Dean Brody

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 bandsintown.com 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

CMC Rocks QLD: Australian Country Festival Announces 2018 Lineup

We’ve been known to have a soft spot for the Australian music industry and the artists they produce. From Keith Urban to The Lazys, and dozens in between, we’re into it. And now we’ve got something we can totally get behind: The CMC Rocks QLD Country Music Festival 2018 lineup.

You’ve got to see this thing to believe it. We’ve seen some of the biggest acts in the world of country music on stages at Boots & Hearts, the Canadian Country Music Association Awards, and at concerts all over… and Australia is getting a heavy dose of some of the best out there.

Note: It’s especially cool to see Dean Brody, High Valley, and Gord Bamford on this lineup. We know that all three of these Canadian country artists will represent us well.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Dean Brody

CMC Rocks QLD is scheduled to take place from Thursday, March 15 to Sunday, March 18 about 50 kilometres outside of Brisbane. The Willowbank, Ipswich festival is going to be big if the lineup is any indication. And really, how can it not be.

American headliners Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, and Kelsea Ballerini are all super talented. And with a crop of artists including Brett Young, Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne, and more taking the stage along with them… we wish we were headed to Australia in March.

Check out the full lineup below, and if you are in Australia, or you want to make this part of your 2018 spring vacation plans – tickets go on sale Monday, October 9th. Click here to learn more.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Luke Bryan

We love country music festivals. We love this list of artists. We love the idea that country artists from the United States and Canada get to make this trip. And we love that Australian country music fans get to see them alongside their own local favourites!

CMC Rocks QLD, 2018 Artist Lineup

🇺🇸 Luke Bryan
🇺🇸 Darius Rucker
🇺🇸 Kelsea Ballerini
🇺🇸 Dustin Lynch
🇺🇸 Old Dominion
🇺🇸 Dan + Shay
🇺🇸 Randy Houser
🇺🇸 Brett Young
🇺🇸 Brothers Osborne
🇺🇸 Luke Combs
🇺🇸 Russell Dickerson
🇺🇸 Davisson Brothers Band
🇺🇸 Ryan Follese
🇨🇦 Dean Brody
🇨🇦 High Valley
🇨🇦 Gord Bamford
🇳🇿 Jody Direen
🇳🇿 Kaylee Bell
🇦🇺 Busby Marou
🇦🇺 Steve Forde
🇦🇺 Travis Collins
🇦🇺 The Sunny Cowgirls
🇦🇺 Troy Kemp
🇦🇺 Christie Lamb
🇦🇺 Melanie Dyer
🇦🇺 Missy Lancaster
🇦🇺 Baylou
🇦🇺 Mustered Courage
🇦🇺 Viper Creek Band
🇦🇺 Jayne Denham
🇦🇺 Casey Barnes
🇦🇺 Route 33
🇦🇺 Rachael Fahim

1 month ago Views

Forever Rebels: Tim Hicks Backstage Interview, Toronto

From the small stage of a downtown Toronto bar to making dreams come true in front of thousands of country music fans on the Budweiser Stage, Tim Hicks has been on a hell of a ride.

Canadian country music fans know Tim Hicks as the singer of top 10 hits, fan anthems, and major tour appearances with some of the genre’s biggest names. But before all of that success, Hicks fronted the house band at Grace O’Malley’s, singing covers of country favourites and drunken rock and roll standards like Pour Some Sugar On Me.

We caught up with Tim Hicks backstage before his Budweiser Stage show with fellow Canadian star Dean Brody to talk about the highlights, family, his live record, CCMA weekend and more.

It was clear that Tim was excited for the amphitheatre show. Even if he hadn’t told us about the excitement specifically (he did), it was plastered all over his face. He called it a bucket list event, a highlight that he’ll not only look back on as a big moment, but that he could appreciate as it was happening.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

That feeling of excitement flows over into everything that is happening in Tim Hicks’ career. He’s still very happy to be writing, recording and performing his music. But as much as he enjoys making a living doing what he loves, he fully admits that it isn’t always easy. “It doesn’t come with a manual”, he told us when we talked about the process of creating music, being on the road and juggling that with his responsibilities as a husband and a father. He told us that when he’s home he makes a conscious effort to put his phone away and just be dad. Whether that means colouring, crafts, puzzles or playing outside, that time is important to him and his young family.

While there may not be a manual, there has been help along the way. In 2014, at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto we talked to Tim and he told us that Dierks Bentley had become an amazing resource of advice and information as they prepared for their tour dates together. And as the years add up in his own career, Hicks feels like he’s ready to start sharing his insights and advice to the next wave of Canadian artists coming through the pipeline.

Note: As we talked on a balcony backstage, a group of Tim Hicks fans lined up for their meet and greet with him below us. When they saw him, they called his name, waving and trying to get his attention. We stopped for a second as he turned and smiled and waved at them. And when he turned back around he looked at us with a look of awe and told us that he was a little speechless. It was real and endearing and one of the small moments that still hasn’t gotten old for the homegrown star.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

While we had Tim we asked him about his live record, Tim Hicks Live, that dropped in May. Hicks told is that the 6 song release was a happy accident. He had been recording his shows live from the board and listening back to them to see where things could get tighter, better, and more exciting at the next stop – and then it happened. When Tim listened back to the Sudbury show he loved it. The sound was strong, his vocals were on point, and it got the wheels turning. After sharing it with his label, the tracks were sent to Nashville for a little cleanup and mastering, and from there all that was left as the release. Hicks told us that he’s especially proud of the fact that his vocals weren’t tuned or touched in the production of the record. And he also told us that he’d love to see more Canadian country artists follow his lead with their own live releases. He didn’t go so far as to challenge anyone by name, but as a fan himself, we’re sure there are some live releases he’d love to hear.

We also talked to Tim about the upcoming CCMA awards and weekend in Saskatoon. He told us what so many other artists have, that he’s looking forward to seeing all of the industry friends that he so rarely gets to hangout with. Tour stops like the Toronto show offer quick chances to say hi to local radio hosts and fellow artists, but Canadian Country Music Week will offer the chance for some real catch up time, and maybe a drink or two. Tim is also up for two awards on Sunday, September 10 – Male Artist and Interactive Artist of the Year – and taking home either of those trophies would most certainly be another highlight to add to Tim Hicks’ growing list.

On stage in Toronto, Tim Hicks and his band let it all hang out. With fire shooting into the sky, guitars ringing, and the fans singing along, it was a special night for the folks in the back row all the way to the man standing at the microphone. And don’t for a second think that he’ll forget it.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

2 months ago Views

Dean Brody, Tim Hicks, Carly Pearce and Special Guests Take Over Toronto

On a summer Thursday night down by the lake, Toronto embraced Canadian country music at the biggest homegrown show in our memory. Dean Brody & Tim Hicks put their Canadian names on the tickets, with U.S. rising star Carly Pearce as their opener, and special guests promised – and everyone, from the start to the finish – delivered a night that thousands of fans are glad they were a part of.

Before the show on the big stage got started, Leah Daniels hit the River Bar for a pre-show set as the gates opened. We talked to Leah for a minute and she told us that there are some exciting things coming soon. So stay tuned for more news from the Canadian country singer.

The Budweiser Stage show started with Kentucky native, former Dollywood performer, and Top 20 charting, Carly Pearce. The Big Machine artist, preparing to drop her debut full length album this fall (October 13, 2017) made her first Canadian performance count, wowing the crowd from start to finish.

With songs including her single, (and the title track to her upcoming album) Every Little Thing, and songs that we’ll hear on the new record including, Careless, Doin’ It Right, and If My Name Was Whiskey, Pearce showed that she’s ready for that release.

The tracks offered an opportunity for Carly to showcase her voice, and it’s impressive. The notes, inflection, and emotion that she’s able to share through the words in her songs are strong, and those qualities are exactly why there’s hype from outlets like Rolling Stone for her young career.

Be ready to hear a lot more about Carly Pearce here and everywhere.

Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017

After Carly Pearce finished her Canadian debut, the true north country show started with Tim Hicks and his band hitting the Budweiser Stage… hard. The moment Hicks and the boys hit the stage, it got loud. The Toronto country fans love this dude, accepting him as one of their own over the last few years as he’s put out hit after hit.

Hicks made a point of telling everyone in the crowd how special this show was to him. Making the journey in his career from fronting the house band at Grace O’Malley’s to playing the amphitheatre by the lake is big for him, as it would be for anybody.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

Note: Many thanks to Tim for hanging out with us for a little chat and catch up session before the show. It’s always a good time.

Hicks also made an announcement at the end of the set, just before playing his last song, that the track, Forever Rebels, will be released as his next radio single. And, having listened to the track, and having seen the reaction of the fans to it, we’re pretty comfortable telling you that we think Tim Hicks has another Canadian Top 10 on his hands.

We should also tell you this… Tim Hicks had the second loudest singalong we’ve ever heard at the Budweiser Stage. When Stronger Beer was being belted out by thousands of voices we could feel it just as much as we could hear it. It was special. It truly was. And the only time we’ve heard it louder was when Florida Georgia Line stripped it down to perform H.O.L.Y in 2016.

Even though it’s only a 15 minute drive, Tim Hicks has come a long way from playing covers in downtown Toronto. And every stop along the way has been a hell raisin’ good time.

Tim Hicks Setlist Budweiser Stage, Toronto

🍻 Shake These Walls
🍻 Burn
🍻 Hell Raisin’ Good Time
🍻 Slide Over
🍻 She Don’t Drink Whiskey
🍻 I Got A Feelin’
🍻 Stompin’ Ground
🍻 Get By
🍻 Stronger Beer
🍻 Forever Rebels

Dean Brody headlined the Thursday night concert in every sense of the word. With a boatload of energy, and more special guests than we could have predicted, the B.C. native took over the Toronto stage and showed everyone what he’s got.

It was immediately clear, from the moment he walked on stage and started playing Bush Party with the band, that the crowd was in love with him. They were loud, attentive, out of their seats, singing and dancing at every opportunity. And that was before the surprises started popping out onto the stage.

Note: Dean told the crowd that he’s a Toronto resident now, so if you see him walking around reenacting the Mountain Man video, say hi.

Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017

Six songs into the show the first special guest came out to play – and Toronto got loud for Dallas Smith as he partnered with Brody on Undone, and then borrowed the band to play Somebody Somewhere. Then, just a new moments later, Madeline Merlo (fresh off the bandshell stage at the Canadian National Exhibition) came out to sing Lindi Ortega’s part on Bounty. Next, after Dean pulled on our heartstrings with acoustic versions of Time and Brothers, his duet partner, Shevy Price, came out to hammer home a high energy performance of Beautiful Freakshow.

And just when we thought that had to be it, Alan Doyle, a repeat partner in Dean Brody’s career, came out on stage to collaborate on both Soggy Bottom Summer and It’s Friday, before borrowing the Brodeo for Great Big Sea’s classic, Ordinary Day.

Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017

It was highlight after highlight. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the special guests were the only high spots. Dean Brody worked the stage, commanded the crowd, danced, smiled, and rolled through his biggest hits for the Toronto crowd. He headlined the hell out of that concert, proving that he was more than ready for that big city spotlight on the Budweiser Stage.

Dean Brody is a stud and a homegrown star. And he showed that Canadian talent can not only compete, but can put thousands of butts in seats, get them back out of those seats to sing and dance, and headline shows for country music fans.

We’re glad we were there to see it. And we can’t wait to see Dean, and a whole crop of Canadian artists follow in those footsteps.

Dean Brody and Special Guests Setlist, Toronto

🍻 Bush Party
🍻 Dirt Road Scholar
🍻 Upside Down
🍻 People Know You By Your First Name
🍻 Roll That Barrel Out
🍻 Monterey
🍻 Undone (with Dallas Smith)
🍻 Somebody Somewhere (Dallas Smith)
🍻 Love Would Be Enough
🍻 Bounty (with Madeline Merlo)
🍻 Time
🍻 Brothers
🍻 Beautiful Freakshow (with Shevy Price)
🍻 Soggy Bottom Summer (with Alan Doyle)
🍻 It’s Friday (with Alan Doyle)
🍻 Ordinary Day (Alan Doyle)
🍻 Canadian Girls
Encore:
🍻 Mountain Man
🍻 Bring Down The House

More Photos of Dean Brody at Budweiser Stage, Toronto

Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017 Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017Dean Brody - Budweiser Stage 2017More Photos of Tim Hicks at Budweiser Stage, Toronto

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Graham Mallany - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Geoff Torrn - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Chris Altmann - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Rob Wells - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks Band - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

More Photos of Carly Pearce at Budweiser Stage, Toronto

Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce Band - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017 Carly Pearce - Budweiser Stage 2017

3 months ago Views

Side Effects: Dallas Smith Backstage Interview, Toronto

Before he surprised the crowd at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto as a special guest of Dean Brody, Dallas Smith hung out with us to talk about his upcoming tour, what it feels like to go #1, and more.

The first time we saw Dallas Smith playing live country music was at Boots & Hearts in 2012. It was year one of the festival, Smith was still new to the country genre, and he played in the middle of the sunny afternoon to country music fans who sang along to covers and listened to him play songs from his first album, Jumped Right In. We asked him about that day, and the journey since then to playing bigger stages for bigger crowds.

Dallas remembers the afternoon show, and then jumped ahead to talk about the 2014 Thursday night kick off party at the same festival. Smith headlined that night, to a monster crowd on the front porch stage, and he remembers that feeling. We were there, and we remember that night too. He was on fire, running all over the stage and showing the country music fans that he belonged on the list of rising stars in the genre. He jumped again to put a highlight on his 2015 visit to Boots & Hearts when he played the lead in to Eric Church on the Saturday night main stage. We could see in his face that he remembers that night with a special feeling. He told us that he took a bunch of video of the crowd because it was such a significant moment in his live performance career.

Dallas Smith Boots and Hearts 2015

Staying on the live show topic, we talked about Dallas Smith’s recently announced, Side Effects Tour that will see him play 27 dates between October 12 and November 18. He told us that the tour has been in the works for months, and that it was exciting to be able to make the announcement this week. It’s also exciting, he said, to be hitting the road with the likes of The Cadillac Three, Lauren Alaina, Michael Ray, and for one night, the James Barker Band. Here’s our recommendation, if the Side Effects Tour is coming to a city anywhere near you, get tickets and be there.

A common thread throughout our chat were the feelings that have come at different moments in Dallas Smith’s career. With Sky Stays This Blue recently becoming his fourth #1 single, we asked about the feelings that have some with those milestones. Dallas told us that they all felt special of course, but the first one, Wastin’ Gas was something he’d never felt before. And when it stayed at the top for a second week, that was truly a feeling to remember. We asked who got the first call after he found out about his number one status, and while he couldn’t remember exactly, he’s sure it was either his dad or his wife… and both of those options sound good to us.

Dallas Smith also told us there’s one feeling that never changes and never goes away; the feeling that comes when thousands of people in the crowd take over and sing his songs back to him. We’ve seen and heard it, and we told him that we watch for the reactions from artists when it happens, and he confirmed for us that it’s all legit. The smiles and expressions he, and other singers, give when a choir of country fans starts singing are 100% real, and it never gets old.

Dallas Smith CNE 2015

Before our time was up, we asked Smith about the music video for Sky Stays This Blue and how special it was to be able to include his daughter, Vayda. Dallas told us that he’d had the idea to include her in a video to capture her at a young age and create a memory that they can both hold onto in the future. He said that the song fit perfectly with that idea, and that with a scaled down version of director Stephano Barberis’ original idea, a small crew was able to capture the feeling and vibe that Smith had hoped for from the very beginning.

During Dean Brody’s set on Thursday night at the Budweiser Stage, Dallas Smith was introduced to a thunderous round of cheers and applause. The crowd, already pumped up from Carly Pearce, Tim Hicks, and the start of Dean Brody’s set went wild when the B.C. native came out in a Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays jersey. And when he teamed up with Dean for a duet of Brody’s 2009 single, Undone, and then borrowed the band to play Somebody Somewhere, it stayed loud. Really loud.

Smith was ready for that moment, excited, he told us it was the first time he’d be coming out as a surprise guest. We saw it all, and we can tell you this, it worked, he just jumped right in.

3 months ago Views

Til The Goin’ Gets Gone: Lindi Ortega at Boots & Hearts 2017

Lindi Ortega is as original a talent as their is on the 2017 country music landscape. With a sound that is revered by fans and critics alike, she popped up on the Boots & Hearts 2017 Front Porch Stage and showed everyone why she’s making waves in music.

Singing songs like Run Amuck, Angels, I Ain’t The Girl, and Demons Don’t Get Me Down, Ortega showed the Saturday afternoon crowd why she’s a Rolling Stone favourite, and why her 2017 EP, Til The Goin’ Gets Gone has received praise and love from listeners.

Note: Mainstream country fans in Canada may know Lindi Ortega’s name from her work with Dean Brody on the 2013 #1 hit, Bounty. But if you haven’t listened to her solo work, we highly recommend it.
Boots and Hearts 2017 - Lindi Ortega

And it’s not just music fans that believe in Lindi. JJ Shiplett told us before and during the festival that he was excited to see her set, adding, “She’s the best singer in Canada right now. Her voice has the warmth of Emmylou Harris and the attitude of Dolly Parton.”. That’s pretty high praise.

Lindi was fun, energetic, charming, and sweet on stage as she and the band rolled through their set. And we can tell you right now, when we get the chance to see her again, we’re going to jump on it!

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3 months ago Views

Hillbilly Jewels: Kelly Prescott at Boots & Hearts 2017

Kelly Prescott took a break from her run on the CP Canada 150 Train with Dean Brody to hit the Front Porch Stage at Boots & Hearts 2017 to give the assembled country music fans a little taste of what she brings to the table.

The Ottawa Valley native and her band gave it all they had in the Sunday afternoon sun, playing songs from Prescott’s Hillbilly Jewels EP and then some. From start to finish, the sound was great, Kelly was her regular funny and charming self on stage, and the fans at the Front Porch were able to groove along with her while she played and sang.

Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017

There’s a truth and cleverness that mixes so well in Kelly Prescott’s voice and music. She can take you from a serious story that bleeds country, to a silly ditty like Heels Over Head (bound to become a live show fan favourite) in an instant.

If you don’t know Kelly Prescott and songs like Hillbilly Jewels, Coming Home To You, Grin And Wear It, and Losing My Hometown, you owe it to yourself to hit play on her EP here and give it a go.

And then go see Kelly Prescott live the next time you get the chance!


Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017Kelly Prescott Boots and Hearts 2017

3 months ago Views

Have Your Say: 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Awards Nominees!

The Canadian Country Music Association has announced the full list of 2017 CCMA Awards nominees… and it’s an impressive list of Canadian country talent!

We are lucky and privileged to have covered, met, and seen these artists put on amazing lives shows, record fantastic music, and grow into their careers.

But now, because we know you have an opinion, we want to know who you think should win at the 2017 CCMA Awards in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Sunday, September 10th. Use the polls to vote and support your favourite artists, and use the link at the bottom of the list to cast your official vote for the Fans’ Choice Award!

Have fun – and congratulations to all of the nominees in 2017, you should all be proud of your accomplishments, we can’t wait to hear what you’ve got coming for us next.

Click Here to submit your official vote for the Fans’ Choice Award!

And Click Here to see the full list of nominees in all 2017 Canadian Country Music Association categories! 

4 months ago Views

Beautiful Freakshow Tour Review: Dean Brody, Madeline Merlo & James Barker Band

Four and half years ago I photographed my first ever Dean Brody concert, actually it was the first concert I photographed professionally on my own! I still remember how scared I was, tried to avoid eye contact at all times and kept my distance from Dean and everyone on his team. Looking back I don’t know why I was so nervous, Dean made me so comfortable by encouraging me and cracking jokes! Dean has to be one of most humble, kind and down to earth artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. And I’m so honoured this was my 6th concert that I had the pleasure of photographing him.

When I got approved to photograph Dean’s Beautiful Freak Show Tour in Edmonton I couldn’t have been more excited. Over the past four and a half years I have seen Dean grow so much, from his confidence on stage, his energy and performances becoming bigger and better every time. I was even more ecstatic seeing the artists who were joining The Beautiful Freak Show Tour; James Barker Band and Madeline Merlo. This was my first time seeing these two groups perform and I have to say if you have never seen James Barker Band perform or Madeline Merlo you need to check their tour dates.

Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26

What makes this tour so special/unique is the differences between all three acts! First up was the Canadian Country group who won the 2015 emerging artist showcase at Boots and Hearts Music Festival, The James Barker Band. Looking out into the crowd I saw so many young kids with their parents, I couldn’t help but smile seeing them all screaming and dancing to the lyrics of their most popular songs; Lawn Chair Lazy, Just Sayin’ and Chills. These guys sure know how to entertain, and their music makes you want to grab a lawn chair, grab a cold one, turn on the bbq and enjoy the summer with your friends. I cannot wait to see these guys grow and take on bigger stages!

Related -> Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: James Barker Band

(more photos below)
James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton

Madeline Merlo brought a whole different look to the stage for The Beautiful Freak Show Tour. Covered with flamingos, neon lights, pink laces and palm trees to showcase her new song Motel Flamingo. If you’re looking for a fun summer song to get you moving, this one you need to grab on ITunes now! I completely loved her 2016 album Free Soul featuring two of my favorite songs from her; Honey Jack and War Paint, but I can tell you her new song has made me super excited for her new music.

This Canadian beauty took over the stage looking absolutely gorgeous in her palm tree bandana. Madeline’s soft voice had a little bit of an edgy side that I’ve never heard before; she really knows how to connect with you with the emotions in her voice, and I have to say that’s what makes her stand out so much in this industry.

Related -> Boots & Hearts 2016 Photo Review: Madeline Merlo!

(more photos below)
Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton

I don’t even know where to start with this 2012 CCMA Album of year and Juno nominee Dean Brody. He has had such an incredible career, constantly merging on the charts and taking over the radio. Dean’s Beautiful Freak Show Tour had to be the most energetic and memorable show I have seen yet. I was very caught off guard when Dean got on stage, usually you see him in a t-shirt and jeans but this time I wasn’t sure If he forgot to check his outfit before getting on the stage ha. Within two songs passing Dean told the crowd “It was getting hot in here”… and with a couple hip shakes Dean broke down into a little Magic Mike performance for everyone ripping his cameo pants off, which the ladies loved!!! But don’t worry! Dean stripped right down to faded blue jeans and continued to steal our hearts at Northlands Coliseum.

I can’t wait to see more of this tour, it’s sad to know all three acts will be leaving Alberta soon but I’m positive they will be back soon. James Barker Band, Madeline Merlo and Dean Brody certainly left their mark that’s for sure.

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More Photos of Madeline Merlo!

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More Photos of James Barker Band!

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6 months ago Views

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from thereviewsarein.com and Friends!

This year, to celebrate the holiday season, we asked some of our musician friends to send us pics and videos sharing their best wishes to you!

We would like to thank everyone that helped us out with this project, the artists and their teams, and we would like to thank all of you for enjoying the messages when you’ve seen them on social media.

Now, in case you missed any of them, here are a heap of wishes that we would love to pass on to you!

And from our team at thereviewsarein.com, we would like to wish you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a safe and awesome New Year!

Dean Brody

Jessica Mitchell

Chad Brownlee

Madeline Merlo

Panicland

Mabel

Leah Daniels

Kansas Stone

The Lovelocks

River Town Saints

The Dead Love

The Hunter Brothers

Leaving Thomas

The Dead South

Andrew Hyatt

The Katherines

Mike Robins of Autumn Hill

Andrew Allen

Shae Dupuy

Alee

11 months ago Views

Joshua’s Highlights and Top Memories of 2016!

2016 was a long, hard year for many of us. Personally, and in the music industry, we experienced loss and heartbreak – BUT, in the midst of all of that, we also had some great moments and we have to remember that!

So, to celebrate what was good about the year, here are 5 of my best memories and highlights of 2016…

Arkells at WayHome

In July we hit WayHome for year 2 and enjoyed the hell out of the weekend, but the lasting memory of the weekend for me will probably be the Arkells on Saturday.

In the afternoon we sat down in the woods with Max and Mike for a pre-show interview that had a super laid back vibe, was a fun little connection, and gave some insight to the direction that the band has taken on stage and on record in the Morning Report era.

And then (after a quick and awesome braid appointment in the VIP salon) we watched the band hit the WayBold stage – where they proceeded to kick ass and take names. From start to end the energy was hot, the horn section and backup singers were on point and a great addition to the show, and the crowd was on fire. Check the videos from the performance and see Arkells at your very next opportunity. I would live that day again right now if you’d let me.

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Music Video Debut – Tebey: Old School

We knew that Tebey and his team were shooting for a new video when they were at Boots & Hearts… but I never expected to see myself in the official Old School music video!

At 0:11 and 1:32 you can see my Toronto Raptors hat turned around backwards in the summer heat as I sit with Tebey for our pre-show interview. It was a fun vibe while we were hanging out, and an even cooler surprise when the video premiered and I saw myself on the screen.

Let’s not be confused, this isn’t a starring role, but a cool little moment to remember from the year.

It’s also cool seeing Trish in the pit at 2:02 mark snapping the pics that ended up in our post from the show.

Introducing My Mom To Jess Moskaluke And High Valley

For Christmas 2015 my mom wanted High Valley music. So, I picked up a CD, and in her card I told her that we would try to catch Brad and Curtis the next time they played in the Toronto area.

Just our luck, High Valley and Jess Moskaluke came to the CNE in Toronto just days before my mom’s birthday at the end of August, and we were in the crowd to see the show together. BUT, even cooler for us was the chance to bring my mom backstage during our interviews with both Jess and High Valley.

I owe so many thanks to everyone for being so kind and gracious with their time before the show, and for being so sweet to my mom. I was a really cool night, and a memory that I’m happy to have.

High Valley CNE 2016 Bandshell

Garth Brooks In Hamilton, ON

Near the end of March we drove to Hamilton, ON to see the man, the legend, and the reason there’s a website I’m posting on right now… Garth Brooks.

We didn’t have press passes, Trish wasn’t in the photo pit, I had three browser tabs open while I tried to buy tickets to the show – and it was all worth it. We sat in the crowd, packed in with Garth fans that were eagerly awaiting the show. And not a single one of us was disappointed.

Garth Freaking Brooks was freaking awesome!

Hit after hit blasted from the stage, and Mr. Brooks showed us all that he’s still got it. He is still the man at the top of the mountain, and everyone else is tasked with building their career to get as close as possible to what this man has done in the last 25+ years.

Canadian Country Music Week & The CCMA Awards

For the first time we hit Canadian Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Awards in London, ON… and it was awesome!

The days were a blur of amazing people, parties, performances, interviews and a little bit of sleep. We got to talk to a heap of artists. We got to reconnect with friendly faces. We had the chance to make new friends. And all of it was against the backdrop of the biggest weekend of the year.

On awards night we had an amazing opportunity to take in all of the action. Trish and I both got to hang out at the green carpet to see everyone make their entrance. And during the show Trish was inside with her camera and I was in the media tent with the chance to see the CCMA winners just moments after their big moments on stage.

It was awesome, and we both hope we get to experience that again.

CCMA Awards 2016 Strut Social House JJ ShiplettDean Brody CCMA 2016 Win

11 months ago Views

Dean Brody: Beautiful Freakshow Q&A, Review and Contest!

With his sixth studio album Dean Brody is doing something familiar… making changes. The Canadian star, fresh off of wins at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards for Single, Songwriter, Video, and Top Selling Canadian Single of the Year, Brody isn’t content to rest on his success or the status quo of his sound.

dean-brody-beautiful-freakshowBeautiful Freakshow (release date: October 21, 2016) is a new evolution in the BC native’s songwriting career, and it’s one that should both intrigue and excite his fans from coast to coast. Already fans have embraced Bush Party, pushing it to #12 on the country charts this summer. And the reaction to Time, which Brody performed at the 2016 CCMA awards show, has been as positive as we expected from the moment we heard it.

Note: We’ve got a Q&A in this post… and Dean told us about taking chances, his songwriting, and the Canadian musician he’d most like to work with next. And if we gave you 10 guesses, we’re pretty sure you wouldn’t get it!

If you’ve seen Dean Brody live, watched or read an interview with him, or even just listened to his songs on the radio, you’ve got some sense of what he brings to the table. He’s a songwriter first, never thinking at the start of his career that he’d be singing his songs on his own records. He’s a humble, giving, thoughtful man, embodying all the good things we think of when we imagine a Canadian. And he’s the kind of performer that you can’t wait to see again, even moments after he’s left the stage.

We’ve been fortunate enough to speak with Dean in the past, to see him live, and to preview Beautiful Freakshow before its release to the world. And as we said, it’s a record that takes chances. The title track features a rap vocal from Halifax native Shevy Price, and while it may cause some fans to hop on their “that’s not country” horse, we have a feeling it’s going to do a lot more of the opposite. Fans of Dean (and country radio) are going to have an opportunity to embrace the song, and if that means they have to look themselves in the mirror and embrace someone like Sam Hunt when maybe they haven’t before – all the better in our opinion!

Pre-order Beautiful Freakshow on iTunes now!

Here’s the deal… this is a solid album. A fun album. An album that we’ve listened to more than a couple times over the last few days, and will be listening to again and again. All 10 tracks offer something to fans that they can sink their teeth into, tap their toes to, and sing along to. We know that Dean pours himself into his music, and we also know that he loves what he does. And being able to see that shine through again on another record is pretty damn cool.

In fact, we like the album so much (really, truly) that we’ve partnered with Open Road Recordings to give away 3 CD copies of Dean Brody’s Beautiful Freakshow!

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That’s right… right after you finish reading this Q&A you can use the widget to earn up to 7 entries for your chance to be a winner. Remember to read the directions and make sure your entries are being received!

NOW, check out Dean’s answers to our questions… and feel free to tweet @DeanBrody if you have any followup questions to ask.

Q) You’ve said in the past that songwriting is very important to you. Do you feel like you’ve grown with your songwriting on this record, and was it a conscious decision to push yourself into new territory?

A) I think I’m evolving as a songwriter, I’m not sure if that is growth or just change. I’ve always had trouble sitting in one place for too long, creatively speaking. I do love experimenting with sounds and vibes. So Beautiful Freakshow naturally runs a wide spectrum musically. Lyrically, I still try and tell the country story and celebrate the rural way of living.

Q) You’re no stranger to taking chances on your records now. Do you feel more comfortable with the things you tried on Beautiful Freakshow, or is it still a “hope for the best” feeling?

A) I’m very comfortable taking chances these days. In the past it freaked me out a little but hindsight is a great thing. My biggest risks have turned out to be some of my fans favourite tunes.

Q) Bush Party has been a strong start, and Time is starting to make its way to fans now, how do you feel the reception to the new music has been so far?

A) It’s been awesome! I think all artists feel somewhat self-conscious and vulnerable when they put their music it there, especially if you’ve written stuff alone. So when our fans receive it and love it- it’s SO encouraging. Like a sigh of relief!

Q) You brought Alan Doyle (who everyone loves) back to work on another song with Soggy Bottom Summer for this record. Is there anything specific you enjoy about working with Alan?

A) I think what I appreciate the most about Alan is his love of music and his openness to sharing his gift with others. I think the politics of music, for him, are a non-issue. And he’s just a really cool dude. Down to earth. Authentic. It’s why he’s so beloved by Canadians. And his latest album is just brilliant. Have to throw that in there. You have to hear it.

CCMA Awards 2016 Dean Brody Green Carpet

Q) You’ve also got Shevy Price and Sarah Blackwood on new songs… is there anyone in Canadian music that you’d love to tag to work on the next album?

A) This won’t be popular with a lot of folks but the melodies and shit that come out of Justin Bieber is something any musician can respect. I think it’d be interesting to get inside another chaotic artist’s mind for a song. There, I said it. Musically, he’s an interesting cat.

Q) What do you hope country music fans take away from the experience of listening to Beautiful Freakshow?

A) I hope the album inspires fun, a thoughtful moment or two, and just something people can listen to as they go about their lives. I hope I can connect with them. I love sharing music, that’s what the musical experience is all about for me – sharing a moment in time together.

dean-brody-ccma-win-and-trophy-2016Dean Brody - CNE Bandshell 2016

1 year ago Views

Dean Brody with Jessica Mitchell at The CNE 2016

On Saturday night we had the chance to hang with Jessica Mitchell before her set, opening up for Dean Brody at The CNE. We chatted about her time at Peller Estates Wine Country Fare and how she ended up on stage, the weather during  the Cavendish Beach Music Festival and how she graciously gave up her wrap to a poor fan who was cold and we joked about selfies.

Thanks to Jessica for hanging out!Jessica Mitchell - CNE Bandshell 2016 Jessica Mitchell - CNE Bandshell 2016-6161The crowd was in fine form and singing along to Jessica’s songs, a thing which we know makes her get a little bit choked up. The seats were full and the crowd continued to build during her set.Jessica Mitchell - CNE Bandshell 2016-6175Jessica Mitchell - CNE Bandshell 2016-6229The crowd started to chant “Dean Brody, Dean Brody, Dean Brody” and then the lights dimmed. Dean came on stage with his signature smile and the crowd exploded. Dean came with amazing energy and he was in fine form, he owned the stage.

There wasn’t an empty seat in the park and people were filling the aisles and the space at the back. It was a beautiful night in Toronto and Toronto country music fans were happy to be there.
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MORE PHOTOS OF JESSICA MITCHELL
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1 year ago Views

Cherry Bomb: River Town Saints at Boots & Hearts 2016!

“You can tell everyone that Timberlake is our favourite Justin.”

That’s just one of the tidbits that came from our hangout with River Town Saints after their Sunday set at Boots & Hearts 2016!

Earlier in the afternoon, in front of a raucous crowd of country music loving individuals, the boys went to work and put on a helluva show with the exclamation point coming during Cherry Bomb.

The crowd was 100% ready for the boys’ breakout hit, and when the time came, they sang louder than I think any of the 5 dudes on stage could have imagined or even hoped for. In fact, when we asked them about it later on they told us that it felt like it was the loudest of the summer circuit so far. They also told us that it was cool to look out and see people singing along to songs that haven’t even been released yet meaning that A) They’ve been to a lot of shows and have learned them, or B) They’re paying attention and picking them up as they go – and Chris, Chris, Dan, Jordan, and Jeremy seem to be cool with either of those options being the truth.

Note: It can be hard to stay on track in interviews, especially when it’s not the first time you’ve talked to someone. But this one was especially hard because we’d never done an official interview together, and these guys are way to funny to keep on a tight Q&A schedule!

River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016-

Between the talk about custom action figures, bobble heads, and Pez dispensers designed for the guys, we actually did find out some stuff we were looking for.

🍒 There’s an EP coming at the end of 2016!

🍒 There are plans for a full album early in 2017!

🍒 River Town Saints are working in the studio now to make those 2 things happen.

🍒 The band is super excited for their CCMA nomination for 2016 Rising Star Award…

🍒 and they’re excited to have real live passes to CCMA events this year so they don’t have to sneak in like they may or may not have done in 2015.

🍒 The guys are pumped for the 2016 One Horse Town concert in Truro, NS where they’ll open for Dean Brody and Chad Brownlee (we really wish we were going to be in Truro for that one.) on September 16.

🍒 They do a lot of driving between shows (like a lot!) and van rules dictate that the driver gets to pick the music. So we asked what’s been played lately and the list is so varied that it’s hard to know where to start. There’s Maren Morris (who we love), The 1975, Justin Timberlake’s newest record, Metal, 2000’s pop punk, and an assortment of other musical genres and artists that we couldn’t even try to keep track of.

Note: This question is what brought us to the “Justin” conversation and the statement from the top of the post.

The guys also told us to tell you to keep an eye on rivertownsaints.com and their social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for details on what’s coming up, behind-the-scenes fun stuff, and more.

The first time we saw River Town Saints was Canadian Music Week 2015… they’ve done a lot of work and come a long way since then – including to Boots & Hearts. We’re willing to bet we’ll see them back again, and we’re hoping to see them before that too!

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1 year ago Views
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