Gord Bamford

Neon Smoke: Gord Bamford Album Review and Tour Preview

Gord Bamford is a Canadian country music star. He has 16 Canadian Country Music Association awards, he’s played stages from coast-to-coast, and with his brand new album, Neon Smoke, and tour, the Alberta artist is already back in the Top 10.

We caught up with Bamford in Toronto before the holidays to talk about the album, the tour, and more. And now that 2018 is in flight, we’re ready to share all of it with you!

We asked Gord about goals, 2018, and what he hopes to achieve in the new year and beyond. And while we didn’t know what to expect (sometimes artists can be vague or hesitant to share specific goals) we were pleasantly surprised when Bamford very strongly stated “oh yeah, I’ve got goals.” He went on to tell us that he’s been lucky enough to put some (16) CCMA Awards on his shelf, but he hasn’t added a Juno to the trophy case. And he wants to. Whether it comes from this album, or over the next few years, it’s on his list.

We also talked about goals for the new album, and Gord told me that when he put Neon Smoke together the goal was to find songs that could be hits. He wants his fans to love his music, he wants them to sing along, but he knows that the best way to get the music in front of them is to make it hit music. And while we can tell you that there won’t be 15 singles released from Bamford’s Neon Smoke album, we can agree with his song selection and the potential.

Note: Previously released single, Livin’ On Summertime, has already been a Top 10 hit, and that’s a good start. And the title track has now been released and can be requested at country radio!

As we sat and talked, we asked about Gord’s life outside of music, and the house that the Bamford’s are building as their new family home. He told us that he’s been onsite as much as possible, overseeing the construction and being part of the process. He’s enjoying it, though we know it’s a lot of work. And he told us that the family, including his three children, are looking forward to a 2018 move in.

That same desire to be involved in every step of the process was there during the making of Neon Smoke. Bamford told me that he had more to do with every piece of this album than he ever has before. It’s the first time that I’ve ever had the chance to compare making a record and building a house, but Gord and I both agreed that, in this case, it fit.

While 13 of the songs on the album are the solo Gord Bamford work that we’re accustomed to, Neon Smoke also features collaborations with Jim Cuddy and Tracy Lawrence, two voices with heaps of experience that make for a good combination with the Canadian country star. We asked Bamford if he had any dream collaborations in mind and the two names that he shared with me were Merle Haggard and Reba McEntire.

Sadly, Gord didn’t have the chance to work with The Hag before his passing. But, there’s still a chance that someday he’ll get to record with Reba.

In fact, Bamford told us that he and Reba have become friends over the years (since his time on tour with her in 2013). And that they’ve had the chance to stay in touch. So here’s hoping, that in the not too distant future, we get to hear that combo.

Those two collaborations from the album that we mentioned earlier both work for Bamford. The first, Ain’t It Grand (featuring Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, released as a single in September 2017 and performed live at the CCMA Awards show), is an ode to Canadiana, mentioning the Blue Jays, the east and west coasts, strong beer, buck deer, and more in the process. It’s a fun track, the kind that Canadian country fans attach themselves to, and should become a favourite at Bamford’s live shows.

The second duet, The Out Crowd (featuring Time Marches On hitmaker, Tracy Lawrence) is the last track on the album, and it’s perfectly placed. As the 15th and final song, the duet serves as a special treat, and wraps up the 48 minutes of country music on Neon Smoke.

The length of the album is something else we talked to Bamford about, pointing out the current EP and digital singles trend that we’ve seen across genres, but particularly from Canadian country artists. Gord told us that he understands the strategy, and that he sees the success that artists have had, but that he still wants to produce full bodies of work that he can release and that his fans can listen to.

From top to bottom, this is a Gord Bamford album.

It fits perfectly in his discography, his fans should absolutely latch on to it, and while we can’t predict the future, Bamford has certainly put himself in a position to add more Top 10 hits to his resume (and setlist). And who knows, he might just find himself with another Juno nomination and a chance to take home a trophy.

Gord Bamford, Neon Smoke Tracklist

1. Neon Smoke
2. Dive Bar
3. That’s What Grandpas Do
4. Down
5. Love Takes Time
6. Livin’ On Summertime
7. She Looks Good In It
8. Slow Roll It
9. When I’m Drinking
10. Works The Way
11. Ain’t It Grand ft. Jim Cuddy
12. Gold To Me
13. Off The Grid
14. Little Cowboys
15. The Out Crowd ft. Tracy Lawrence

With his eighth record, Gord Bamford has shown that he understands what his fans want, what he wants to do, and how to make all of it come together.

He also knows what he wants out of a live show, and he believes he knows what the fans want too.

We asked if this tour would be the opportunity to slide in the new album’s songs and Bamford told us that a couple would be in there (we’re guessing the first two singles, and the next), but that more than anything else, this would be a show of hits.

Much like Garth Brooks told us in March 2016 during his Hamilton, ON show, Gord said he hates buying a ticket for a show only to see the artist play all the new stuff nobody knows, and none of the songs they’ve loved forever.

So, with that said, fans should expect the Neon Smoke Tour to be packed with hits, fan favourites, and all kinds of songs that you can sing along to. We’re betting that it’ll be an impressive setlist… and if we were being greedy, we’d say it would probably make a pretty good opportunity for a live greatest hits so far album. Just sayin’.

Gord Bamford won’t be alone on tour, with Aaron Goodvin set to join him on the 29 dates, starting in Ontario and heading west. The Lonely Drum singer should make for a great opening act on tour, getting the crowds into the action and ready for a good night.

We also asked Bamford about the venues he’s playing, and he told us that the opportunity to play some smaller, more intimate rooms is something that he’s looking forward to. And as much as we love big production arena tours, we know how special a theatre experience can be too, and a tour that embraces that has the chance to create a lot of special moments.

The Neon Smoke Tour runs from January 24 to March 2, starting in Brampton, ON and finishing up in Kelowna, BC. If you want to see Gord Bamford play some of the new album, and load you up with hits, get your tickets!

Gord Bamford, Neon Smoke Tour Dates

🎤 January 24, 2018 – Brampton,ON
🎤 January 25, 2018 – Nepean, ON
🎤 January 26, 2018 – Windsor, ON
🎤 January 27, 2018 – Richmond Hill, ON
🎤 January 28, 2018 – St. Catherines, ON
🎤 January 30, 2018 – Meaford, ON
🎤 January 31, 2018 – Brantford, ON
🎤 February 1, 2018 – Burlington,ON
🎤 February 2, 2018 – Milton, ON
🎤 February 3, 2018 – Kingston,ON
🎤 February 4, 2018 – Guelph, ON
🎤 February 6, 2018 – Peterborough, ON
🎤 February 7, 2018 – Belleville, ON
🎤 February 8, 2018 – Sherbrooke, QC
🎤 February 10, 2018 – Halifax, NS
🎤 February 11, 2018 – Moncton,NB
🎤 February 12, 2018 – Sudbury, ON
🎤 February 14, 2018 – Thunder Bay, ON
🎤 February 15, 2018 – Winnipeg, MB
🎤 February 16, 2018 – Regina, SK
🎤 February 17, 2018 – Lloydminster, AB
🎤 February 18, 2018 – Whitecourt, AB
🎤 February 20, 2018 – Fort Saskatchewan, AB
🎤 February 21, 2018 – Camrose, AB
🎤 February 23, 2018 – Lethbridge, AB
🎤 February 24, 2018 – Medicine Hat, AB
🎤 February 27, 2018 – Nanaimo, BC
🎤 March 1, 2018 – Sidney, BC
🎤 March 2, 2018 – Kelowna, BC

CCMA Awards 2016 Gord Bamford Green Carpet

Christmas In The Sun, 5 Quick Questions with Gord Bamford: Holiday Edition

Gord Bamford, the Canadian country music star and 16-time Canadian Country Music Association award winner, is ready for Christmas 2017 with the release of his newest holiday track, Christmas In The Sun.

No stranger to Christmas music, Bamford released an 11 track album called Christmas In Canada in 2013, the song is a good timin’ escape from the cold while still celebrating the season. Close your eyes while you listen and you might actually feel the heat from the sun.

God Bamford’s new album, Neon Smoke is scheduled for release on January 19, 2018 – and he’ll be hitting the road for a 29 date tour, with opener Aaron Goodvin along for the ride. Don’t miss it if they come to a venue near you.

We had he chance to catch up with Gord to talk about the tour, the new album and more… and while we were together we got Gord to play a holiday round of 5 Quick Questions with us. If you’ve got 90 seconds, hit play now to learn his favourite Christmas song to play, his favourite Christmas dinner dessert, and what drink he’s reaching for in the holiday season!

5 Quick Questions With Gord Bamford: Holiday Edition

1 month ago

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

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! 

Grace & Grit: Meghan Patrick Album Review & Contest!

Two and half years ago Meghan Patrick told us that she was going to embark on a solo career in country music… and now, on April 29, 2016, Meghan will introduce country music fans to her debut album, Grace & Grit!

Grace & Grit is a 13 song record that moves from upbeat and sassy, to slowed down and sad. There are songs that are going to make you want to dance (you’ve all heard Bow Chicka Wow Wow) and there are songs that are going to hit you right in the feels (just wait til you hear I Won’t Drink) as you move from the top of the tracklist to the bottom.

Meghan Patrick Supermarket Full Band CMW 2015Note: The first time I heard I Won’t Drink was at an acoustic songwriters circle, and when it was still in my head 24 hours later I sent Meghan a message to tell her how great it was. I sent her another message this month to tell her how happy I was that the track had made the record.

Meghan worked with a pile of heavyweights on this album. At the top of the list is Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill, and he’s followed quickly by names like Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Chantal Kreviazuk, Patricia Conroy, Chad Kroeger, and more… and when an All-Star team like that is put together on a project, the results are going to speak for themselves.

Meghan Patrick, Grace & Grit Tracklist

Meghan Patrick Grace and Grit Album Art1. Grace & Grit
2. Bow Chicka Wow Wow
3. Still Loving You ft. Joe Nichols
4. Long Way From Waylon
5. I Won’t Drink
6. Be Country With Me
7. I Believe In Beer
8. Thanks To You
9. Breaking Records
10. Nothin’ But A Song
11. Forever Ain’t Enough Time
12. Who Knew
13. Kiss Me Already

There’s a strength and vulnerability in Meghan’s voice that gets to shine on this record. Song to song there’s an opportunity for it to change, but through it all, you will get to know that it’s her.

Radio has already fallen for Meghan with Bow Chicka Wow Wow in high rotation and finding the Top 20 – and songs like Grace & GritKiss Me Already, and Still Loving You should also get that love before long.

Meanwhile, country fans missing the old days should be happy to hear songs like Long Way From Waylon, I Believe In Beer, and Forever Ain’t Enough Time.

Note: It’s coincidence, but the Prince reference at the beginning for Breaking Records make it a must listen right now for fans with memories of listening to The Purple One.

Meghan Patrick The Stone SparrowsGrace & Grit was one of my most anticipated albums of 2016, and now that I’ve listened to it more than a few times, I’m happy to say that it was worth the wait and excitement. Meghan Patrick is coming to country fans ready to prove that she belongs. And if you’re a country fan, you should be on the look out for your chance to see Meghan play these songs live, very soon. With a slew of festival (Boots & Hearts, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, CMT Music Fest) and concert dates coming, you’re not going to have an excuse to miss her.

And to make sure you know the words to all of these songs when you see her, or you hear them on the radio, we’re giving it away right now!

Enter now using the widget below and you could win 1 of 3 copies of Meghan Patrick’s new album, Grace & Grit. Take care to follow all instructions provided to confirm your entries count, and for an extra chance to win, follow @thereviewsarein on Twitter today (Wednesday, April 27) for your chance to win as well.

Good luck!

Meghan Patrick: Bow Chicka Wow Wow

Meghan Patrick: Grace & Grit

2 years ago

Meghan Patrick Single Release: Bow Chicka Wow Wow

We’ve been on the Meghan Patrick train for a long time… and now we’re ready for a lot of new people to jump on with us!

Today Meghan releases her debut solo single, Bow Chicka Wow Wow, to the world, and we are super happy for her. Since we first saw her singing lead with The Stone Sparrows, we knew she had “it”, and every time we’ve seen her or chatted with her since, we’ve known big things were coming.

Meghan Patrick Bow Chicka Wow Wow single artWe saw it at the Juno’s party in Hamilton.

We saw it at her CMW showcase at The Supermarket.

We saw it in a songwriter’s circle at The Moustache Club.

And now we’re all going to see it.

Bow Chicka Wow Wow is an upbeat toe-tapper/boot stomper of a track that offers a great look at what Meghan Patrick brings to Canadian country music. It’s fun and sassy and shows off her voice. And while it’s not super traditional, which we know will ruffle some feathers, it’s not so “new country” that it leaves the country genre that we know Meghan loves.

Plus, there’s some really fun guitar work in there too – and we dig it!

check it: Meet Meghan Patrick Q&A

With festival sets already scheduled for Ottawa Bluesfest and CMT Music Fest in Kitchener, ON, Meghan is on the edge of becoming a name that a lot of people know, and an artist that a lot of country fans are listening to.

Bow Chicka Wow Wow is also the lead single from her upcoming debut album (Warner Music Canada) Grace and Grit, which includes collaborations and work with the likes of Joe Nichols, Vince Gill, Chad Kroeger, Carly McKillip, Gord Bamford, Patricia Conroy, Phil Barton, and more – so look for that in spring 2016!

This Bowmanville girl is just getting started, so get on board – this train is leaving the station!

Bow Chicka Wow Wow is available right now on iTunes (so go get it there) and you can call your local country station to request a spin, so do that too!

ps. There’s a video too! So keep your eye out for that on CMT (or buy it on iTunes now)

Meghan Patrick at Liuna Station Gibson at the Junos 2015Meghan Patrick GuitarMeghan Patrick Supermarket 1 CMW 2015

2 years ago

Drinkin’ Buddy – Gord Bamford at the 2014 CNE Bandshell

Gord Bamford 2014 CNE HeaderSaturday night at the CNE Bandshell we got to see Tebey perform and get the Toronto crowd into some country music. But he was there on a mission – to warm up the crowd for a man who has won himself 16 Canadian Country Music Awards and turned become a true star in music, Mr. Gord Bamford.

We saw Gord just a few weeks ago at Boots & Hearts but weren’t able to see the whole set because of the schedule – but Saturday night there wasn’t anything taking me away. And I’m glad because I dug the set and all 20+ songs that he performed.

Gord Bamford On Stage 2014 CNEFrom the start of the set it was clear that he was happy to be up on stage – and it made sense when he told the crowd (much to my honest surprise) that it was his first ever Toronto show. This is a dude who has opened for Reba, but he had never played in Toronto. Blows my mind.

Bamford started strong with I Would For You, Life Is Good, Farm Girl Strong, and Is it Friday yet, his pacing was excellent and had the crowd engaged. But it was a small group of fans that really got more than they bargained for and offered the highlight of the show.

Early in the show Bamford looked out at the crowd and pointed out a young fan with a sign and told him to hold onto it for later. And when later came that little boy, 3 of his other little dude friends and a small girl were all lifted up onto the stage. Bamford spoke with all of them and flipped through what ended up being a scrapbook that the little boy had put together, entirely dedicated to Gord Bamford’s life and career.

Gord Bamford Young Fans 2014 CNE BandshellWith the kids on stage Bamford sang Little Guy (written for his son) and stood with the boys while he did. But that wasn’t the end of it. The little girl’s sister was in the crowd and upset that she wasn’t up with her, so Gord had her lifted up and he pulled the 2 little girls away from the group to sing My Daughter’s Father (written for his 2 little girls) with them in the spotlight. It was incredibly touching and had me choked up.

As mentioned, the set was packed with more than 20 songs, most of which I knew the words to sing along to – and I wasn’t the only one. There were a bunch more just like me, and some who knew more words than I did. And as the set wound down with When Your Lips Are So Close, Stayed Til 2, and Blame It On That Red Dress the cheers stayed loud and happy.

Gord Bamford even gave the crowd and extra bit of love with an encore built of 3 awesome covers: John Mellencamp’s Small Town, Train’s Hey Soul Sister, and Alabama’s If You’re Gonna Play In Texas.

It was a solid set front to back… and if given the chance, maybe on his upcoming small venue tour, I would love to see him on stage again.

Thanks to Trish for the pics – she’s got a bunch more that you can see on her blog HERE!

Stay awesome!

Gord Bamford Kids 2014 CNE BandshellGord Bamford 2014 CNE BandshellGord Bamford and Band 2014 CNE


3 years ago

Is It Friday Yet? Gord Bamford, Neal McCoy and Dan + Shay at Boots & Hearts 2014

Gord Bamford Main Stage Boots and Hearts 2014On Sunday afternoon in Bowmanville, Gord Bamford took to the stage just ahead of young star Hunter Hayes and did exactly what we expected him to do – entertain a great crowd of country music fans.

Bamford has had a great last few years, winning 6 Canadian Country Music Association Awards, and is nominated for 4 more statues this year in Edmonton. His #1 single, When Your Lips Are So Close was a highlight of his Boots & Hearts set – and could very well bring him home the Single of the Year and Songwriter of the Year awards this fall.

Bamford has also had the chance to play with some of country’s biggest acts including Tim McGraw, Kenny Rogers and Reba.

Gord Bamford is as Canadian as country music gets, an every man with a great hat, a guitar, a pure country voice and songs that can make fans dance or want to pull someone close and look deep in their eyes.

He did both of those things Sunday including hits Postcard from Pasadena , Farm Girl Strong, Is It Friday Yet?, Day Job, Drinking Buddy, Unreal, and more.

Congrats to Gord on all of his success so far, for putting on a great Sunday set and good luck at the CCMAs.

Check out more pictures of Gord Bamford on Trish’s blog HERE!

Neal McCoy Main Stage Boots and Hearts 2014Earlier on Sunday a true country music legend took over the stage with the energy of a man half his age.

Neal McCoy has been playing country music for more than 30 years, first touring with certified country legend and pioneer, Charlie Pride. And when I was a kid in the 90s it was nearly impossible to listen to country radio without hearing McCoy’s songs – and singing along to them.

So it was extra special for me to hear The City Put The Country Back In Me, The Shake, and Neal McCoy’s very first #1 hit, No Doubt About It.

It was also cool to hear the band and McCoy put together a cover of The Beetles: Come Together. I did not expect that at all, and even when I heard the band start the music I thought they were just playing around.

33 years after Charlie Pride took him on the road, the 56 year old McCoy still takes the stage with a great energy, a sharp sense of humor (making fun of a fan for wearing a Luke Bryan t-shirt to a Neal McCoy show, explaining a mash-up to the “old people” in the crowd), and a smile on his face that makes you believe that he still very much loves to play country music for a living.

I’m a happy boy to have seen Mr. McCoy live, adding him to a list with Alabama, Joe Diffie, Phil Vassar, and Sawyer Brown in my 3 years at Boots & Hearts.

Dan + Shay Singing Boots and Hearts 2014Also on Sunday, at the SiriusXM Front Porch Stage, was a loud (screaming), energetic (jumping), and excited (swooning) crowd for hot hot hot country duo Dan + Shay.

Those boys may be new to country audiences, they are not without a dedicated following. The girls in the crowd may very well have been louder for Dan + Shay than they were for Hunter Hayes, Luke Bryan or anyone else that played at Boots & Hearts 2014.

Note: After putting on a great set of her own on the main stage, Danielle Bradbery was side stage to take in the Dan + Shay show. She was totally into it, singing and dancing along.

Those same fans also love the music, singing along, and singing loud to the boys’ 2 biggest hits, Somewhere Only We Know and 19 You + Me – it was a cool moment to witness, and one of my favourite things in the world to see – I’m sure that Misters Smyers and Mooney felt the same way.

Do not be surprised if there are more hit singles to come from these 2… I won’t be.

Check out more pictures of Dan + Shay on Trish’s blog HERE!

Gord Bamford Singing Boots and Hearts 2014
Neal McCoy Close Up Boots and Hearts 2014Dan + Shay Rocking Boots and Hearts 2014

3 years ago

Boots & Hearts 2014 Victoria Day Mix Tape

Boots and Hearts Mix TapeLong weekend Sundays are great. There’s no pressure to get everything on your to-do list done. You don’t have to turn life off and go to bed at a respectable hour.

And you can drink some beers and listen to some great music. That’s what I’m suggesting today.

If you don’t drink beer, that’s ok. Grab a cider, rye and coke, vodka cranberry, rum cooler, glass of wine, whatever the heck you like!

To help with the music part I’ve got a little playlist with artists from Boots & Hearts 2014! Check out the mix of new singles and old classics and sing along to everything you know.

Have a great day folks. And if you’re off tomorrow, enjoy!

Luke Bryan: Play It Again

Blake Shelton: Doin’ What She Likes

Toby Keith: Whiskey Girl

Jess Moskaluke: Cheap Wine And Cigarettes

Paul Brandt: Alberta Bound

The Road Hammers: Mud

Sawyer Brown: Drive Me Wild

Hunter Hayes: I Want Crazy

Danielle Bradbury: Young In America

David Lee Murphy: Dust On The Bottle

Dan + Shay: 19 You And Me

Tim Hicks: Hell Raisin’ Good Time

Deric Ruttan: Take The Week Off

Gord Bamford: When Your Lips Are So Close

Lee Brice: I Don’t Dance

The Reklaws: Kiss Kiss

Tyler Farr: Whiskey In My Water

Jordon McIntosh: That Girl

Sam Hunt: House Party

4 years ago

Boots & Hearts 2014, January 7th Line-Up Announcement!

Boots and Hearts January 7 Facebook Cover PhotoThere were 2 big announcements made this morning.

1) Team Canada revealed the 25 man roster for the Men’s Ice Hockey Team at the Sochi Olympics.

2) Boots and Hearts announced that 7 new acts have been added to the 2014 line-up:
 Toby Keith
★ Hunter Hayes
★ Lee Brice
★ Gord Bamford
★ Neal McCoy
 The Road Hammers
 Tim Hicks

Tim Hicks ThrowdownIt’s a welcome back moment for Tim Hicks who played on the Front Porch Stage in 2013 to open the show with The Stone Sparrows and Emerson Drive. I’d be willing to bet that he makes the jump to the main stage this year. And if his set last year was an indication, he’ll be great. I look forward to see what covers he comes with this year after Outkast’s Hey Ya and Willie Nelson’s On The Road Again last summer.

I’ve seen Toby Keith and The Road Hammers before, and I’m excited to see both of them again.

Toby Keith Profile PhotoToby Keith put on a great show in Toronto at the Molson Amphitheatre in September 2010, which made me happy because I’m not a huge fan of some of his music. But I will freely admit I sang along through the entire set. I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy him again this year. Keith confirmed on his Twitter account that he will be playing on August 1, which leads me to believe that he will be our Friday night headliner.

The Road Hammers Album CoverThe Road Hammers set was a little colder, with the stage set up on the Rideau Canal on a chilly February night in 2008. I was living in Ottawa at the time and my friend Terry and I dealt with the cold and sang along to most of the first Road Hammers record as well as one of the favourite Canadian country songs of all time, Jason McCoy’s Born Again in Dixieland.

Neal McCoy Profile PhotoNeal McCoy comes to Boots and Hearts in the role that Joe Diffie filled in 2013. A country legend who had big success in the 90s with some really catchy songs. And now he’s back, probably on Saturday or Sunday afternoon to play the hits (I’m excited for The Shake, Wink & They’re Playin’ Our Song) maybe something new and get everyone ready for the bigger acts later on. It’s also cool to note that Neal McCoy is of Irish and Filipino descent. There isn’t a lot of any Asian representation in country music, but Neal is there!

Lee Brice Profile PhotoLee Brice isn’t a name that I anticipated being on this list. But here he is. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. The 2 songs that I know best from his catalogue are Woman Like You and

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. The 2nd will make you cry if you’re the kind that cries when a song is built that way. I will not be surprised if I choke up when I hear it live for the first time. Wish me luck.

The last 2 names that were announced today hold a special place in my heart and that’s because I named them both in my prediction list going into Boots & Hearts 2014. Add Luke Bryan and so far I’m 3/5 in my 2014 predictions!

Gord Bamford Profile PhotoGord Bamford has been as hot as anyone else in Canadian country music in the last 3 years or so. He opened for Reba, the Queen of Country Music, on her recent Canadian tour. His biggest hit thus far is probably his most recent.

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is a honky tonk good time tune that will get people singing and dancing and drinking. Hell, the DJ played it the minute he saw Bamford walk through the door at the Rock ‘N’ Horse Saloon.

Hunter Hayes EncoreThe last name is arguably the biggest right now. With all due respect to Toby Keith… Hunter Hayes is a rising star with hits behind him and in front of him. Hayes was the 2012 Country Music Association New Artist of the Year and has had 5 hit singles, including his current duet with Jason Mraz, Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me. Oh, and by the way, he won’t turn 23 years old until a month after he performs in Bowmanville at Boots & Hearts 2o14. I’m looking for Hunter Hayes to steal the show much like Dierks Bentley did before Miranda Lambert took the stage in 2013.

My only disappointment with today’s Boots & Hearts Line-up Announcement is that we still don’t have any female country acts on the bill. There are 8 male solo artists (the new 6 plus Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan) and 1 group consisting of all dudes.

I do expect that we’ll have women on the roster before all things are said and done… and we’re waiting.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at the Boots & Hearts website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and right here on the blog!

Boots and Hearts Line Up January 7
Toby Keith Boots and Hearts 2014
Hunter Hayes Boots and Hearts 2014

4 years ago

Hey Toronto, It’s Time To Cowboy Up!

Rock N Horse SignThere’s a new place to wear your hat and boots downtown with the launch of the Rock ‘N’ Horse Saloon at 250 Adelaide St. West.

Wednesday night I went to check out the private launch party (Thank you Liz & Strut Entertainment for the invite) and get a look at the newest country getaway in the city.

Note: At the exact same time I had friends checking out the preview party at Boots & Bourbon in Riverside and they made it clear that I need to get east of Yonge to check it out too.

As a country boy and a country music fan I was excited and sceptical going in. It didn’t take long for me to lose the scepticism.

When we checked in I could hear the music coming from upstairs and the night started with Luke Bryan (can’t wait to see him at Boots & Hearts 2014). From there the DJ did a great job all night long. At a country bar in downtown Toronto it took 2 and a half hours before Taylor Swift came through the speakers. That’s not a bad thing at a country bar! As much as I love T. Swift, she’s not the be all and end all of country music.

Rock N Horse Elvis Pinball and 8 SecondsIt was also awesome to see 8 Seconds (1994, Luke Perry as Lane Frost) and sports playing on the TVs in the joint. I’ve already got a list of cowboy movies in my head that I would love to see playing when I walk in again.

And oh ya, there’s an Elvis pinball machine against the wall, just past the pool table with a brand new red felt. not too shabby.

Rock N Horse Saddle StoolsOutside of the obvious “every country bar ever” decor, there are also some other special tidbits like the bar stools with saddles for seats and the mechanical bull and inflatable ring set up in the far corner of the bar.

I didn’t ride the bull last night. I thought about it. But I didn’t do it. I regret it a little bit, but I’m sure that I’ll get another chance some day.

The night was hosted by CMT Chevrolet Top 20 Countdown‘s Paul McGuire who was good on the mic. Made some semi-adult jokes while one of the Spurlesque (the country dancer girls) ladies rode the bull and he did a great job handing out trivia questions and prizes throughout the evening.

He also made sure to point out the fact that Gord Bamford and Kira Isabella showed up to say hi and have a drink. The DJ noticed too and played Bamford’s Is It Friday Yet? as soon as he got in the door.

Back to the trivia, the 1st question of the night was “Who Wrote Wagon Wheel?” and I totally knew the answer. But some other dude got it first and my hand in the air got me nothing. BUT, Paul McGuire saw my hand in the air and called me out in front of the entire bar to tell me that I was going to get the 1st crack at the next question…

Rock N Horse Prize PackMy question, “Name 3 Dolly Parton Songs”. Now, I love country music, that’s an established fact. And I LOVE Dolly. But I don’t love being caught off guard in a crowd of strangers. So, I immediately spit out I Will Always Love You and 9 To 5 – but then I went quiet and couldn’t come up with number 3. However, I was saved by the crowd which included the adorable Kira Isabella yelling

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at me.

The answer made me a winner of a prize pack that included Miranda Lambert‘s Four The Record, The Pistol Annies’ Annie Up, Jason Aldean‘s My Kinda Party and Country Heat 2014. But that’s not all. I also got a Jabra Soulmate Mini bluetooth speaker that will work with my phone or laptop or whatever I want it to. Not a bad prize. And thanks to Kira for the help.

Note: Bob Dylan wrote Wagon Wheel. I had the right answer.

Rock N Horse Rye and CokeHere’s the final skinny: the drinks were strong (rye and diet for me), the food was tasty (try the Pulled Pork Sliders and Jalapeño Bacon Corn Bread), the music was good, the bull looks fun, the staff were friendly and cute, the decor isn’t too cheesy and I enjoyed myself. I look forward to going back soon (maybe Friday) to see what it’s like with the public.

I do wonder what the pricing is going to look like for drinks and food since it was an open bar event on Wednesday. Remember that this is a downtown, Entertainment District bar. But overall I think that the Rock ‘N’ Horse Saloon has a strong chance to succeed for a while and capitalize on the revitalization of country music and its current pop culture relevance.

Rock N Horse: Gord Bamford, Kira Isabella, Paul McGuire
Rock N Horse Crowd at the Bar

The Bull Still Doesn't Have A Name. Any Ideas?

The Bull Still Doesn’t Have A Name. Any Ideas?

4 years ago

The Boots and Hearts 2014 Countdown: 264 Days

Boots and Hearts About Nov 2013Okay yes, 264 days is a little long for a countdown… but I can’t help it.

As excited as I am for #MoChaKaTO in 20 days, I am just as excited for the Boots and Hearts Canadian Country Music Festival in 2014.

Blake Shelton, Boots and Hearts 2014
We learned on the Sunday of Boots & Hearts 2013 that Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year, Blake Shelton would be headlining next year. And then this week announcement number 2 came through the wire telling us that Luke Bryan will join Blake at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next year.

It was a huge announcement that made a lot of people happy. It made me happy too. For 2 reasons.

1) I love Luke Bryan and can’t wait to see him on stage, I think he’s going to put on a great show.
2) I predicted that Mr. Bryan would be included in the 2014 line-up in a previous post!

That’s right. After a really bad year of predicting Boots & Hearts talent in twenty-thirteen, I’m turning things around already.

My other top picks for B&H 2014?

Little Big Town – who have been on fire for the last 18 months.
Hunter Hayes – who I incorrectly guessed this year.
Kellie Pickler – who is one of the most adorable and talented people in country music.
Gord Bamford – who has been nominated for the 2013 CCMA Fans’ Choice Award.
And my longshot pick is… Lady Antebellum!

And now almost 3 months later, if I were going to add some more predictions to that list… I’d go with:
Small Town Pistols – brother/sister duo who first came to us as The Wilkinsons.
Deric Ruttan – writing & touring partner of B&H alums Jason Blaine, Chad Brownlee and Dierks Bentley.
Michelle Wright – Canadian Country Music Legend.
Kelly Clarkson – B&H needs a female headliner… Kelly would be a HUGE get.
Diamond Rio – would fit nicely in the legend category that Alabama and Joe Diffie filled in years 1 & 2.

The first 3 acts on that list are Canadian, so there’s a chance that they get a call to join the line-up. The B&H website description now reads: Boots and Hearts Canadian Country Music Festival – so having more Canadian content would not be a surprise.

The last 2 groups on that list are a little less likely. Kelly Clarkson is coming off a nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMAs last week. She’s gone country and that makes me happy. She also married into Reba’s family, which doesn’t really mean much, but still. And Diamond Rio doesn’t tour as much as they once did, but I love their music, I grew up with it and if I could hear songs like Meet in the Middle, Beautiful Mess and How Your Love Makes Me Feel, live and in person, I would be a very happy boy.

To be honest, I could be wrong about all of these predictions. Getting the Luke Bryan call right doesn’t make me an expert. However, I do know that no matter who Boots and Hearts brings on to fill out the 2014 lineup will be talented and put on a great show.

They haven’t let me down in years 1 and 2, I don’t expect them to start now.

Tickets are on sale now, so if you’re interested – click and buy.

264 is a lot of days – but that hasn’t stopped a lot of people from being excited.

Me included.

Work Hard. Play Harder. Be Awesome!

Luke Bryan Boots and Hearts 2014

4 years ago

Boots and Hearts Looks For Fan Input for 2014 Festival!

The Boots & Hearts Country Music Festival will return for a 3rd year in 2014 and to try and make it the best yet they are asking for fans and 2013 attendees for their help.

This morning a survey was posted that asks questions about experience at the Boots & Hearts this year as well as money spent, entertainment preferences and some personal info that could influence sponsorships in the future.

I grabbed some screenshots of the survey so you know what you’re getting into. It’s not a long survey, the 3 to 5 minutes that they advertise is pretty accurate. And I think that, if Republic Live pays attention to the results, there is a strong chance that the festival will be better next year because of it.

2013 Boots and Hearts Fan Experience Survey
Please rate your festival experience in each area: Main Stage Entertainment, Camping, Parking, Layout of the grounds, Food vendors, Beverage vendors, Merchants, Security, Washrooms, Showers, Cleanliness of the grounds, Shuttle service, Guest services, Staff, Volunteers, Partners/Sponsors.

2013 Boots and Hearts Fan Experience Survey
Distance traveled to attend Boots and Hearts?
What day(s) did you attend Boots and Hearts?
Where did you stay during Boots and Hearts?
How much did you spend per day at Boots and Hearts (Food, Drink, Souvenirs, etc.)?
How much did you spend off-site during Boots and Hearts (restaurants, shopping, gas, etc.)?

2013 Boots and Hearts Fan Experience Survey
Select the Radio Stations that you listen to?

Note: I like this page a lot. Country radio has always been a big part of everything that happens in the industry. Radio stations spend a lot of time and money to pump up acts and festivals that bring more and more access to the fans. They have continued to work hard as digital radio and downloads have grown. And, honestly, I still listen to country radio on an almost daily basis.

Now, my favourite page in the entire survey actually comes before any of these. It’s a quick one – and it’s not easy to fill out – but here it is…

2013 Boots and Hearts Fan Experience Survey
What Artist(s) would you like to see at Boots and Hearts 2014? Select up to 3 Artists/Bands.


How are country music fans who have seen some pretty huge acts over the last 2 years supposed to pick ONLY 3 acts from this list? For the record, my picks were Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town.

Please, do not waste 1 of your picks on Blake Shelton. He’s already going to be there!

I’ve already posted once with some predictions for 2014… and out of the 6 acts that I mentioned in the post – 5 of them are on the list in the survey. So I’m feeling pretty good about at least being in the ballpark!

So, if you feel so inclined, take a minute or 2 and fill out the survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/bootsandhearts

Bonus: If you fill it out you have a chance to win tickets to Boots & Hearts 2014!

Work Hard, Play Harder, Be Awesome, Good Luck!

Boots and Hearts 2013 Oh Canada! [via @trishca]

4 years ago
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