James Barker Band

Good Together: James Barker Band, Meghan Patrick, and Jojo Mason Game On Tour, Toronto

Toronto hovered around the freezing mark on Friday, but inside of The Phoenix Concert Theatre, things were hot, sweaty, and fired up as James Barker Band brought the Game On Tour to town with Meghan Patrick and Jojo Mason.

As one of the fastest risers on the Canadian country music scene in the last few years, James Barker Band (JBB) have gone from the small stages in local bars, to the stages of sold out country bars in the city, and now they’ve hit a new level as they sold out The Phoenix – just nine months after they released their first EP at Canadian Music Week 2017.

The Game On Tour is in full swing, and if what we saw in Toronto on Friday night is any indication, there are going to be a lot of satisfied country music fans across the country when it’s finished. All three acts on the bill brought their A game to the stage, playing hits, fan favourites, and peppering in a few fantastic covers that only added to the excitement in the crowd throughout the night.

Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour

Jojo Mason kicked off the night with a tight 25 minutes of music that revved up the Toronto audience and started the temperature rise in the building.

The Saskatchewan native looked right at home at The Phoenix, hitting the stage with his band and bringing the energy that he’s become known for. And as the 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Rising Star nominee rolled through songs like Red Dress, Good Kinda Love, and his current single, Edge Of The Night we could hear the crowd singing along simultaneously warming themselves up and getting the party started.

By the time Jojo wrapped his short set with It’s All Good, it was clear that things were only going to get louder and hotter on the Toronto stop of the Game On Tour. Jojo Mason did his job, and we should all be looking forward to the next time we get to see him on stage.

Related: Jojo Mason, Game On Tour Interview & Feature

More photos below…

Jojo Mason Setlist, Game On Tour, Toronto

🎤 Edge Of The Night 🎤 Red Dress/Chicken Fried 🎤 Good Kinda Love 🎤 Something To Wrap My Heart Around 🎤 No Diggity [Blackstreet] 🎤 It’s All Good

After a brief intermission, Meghan Patrick, the 2017 CCMA Rising Star and Female Artist of the Year awards winner, hit the stage at The Phoenix.

The Bowmanville, ON star came armed with a 10 song set that included songs from her debut album, Grace & Grit, and her January 2018 release, Country Music Made Me Do It. And as she played tracks from each album, the crowd got louder, more involved, and showed her the love that the pseudo-hometown concert had to offer.

Note: Meghan also took the chance to wish a happy birthday to the one and only Dolly Parton before she broke into a rousing rendition of Jolene.

Accompanied by a full band of five dudes on stage, Patrick’s sound was full and tight. Her voice, which has always been a strength, ripped through the speakers and met the voices of the Toronto fans as they sang along with her.

And to see and hear those country music fans sing along to new songs like Country Music Made Me Do It and George Strait with the same love that they use to belt out Grace & Grit and Bow Chicka Wow Wow serves as a confirmation (not that it was needed) that Meghan Patrick truly has become a star, burning bright and hot in Canadian country music.

Related: Meghan Patrick Q&A and Game On Tour Preview 

More photos below…

Meghan Patrick Setlist, Game On Tour, Toronto

🎤 Hardest On My Heart 🎤 Long Way From Waylon 🎤 Country Music Made Me Do It 🎤 George Strait 🎤 The Bad Guy 🎤 Grace & Grit 🎤 Jolene [D. Parton] 🎤 Be Country With Me 🎤 The Buzz 🎤 Bow Chicka Wow Wow

James Barker Band at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour 2018

In August 2015 we saw the James Barker Band on the Boots & Hearts stage as finalists in the Emerging Artist Showcase… in the two and a half years since the boys haven’t slowed down a bit.

The Game On Tour serves as JBB’s first headlining trek across Canada, and with a fist full of Canadian country music chart hits and fan favourites, these boys came ready to play in Toronto.

From the jump, the warmed up (hot and sweaty) Friday night crowd was all in on the JBB set. And from the opening notes of It’s Working, they were loud and engaged. There were cheers and screams and laughs as James, Taylor, Bobby, and Connor played their set, cracking jokes, having fun, and clearly enjoying the chance to play for a sold out Toronto audience.

The band’s set was a well thought out mix of tracks from their 2017 EP, Game On, new songs that we expect to hear on their next record (including the brand new single, Good Together), and covers of Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, John Michael Montgomery, and Hank Williams. The pacing was smooth, the energy in the room never dipped, and it was clear that James Barker Band was in complete control of the crowd on the floor in front of them.

James Barker Band at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour 2018

These boys are serious about their music in that they work hard and have released some excellent songs, but they don’t take themselves so seriously that they can’t remember that this is supposed to be fun. So when they called up volunteers from the crowd to make their cover of Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) an interactive event, it fit perfectly.

Note: When we talked to James before the tour started we asked about Sold and whether we should expect it in the set. James told us that he wasn’t sure it would be a JBB show without it, and we’re glad that was his answer.

With radio hits like Just Sayin’, Lawn Chair Lazy, and Chills in their set, we were ready for a lot of singing along, and we got it. The country music fans in Toronto weren’t shy about participating in the action, raising their voices to meet James, and making sure that they contributed to the overall sound at The Phoenix.

It all came together to create an amazing atmosphere and a Friday night party in the city.

The Game On Tour wraps in Vancouver on February 10th, but that doesn’t mean that James Barker Band are planning to slow down. Be ready to see a lot more of them soon, and if you have a chance to catch them before the tour is over, do it!

James Barker Band, Game On Tour, Toronto

🎤 It’s Working
🎤 Going Places*
🎤 Just Sayin’
🎤 Good Together
🎤 Throwback
🎤 Hey Good Lookin’ [H. Williams]
🎤 Living The Dream
🎤 I’m Gonna Miss Her [B. Paisley]
🎤 Keep You Happy*
🎤 Sweet Thing [K. Urban]
🎤 Looking At You*
🎤 Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) [J.M. Montgomery]
🎤 Lawn Chair Lazy
ENCORE
🎤 Rock/Pop Medley
🎤 Chills

*new songs, unrecorded, names may be inaccurate.

James Barker Band Photos, Game On Tour (Toronto)

James Barker Band at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour 2018 James Barker Band's Bobby Martin at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour 2018 James Barker Band at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour 2018 James Barker Band's Bobby Martin at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour 2018 James Barker Band at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour 2018 James Barker Band at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour 2018

Meghan Patrick Photos, Game On Tour (Toronto)

 

Jojo Mason Photos, Game On Tour (Toronto)

Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour

Edge Of The Night: Jojo Mason, Game On Tour Feature

Jojo Mason rolled into Toronto on Friday with the Game On Tour, ready for action and what comes next.

We caught up with Jojo before his opening slot on the James Barker Band show to talk about being on the road, his plans for new music, changing the game, and how excited he is to be doing what he does.

Note: Earlier in the day Jojo took over our Instagram account, posting photos and videos from a busy morning of TV appearances, a SiriusXM session, and the chance to meet Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta. Check out his timeline posts at @thereviewsarein.com.

The last time we hung out with Jojo Mason we were in Port Perry, ON in September 2017, and he told us that there were big things coming. He couldn’t share details then… but four months later, it’s all pretty clear. The Saskatchewan native is on tour with James Barker Band and Meghan Patrick for 21 dates, crossing the country from Halifax to Vancouver, playing a 25 minute set in each city, and getting the crowd ready for the rest of the night.

Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour

We asked Jojo about the experience so far (a week in) and he gushed about the chance to get up on stage at sold out shows to share his music. He is loving the chance to play for Canadian country music fans, and they are responding in ways he never expected. Jojo is hearing those excited fans sing back to him at each stop, and it’s wowing him every time. The 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Rising Star nominee told us that the feeling of hearing his own songs being sung back to him is almost indescribable.

Mason also talked to us about learning and growing on this tour. He told us that he is taking every chance he gets to talk to his tour mates about his set, asking for advice, tips, and feedback about what they’re seeing. He knows that JBB and Meghan Patrick have been on big tours before, and he knows there’s a lot for him to soak in. That willingness to put his ego aside to learn and improve fits perfectly with everything we already knew about Jojo Mason… and it is only going to make him a better performer as his career progresses.

Here’s the thing about Jojo Mason – he’s legitimately the best dude. There isn’t anyone we’ve met that has said anything to contradict that opinion. We’ve experienced it ourselves, we’ve heard stories from fans and industry folks, and it’s all true. In fact, when we talked to James Barker the night before the Game On Tour kicked off in Halifax and asked him to describe Jojo in three words… and he said: The Nicest Guy. And here’s another thing – Jojo gives the best hugs. We’ve been saying it forever, and on Friday night it was echoed in his introduction from KX Country’s Mike Fuller and Jerry Archer. The secret’s out!

Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour

In June 2017, Jojo Mason released his debut album, Both Sides Of The Bar, and gave country fans a collection of 10 songs, including singles, It’s All Good, Good Kinda Love, Red Dress, Made For You, Something To Wrap My Heart Around, and his most recent release, Edge Of The Night. The energetic singer has played those songs on every stage possible since then, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t also been working on the music that comes next.

Back in September, Jojo told us that he had started doing some writing for his follow-up project, and on Friday he told us that after a November trip to Nashville for more writing, the demo-ing process has started.

There was an excitement on Mason’s face and in his voice when he talked about what he wants to do with his new music… and for good reason. Jojo Mason wants to pave his own path with his next album. He’s looking to change the game a little bit, and carve out some space for something new.

As a kid, Jojo grew up on country music. And soul. And funk. And now, as an artist and fan of music, he’s looking for a chance to put those influences and passions together. He calls it Country-Soul, and he’s looking to make it happen.

Jojo told us that he’s already started to push producer Dan Swinimer for new sounds on the new songs, including horns. And while we haven’t heard any of the demos, it’s easy to imagine them as fun, full, energetic, and packed with all of the things we get from Jojo now.

Jojo Mason with Joshua Murray at Toronto's The Phoenix in the lobby prior to the Game On Tour

Mason also told us that the next single he releases won’t be from Both Sides Of The Bar, and that it will be a new brand track. He didn’t tell us when it’s coming, but it is on the way.

Before we wrapped our chat and let Jojo Mason get ready for the show, we talked a little more about the tour and how it’s been going so far. Jojo told us (with a big smile) that it’s been a blast. He compared it to hanging out with his friends back home. Getting the chance to be with the James Barker Band boys and Meghan Patrick every day has been a lot of fun (and work). And whether they’re talking about hometowns, their dogs, relationships, life, or having Nerf gun fights (check out Jojo and Meghan’s Instagram stories) it’s all coming together to be a good time.

In fact, Jojo told us that he’s ready for Meghan Patrick (his bus-mate) to take him hunting and fishing.

We’ll all have to wait and see if the two country kids get out in the woods together, and we’ll do our best to be patient as we wait for new music from Jojo… but until then, we’ll be remembering the show he put on at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on Friday night.

Jojo came out strong in his opening slot performance, playing a tight 25 minute set with the band, and rolling out the hits and surprises as he made the most of his time.

We could hear the crowd singing along, we could see them dancing, and when Jojo Mason and his boys played a cover of Blackstreet’s No Diggity, complete with a banjo, we were in 90’s hip hop/country music fan heaven.


Jojo Mason is a dude with a lot of career ahead of him. He’s ready to work, ready to learn, and ready to take chances. And, he’s ready to entertain the hell out of anyone that wants to come on out.

If you’re west of Toronto and you like to have a good time listening to live country music, we highly recommend that you get tickets for the Game On Tour stop near you.

Jojo recommends it too. And a nice guy like him wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Jojo Mason Setlist, Game On Tour, Toronto

Edge Of The Night
Red Dress/Chicken Fried
Good Kinda Love
Something To Wrap My Heart Around
No Diggity
It’s All Good

Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix in the lobby prior to the Game On Tour Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix - Game On Tour Jojo Mason at Toronto's The Phoenix in the lobby prior to the Game On Tour Jojo Mason with Joshua Murray at Toronto's The Phoenix in the lobby prior to the Game On Tour

Country Music Made Me Do It: Meghan Patrick Q&A and Game On Tour Preview

Meghan Patrick has a brand new album on shelves, she’s on tour with the James Barker Band, and she’s got a lot of feelings about it.

We had the chance to catch up with Meghan for a Q&A that touches on her sophomore record, Country Music Made Me Do It, the Game On Tour, her latest music video, busking to make money for boots and beer, and more.

Get ready for Meghan Patrick to come to a venue near you on the Game On Tour, and as shes adds more live shows to her 2018 schedule.

Related: Game On Tour Preview, Interview and 5 Quick Questions with James Barker

If you’ve never had the chance to see Meghan live, we highly recommend that you take advantage of any chance you have to do so. It’s a kick ass show that blends energy, hit songs, fan favourites, and everything we love about live music!

We’ve seen photos and reviews of early shows on the Game On Tour, and so far it looks like the Bowmanville, ON native is doing exactly what we know she can. We can’t wait to see the show with Jojo Mason, Meghan Patrick and headliners, James Barker Band when it comes to Toronto on Friday, January 19.

Thanks again to Meghan for taking the time to catch up with us. Check it out now, and listen to Country Music Made Me Do It today.

Meghan Patrick Q&A

Q) How does it feel to have Country Music Made Me Do It as a follow-up to Grace & Grit ready to share with the world?

Meghan) As with Grace & Grit, it’s a mixture of excitement, anticipation and anxiety haha. I’m really proud of this record, as I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a writer and artist, and I just hope my fans love it as much as I do.

Related: Country Music Made Me Do It, Meghan Patrick Album Review

Q) Going into the writing and recording of Country Music Made Me Do It, did you find yourself making an intentional effort to try new things, explore new ideas, etc.?

Meghan) Definitely. But I also wanted to be cognizant of what my fans responded to on the last record, so that I could give them more of what they love. It was extremely important to me to be really honest and real on this record… both in the way I deliver my music sonically and in my lyrics. I think it’s something my fans expect of me and love about me, and as an artist and writer, it’s the most fulfilling (and only way in my opinion) to make music.

Meghan Patrick BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Q) Was there anyone new that you got to work with on this record that you were really looking forward to, either on the writing side or production?

Meghan) When I met Jeremy Stover (my producer) that was a huge part of how this record came to be. It started with us writing together, and lead to him setting me up with some of his writers at Red Creative such as Kelly Archer and Adam Hambrick. There are so many talented songwriters in Nashville, but it’s all about finding the ones you have chemistry with and Stover and I definitely hit it off when it came my music and the vision we both had for it. I loved that he was as passionate about making this record as I was and he really brought out the best in me throughout the whole process. Kelly was a big part of this record too, she co-wrote nearly half the record with me, including Feel Me Gone which is the only song on the record I didn’t write. Every writer I worked with on this record brought something amazing to the project and helped me further find out who I am as an artist and a writer and I have so much love and respect for them all!

Q) The reaction to Country Music Made Me Do It has been positive so far, including for the video. What was it like to have the streets of Nashville act as your set when you think back to first getting to town and walking them as a visitor and new-comer?

Meghan) It was a pretty incredible full-circle moment for me shooting that video on Broadway. The first time I came to Nashville was about 8 years ago… I was broke and trying to make it, and I had paid a lot of my bills through gigs and busking. We were heading to Bonnaroo and I could barely afford the trip to begin with, but when we got down to Broadway I saw this pair of cowboy boots that I loved. So I stood on the corner and busked for a few hours till I made enough money to buy the boots and a few beers (which is basically what I still spend all my money on haha). To go from that moment where I had no money, no record deal, nothing… to having Broadway shut down to shoot my video was huge, it’s a moment I’ll never forget.

Q) We remember shows and albums from The Stone Sparrows, how important do you feel those years and experiences have been to you as you’ve built your solo career?

Meghan) Every single thing I’ve done, and every band I’ve played in has had an influence on who I’ve become as an artist today, as well as influencing my writing. I am so grateful to have worked with so many great musicians over the years and I’ve learned something and been inspired by every one of them.

Q) You’re not the new kid in town anymore after the success of Grace & Grit, the CCMA Award, etc., has that changed the way you approach making new music or putting on a show?

Meghan) I wouldn’t say it’s changed me, if anything I just feel more pressure sometimes as if there are more expectations of me now. But regardless I am always trying to top myself… write better songs, put on a better show, and connect with my fans. To have the recognition I received this year at CCMA’s and CMAO’s just gives me the boost I need on the hard days to keep pushing, and know I’m doing something right.

Q) The Game On tour is ready to go, what are you feeling as you get ready to cross the country and play some of these new songs for country fans?

Meghan) I am so excited. A little anxious, because of course I’m curious as to how my fans will respond to the new music… but I’m very proud of this record and I’m excited to finally play some new tunes!

Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016

Q) In 50 words or so, can you share some thoughts about what Country Music Made Me Do It means to you as a collection of songs at this point in your life?

Meghan) For me this record represented a few things. It represented some more freedom, but also higher expectations. As I said before, I want every record I put out to be better than the last. I want to keep trying new things and growing while remaining the Meghan that my fans love.

As with my last record, it’s a collection of stories… my hurt, my happy, and everything in between. I hope it serves as further insight into who I am, because it’s really important to me to be approachable and relatable to my listeners… I hope they love this new music as much as I do!

Country Music Made Me Do It: Meghan Patrick Album Review

Meghan Patrick, the reigning Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year, is set to release her second album, Country Music Made Me Do It, and country music fans from coast to coast should be ready for it.

The album is the follow-up to Patrick’s 2016 debut, Grace & Grit, which put her in the Canadian country music spotlight, and landed four songs (Bow Chicka Wow Wow, Grace & Grit, Still Loving You, Be Country With Me) in the Top 20, including her first Top 10 single, Still Loving You, featuring Joe Nichols.

Country fans got their first taste of Meghan Patrick’s sophomore record when the title track was released on October 26, 2017. The song, Country Music Made Me Do It, and the accompanying music video have been a hit with fans, approaching half a million plays on Spotify and YouTube since it premiered.

It also fits well as an introduction to the album, and as a stark change to the first look fans got of the small town Ontario artist when she released her first solo music a month short of two years ago.

Country Music Made Me Do It sounds like the album I imagined when Megan Patrick told us she was going solo. It’s a more traditional country record that sounds like the music Megan was influenced by in country as she grew up. It feels like a true, genuine, honest offering of songs that does exactly what country music does best: tells stories.

Whether Megan is telling the story of living in a small town after a breakup (Small Town), being sucked in and struggling to let go (The Way You Apologize), or using George Strait as a guide for how to win someone’s heart (George Strait), she finds a way to be relatable and accessible through these song.

Meghan Patrick at Liuna Station Gibson at the Junos 2015

One of my favourite tracks on the album is George Strait. I’m a sucker for the references to the King of Country Music and his hits, and I have a feeling I’ll find myself asking, “What Would George Strait Do?”, from time to time.

Underrated, the last track on Country Music Made Me Do It, is another personal highlight, and reminds me of another Canadian country songstress, Whitney Rose, as it hits that retro kind of vibe. It gives listeners a chance to smile, look at their baby, and bop along with the music.

All of this isn’t to say that Megan Patrick’s Country Music Made Me Do It should surprise country music fans. But the 12 songs on the new record are more in line with tracks like Be Country With Me, I Won’t Drink, and Still Loving You then they are with Grace & Grit and Bow Chicka Wow Wow. And while we may be experiencing a softer side of the singer/songwriter, we have no doubt that she still knows how to crank it up and kick ass.

Meghan Patrick BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

We look forward to speaking with Megan soon to learn more about the making of the album where she’s at artistically, and how she feels about her own new music. And, we can’t wait to see her live on the Game On Tour with James Barker Band when they roll through Toronto on January 19th.

Country Music Made Me Do It is a country record. There are no tricks or gimmicks. This is an album the country music fans who yearn for a more straight ahead country music should embrace. it’s also an album that hardcore country radio listeners and casual fans will have the opportunity to connect with on some level.

Megan Patrick has already proven that she’s a rising star on the Canadian country music scene. Now, with a new album, new stories, and new experiences to share, she has the chance to prove but she’s here to stay, and we should all be ready for that.

Meghan Patrick, Country Music Made Me Do It Tracklist

1. Country Music Made Me Do It
2. George Strait
3. Walls Come Down
4. The Bad Guy
5. Small Town
6. The Buzz
7. Feel Me Gone
8. Hardest On My Heart
9. We Got It All
10. Case Of Beer And A Bed
11. The Way You Apologize
12. Underrated

Meghan Patrick GuitarMeghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick The Phoenix CMW 2016 Meghan Patrick Peller Estate CCMA Awards 2016 Meghan Patrick Green Carpet

Game On: James Barker Band Tour Preview, Interview and 5 Quick Questions

The James Barker Band has put four singles in the Top 10 on Canadian country radio, including Chills, which hit #1 in June 2017. And now, with a fanbase that continues to grow from coast to coast, JBB are hitting the road on their first Canada wide headlining tour.

The Game On Tour (named for the debut EP from the band) will see James Barker Band put on 21 shows, starting in Halifax, NS on January 11 and ending in Vancouver, BC on February 10. Joining the boys on the road will be 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year, Meghan Patrick and 2017 CCMA Rising Star nominee, Jojo Mason.

The reaction and excitement for the tour can be seen daily on social media, as fans and the artists post about the upcoming shows. It has been fantastic to see the reactions, and it’s certainly exciting for James Barker, Taylor Abram, Connor Stephen, and Bobby Martin as they get ready to get things started.

We caught up with James on the phone the day before the first tour date in Halifax to talk about their live show, how they’re feeling, their supporting acts, and more. And when we asked for three words to describe how they’re feeling as they prepare to start the tour, Barker gave us: All Fired Up!

As we talked about the tour we also got James to give us three words to describe tour mates Meghan Patrick: Ass-Kickin’ Country Girl and Jojo Mason: The Nicest Guy. (James made it clear that this was not easy, and we did grant him an exemption on the hyphenated ass-kickin’ for Meghan)

Headlining a cross country tour is a big step for any band, and we talked to James about that step up from headlining a venue like Boots & Bourbon in Toronto to The Phoenix Concert Theatre, in the middle of their own tour. He told us that it’s kind of crazy to look back even to last April when they played their album release show to now. James also said that it’s wild to be able to look back at his calendar from year to year and see the progression in venues and shows that the band has played. From small bars in small towns, to opening on tour with Dean Brody, to having their own name at the top of the ticket, he can track it.

We asked about looking back on that progression and reflecting on it, and James said that the holidays have always been a time when he finds himself looking back on the year and taking it all in. And while 2017 was a big one, we’re sure 2018 will bring even more to look back on when it’s over.

James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017

While we had James on the phone we got him to play a quick round of 5 Quick Questions… here we go!

5 Quick Questions with James Barker Band

Q1) What was the first song you played as a band?

James) Drift Away

Q2) What was the first album you bought?

James) Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin

James told us that he was given Led Zeppelin IV as a gift, which put him on the path to buying the debut album on his own.

Q3) Do you have a dream duet/collaboration partner?

James) Eric Church

He’s The Chief, we’ve seen him live, listened to the records, and can’t argue with this choice!

James Barker Band SiriusXM Fan Stage BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Q4) What city or venue is at the top of the James Barker Band goal/wish list?

James) Madison Square Garden

It is THE arena. End of story.

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

James) Corb Lund

James said he has always been a fan of Lund’s songwriting, and things other people should be in on the Alberta native.

The Game On Tour is possible because of the success that James Barker Band have had on Canadian country radio, and the fanbase they’ve cultivated, but they’re still just getting started.

The band recently spent time travelling throughout the United States, visiting radio stations and playing their songs for a new audience south of the border, with the intention of proving that they’re more than just a Canadian favourite.

We asked James about going to the U.S. and he told us that for about 12 weeks in a row they flew down to American markets and hit radio stations all over, promoting the band, introducing new listeners to Chills. There were a lot of flights, from city to city, and back to Canada to play shows and festivals on weekends, but the song is starting to gain traction, and the band is starting to get noticed.

It was cool to hear James talk about the positive reception the band and the song have received in America. He acknowledged that they didn’t know what to expect, or how it would go. But from the jump things have been good and the band couldn’t be happier about it.

James Barker Band SiriusXM Fan Stage BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

JBB has more plans for the U.S. too, and while James couldn’t give us any specific details, he did tell us that JBB will be in Nashville in early February for CRS (Country Radio Seminar) 2018, and are hoping to get on the extended summer festival season circuit south of the border, and as we get to fall and winter 2018, the band hopes to be on a tour in America.

Before we got off the phone, we asked James about what’s coming next in the form of new music… and we heard exactly what we were hoping we would.

1) James has been writing constantly, working on songs that he hopes will turn into the next James Barker Band record.

2) A brand new single is coming on January 19, 2018. Tour crowds will have a chance to hear Good Together live, and country fans everywhere will be able to hear it starting next Friday!

The very last thing we talked about before we were done, was the live show and what fans can expect on the Game On Tour.

James told us that it’s going to be the full James Barker Band experience. The boys like to keep things loose and fun, and they are looking to do that on every date from Halifax to Vancouver. And when I asked if we’ll hear Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident), he laughed and told us that he wasn’t sure it would be a full JBB show if we didn’t.

We’re looking forward to catching up with the boys in Toronto at The Phoenix to celebrate the tour, the release of Good Together, and the continued success of four dudes from small town Ontario.

James Barker Band, Game On Tour Dates

January 11, 2018 – Halifax, NS
January 12, 2018 – Moncton, NB
January 13, 2018 – Charlesbourg, QC
January 14, 2018 – Montreal, QC
January 16, 2018 – Kingston, ON
January 17, 2018 – Ottawa, ON
January 18, 2018 – Kitchener, ON
January 19, 2018 – Toronto, ON
January 20, 2018 – Guelph, ON
January 22, 2018 – London, ON
January 23, 2018 – Sudbury, ON
January 24, 2018 – Sault Ste Marie, ON
January 26, 2018 – Winnipeg, MB
January 27, 2018 – Brandon, MB
January 28, 2018 – Saskatoon, SK
January 29, 2018 – Red Deer, AB
February 1, 2018 – Edmonton, AB
February 2, 2018 – Calgary, AB
February 3, 2018 – Lethbridge, AB
February 10, 2018 – Vancouver, BC

Looking for tickets? Click Here!

Country Thunder Calgary 2017: High Valley & James Barker Band Photo Review

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!

James Barker Band at Country Thunder Calgary, 2017

James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017 James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017 James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017 James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017 James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017 James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017 James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017 James Barker Band-Country Thunder 2017

High Valley at Country Thunder Calgary, 2017

High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017 High Valley-Country Thunder 2017

2017 Boots and Hearts Emerging Artists Showcase Preview

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.

Amanda Sadler – Cross My Heart

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 – I Don’t Drink

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 Kirkness – Whiskey Kiss

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 – Wallet

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 – Summer Life

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.

Josh Ross – Don’t Ever Let Go

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 – Either Or

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!

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! 

Enter Now: Boots & Hearts 2017 Emerging Artist Showcase

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!

Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase 2017 Grand Prize!

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!

2017 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards Winner Recap!

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!

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Meghan Patrick

RISING STAR AWARD

(sponsored by Slaight Music)
Meghan Patrick

Meghan Patrick Peller Estate

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

(sponsored by Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario & International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers)
Grace and Grit – Meghan Patrick

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR

(sponsored by Long & McQuade)
Bow Chicka Wow Wow – Meghan Patrick

Meghan Patrick-CMT MusicFest

FANS’ CHOICE

(sponsored by Ontario Media Development Corporation)
James Barker Band

James Barker Band SiriusXM Fan Stage BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

(sponsored by Havelock Country Jamboree)
Tim Hicks

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR

(sponsored by The Remington Group)
Cold Creek County

Cold Creek County CMT Music Fest

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

(sponsored by KICX 106)
Cherry Bomb – River Town Saints

River Town Saints BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016- River Town Saints CMW 2016 Boots and Bourbon

ROOTS ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR

(sponsored by Skelton Truck Lines)
The Abrams

The Abrams, via CMAO

SONGWRITER (S) OF THE YEAR

(sponsored by SOCAN)
Deric Ruttan, Craig Wiseman – Came Here to Forget, performed by Blake Shelton

RECORD PRODUCER(S) OF THE YEAR

Jason Barry (Dean Brody, Genevieve Fisher, The Western Swing Authority, Tianna Woods)

Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26

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

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

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

Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26 Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26 Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26 Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26Shane Guse - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26

More Photos of Madeline Merlo!

Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton Madeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton

More Photos of James Barker Band!

James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton James Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonJames Barker Band - Dean Brody Tour-Edmonton

CMAO 2017 Awards Show and Conference Contest!

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.

2017 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards Show Performers

♫ 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!

Good luck!













ENTER! ENTER! ENTER!

Note: This prize does not include travel or accommodations. Please keep that in mind when entering and hoping to win!

CMW 2017: Game On, James Barker Band Release Party with Andrew Hyatt, Dan Davidson and Friends

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.

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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.

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!

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.

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!

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CMW Preview: 19 Songs You Need to Hear at Canadian Music Week 2017!

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
Bleecker Julian Taylor Showcase CMW 2016

High Valley – She’s With Me
Canada/Country

Silver Love Club – Rachel
Australia/Rock
Mabel The Nightowl CMW 2016

Jess Moskaluke – Drive Me Away
Canada/Country
Jess Moskaluke Bright Lights Big City Toronto The Phoenix

The Dead Love – Summer
Australia/Rock
The Dead Love CMW 2016 Horseshoe

Madeline Merlo – Whatcha Wanna Do About It
Canada/Country
Madeline Merlo BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

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
CMT Music Fest - Drake White & The Big Fire

The Honest Heart Collective – Liar’s Club
Canada/Rock

James Barker Band – Chills
Canada/Country
James Barker Band SiriusXM Fan Stage BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Texas King – Come Find Me
Canada/Rock
Texas King Adelaide Hall 2016

Andrew Hyatt – MGR (Me And A Girl And A Radio)
Canada/Country
CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt

Courage My Love – Stereo
Canada/Rock

Dani Strong – Wild One
Canada/Country
Dani Strong Boots and Hearts KX Hot Shots Showcase CMW 2016

Melissa Etheridge – I’m The Only One
United States/Rock

The Rifle & The Writer – Gig & Colour
Canada/Country

Repartee – Dukes
Canada/Pop
REPARTEE at Adelaide Hall - TORONTO WOMEN IN MUSIC

Shake These Walls/Hearts On Fire Tour Q&A: Chad Brownlee & Tim Hicks

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!

1 year ago
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