Canada was well represented at Country Thunder Calgary – and when both James Barker Band and High Valley hit the stage, the crowd showed them the love that they deserved.
Check out the pics of both bands and give these good Canadian boys some love the next time you have the chance!
Over the years we’ve seen some amazing acts come through the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase. Artists that have become household names like Tebey, Tim Hicks and The James Barker Band as well as some of our favourites including Johnson Crook, Birds of Bellwoods, Runaway Angel, The Reklaws, Trinity Bradshaw, Jesse Gold and last year’s winner, Vanessa Marie Carter.
This year’s crop of emerging artists are super talented and we’re sure this is going to be a close one! We’re pleased to introduce you to the Boots and Hearts 2017 Emerging Artists.
This Kingston based singer songwriter has already been making waves in Canadian country music and performed at the CCMA Country Music Week “Diamonds in the Rough” Showcase. Amanda is classically trained in both piano and vocals and has been performing since the age of five. She’s recently returned from a writing stint in Nashville where she was working on new music with Patricia Conroy and Dave”Dwave” Thomson.
Jade Eagleson, if that isn’t the best country music name I’ve heard this year, I don’t know what is? But Jade will need more than a great name to win this year’s Emerging Artist Showcase. He comes armed with plenty of experience, the 23-year-old has been playing since he was 13, he’s recorded in Nashville and the singer songwriter has enough support to have won himself a spot in this competition!
Jason isn’t new to us, we’ve been following his career for some time now. This small town, Manitoba born singer songwriter, released a new album, A Beautiful Disaster in May and the single Whiskey Kiss has a classic country sound that makes you want to sing along. With stage smarts that come from opening up for Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, The Roadhammers, George Canyon, Jake Owen, and Kip Moore, we’re thinking Jason might have a slight advantage in this race.
Kalsey Kulyk – More Time
Kalsey describes her style as country with a little pop and rock thrown in for good measure and that sounds great to us. She was born in the small town of Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan and with the support of her family, she’s been performing since the young age of 4 in talent and on tv shows. Kalsey lists her early influences as Shania Twain, Allison Krause, The Dixie Chicks and we love her crystal clear voice and relatable lyrics.
Kentucky Rails are a five-piece band that have “the look” and their entry song is fun and energetic. Wallet is their first single and we’re looking forward to seeing these boys perform live. Kentucky Rails are Justin deGraaf on bass and vocals, Ryan Pellicciotta on guitar and vocals, Zach McCabe on guitar and lead vocals, Dave Kirby on guitar and Matt Soliveri on drums.
“KR symbolizes the struggle to win. When you’re on the rails in the Derby, the odds are stacked against you. But we all love an underdog story… Right?”
Marco Sylver’s entry is also his current single. Summer Life highlights all the good things about summer including top down days, friends, no worries and fun. With a bluegrass background, Marco has been working hard to make a name for himself in Canadian country music. A current resident of Calgary he’s had the opportunity to open for Travis Tritt and the Charlie Daniels Band and we’re sure he’ll be bringing his A game to the Boots and Hearts Stage.
Burlington singer songwriter Josh Ross started performing at a very young age and added songwriting to his repertoire in high school. He lists Dallas Smith, Thomas Rhett, Brett Eldridge, Florida Georgia Line, Tim Hicks, Jason Aldean as influences and we feel like we can hear a little bit of each of them when Josh sings. He’s young, talented and not too hard to look at, we’ll be looking to see how he connects with the crowd and the judges.
The Redhill Valleys are Danielle Beaudin on guitar and vocals, Tim Allard on drums, guitar and vocals and Chelsea McWilliams on bass and vocals. The three-piece out of Hamilton have a folk feeling with amazing harmonies. Their video is warm and beautiful. We’re looking forward to seeing them live.
Best of luck to all of the entrants, we’ll see you at Boots!
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!
Presented by Chevrolet (new in 2017), the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase has helped to launch the careers of Tebey and Tim Hicks (2012), The Reklaws (2013), Ty Baynton, Runaway Angel, Trinity Bradshaw (2014), Johnson Crook, Kris Barclay, James Barker Band, (2015), Jesse Gold and Vanessa Marie Carter (2016) and more!If you think you’ve got what it takes, the process starts with the applications. Country artists, ages 12 and over, can submit a video for a chance to compete at Burl’s Creek Event Park this summer. Visit bootsandhearts.com/showcase to submit your video.
After all of the videos have been submitted (end date: July 2. 11:59 PM EST), 8 finalists will be hand-picked by the judges, who are respected industry professionals, to play live at Boots & Hearts 2017.
Once the top 8 have been selected, fans will then have the opportunity to vote on their favourite artist. Fan votes will determine the time slots for the finalists. Keep in mind that getting the most votes will have you playing last, and historically this is when the crowds are bigger!
The top two will as perform in a sing-off on the main stage at Boots and Hearts 2017. The winner will have the honour of performing on before Brett Eldredge takes the stage, there will be a big crowd watching!
The winner of the 2017 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase will have a chance to…
1. Play the main stage before Brett Eldredge on Sunday.
2. Record and release a single on the Universal Music Canada label.
3. Travel to Nashville, the prize includes flight, hotel accommodations for a week, $500 spending money, professional photo shoot, media training and a beautiful new Gibson guitar. This could be a life-changing experience for all involved and while winning the contest is definitely the carrot at the end of the stick, remember, Tim Hicks was runner-up in 2012. This is going to be a great opportunity for eight new country acts and for 1 of them, it could change their life!
Find out everything you need to know about the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase by visiting bootsandhearts.com/showcase.Do you know someone that you think should be up on the big stage? Of course, you do, send them this link. Or if you’re a country artist hoping for the next big break we wish you luck. Go enter and tell your friends!
On a hot Sunday night in London, the Ontario country music community came together to recognize greatness in the genre over the last 12 months, and it was a party for everyone involved.
The Country Music Association of Ontario awards were handed out at Centennial Hall, with host Jason McCoy (The Road Hammers) keeping the audience entertained and the show moving forward as planned. And as it moved forward it became clear that the 2017 Awards were a coming out party for one small town Ontario singer in particular.
Bowmanville’s Meghan Patrick was the big winner of the evening, taking home trophies for Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Rising Star, and Music Video of the Year. With hits and crowd favourites Bow Chicka Wow Wow, Grace & Grit, Still Loving You, and the new single, Be Country With Me, it should be no real surprise to see Patrick recognized to this degree by her peers and industry professionals. And while she may be living in Nashville right now, we know that Meghan Patrick still holds a soft spot and a lot of love for her Ontario hometown.
Meghan Patrick, via CMAO
Other big winners on the night included Tim Hicks (Male Artist of the Year), whose Live album is definitely worth a listen if you haven’t checked that out yet, Cold Creek County (Group or Duo of the Year), who have a busy summer coming up, James Barker Band (Fans’ Choice), who are on fire right now after their tour with Dean Brody, and River Town Saints (Single of the Year), who have a brand new single, Woke Up Like This, and self titled album available now.
It’s a great thing to see the Ontario country music community come together with their peers and fans for a night like this, and it’s amazing to see the smiles and looks of love in the eyes of the winners, their families, and their devoted fans.
Check out the full list of artist award winners, as well as some of our favourite photos of the 2017 CMAO Award winners live in action over the last few years!
(sponsored by Slaight Music) Meghan Patrick
(sponsored by Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario & International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Grace and Grit – Meghan Patrick
(sponsored by Long & McQuade) Bow Chicka Wow Wow – Meghan Patrick
(sponsored by Ontario Media Development Corporation) James Barker Band
(sponsored by Havelock Country Jamboree) Tim Hicks
(sponsored by The Remington Group) Cold Creek County
(sponsored by KICX 106) Cherry Bomb – River Town Saints
(sponsored by Skelton Truck Lines) The Abrams
The Abrams, via CMAO
(sponsored by SOCAN) Deric Ruttan, Craig Wiseman – Came Here to Forget, performed by Blake Shelton
Jason Barry (Dean Brody, Genevieve Fisher, The Western Swing Authority, Tianna Woods)
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.
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)
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!
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.
The 2017 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards are coming, and London, ON is going to do a great job hosting.
We know this because we just experienced a hell of a good time with the country music family during Canadian Country Music Week 2016… ask around and people will tell you the same thing.
Now, because we know this weekend is going to be amazing, we want to send you to experience it!
Yup, we want you to go check out the panels at the CMAO R2I (Road to Independence) TuneUp Conference and the CMAO Awards show on Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11.
It’s going to be a great time. It’s going to be filled with country music’s brightest stars from Ontario. It’s going to be a weekend that you won’t soon forget. Memorable moments will happen. Selfies will be taken. Stories will be told. And you could be there.
If you haven’t been to the awards show in the past, you should know that it’s going to have some amazing musical performances… Your host, Jason McCoy, is sure to sing you a line or two, and backed by house band, The Western Swing Authority, you will see no fewer than 11 artists live on stage.
♫ Aaron Pritchett ♫ Cold Creek County ♫ Deric Ruttan ♫ Genevieve Fisher ♫ James Barker Band ♫ Jason Blaine ♫ The Abrams ♫ Jessica Mitchell ♫ Meghan Patrick ♫ River Town Saints ♫ Tim Hicks
At the bottom of this post there’s a widget that you can use to earn up to 7 entries for your chance to win 1 pair (2) of tickets to the R2I (Road to Independence) TuneUp Conference and 1 pair (2) of tickets to the Country Music Association of Ontario Awards Show!
But before we get to that, let’s have some fun. As members of the CMAO, we’ve already cast our votes for the 2017 awards – and now we want to see who you think should win. We’ve picked out six categories featuring some of our favourite, and your favourite, Ontario country artists. Vote for the artist you think should win, then use the widget and enter for your chance to be a winner!
Note: This prize does not include travel or accommodations. Please keep that in mind when entering and hoping to win!
Friday nights are good for parties. Country music is good for parties. Canadian Music Week is good for parties. Now, go ahead and put all three of those things together and you’ve got yourself a red hot night, and we were there.
On Friday at Boots & Bourbon Saloon on Queen Street East, we hung out with artists, industry, and a heap of fans as 5 acts hit the stage, headlined by the James Barker Band as they celebrated the release of their brand new EP, Game On. The room was packed. There was excitement and positivity and adrenaline in the air… and on stage there were smiles and laughs and sweat and songs from start to finish.
In sports it’s common to hear someone say that they need to leave it all on the field/ice/court/whatever. On Friday night it was the same deal, everyone that performed, from Dani Strong to The Reklaws to Dan Davidson to Andrew Hyatt to JBB at the end, left it all on stage. And we saw it and appreciated the hell out of it.
Side Note: There were some awesome entertainers in the room to check out this show… we think we saw all of them, but maybe we missed a couple. Here’s our list: Jess Moskaluke, Washboard Union, Leah Daniels, Kris Barclay, Ben Hudson, Karli June, Vanessa Marie Carter.
Dani Strong kicked off the show, in her Maple Leafs t-shirt, openly cheering for the home team to pull out a win. She was excited, entertaining, and exactly what we know her to be on stage. Dani is one of the happiest and funniest performers we know. This woman loves to play, and as the opener she did a fantastic job of greeting the early crowd and setting the tone for the night.
We recommend checking Dani Strong out in person and online – where you might just catch her playing and singing in the bathroom on a pretty regular basis.
A post shared by Heather (@hclarkie_15) on Apr 22, 2017 at 2:38pm PDT
Following Dani, much to our personal delight, were The Reklaws.
Stuart and Jenna have been on our radar since day 1. And it was exciting for us to see them on stage with new songs, strong voices, an energetic performance, and the same charisma we know and love.
It had been a while since we’d seen the sibling singers, so it was extra special to see the growth in their game. And to be able to talk to both of them, and find out just how excited they are about the new music was the cherry on top. With their label (Universal) behind them, and the crowd response to their set on the Boots & Bourbon stage, we’re sure that we’ll be seeing and hearing more from The Reklaws sooner rather than later.
High five, hugs and good jobs to Jenna and Stuart.
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In the middle of the bill, all the way from Alberta, was Dan Davidson. And he made his presence felt and earned a warm welcome from Toronto country music fans.
With radio hits like Found and Barn Burner to share, Davidson brought sing alongs to the crowd and looked like he absolutely loved every minute of the action. With his full band firing on all cylinders, the sound pumped perfectly through the speakers and moved through the room. People danced and sang and cheered – and it was certainly a momentum builder at the mid-way point of the party.
Side Note: We were lucky enough to see half of Nice Horse up on stage singing with Davidson. They sounded great, added to the show, and made us want to see all of them doing their own thing on the spotlight.
The energy that Dan Davidson brings to the stage is undeniable, and his experience with Tupelo Honey shines through in his performances. But it’s also pretty clear that he’s found a home in Canadian country music… and that you’ll be hearing a whole lot more of him before long!
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Second to last, in the “get y’all ready for the headliner” slot, was a late add to the party plans. Andrew Hyatt, fresh off his killer performance at The Phoenix on Tuesday night, hit the Boots & Bourbon stage like a force of nature.
Side Note: I talked to Andrew about the set on Saturday night and he told me that it felt like the old punk shows that he went to as a teen. The crowd brought it, and he felt like he should have been looking for a rafter to hang from.
The crowd was on fire, Hyatt’s band The Good Intentions were loud, tight, and locked in, and Andrew poured his heart and a gallon of sweat into his set. The Sudbury native pulled the Toronto crowd in and gave them what they wanted and all he had. With MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio), Livin’ The Dream, Love Drunk to get folks singing along, there was no denying the power and fun of the set.
Side Note: Hyatt also gave us a surprise by bringing up Alee to sing her top 20 hit, and their co-write, Moonshine. It was a fun moment, and it’s a great song.
And when Hyatt got to his newest release, She Ain’t You, there were goosebumps in the room. The power of the lyrics, the feelings, and how he presented it all in one piece were outstanding and impossible for me to quantify because I am all in on this song.
With a new album coming in May, and a summer that looks to be full of stage time, Andrew Hyatt is going to make noise. Be ready for it.
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Rounding out the night, celebrating the release of their debut, and blowing the roof off of the joint, was James Barker Band.
The boys were on fire – excited about the day, excited about the show, and full of everything we’ve come to know about them. These dudes like to play music, they have fun doing it, and it’s plastered all over their faces.
From the right side of the stage to the left we watched 5 play, sing, and smile their way through their set. And the fans on the floor were all in, singing along to radio hits Just Sayin’, Chills, and Lawn Chair Lazy – as well as a pretty sweet little cover of George Thorogood’s Keep Your Hands To Yourself.
Since winning the Emerging Artist Showcase at Boots & Hearts in 2015 there has been no stopping these guys. And with the release of the Game On EP, upcoming tour dates all over the country, and the backing of their label (Universal) there is no telling just how high the ceiling is for the James Barker Band.
Side Note: It’s been cool to see the evolution in the boys since their big win as well. From the get-go they had talent that we could all see, but the last year and a half has given them a chance to get tighter, smoother, and has turned them into the kind of live performers that country music fans are going to line up to see for a long time.
Seriously, seeing these guys in 2017 at Boots & Bourbon for Canadian Music Week may have been the last chance Toronto had to get that up close and personal.
And they enjoyed it!
Back to where it all began! Thank you @jamesbarkerband for one hell of a party. Think it’s safe to say we’re all #WINNING 👏💪👌 #CMW #GAMEON pic.twitter.com/uzo9c5Kgc9— Universal Music CA (@umusic) April 22, 2017
Back to where it all began! Thank you @jamesbarkerband for one hell of a party. Think it’s safe to say we’re all #WINNING 👏💪👌 #CMW #GAMEON pic.twitter.com/uzo9c5Kgc9
— Universal Music CA (@umusic) April 22, 2017
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The schedule is crazy. There are bands all over the city from all over the world. So here we are to try and give you some guidance.
Even if you can’t make it to every concert and showcase, you can start finding new music, and singing along to the tracks you know, with these 19 songs. Click any of the song titles to watch a video… or press play on the playlist at the bottom of the post and get your groove on!
Enjoy – and leave a comment telling us which songs you already loved, and which ones you’re happy you found…
Bleeker – Highway Canada/Rock
High Valley – She’s With Me Canada/Country
Silver Love Club – Rachel Australia/Rock
Jess Moskaluke – Drive Me Away Canada/Country
The Dead Love – Summer Australia/Rock
Madeline Merlo – Whatcha Wanna Do About It Canada/Country
The New Electric – T-Shirt Canada/Pop
Alee – Moonshine Canada/Country
The Beaches – Give It Up Canada/Rock
Drake White – Livin’ The Dream United States/Country
The Honest Heart Collective – Liar’s Club Canada/Rock
James Barker Band – Chills Canada/Country
Texas King – Come Find Me Canada/Rock
Andrew Hyatt – MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio) Canada/Country
Courage My Love – Stereo Canada/Rock
Dani Strong – Wild One Canada/Country
Melissa Etheridge – I’m The Only One United States/Rock
The Rifle & The Writer – Gig & Colour Canada/Country
Repartee – Dukes Canada/Pop
If you’re a Canadian country music fan, you’re probably already aware that Chad Brownlee and Tim Hicks are hitting the road together in 2017 for co-headlining dates and a Hearts On Fire/Shake These Walls combo tour.
But what you might not know if how funny Chad and Tim are when they get in the same room together… or what toy Chad would wish for this Christmas, or Tim’s favourite classic Christmas carol to sing.
So to give you a little more insight into 2 of Canadian country’s biggest stars, we got the boys to ask each other a few questions so we could share them with you!
But before we get to that, let’s look at just how impressive these tour dates are going to be…
We’ve had the chance to see both Tim Hicks and Chad Brownlee on a few stages over the last few years, and if you’ve seen 1 or both of them as well, you know a few things.
1) They both like to play loud. This isn’t soft, slow country music all the time. Although some of that lives in their full sets. This is good timing, boot stomping, beer drinking music and it’s a lot of fun.
2) They both have hits to play for the crowd. In the last few years Tim and Chad have both released some awesome songs that have resonated with audiences. And if you’ve never had a chance to sing along live to Stronger Beer, When The Lights Go Down, Stompin’ Ground, or Hearts On Fire – you need to take that chance and enjoy it!
3) Chad and Tim are both solid dudes. Good guys that we have been privileged to meet and hangout with even a little bit. That’s always a nice bonus!
Now… dates and cities. Check them out and if you can see Tim or Chad, or if you’re lucky, both of them together, we highly suggest looking into tickets!
Jan. 6, 2017 – Kelowna, BC – Tim Hicks & Chad Brownlee w/ Jojo Mason Jan. 7, 2017 – Vancouver, BC – Chad Brownlee & Tim Hicks w/ Jojo Mason Jan. 8, 2017 – Vancouver, BC – Tim Hicks & Chad Brownlee w/ Jojo Mason Jan. 11, 2017 – Fort McMurray, AB – Chad Brownlee & Tim Hicks w/ Dan Davidson Jan. 12, 2017 – Saskatoon, SK – Tim Hicks & Chad Brownlee w/ Tenille Arts Jan. 13, 2017 – Calgary, AB – Chad Brownlee & Tim Hicks w/ Dan Davidson Jan. 14, 2017 – Edmonton, AB – Tim Hicks & Chad Brownlee w/ Dan Davidson Jan. 16, 2017 – Winnipeg, MB – Chad Brownlee & Tim Hicks Jan. 17, 2017 – Thunder Bay, ON – Chad Brownlee Jan. 19, 2017 – Regina, SK – Chad Brownlee Jan. 19, 2017 – Hamilton, ON – Tim Hicks w/ Jason Blaine and River Town Saints Jan. 20, 2017 – Oshawa, ON – Tim Hicks w/ Jason Blaine and River Town Saints Jan. 21, 2017 – London, ON – Tim Hicks w/ Jason Blaine and River Town Saints Jan. 22, 2017 – Sudbury, ON – Tim Hicks w/ Jason Blaine and River Town Saints Jan. 26, 2017 – Montreal, QC – Tim Hicks w/ James Barker Band Jan. 27, 2017 – Moncton, NB – Tim Hicks w/ James Barker Band Jan. 28, 2017 – Halifax, NS – Tim Hicks w/ James Barker Band
And now… please enjoy this little Q&A session with Chad Brownlee and Tim Hicks!
We’re just under 9 months away from Boots & Hearts 2017 at Burl’s Creek in Oro, ON – but it really doesn’t feel like that long at all!
In fact, we’ve already been thinking about B&H a lot, and while we can’t give you many details yet, we can tell you that we’re going to have some very, very exciting things coming up between now and festival season next year.
But for now we want to talk about the potential lineup for the 6th annual country music extravaganza… we don’t have any info that you don’t have. We haven’t talked to the Republic Live team for any tips or rumours. But I have come up with a list of 10 country artists that I think have a legit chance to play at Boots & Hearts next August.
This isn’t an old fashioned wish list, which is why you won’t see names like Garth Brooks, Shania, Reba, or Brooks & Dunn… although it would be really cool if any of those artists headlined. This list is made up of talent that we’ve either seen in the past and believe are a good fit for a return next year, or that we haven’t seen yet, and have a good reason to play such a sweet gig.
This wasn’t an easy list of 10 to make, which is why there are a few names at the bottom that could also be at B&H in 2017. And, I want you list too, so leave a comment!
In no particular order, here we go…
With the release of Echo Road (their greatest hits record) and an upcoming album of new music in March 2017, Doc Walker are the perfect fit for B&H 2017. Whether they play the main stage, or the front porch, there’s no doubt that their collection of hits, and whatever new tunes they release will make for an entertaining set.
CCMA nominations, top 10 singles, hot videos, and a growing legion of fans all point to Bobby Wills making his Boots & Hearts debut in 2017.
We’ve seen Bobby play some stages over the last few years, and we know that he has what it takes to pull a crowd in, have them singing along, and enjoying the party.
Little Big Town
In 2015 LBT had to pull out of the Boots & Hearts lineup… and we’re still waiting for them to come back and give us a show that we’ll be talking about long after they leave the stage.
We’ve seen them before and we can’t wait to see them again. Hopefully up on the main stage in front of 40,000 people.
Morris is on top of the world with the recognition that’s coming from singles like 80’s Mercedes and My Church. And if you haven’t heard the rest of Hero, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
We haven’t seen Morris live, but I have a feeling that a few thousand of our best friends singing along to My Church could be a highlight of the weekend.
Love Me Like You Mean It, Dibs, and Peter Pan have been a strong start to Ballerini’s career. And after her performance at the 2016 Canadian Country Music Awards (where Boots & Hearts won for Country Festival, Fair or Exhibition of the Year) we know that a Canuck crowd can get behind she when she sings.
With another single sure to come soon, there’s no doubting Kelsi’s talent or popularity, or that she belongs at B&H 2017.
James Barker Band
After winning the Emerging Artist Showcase in 2015 and performing on the main stage in 2016 the James Barker Band has certainly earned the love of the B&H crowd. And with the success of Lawn Chair Lazy and the release of Just Sayin’ – plus an EP coming in the (we hope) near future, we know that country fans are ready to cheer and sing and dance with James, Taylor, Bobby and Connor again at Boots & Hearts 2017!
I know from talking to executive members of the Republic Live team that Chris Stapleton is just as adored internally as he is by the rest of the world. And after the success of Traveller, it’s impossible to think that the Boots & Hearts crowd wouldn’t go wild for the country crooner.
Stapleton played the main stage in 2014 – and he’d be welcome to do it again in 2017 we’re sure!
Also a 2014 B&H alum, Kissel played the Coors Banquet Kick Off Party on the front porch stage… but he’s never been on the main stage.
In 2017, after winning the Fans’ Choice, Male Artist, and Interactive Artist of the Year awards at the CCMA’s this year, we know that thousands (tens of thousands) of Canadian country fans would be okay with the chance to sing along to Started With A Song, Airwaves, Come Pick Me Up, and 3, 2, 1. Bring it on Brett!
The first time we saw Runaway Angel they were on the Boots & Hearts stage in the Emerging Artist Showcase. And now, after having seen them grow and become more and more entertaining – we’re ready to see them back on the B&H stage.
Take a listen to No End In Sight (the debut album from Runaway Angel), close your eyes and imagine the songs coming from the stage.
Jessica Mitchell stole a lot of hearts in the last year… mine included. Workin’ On Whiskey is the kind of song that gets stuck in your soul. And songs like That Record Saved My Life and Grown Up Things prove that she’s not just a one trick pony.
After opening for Kiefer Sutherland on his 2016 tour, playing a short set of her own on the Sirius XM stage at #BH5, and taking the stage as a special guest with Lindsay Ell, we know that Jessica is ready for an full sized audience of her own at Boots & Hearts in 2017.
BONUS: Keith Urban
If you’ve ever seen Urban live, you know he’s killer with a big crowd. And if you haven’t seen Keith Urban live, he should be on your bucket list!
Coming into the sixth year of the festival, it makes sense to try and lock up this guitar wizard for a headlining slot. If you’ve been at any other Boots & Hearts festival over the years you can expect the exact same kind of pandemonium for this set. Plus, there’s Ripcord (March 2016) to sing along to!
Also on my list, but just outside the top 10…
Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Dallas Smith, Shae Dupuy, Terri Clark, Endless Summer, and Johnson Crook.
Who do you think we’ll see at Boots & Hearts 2017? Leave a comment telling us and we might just have some swag to send our favourite answers!
One year ago the James Barker Band played on the Boots & Hearts main stage on their way to winning the SiriusXM Emerging Artist Showcase. This summer the boys were back on the main stage as part of a very big, very busy summer.
If you listen to Canadian country radio you’ve heard Lawn Chair Lazy by now. Hell, if you listen to Canadian country radio there’s a strong chance you know enough words to the song to sing along. And the proof to that came in the Sunday afternoon sun, when a very good early day crowd gladly sang back at the boys loud and proud and with all kinds of energy.
The band also played through some new music that the crowd danced and grooved to – and before long we’re sure they’ll be singing along to those ones too – we can’t wait to hear a full release!
Also, click her to check out the James Barker Band as August’s CMAO Artist of the Month!
Before the skies opened up and dropped a heap of rain on us at CMT Music Fest 2016 we were able to take in 4 emerging country acts on the Maple Leaf Stage – and they all did their best to impress us with what they had to offer.
And none of them failed.
First on the stage, kicking off the 2-day festival was July’s CMAO Artist of the Month, Eric Ethridge. With great energy and enthusiasm, Ethridge and his full band (all freaking 7 of them) were in a mood to start a party – which was good because they started the set with We’re Gonna Start A Party. And they kept things going with a cover of Boondocks, and originals Between Me And You, and finished things up with I Like You Like I Like Beer.
Also, Eric gets high fives for working in a t-shirt toss, which is always a good way to get an early crowd to remember your name and cheer like they’ll never see another t-shirt again.
Ben Hudson was next to hop up and entertain the growing crowd as the afternoon wore on. 6 strong on stage, Hudson and his band were smooth and tight – and with his great voice leading the way it was easy to see why he was nominated for the Country Music Association of Ontario’s Rising Star Award this year.
It’s also worth noting (although we’re sure it has nothing to do with his talent) that Ben has great hair, even if he wore a Toronto Maple Leafs cap over it.
Keep your ears open for more from Ben Hudson, tracks like One Of Those Nights are going to keep him on radio and at festivals like this for a long time to come.
Our second to last side stage act of the afternoon/early evening was the James Barker Band – a group of dudes that have impressed us more and more every single time we’ve seen them up on stage in the last year.
As a group, these guys are all talented and tight on stage – busting out originals like I Get You (really could be their next radio single), Just Saying, and their current single, and one of the catchiest summer tracks of the year, Lawn Chair Lazy. And they aren’t afraid to mix it up a little either with their super fun rendition of Eminem’s Lose Yourself mixed with Rage Against The Machine’s Killin’ In The Name Of, and Thomas Rhett’s You Make Me Wanna.
Note: The most precious moment on the side stage came during the James Barker Band set when a courageous young man proposed to his girlfriend – and after she said yes they had their first dance as an engaged couple while the band played for them and the crowd.
The last act on the Maple Leaf Stage before the rains came down in Kitchener was Andrew Hyatt. We talked to Andrew about his summer when we hooked up with him for a quick chat at the CMAO awards, and he told us he was excited for this set, and it showed.
In a ballcap and jeans, Hyatt played his guitar, led the band, and sang for the fans at the stage, the people in line for beer, and anyone within earshot. His current single MGR (Me and a Girl and a Radio) got toes tapping, heads nodding, and country music listeners singing along – which is always a good sign for an emerging artist.
You’re going to hear more from Andrew Hyatt. Be ready.
Set times are now up for CMT Music Fest and it’s looking like there shouldn’t be too much overlap and that’s good news for all of us.
If you’re looking for more details you can hop on over to the CMT Music Fest page using THIS LINK. They’ve got some great artist profiles up if you’re looking for more details.
Maple Leaf Stage
Eric Ethridge: 4:30 Ben Hudson: 5:15 James Barker Band: 6:00 Andrew Hyatt: 7:00 Lindi Ortega: 8:00
Kansas Stone: 4:40 Meghan Patrick: 5:35 Brothers Osborne: 6:35 Kip Moore: 7:55 Eric Church: 9:15
Them Dang Rattlers: 3:00 Leah Daniels: 4:00 The Washboard Union: 5:15 Cold Creek County: 6:40
Drake White and The Big Fire: 2:50 Kira Isabella: 4:10 The Road Hammers: 5:30 Tom Cochrane with Red Rider: 6:50 Zac Brown Band: 8:35
A few quicks facts you might want to know:
Where is Bingemans located? Bingemans, located at 425 Bingemans Centre Drive, Kitchener, ON N2B 3X7
What are the festival hours? Friday, July 8 – 4:00pm until 11:00pm Saturday, July 9 – 2:00pm until 11:00pm Is the site wheelchair accessible? Yes, both the venue and activities are wheelchair accessible.
Is there parking on site? There is no parking available onsite at Bingemans. There will be a drop-off zone and there is an offsite parking lot with shuttle services check out this link for all the details!
Is there camping? There is camping for campers who are 19+, check out the camping link for all the details.
Is the event family friendly? Children are welcome at the festival but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Note camping is only available for 19+.
The CMT Music Fest has a complete FAQ if we haven’t answered your question yet!
We’re getting very, very excited and can’t wait to see you there!
CMT Music Fest is coming to Kitchener this summer… and it’s going to be HUGE!
For 2 days (July 8 & 9) some of country music’s biggest stars and most talented emerging artists will be taking the stage at Bingemans to entertain thousands of fans ready to have a good time in the July heat. The Friday and Saturday festival is bringing no fewer than 15 artists (more could be coming… we’re watching for that) to play, with Eric Church (Friday) and Zac Brown Band (Saturday) headlining.
The lineup also includes – Kip Moore, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Brothers Osborne, The Road Hammers, Kira Isabella, Cold Creek County, The Washboard Union, Lindi Ortega, Leah Daniels, Drake White and the Big Fire, Meghan Patrick, Andrew Hyatt, and the James Barker Band – so you should know it’s going to be a good time.
And, to get you revved up for the festival we have a Q&A with 3 of the performers right here for you! Check out these 10 answers from Jason McCoy of The Road Hammers, Kira Isabella, and Lindi Ortega.
Enjoy… and stay tuned because we’re got more coming from CMT Music Fest 2016, and you’re going to want to see it. (Trust us)
Q. Tell us a little bit about your first music festival experience, either as a performer or as a fan.
The Road Hammers: Festivals are always great… it’s a gathering of like minded souls both on and off stage, so the community feeling is there… better than that, it’s a family feeling in a way.
Kira Isabella: The first festival experience I ever had was going to see The Tragically Hip at Bluesfest in Ottawa. I was with my parents in the pouring rain and I just remember thinking how rock ’n’ roll, and exciting the whole experience was.
Lindi Ortega: When I was younger I went to this festival called “Another Roadside Attraction”. It was my first time seeing Los Lobos. I loved them so much because the movie “La Bamba” was my favourite and they did a lot of the Richie Valens tunes on the soundtrack. It was so cool for me to hear their original material. I had a great time. I was a kid and loved being at a festival.
Q. What’s your best piece of advice for a first time festival attendee?
Kira Isabella: The advice I’d give a first time festival attendee would be to pace yourself!! It’s a long day/weekend. Not everyone needs alcohol to have a good time of course BUT if you are planning on drinking, be responsible, and make sure you’re careful about mixing alcohol in with the very hot sun!!
Lindi Ortega: Always carry hand sanitizer in case you can’t wash your hands after using the port-o-potties. A small flashlight is great for port-o-potties at night. Wear sunscreen. And buy the artists records and support them if you like what you hear and see live!
The Road Hammers: Soak up every second, and make sure you catch the acts on early in the afternoon… you never know who will be the headliner next year… and you’ll be able to say… “I saw them when they were the opener”! Enjoy the party atmosphere, remember, CMT is the home of Country Music, so, ya’ll is at home at CMT Music Fest… let yer hair down!
Q. What can someone who’s never seen you play before expect from your live performance?
Lindi Ortega: Well, I dance my ass off while singing my heart out and I have a killer band. So there’s that!
The Road Hammers: The Hammers are fun fun fun,… oh, and loud!… we always say, ‘if it weren’t for the fans, our show would just be a rehearsal… they’re the party, we’re the sound track… so let’s have some fun!”
Kira Isabella: I just want people to have as much fun as possible. I’ve been known to get fans on stage dancing, etc.
Q. Do you have any pre-show rituals?
The Road Hammers: We tend to drink a lot of coffee, red bull, that type of thing… Clay does about a thousand sit ups, and we rock out to some ACDC to get pumped… heck, that’s pretty much an average morning for us too!
Kira Isabella: I think the most important pre show ritual I have is my vocal warm up. I do a few exercises and then I just sing through some of my favourite songs (“Like We Never Loved At All” by Faith Hill & Tim McGraw, “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys…) and I make sure I have some quality time to spend hanging with my band talking through the show. We all have a really great energy together and we usually just hang with each other until it’s time to walk to the stage.
Lindi Ortega: I dance in a circle around a fire and sacrifice a… Oh wait never mind, that’s only on the new moon. Nah, I just goof around with my band and get pumped to jump on stage and rock out!
Q. What does being a part of the inaugural CMT Music Fest mean to you?
Kira Isabella: Being part of the first inaugural CMT Fest means so much to me. It’s such an honour to be one of the first artists that ever play it. History!
Lindi Ortega: I’m honoured they invited me. I know I’m not your typical country artist and my style veers sometimes into blues, rockabilly and soul. But hey, it’s good to have some variety. Maybe they were thinking the same thing!
The Road Hammers: Like I said, CMT is the Home of Country Music, nobody does it better, so you know it’s all going to be about the fans… and they’re the ones who make it a party! Of all the artists on the Country Music landscape, it’s a big honour that they would invite us to be part of the launch, of what will definitely be an historical weekend!! Epic!
Q. Who/What are you most looking forward to seeing at CMT Music Fest?
Lindi Ortega: Everyone! I’m sure it will be super fun! I know new country has been a lot about the bromance lately, so I think I’ll go find the ladies performing and cheerlead for em side stage!
The Road Hammers: I got to hang with Drake White when we toured Australia with him earlier this year, so I’m looking forward to seeing him again, great guy… also pumped to see Eric Church again, ZBB, Washboard Union, Meghan Patrick, it’s going to be a great music weekend.
Kira Isabella: Other than getting to play my set, Eric Church!! I’ve never seen him live before so you’d better believe I’ll be in the crowd!!
Q. What has been your most memorable festival experience?
The Road Hammers: There are too many to count, it’s been awesome. Most recently though, I’d say looking out into a sea of 30K people at CMC Rocks the Queensland in Australia and seeing people holding up Canadian flags and Road Hammer signs… unbelievable!
Kira Isabella: The most memorable festival experience I ever had was at Cavendish in 2014, the year of Hurricane Arthur. Unfortunately, they canceled the festival but all of the artists still wanted to play so we had an impromptu show at a local bar in town called Fishbones! So many people still came out to the show even though it was pouring rain and the power was going on and off etc..
I ended up getting to play the real festival the next summer… but I’ll never forget the spirit of the people out there in P.E.I during that crazy storm!
Lindi Ortega: One time I had lunch with singer Jenny Lewis and actress Kirsten Dunst at a festival in Sweden.
Q. Do you have any advice for someone who might be playing a festival for the first time?
Kira Isabella: I would tell someone who is playing a festival for the first time to just make sure they do whatever they need to do to be prepared… their rehearsals, pre show rituals, etc. But at the end of the day just be yourself and have fun. Country fans are all very genuine themselves and that’s what they want to see up there on stage.
Lindi Ortega: Have fun!!!!!
The Road Hammers: Don’t be nervous, the truth is, ain’t nobody can be ‘YOU’ so be the best you possible, and enjoy every second of it… there’s a reason they asked you to play there so play loud and be proud!
Q. Does your set list change in a festival setting?
Lindi Ortega: Depends how long the set is! If we only have a short set then we usually play more of the upbeat tunes cause we love when people dance and have a good ol’ time!
The Road Hammers: Sometimes we actually throw in songs on the fly if the spirit moves us… or if someone shouts out a song we hadn’t planned on we’ll just count it out and let ‘er rip. I think the true magic happens on the big stage when you treat it like it could be in your living room… just be yourself and have fun!
Kira Isabella: My set list doesn’t really change much in a festival setting. I think what changes is the amount of energy you’re using. I always feel like I’ve left my heart on the stage by the end of the show, but on a bigger festival stage, you’re definitely more out of breath.
Q. Name three artists that would play “your” music festival if you could book anyone in the world?
Kira Isabella: Jason Aldean Eric Church Miranda Lambert
Lindi Ortega: Willie Nelson, Corb Lund, and Daniel Romano!
The Road Hammers: Heck, you kidding me, they’re all at CMT Music Fest!
Click here to get your CMT Music Fest 2016 tickets… now!
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