Dolly Parton

Country Closet Cleanout Contest

To celebrate the launch of our brand new website design and features, we’re cleaning out our country music prize closet with a monster giveaway of CDs, clothes, and merch.

This prize package has 15 pieces that will all go to 1 lucky winner. They’re perfect to keep for yourself, perfect to share with friends and family… and absolutely perfect to wrap up and give out as gifts.

You can do anything you want with this prize – we just want to give it to you!

Entering is easy. We promise!

Now, without any further ado, here’s the list of country music swag included…

Dolly Parton Baseball Tee – Womens (Large)
Rock N Horse Saloon T-Shirt – Womens (Medium)
Rock N Horse Saloon T-Shirt – Mens (X-Large)
Meghan Patrick CD – Grace & Grit
Madeline Merlo CD – Free Soul
Blake Shelton CD – If I’m Honest
Aaron Pritchett CD – Body Of Work
The Lovelocks CD – Born To Love
Johnson Crook CD – The EP
Lindi Ortega CD – Faded Gloryville
Cory Marquardt CD – This Man
Cavendish Beach Music Festival Bandana
Calgary Stampede Bandana
Boots and Hearts Sunglasses
Boots and Hearts Beer Koozie

Country Closet Cleanout Contest CD Collage

If you’re counting, there are 8 country artists’ CDs on that list, merch from 3 festivals, and t-shirts from one of our favourite spots in Toronto AND the legendary Miss Dolly Parton herself.

Like we said, entering is easy. All you have to do is use the widget here in the post to earn up to 7 entries for your chance to be the big winner.

Note: Please pay attention to the details in the comment entry. We need you to use the comment section at the bottom of the post to leave your comment – and then click the button on the widget to say you did it. Got it? Good!

Good luck to everyone. We can’t wait to name a winner and ship off this monster prize!

Boots & Hearts Preview: JJ Shiplett Q&A

If you haven’t seen JJ Shiplett on stage, we highly recommend that you change that as soon as possible. And if you’re going to Boots & Hearts 2017, your chance is coming soon!

We caught up with the Something To Believe In singer for a little pre-festival Q&A action, and as usual, JJ was awesome.

Thanks for JJ Shiplett for playing along, check out his answers and stay tuned for more previews, and more JJ soon!

Q: We’ve seen you play club shows at The Dakota Tavern and the Moustache Club, what’s the biggest difference between playing those shows, and big festival shows?

JJ: Usually festival gigs are a bit more hectic. You only get a line-check and it’s hop up and go. Where Club gigs are a bit more greasier. A little more intimate. I dig that. I want people to feel like this show is the most important thing in the world. Like there’s no where else to be…

Q: What is your favourite part about the country music fans across Canada?

JJ: I find most music fans in Canada to be good people. Whether they’re country, rock, folk or blues fans. Doesn’t seem to matter. I think most Canadians wanna see other Canadians do well and create quality art.

JJ Shiplett at The Dakota

Related: 5 Quick Questions with JJ Shiplett

Q: Which act are you most excited to see at Boots & Hearts this year?

JJ: Lindi Ortega. She’s the best singer in Canada right now. Her voice has the warmth of Emmylou Harris and the attitude of Dolly Parton. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know her over the past while and she’s as cool as they get

Q: Can you tell us something about you that we wouldn’t find in a Google search?

JJ: I won an award at my grade school graduation for being the Athlete Of The Year. I immediately retired from playing sports and took up music. Get out on top…

Q: What is your number #1 festival tip for the fans?

JJ: As a red head the only answer here is sunscreen.

JJ Shiplett

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 4

Three times before we’ve shared a list of country covers of songs from the world of pop and rock… and now we’re back with a fourth list to share with y’all.

This list has some of our favourite artists on it, singing some awesome songs. And if you haven’t heard them yet, you owe it to yourself to listen.

AND, if you don’t consider yourself to be a fan of country music because of the way it sounds, let this be an introduction for you!

Listen to the tracks, enjoy, and leave a comment telling us which country cover you like best.

10 More Awesome Country Covers

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 2

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 3

Dylan Scott: Love Yourself

Dolly Parton: Shine

Tebey ft. Emerson Drive: Wake Me Up

Lennon and Maisy: Ho Hey

The Washboard Union & Meghan Patrick: Seven Bridges Road

Jessica Mitchell: Chandalier

Charles Kelley: Set Fire To The Rain

Chris Stapleton: Nothing Compares To You

Sturgill Simpson: In Bloom

Jennifer Nettles: Glory Days

1 year ago

Born To Love: The Lovelocks EP Release Party, Toronto!

On a beautiful Thursday night in Toronto, a community of country music fans gathered at the Mod Club to celebrate the release of The Lovelocks brand new Born To Love EP.

Supported by KX96 and KX94.7, Ali and Zoe took the stage to play the 7 tracks from the new EP, as well as some old favourites and covers we love (and didn’t know we’d love) for the assembled music lovers on the floor.

These 2 women put on a great set, as they always do. Impressing us with their harmonies, killing it with a full band behind them, and may we add, looking super stylish while they did it!

The Lovelocks Born To Love Album Release Party Set List

❤︎ Born To Love*
❤︎ He’s My Man
❤︎ Teardrop Tattoo
❤︎ Radio*
❤︎ Simple Stuff*
❤︎ I Do Not*
❤︎ Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper cover)
❤︎ How Good I’m Gonna Love You*
❤︎ Jolene (Dolly Parton cover)
❤︎ Dance
❤︎ Call The Doctor
❤︎ Home Sweet Home*
❤︎ Encore: Lovely*
❤︎ Encore: Cake By The Ocean (DNCE cover)
*Tracks from the Born To Love EP

Related: Born To Love: The Lovelocks EP Review and Q&A

The Lovelocks Mod Club CD Release-2365We really dig the new music that The Lovelocks have given us on Born To Love, that’s why we gave it the review we did. And to see them all played live was a special treat.

And it was a special treat for the band as well. Ali and Zoe said many thank yous on Thursday night, and seemed very grateful to be playing in their hometown to celebrate what really was a special occassion for them. We know these women, we know they work hard, we know that they love their fans, and we know that they have a passion for everything they are doing – and to see that all come together and flow through their live performance was something special for us too.

Congratulations to The Lovelocks, they’re earned everything that has come to them so far, and everything that is on the way!

Now, check out some more photos and videos from The Mod Club, and stay tuned because more awesome things are coming soon!

Cake By The Ocean Finale!

The Lovelocks Mod Club CD Release 2016The Lovelocks Mod Club CD Release 2016The Lovelocks Mod Club CD Release-2597

Oh hey @thelovelocks! #livemusic #toronto #music #yyz #band #live #countrymusic #country

A video posted by (@thereviewsarein) on

The Lovelocks Mod Club CD Release-2425The Lovelocks Mod Club CD Release-8041The Lovelocks Mod Club CD Release-2443The Lovelocks Mod Club CD Release 2016

2 years ago

Untamed: Welcome to Cam Country!

I’m not ready to put together my “Ones to Watch in 2016” list just yet, but I promise you this, near the very top of that list (when it comes) will be Cam.

Cam - Photo credit Ninelle EfremovaWith more than 25,000,000 plays on Spotify, appearances at SXSW, Apple Music Fest in London, and the Grand Ole Opry, Cam certainly isn’t unknown any more. But she is just starting what could be a very successful country music career.

Cam Welcome to Cam Country EP CoverThe blond singer has made quite an impact with fans and the country music community with her debut EP (Welcome to Cam Country) and live appearances. Influencing countless covers with her talent and bubbly personality. Her hair, smile, laugh, voice, talent combo reminds me of both Kimberly Schlapman (Little Big Town) and Kellie Pickler… and maybe even a little Dolly Parton thrown in.

Burning House is Cam’s most popular track to date, with over 15,000,000 Spotify spins (to date), it’s a lyrically heavy track that features a strong vocal and will break your heart if you stop and listen and let it. And I love it.

Note: I’m a sucker for a ballad. And this one is so true from Cam’s heart that it jumps out of the speakers and makes you wish you could right the wrongs of your past.

But wait… there’s more!

Cam Untamed Album CoverThe announcement has been made that Cam’s debut full length album, Untamed, will be released on Friday, December 11, 2015. It’s great news for fans who love Burning House, My Mistake, Half Broke Heart, and Runaway Train.

Untamed will feature 11 tracks, including Burning House, My Mistake, and the title track. And if she stays true to form, we’re going to have catchy tracks that will be stuck in your head… and if we’re lucky, another slowed down something that will give us more of what we love in Burning House.

Already a Gold certified artist, Cam is on her way to the top. The key now is momentum, and with her new album on the way while her current tracks are still fresh in our minds and on our playlists, she’s going to have that covered.

I’ve got a big crush on Cam. She’s started strong and has a lot of potential to go places. It’s going to be a fun ride!

Cam - Press Photo credit Ninelle Efremova

2 years ago

Six Feet Under: Meet Riki Knox! [Interview]

Riki Knox Six Feet UnderSometimes life has a funny way of bringing people back into each other’s lives. This is one of those times.

Riki Knox is an emerging country artist putting in her work from her home base in Ontario, while making trips to Nashville to write and record with the best in the business. But more than 25 years ago she was a little girl and I was a little boy in our elementary school classes. True story.

So here we are now, with me writing about country music and Riki making country music. Her current single, Six Feet Under, from her upcoming debut album, is at Canadian country radio now – and I dig it. And that has nothing to do with the fact that I know Riki.

I was able to catch up with Riki for some Q&A fun – and I’m excited share it with you now. Have a read and get to know a good country girl who loves music!

Q. We both grew up in the country near small towns, do you think that had an impact on you choosing country music as your path?

Riki Knox FishA. Absolutely! It stemmed from my Dad buying the farm we grew up in. He was raised in the country, and he wanted the same for us. I have a brother and two sisters, and we were the epitome of “country bumpkins”. From shooting guns and building forts to driving field trucks and dirt bikes, to cutting down, splitting and piling wood to heat with in the Winter… country living was a way of life. We weren’t allowed to sit around watching TV or playing video games… we were outside from sun up to sun down.

My Dad, a singer/songwriter himself, introduced me to country greats like Waylon, Johnny, Merle, Patsy, Dolly… all artists that he loved. He was drawn to music that told a story and to songs that carried you away on a melodic journey. I guess I naturally progressed into singing and writing country music for that very same reason.

Q. There were some pretty awesome female artists on country radio when we were coming of age in the late 90s. Are there any that influenced you and your music?

A. Oh man… I always find these questions so daunting!! lol

There are so many different artists that have influenced me over the years… If I had to put my finger on a few female country artists from the 90’s: The Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Reba… and Deana Carter released Strawberry Wine around that time too. I was in love with that song!

Q. How did it feel seeing your name on the 2nd round of voting for the Country Music Association of Ontario, Rising Star Award?

Riki Knox CMAO 2015A. I was a ball of emotion when I saw my name on the ballot for Rising Star. I’ve been working my tail off, not unlike every other artist in this business, so it was definitely an amazing feeling to be nominated by my peers. It was bitter sweet that I wasn’t able to share the good news with my Dad though. As my guide and musical mentor, he would have been the first excited phone call I would have made, but unfortunately he passed away unexpectedly in February of this year. I trust that he’s extremely proud, as I am, to be recognized alongside the amazing talent we have coming out of Ontario!

Q. You’ve been down to Nashville to write and record, if we took a trip down where would you recommend we go for a good time?

A. Personally, I love any room that has a co-writer, microphone or live band in it.
Seriously though…

You can pretty much walk into any bar in Nashville and find great live entertainment. It’s stocked with such incredibly talented artists & musicians. There are the obvious spots to check out like The Bluebird or The Listening Room Cafe, Tootsie’s Lounge and of course The Ryman Auditorium. My studio band which is comprised of most members from the band ‘Sixwire’ (they also play on the TV show ‘Nashville’) have a monthly spot at 3rd and Lindsley. (another great venue for live entertainment) The place is jam packed when they play… and for good reason. These guys will totally blow your minds with their talent! They also have some great guest performers… you never know which star you’ll find sharing the stage with them on any given night.

Q. If we were able to sneak a peek at your playlist right now, who would we find in your top 3 most played?

Riki Knox MudA. I’m constantly falling for new music, but at this very moment it would be…

Perfect Storm – Brad Paisley
We All Want What We Ain’t Got – Jake Owen
Say You Do – Dierks Bentley
(I’m all about love right now… hehe)

Q. In 50 words or less, can you tell us what’s coming up for you in the rest of 2015?

A. I spent 2014 writing and recording for my debut album, so 2015 will be about getting my new music out! 🙂

I’m super excited for all the big plans coming together behind the scenes right now. SO much to come… way too much to cover in 50 words or less!

Big thanks to Riki for playing along and catching up. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Want to get to know Riki better? Find her online at these fine location…
Facebook: Riki Knox
Twitter: @rikiknox
Instagram: @rikiknox
iTunes: Riki Knox

3 years ago

Heartbreaker of the Year: Whitney Rose Album Review

Whitney Rose Boots and Hearts 2013Observation #1: They don’t make country music like they used to.

Observation #2: Whitney Rose is making great country music with a classic sound.

With her 2nd full length album with Cameron House Records on the way in just a few days, Whitney is giving country music fans the sound that they grew up with, and that country music was built on… and it’s a refreshing, talented, addition to any country music fan’s playlist.

Heartbreaker of the Year will be released in full on April 21, 2015 – but there are already 3 tracks available on iTunes for anyone who wants to pre-order or pick them up a la carte.

• Little Piece of You
• The Devil Borrowed My Boots
• Ain’t It Wise

Because we’re lucky, we’ve had the chance to listen to the entire album (and we have, more than twice) and we can’t wait for you to have the same opportunity.

Let’s break some stuff down…

Heartbreaker of the Year Track Listing

1. Little Piece of You
2. My First Rodeo
3. The Last Party
4. Only Just a Dream
5. Heartbreaker of the Year
6. Be My Baby* (featuring Raul Malo)
7. The Devil Borrowed My Boots
8. Ain’t It Wise
9. Lasso
10. There’s a Tear in My Beer*


Heartbreaker of the Year Review

Whitney Rose Heartbreaker of the YearTrying to find the words to describe this record has proven less than simple. But here it goes.

While the songs on Heartbreaker of the Year may not fit perfectly on a record by Kitty Wells or Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn, the voice and heart and attitude in Whitney’s voice will take you to that kind of place and give you that kind of feeling.

The songwriting brings contemporary storytelling to classic country, with a vintage pop twist. It’s an amalgamation that is a delight to the senses, and deserves praise.
The musicians on this record also deserve praise. Drawing from experience with acts like Dolly, The Mavericks, Devin Cuddy Band, and more – there’s not a miss on any of the 10 tracks on Heartbreaker of the Year.

Rose’s second album delivers songs about love, heartbreak, firsts, mischief and will keep you on your toes from front to back. The covers of The Ronettes’ Be My Baby (familiar to me from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack) and Hank Williams’ There’s a Tear in My Beer both made my ears perk up the first time I was listening through the album, and I have no doubt that they will for others as well.

Whitney Rose GuitarBut it’s the original songs that make this record worth the listen. Whitney and her team have crafted 8 tracks that showcase her voice, style and personality. It’s a feat that shouldn’t be overlooked in a time when many music fans are yearning for something less produced and pre-packaged from their musicians.

Note: Speaking of Whitney’s personality, she’s a sweetheart. We’ve had the good fortune to meet a few times, and every interaction has been a treat.

We can also tell you that Whitney has been excited about the release of this album for months. We caught up at Boots & Bourbon one night back in January, and she smiled pretty big when we brought it up.

She was smiling for good reason.

Whitney Rose’s Heartbreaker of the Year is a great country album, one that you can listen to alone, or with your parents or your grandparents – which puts it in rare company in 2015’s country music landscape.

Find Whitney Rose online at these fine locations…
Facebook: Whitney Rose
Twitter: @whitneyroseband
Instagram: @whitneyroseband
iTunes: Whitney Rose

Whitney Rose black and whiteWhitney Rose Heartbreaker of the Year Release Banner

3 years ago

Take Me To Church – Country Music Plays Hard, Prays Hard

New Hope United Church, Port Hope, Ontario at WelcomeLong before the advent of Bro Country, the genre was one of a Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard mentality. And in the last 20 or so years, through all the changes that country music has seen, that has remained true.

I may not be the most observant Christian, but I did grow up in the church and have crafted my own beliefs and relationship with God thanks to the direction of my mom, the soon to be United Church of Canada Reverend. My mom is also the reason I have country music in my life, and now, almost 33 years into my life I’ve really started to see the strength in the connection between those 2 worlds.

So, today I’m not ranking songs, telling you how great anything is, or even telling you that you have to go and listen to anything. I’m just here to share 10 songs (and a couple bonus tracks) that shine a light on the Pray Hard part of country music.

Think I missed a song on my list? Leave a comment and share a YouTube link so I can check it out.

Alabama: Angels Among Us

Brad Paisley ft. Dolly Parton: When I Get Where I’m Going

Brooks and Dunn: Believe

Carrie Underwood: Something In The Water

bonus: Jesus Take The Wheel

Faith Hill: There Will Come A Day

Garth Brooks: The River

bonus: Unanswered Prayers

Josh Turner: Long Black Train

Randy Travis: Three Wooden Crosses

Thomas Rhett: Beer With Jesus

bonus: Real Men Love Jesus

Vince Gill: Go Rest High On That Mountain

3 years ago

Boots & Hearts 2013 Spotlight: The Band Perry

The Band Perry at Boots and Hearts 2013 [credit: Trish Cassling]Saturday night at Boots & Hearts in Bowmanville, Ontario 2 brothers and a sister took to the Main Stage and lit things up.

From the moment that The Band Perry walked on playing Done (which I predicted, you can ask Trish) the crowd was electric. Kimberly, Reid and Neil were absolutely ready for the audience and they showed it in their performance. They smiled, they moved, they strutted, they were fantastic. It was a true performance.

And while we were all ready to sing along to hits like You Lie, Better Dig Two, Postcards From Paris and If I Die Young (and we did!) I wasn’t expecting to hear covers like Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’, Queen’s Fat Bottom Girls (my fav Queen tune), Fun’s Some Nights (which the crowd absolutely LOVED) and Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You (so pretty, and such a great country song).

I feel the need to point out the fact that while Kimberly is clearly the lead singer and focal point of the group, this is not a one woman show. The Band Perry is a family that performs together as a unit of 3. And they do it well by playing off each other on stage, making a point of connecting with the crowd and generally just being awesome.

With that said however, let me say this, Kimberly is a great lead singer and boy does she pack some sass into her show. Until Miranda came out on stage to finish the festival on Sunday, it was Ms. Perry who wore the Little Miss Sassy Pants crown. Trish was able to get some great shots of her and the boys from the pit and we sure as hell enjoyed the rest of the show as we moved into the crowd.

The important thing to remember is that The Band Perry is just getting started! They have an entire career ahead of them. And if they continue on the course that they are on now, we’re going to be talking about them and seeing them at a lot more festivals and big concerts for years to come.

And if you get the chance to be at one of those shows, take it. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.

Work Hard, Play Harder, Be Awesome.

The Band Perry at Boots and Hearts 2013 [credit: Trish Cassling]
The Band Perry at Boots and Hearts 2013 [credit: Trish Cassling]
The Band Perry at Boots and Hearts 2013 [credit: Trish Cassling]see, she’s sassy!

4 years ago
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