warm reception it’s sometimes overwhelming, but in a totally great way.

Q: Can you tell us about the country music scene in London?

PD: Sure thing. I am still learning it myself but from what I have seen it is growing at an extraordinary rate. I frequently test new songs out at open mic nights where no one knows who you are and just react according to what they hear. Most of the people turning up now are turning up in western boots, flannel shirts and tagging a pedal steel and mandolin with them. They are getting back into Country Music and Americana in a big way which is awesome. For the longest time the CM scene in the UK, in general, consisted of people of a certain age dressing up in cheap cowboy and western gear, 6 shooters and Stetsons and creeping up to the venue in a camper van attached to large Confederate flags still listening to Hank Williams Sr. and Patsy Cline. Today’s youth are inspired by Little Big Town, early Taylor Swift, and Lady Antebellum and more recently by their very own The Shires. Bob Harris, a DJ and former TV presenter in London is largely responsible as he has the largest Americana show on BBC Radio 2 and has been backing some of the UK’s biggest Americana festivals and taking upcoming artists between London and Nashville. I had the pleasure of recording three songs for his “Under the Apple Tree Sessions” which gets aired on YouTube, BBC Radio 2 and the new Chris Country Radio. It’s an exciting time to be into Country Music in the UK.

Peter Donegan FB studioQ: Could you talk to us about the writing and recording process for the Superman EP?

PD: This was one of the best experiences of my life. I am always writing songs so I have a catalogue of songs to choose from at any given time but once I knew I was finally going to fulfil my dream of going and recording in Nashville, TN I actually sat and composed a couple of songs specifically for this occasion. Most of the songs were already written like Ode to a Friend, I’m Yours and Little Man. These songs were inspired by events in my life.

Ode to a Friend was written after I’d spent a great night hanging out with two of my best friends in West Palm Beach and I was on the plane to London and just thought of how important it is that we all have friends like this.

I’m Yours is inspired by the time I met my wife, whom I met on a visit to Bucharest, Romania. I had always wanted to write a song which could be used as a first dance at your wedding and drew from my own personal experience for it.

Little Man is the oldest of the songs on this E.P. This is obviously written about my little man who at the time of writing this is 2 and half years old. Having a child is such a magical experience and I couldn’t not write about this. Every parent I’ve played this for really relates to it. The other two songs Superman and Shakin’ are pure imagination and fantasy. Especially Shakin’. While I have to say I took a little bit of imagery from the way I viewed my wife the first time she visited a small town I was staying in for a tour in the UK. There she was! This angel from a Hollywood-esque movie set dropped into this run down, backwoods town. She stuck out like the most beautiful sore thumb you’d ever seen. Once I had created the demos for these on my iPad, sent them off to a friend of mine, Pete Young at Ultra Audio Productions in Nashville and spoke in depth about the ideas I had for each song so when I drove into the famous Studio 19, everything and everyone was ready to go. These guys were awesome, they literally listened to my demos, heard my ideas, stepped into the studio like a live session and showed me my dreams in one take. Within three days we were recorded, mixed and ready for the mastering to be done which was the final piece and the only part I wasn’t present for. Basically, I can’t wait to do it all over again.

 Q: Who are you listening to that our readers should be listening to?

PD: My inspirations come from so many sources and I listen to so many artists. I like to listen to pioneers in Country Music as well as some of the top artists who occupy the Billboard charts today. I will always listen to Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings specifically. Whether individually or as part of The Highwaymen. The first song I learned growing up was Waylon’s version of Dreaming My Dreams. Dad covered that too in the late 70’s early 80’s. Dad (Lonnie Donegan) is a must listen for performers too. I know I’m biased but he performed each song with so much energy and emotion. He did this all his life until the day he died on our last tour when I was his piano player. He took me with for the experience and so he could finally perform the hit song he wrote which was a top 10 hit for Tom Jones – I’ll Never Fall in Love Again. Also covered by Elvis on his penultimate album: From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee. Out of today’s artists, I listen to, my top two would be Chris Stapleton and The Zac Brown Band. I know not necessarily similar but that’s kind of the point. Stapleton is rawer and leans toward an older and often more blues/rock style while The Zac Brown Band tends to combine reggae undertones and have songs which range from out and out fun like Sick em on a Chicken to the downright beautiful Tomorrow Never Comes.

Q: Is there anything you want to share with our readers that we haven’t asked?

PD: Something a lot of people often inquire about is “what it’s like having an influential father? Is it a help or a hindrance.“ This is a difficult question to answer as the whole situation is a double-edged sword. On one hand, I am immensely proud of everything dad achieved and when I go out I will always do some of Dad’s songs because they mean a lot to me and to the audience. Plus I had the luxury of my dad being my best friend. But on the other hand, when I gig in the UK, people more often than not are coming to see me but actually looking for dad. I can blow the lid off the venue and the response is “Wasn’t your dad great!” I know what they mean and I know they’ve had a great night but to them, it’s like I’ve been channelling my dad all night. That’s kind of what this album is about. Me, just being me and hoping you’ll appreciate me for me.

You can find Peter Donegan all over the internet!

2 weeks ago No Comments Views

Texoma Shore: Blake Shelton Album Review

Blake Shelton is right on schedule with the release of 11 new songs on his new album, Texoma Shore. It’s a collection of very Blake tracks, that country music fans have been waiting for.

We aren’t kidding about Shelton being right on schedule. If you look at the releases of his last 6 albums, you can look at approximately a year and a half between records. And here we are in November 2017 with the follow-up to the May 2016 release of If I’m Honest.

The new album comes in at just under 40 minutes of music, and while we do wish that number was a little higher, it’s hard to complain about an 11 song album in an era of EPs.

Blake Shelton’s signature mix of sweet and smart-ass is available throughout the album. His fans love it. It fits the big Oklahoman’s personality, and since we’ve gotten used to both sides of him and his music over the last 15+ years, it’s both expected and reassuring to hear it done and done well on Texoma Shore.

The lead single, I’ll Name The Dogs, was released on September 8, giving it a two month lead into the record, and Canadian country fans got a treat when Blake performed the track on the CBC broadcast of the Canadian Country Music Association Awards on Sunday, September 10.

We don’t know what the radio single plan is coming up for Shelton from this album, but if the early release of Turnin’ Me On and I Lived It are teases that they’re headed in one of those two directions, I’d be okay with that.

Note: The first time I listened to Turnin’ Me On I had a real Eagles feel hittin’ me. And that’s not a bad thing. Who knows, maybe I just have a craving for the Eagles, but I think there’s something there.

We’re a little disappointed that Blake Shelton’s Country Music Freaks Tour isn’t going to be bringing Brett Eldredge, Carly Pearce, and Trace Adkins north of the border to play these new songs… but here’s hoping it’s not too long before the five time winning coach of The Voice brings his stage show back to Canada.

For now, all fans can kick back, pour a beverage of their choice and hit play on Texoma Shore. From I’ll Name The Dogs off the top to I Lived It at the end of the tracklist, Shelton and his team at Warner have put together another collection on songs that fit him well, will work for country fans, and will make for some fun additions to the live show.

Leave a comment to tell us which song from Texoma Shore is your favourite!

Blake Shelton, Texoma Shore Tracklist

1. I’ll Name The Dogs
2. At The House
3. Beside You Babe
4. Why Me
5. Money
6. Turnin’ Me On
7. The Wave
8. Got The T-Shirt
9. Hangover Due
10. When The Wine Wears Off
11. I Lived It

Blake Shelton-Country Thunder 2017

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Past The Past: Jess Moskaluke Album Review and Contest

Three-time Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year, Jess Moskaluke is back with a collection of seven songs on her third album, Past The Past.

The Saskatchewan native has already seen success with single releases of, Drive Me Away and Kill Your Love and looks to continue that trajectory with the rest of the album.

Note: Use the widget at the bottom of the post to earn up to 7 entries for your chance to win 1 of 5 CD copies of Past The Past.

Past The Past showcases a more grown-up Jess Moskaluke, singing about relationships in a way leans to the saddest parts. This is a collection of songs that could very well find itself in high rotation for many post-breakup women (and men) over the next few years. Paired with red wine or whiskey and the lights down low, this album is the companion to heartbreak, and the moving on that comes next.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

We were in Toronto with Moskaluke as she played some of the tracks from her new album at CBC Music’s First Play Live, and the country singer told the small crowd and cameras that there is definitely a theme of breakups and moving on through this album.

BUT, that isn’t to say that she’s going through these things. In fact, Jess Moskaluke is quite content in her relationship, and very recently got engaged to her fiancé, Clay. Congratulations to the happy couple!

Related: Jess Moskaluke Green Room Interview, Toronto

Note: Drive Me Away (the lead single, and first track on the album) is an upbeat song that will you want to pack a bag and hit the road with your lover in all the best ways. Whether they’re the one you’ve been with forever or the one that just started giving you butterflies after leaving another, put it on and dance in the living room, or start the car.

When we were talking to Jess in Toronto she told us that she had a first time co-write with The Cadillac Three’s Neil Mason as she worked on these new songs, and the result ended up being Right When Ya Left, the third song on Past The Past. The track isn’t a downer like some other breakup songs but does include the themes of second-guessing and doubt – as well as the realization that you’ll be alright, sometimes even right away.

While the themes and tone of the songs on this new album may be different from Kiss Me Quiet and Light Up The Night, one thing remains the same… Jess Moskaluke sings the hell out of the songs she’s preparing to release to the world. The CCMA, country radio and fans from coast-to-coast aren’t wrong when they heap praise on the talent that Jess brings to the table. She’s got it, and with releases like Past The Past, she’s once again confirming that she belongs in the upper echelon of female country singers in Canada. Strike that, she belongs in the upper echelon of Canadian country music talent, period. No qualifiers required.

Jess Moskaluke knows what she’s doing at this point, and as an artist, as she continues to evolve and find herself, we’re sure we will continue to hear new songs, new sounds, and explore new themes with her along the way.

Past The Past drops on Friday, November 3, 2017 – with Jess Moskaluke planning a special YouTube Live album release event at 7:30 pm EST. Find her online (website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) to learn more.

Be ready to put this album on repeat… even if you don’t have a broken heart.

Jess Moskaluke, Past The Past Tracklist

1) Drive Me Away
2) Camouflage
3) Right When Ya Left
4) Gotta Start Somewhere
5) Kill Your Love
6) Save Some Of That Whiskey
7) Past The Past

Click here to listen to Past The Past!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

3 weeks ago 3 Comments Views

Born and Raised: Hunter Brothers Live at Giant Tiger

Luke, J.J., Ty, Brock, and Dusty Hunter were a long way from their Shaunavon, Saskatchewan farm when they rolled into Giant Tiger in Scarborough for their pop up performance to trade tractors for harmonies.

These five brothers are one of Canada’s rising star acts in country music, with singles El Dorado, Long Way To Love You, Getaway, and (their most recent) Born And Raised connecting with audiences coast-to-coast and making fans and the industry take notice. The Hunter Brothers released their debut album, Getaway, in March 2017, and have seen success in the form of fan base growth, top 40 singles, and more than 2 million streams on Spotify.

We caught up with the Hunter Brothers before their acoustic performance in Scarborough to talk about the feelings of releasing new music, hearing a crowd sing along, hockey, and farming… and which parody song they like best from their growing collection.

Before we even got started, the boys took notice of the vintage 1989 Grey Cup Championship Saskatchewan Roughriders cap I was wearing. Here’s a general tip for anyone that lives in any province or territory in Canada other than Saskatchewan: ‘Riders gear is always a good way to start a conversation!

I asked Luke, J.J., Ty, Brock, and Dusty about the feeling of releasing new music to the world, asking if it was scarier or more nerve wracking than knowing rain was coming in when there was work to do in the fields. The boys explained that the differences are many, and that when it comes to the farm, they know they can hit the panic button, buckle down and work hard and fast until it’s done. But with their music, things are different, with J.J. comparing it more to hockey (which the boys all played to various levels, and we got back to a little later) where you can prepare yourself, feel confident that you’re ready, but still don’t really know what the outcome is going to be. They ended up labeling it nervous excitement whenever new music comes from them to the world.

Back to hockey for just a minute, I asked which of the Hunter Brothers had the best hands, and they all agreed that J.J. ended up with the most developed skills… but that Brock had the most natural ability when it came time to dangle. Being that they’re all so freaking nice, they also gave nods to Dusty’s dangle ability, Luke’s shot, and Ty’s natural and steady ability to play a strong defensive game, always knowing what to do with the puck. It was a giant hockey love fest between these guys.

We asked the boys what it’s been like to see the reaction and acceptance from country music fans in Canada, and they lit up. They have loved the experience of sharing their music, and when they look out and see people singing along it can shake them. They mentioned the crowd in Oshawa at the OHL General’s game a few days ago, and being 3,000 kilometres away they could still look out and see Ontarians singing along. It’s special to them.

In Scarborough, the Hunter Brothers played three songs, spreading their harmonies out over the store, and giving everyone a taste of what they bring to the country music table. And with Getaway, El Dorado, and Born And Raised, they earned applause, saw cellphone cameras in the air, and genuinely looked like they were enjoying themselves.

Before the boys got ready to play, we asked two more questions…

1) Who would you most like to play a show with?

The brothers told us that there are a lot of names on their list… but that the first one they would all be able to agree on would be Rascal Flatts, who they’ve been listening to for a long time.

2) Which of their song parodies is their favourite? (If you haven’t seen the Hunter Brothers parodies, head to Facebook now and scroll through their videos!)

There were two answers… their Coke parody and their most popular parody to date (and my personal favourite) The Combine Got Stuck.

Big thanks to Luke, J.J., Ty, Brock, and Dusty Hunter for taking a few minutes to hang out. We’re looking forward to more chances to see the boys play and to talk about sports, the farm, and music.

Born and Raised… call your local country radio station and request @hunterbros today! #livemusic #countrymusic

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3 weeks ago 1 Comment Views

Queen West Goes Country: Johnson Crook and Dani Strong at the Rivoli

Country music came to Queen Street West on Friday night when Johnson Crook and Dani Strong hit the stage in the back room at the Rivoli in Toronto.

Dani Strong and her band of merry men opened the show, having as much fun as they do every time we see them.

Strong’s voice was, well, strong as she belted out her songs on stage, adding quips, stories, and laughter to her set as she drew the crowd in and made a whole out of all of the individuals in the room. It’s what she does, it’s sweet, and we like it.

And as she wooed the audience, Dani played through her set, including excellent versions of Fallout, Mountains, Mrs. Jones, Wild One and more. We could see people singing along, which is awesome to see for an indie artist, and it certainly seemed to us that the crowd was having just as much fun as the crew on the Rivoli stage.

Dani Strong at Rivoli

In the singing along department, we were loudest for two songs… 1) Dani’s most recent release to country radio, What You Need. 2) Her cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ classic, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.

As Dani sang out some big notes on Child Of Faith we couldn’t help but think that we’d love to hear her sing The Black Crowes’ She Talks To Angels. It could be a whole lot of good.

After Dani and the band finished their set, Johnson Crook got ready to take the stage and continue the evening’s entertainment.

Johnson Crook hadn’t played a bar show in Toronto in months. In that time their debut full-length album, The Album, was released, two music videos (Canada To Heartbreak, Minnedosa) were released, and Shadows racked up nearly 100,000 streams on Spotify.

On Friday night, the boys hit the stage in a good mood. The crowd was ready for the show. And all signs pointed to a good time.

Johnson Crook at Rivoli

And from the moment they opened the gig with Canada To Heartbreak, until the final notes of The Doobie Brothers’ Listen To The Music as the end of the night, things were flowing free and easy in all of the best ways. It may have been a while since the boys played Toronto, but they made it look and feel like riding a four-man bicycle.

Note: Having seen Johnson Crook’s set more than a few times, and knowing their music, we’re pretty sure they’d be a great lead in to budding superstars, Midland at a club show full of country fans.

The band rolled through a set that included music from The Album, as well as new tunes that they’ve been writing and working on. And then there was one song, that Noel told the crowd just missed the cut for the record, and was written when he found out he was going to be a dad for the first time… Your Love is a lovely track, one that we’d love to hear again, and could end up being one of those ‘for the fans’ moments at shows for years to come.

As the set moved along, Johnson Crook reminded us once again that we absolutely love the harmonies that Noel, Nathan, Trevor, and Jared produce when they sing together. The musicianship supports the voices, the songs fit their style and strengths, and they continue to grow. Favourites like Hardwired, Feel Some Love, and Minnedosa worked well with new songs like No Excuse For Whiskey, High Road, and Summers In Gold. And when the Crook brothers (Nathan and Trevor) took the lead on a cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Mary Jane’s Last Dance, everyone grooved along with a little extra something in tribute to the lost legend.

Before the set ended, Dani Strong joined Johnson Crook on stage for Mr. Nobody (where she admirably took care of Tom Cochrane’s part on the song), Minnedosa, and Listen To The Music. It was a wonderful end to the set, and an example of the camaraderie that we love to see in the music industry.

This was a good Friday night in Toronto. The music, people, and love in the room were everything we hoped they would be. And we can’t wait for the next time we can say the same thing again.

Photos of Johnson Crook, The Rivoli – Toronto

Noel Johnson - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Nathan Crook - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Jared Craig - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Trevor Crook - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Noel Johnson - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Crook Brothers - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Jared Craig - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Crook Brothers - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Noel Johnson - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Nathan Crook - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Johnson Crook at Rivoli

Photos of Dani Strong, the Rivoli – Toronto

Dani Strong at Rivoli Dani Strong at Rivoli Dani Strong's Grant Taylor at Rivoli Dani Strong Band at Rivoli Dani Strong Band at Rivoli


3 weeks ago No Comments Views

Dang If We Didn’t: The Cadillac Three Take Toronto

Call it Country Fuzz, call it Southern Country Rock, call it whatever you want, the bottom line is that The Cadillac Three are loud, tight, and they’re on a roll.

With the recent release of their latest album, Legacy, these Nashville boys have doubled down on the connection to their fans, their catalogue of songs, and the dedication with which they go about their business.

We had the chance to see The Cadillac Three open for Dallas Smith on the Side Effects Tour in Oshawa, ON – and then got to catch up with Jaren, Kelby, and Neil in Toronto at Boots & Bourbon Saloon before they played an intimate show for some very dedicated and enthusiastic fans on a Thursday night in the city.

We’ll get to the live performance stuff in a minute… but while we had the guys in the booth at the bar, we took the chance to ask them about the music, memories, covers, and we even got a new answer to a question we’ve asked many times before.

One question we asked, for no reason other than curiosity, was this – Cold Beer of Good Whiskey? The response, overwhelmingly, from the entire band, was both. We even got reminded that we have two hands.

The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

When we asked about the response to Legacy so far, all three members of the band told us that things have been great so far. They’ve heard good things from fans and the industry. And while they did the same worrying that many artists do when it’s time to release new music (will anyone like it, is it any good, are there any hits, etc.), the guys told us that this is the record that they really wanted to make. They believe in it, and they like it, and that’s a big win. As an added bonus, at shows like the Canadian dates they’ve played on this run with Dallas Smith, they’ve been able to see the crowd singing along to the new tracks just like they do on their earlier favourites. That singing along brings us to that new answer to an old question.

We’ve asked a lot of artist to try to explain what’s it’s like to hear the crowd sing along to your songs… and we’ve had a lot of artists have a hard time answering. However, The Cadillac Three were ready, and told us almost immediately that it makes them feel like they must be doing something right. And whether it’s because everyone digs a song, or is drunk and can’t help themselves, it doesn’t matter, it’s still cool to hear.

While we were on the topic of fans and reactions, we asked what it was like for three guys from Tennessee to have fans all over the world, and to know that they can travel thousands of miles away, or even cross an ocean to the UK, and have a crowd excited to see them. With genuine affection in their voices, TC3 told us that they never expected the kind of love that they now get in England and Germany… but they hoped for it. And just like in the States years ago, it started in small clubs in London, and has grown to headlining tours now. In fact, The Cadillac Three are getting set to start a run of 16 dates in 20 days in Europe, with stops in the UK and Germany, as well as Ireland, France, and the Netherlands.

The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

Note: Brothers Osborne are making the trip over to play with The Cadillac Three on some of those dates… which is going to make for an awesome show.

We asked Jaren real quick about being a new dad on the road, and while he did admit that it’s hard, he told us that me makes a lot of calls and facetime chats with both his wife and their baby boy to stay connected and make it work. He had actually just gotten off the phone with them a few minutes before we sat down. More than anything, it was freaking adorable to see his face light up when talking about his little dude at home.

When The Cadillac Three hit the stage in Oshawa on the Side Effects Tour we watched as everyone in the floor seats stood up and got into the party. And even on the big stage, the band seemed to be able to find a way to connect with the crowd in the arena, which made for a great atmosphere. Then, on Thursday night when we saw them climb up on the small stage in Toronto, with fans pressed right up against the edge and only a small chicken wire fence separating Jaren from the front row, they connected immediately and held onto it from the first note of Cadillacin’ to the very end of The South.

There is no denying that these boys have earned their space on big stages in big rooms, and to have their names at the top of the marquee on tours across Europe and at home. BUT, with all that said, I would choose to see them play a long, loud, sweaty set of their country fuzz in a small club 10 times out of 10. It was awesome. It won’t happen much in the future the way this band’s following and brand are growing, and we were fortunate to be there to see it.

There were boots stompin’, hands clappin’, drinks spillin’, and a whole lot of good timin’ going on in Toronto while The Cadillac Three rolled through their 10 song set. The beat from Neil’s drums thumped in the room, and the sweet combination of Jaren’s electric and Kelby’s lap steel guitars roared and rattled from start to finish. It was everything we’ve come to expect from TC3 live, and from the reactions of the fans in the bar and the looks on their faces, nobody went home disappointed on Thursday night.

The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

Big thanks to Jaren, Kelby and Neil for hanging out with us at Boots & Bourbon Saloon before the show, and an extra high five to Kelby for stopping over to talk a little NFL football before the boys hit the road. We won’t get into too many details, but we definitely talked about the Music City Miracle – 1999, Bills vs Titans in the AFC Wild Card playoff game. He remembers it fondly, sorry Bills fans.

The Cadillac Three Setlist, October 26, 2017 – Toronto

✰ Cadillacin’
✰ Slide
✰ Tennessee Mojo
✰ Take Me To The Bottom
✰ American Slang
✰ Hank & Jesus
✰ Tennessee
✰ Dang If We Didn’t
✰ White Lightning
✰ The South

The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon
Mike Fuller KX94.7 - The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

Mike Fuller, KX94.7

Jerry Archer KX96 - The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

Jerry Archer, KX96

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