Jess Moskaluke

Why Maren Morris Hitting Number One Matters, And Why It Shouldn’t

On Friday morning, Maren Morris excitedly announced on her social media channels that I Could Use A Love Song will become her first solo #1 hit on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart. It is a major achievement for the young country singer who has turned heads with her voice, energy, and most importantly talent since she introduced herself to country fans.

It’s a big deal for Maren Morris, it’s exciting for her fans, and it should be. Having the number one song in the country should always be seen as an achievement. However, in the case of Maren Morris, and other female country stars, this achievement and excitement comes far too infrequently and that matters too.

Almost 2 years ago exactly (Jan 19, 2016) Morris released her debut single My Church. The song launched her career, became her first top 10 single on the country airplay charts (reaching #9), and went on to win a Grammy for Solo Country Performance of the Year in 2017. Now, I understand that it takes time for new singles to chart and climb the charts to reach their highest point, including #1. But, if we use the last two years as a sample size of 104 weeks, we can see the ongoing trend, and unfortunate reality, that it really doesn’t matter how long a female country artist waits, or how good her song is, number one probably isn’t coming.

In 2016, four weeks of 52 saw solo a female artist at #1 On the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Both Carrie Underwood (Heartbeat, Church Bells) and Kelsea Ballerini (Dibs, Peter Pan) earned and celebrated those spots, as they should have. In 2017, only two weeks out of 52 saw the same result, with Lauren Alaina (Road Less Travelled) and Carly Pearce (Every Little Thing) each earning one week at #1.

In two full years of country music releases from women, six songs accounted for less than 6% of weeks spent at #1 on radio in the country. That’s not good.

If we want to start splitting hairs and getting generous to make the numbers look better we can add six more songs that were duets featuring female artists. But it should be noted that all of them were released and listed as singles by male artists featuring their female duet partners. With that increase 5.75% turns into 12.5%, and that’s still not good.

ArtistSongArtistsSong
Carly PearceEvery Little Thing (Nov. 25, 2017)Kane Brown ft Lauren AlainaWhat Ifs (Oct. 28, 2017)
Lauren AlainaRoad Less Travelled (Apr. 22, 2017)Thomas Rhett ft Maren MorrisCraving You (Jul. 22, 2017)
Kelsea BalleriniPeter Pan (Sept. 24, 2016)Kenny Chesney ft PinkSetting The World On Fire (Nov. 5, 2016)
Carrie UnderwoodChurch Bells (Jul. 30, 2016)Dierks Bentley ft Elle KingDifferent For Girls (Oct. 1, 2016)
Carrie UnderwoodHeartbeat (Mar. 26, 2016)Chris Young with Cassadee PopeThink Of You (Mar. 14, 2016)
Kelsea BalleriniDibs (Mar. 5, 2016)Luke Bryan ft Karen FairchildHome Alone Tonight (Feb. 13/20, 2016)

I’m going to take one minute to try to ensure that none of this is twisted. I believe that male country artists deserve to reach #1 on the charts if they release good music and the achievement is warranted. And there are groups and duos with female members that have topped the charts as well. But, like all requests and attempts to reach equality and/or fairness, this is not about putting down one side to raise the other up. This is about recognizing, and acknowledging that all the pats on the back we’ve given ourselves as fans and industry have not remedied the issues that became widely recognized with Tomato Gate in May of 2015.

And that brings us to something else that happened on Friday. About an hour and a half before Maren Morris tweeted about going number one, Kelleigh Bannen tweeted about a meeting she had where and she was told, “the numbers still say women don’t want to listen to other women”.

To learn that an artist was told this in a business meeting about her career is sad and discouraging. And I acknowledge that as neither an artist, or more importantly, a woman I truly cannot comprehend the full weight and impact of that kind of statement.

But as a man I do feel qualified to say that a three-part response to that tweet talking about how great of an ally you’ve been to female artists in country music is misplaced at best and a “not all men” statement at worst.

I have great respect for the career, accomplishments, philanthropy, and work of Bobby Bones. However, I don’t believe that replying to Kelleigh Bannen’s frustration and displeasure with statements like “All the meetings I’m in while discussing format in macro sense, it’s the opposite.” and “Rome won’t be rebuilt in a day. But some of us started nailing together boards a long time ago” is helpful.

We get it Bobby, you’re a friend to women and support them on your show. But it doesn’t change the systematic flaws that resulted in 5.75% solo female #1 hits in 2016/17, or an even smaller 3.3% since the chart started in October 2012 (9 of 271 weeks).

The list of women who have made great country music in the last two, three, four, five years is incredible. And yet, artists including Miranda Lambert, Cam, Jennifer Nettles, Kacey Musgraves, Reba, and even Taylor Swift (before her genre-shift) haven’t reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Country Airplay charts since its debut on October 20, 2012.

Note: This post has been entirely focused on the US market, but could be replicated for Canada where the charts are eerily similar in their lack of female representation, and have seen no Canadian women reach the top in that five year period.

Country music fans, artists, and other industry members have long known about the quality and talent that Morris brings to the table. Hell, her album, Hero, reached #1 on the sales chart. But here we are, 43 weeks after I Could Use A Love Song debuted, celebrating it as her first number one single. It has earned and deserves every single one of the spins that it receives at country radio. It is a well written, well sung, and well produced track. And, it has certainly earned that #1 spot on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Note: In September 2016 during 5 Quick Questions interviews, Shae Dupuy and Kira Isabella both named Maren Morris as the artist they thought people should be paying more attention to. And in October 2017, three-time Canadian Country Music Association winner for Female Artist of the Year, Jess Moskaluke gave the same answer in her 5 Quick Questions segment. It is no secret that Maren Morris has been, and continues to be, one to watch.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any quick and easy solution for this situation. It seems to me that the only remedy would be the decision of country music radio program directors to play more songs by women more often.

As fans we have the opportunity to use our personal platforms, like social media, to advocate for the female country artists we love. We can request their songs be played by our local country stations, and we can continue to stream, download, and share their music.

Leave a comment here with the name of the female county star and the song you think deserves more radio spins. And if you know the contact information for your local radio station (Email, Phone, Twitter), include that too. Every little bit helps.

I would encourage you to do all of those things while we wait to see a more advanced shift in the country music radio landscape and charts.

In the end, we should celebrate every artist and song that reaches #1 on any chart. But we should be celebrating because of the achievement, not because it hit the 1 in 30 women’s #1 lottery.

Country Thunder Music Festival 2018, Craven Lineup Preview

From Thursday, July 12 to Sunday, July 15, Saskatchewan will be home to some of country music’s biggest stars as the Country Thunder Music Festival rolls into Craven for four days of hits and fan favourites.

So far, Country Thunder Craven has announced 17 acts for the festival, with the promise of more to come on both Friday and Saturday’s lineups. The headliners, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, and Luke Bryan all bring a bevy of hits to the stage, and have track records of entertaining the heck out of fans. And we have no doubt that they’ll do exactly that when they take their turns this July.

There’s also a ton of 90s nostalgia that’s going to take the stage, with big radio hits and fan favourites that will have the Craven crowd singing along at the top of their lungs.

Related: Calgary Country Thunder Music Festival 2018 Preview!

If you want to be in that crowd, get your tickets now, you don’t want to find out that they’re all gone later… Country Thunder Music Festival 2018 – Craven, Saskatchewan Tickets!

And now, let’s have a look at the lineup!

Country Thunder Music Festival 2018 Lineup
Craven, Saskatchewan

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Big & Rich

One of the biggest duos in country music since the release of Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy – Big & Rich are a helluva choice to kick off a four day country music festival!

Clay Walker

Walker has had a fantastic career, with big hits, songs that have connected with country music fans, and a legacy that lives on in 90s country nostalgia to go along with his five Top 10s in the 2000s. This is a great add to a kick off party.

Williams & Ree

Bruce Williams and Terry Ree are a music and comedy duo that will be served up for the Country Thunder crowd in Craven to help get the weekend started. Be ready to laugh!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Dierks Bentley BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley has gone from stealing the show as a lead-in act, to a bonafide headliner that owns the spotlight. We’ve seen the What Was I Thinkin’ star thrill tens of thousands of fans with his festival show, and have no doubt that he’ll do it again in Craven this summer!

Chris Janson

This dude is talented and looks like he’s a good time waiting to happen. We haven’t seen Chris Janson live yet, but we are looking forward to the day when we can sing along to Buy Me A Boat!

LANCO

These five dudes are up and comers in the world of country music, and 2018 could be a HUGE year for them. Country Thunder fans should be ready for a lot of energy as LANCO continues their quest to gain fans everywhere they go.

Hunter Brothers

It’s about a three and a half hour drive from Shaunavon to Craven, which makes the Hunter Brothers defacto hometown boys for the weekend. And when these five brothers (and their unbelievable harmonies) take the stage, Saskatchewan should get right into it!

More…

We don’t know who more is going to be… but it will only add to an already good day in Craven!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Chris Young

Chris Young has graduated to headliner status as he continues to pump out hits to country radio. And Craven will get the chance to enjoy the show as the Murfreesboro, Tennessee native takes the Country Thunder stage.

Dean Brody

Canadian country music will be well represented on Saturday night at Country Thunder when Dean Brody takes the stage to Bring Down The House. We’ve seen Dean a bunch of times, and every one of them is a great show. Be ready for that!

Tracy Lawrence

Lawrence had 7 #1 hits between 1991 and 1996, that’s a hell of a run, and when he added Find Out Who Your Friends Are in 2006, a lot of younger country fans discovered those hits. Now, in 2018, Tracy Lawrence is headed to Saskatchewan to play for the Craven crowd, and we’re sure it’s going to be a fun.

Lindsay Ell

Lindsay Ell keeps earning new fans every time she and her guitar take the stage. Her 2017 album, The Project, was well received and fans should be ready for Waiting On You, Criminal, and more this summer.

More…

There are more names coming to Saturday at Country Thunder in Craven… and we don’t know who they are, but it means a bigger and better party!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan

What can we say about Luke Bryan? He’s one of the biggest music stars in the world of any genre, we’ve seen him live and he lights up the crowd with hits and energy, and when the set is over your voice will be mostly gone from singing and cheering. Be ready, it’s gonna be good!

Midland

One of the biggest breakout acts in 2017, Midland are turning into big stars and they put on a great show. Get ready for harmonies, humour, and a throwback vibe to the 90s country that we all loved when these Texas boys hit the stage.

Jess Moskaluke

It’s about two and a half hours on the highway from Jess Moskaluke’s hometown of Langenburg to Craven, which should make her the guest of honour on Sunday at Country Thunder. Be ready for the hits, new music from Past The Past, and a lot of energy and fun from one of Canada’s biggest stars in country music.

Roots & Boots

Sammy Kershaw

With 11 top ten hits in the 90s, Sammy Kershaw is all of the nostalgia that country music radio lovers should be waiting for. If you can’t get up and excited to sing along to Queen Of My Double Wide Trailer and She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful, we don’t know what to tell you.

Aaron Tippin

Tippin is another star from the 90s that country fans should be happy to see. With seven Top 10s, including Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong With The Radio and That’s As Close As I’ll Get To Loving You going all the way to #1, there will be sing along opportunities throughout this set!

Collin Raye

Collin Raye had 18 Top 5 hits between 1991 and 2000, putting himself on country radio all the damn time, with good reason. And Country Thunder fans are going to have a great time singing along to some of the biggest songs of the 90s when he’s on stage.

Big Valley Jamboree 2018 Lineup Preview

Since 1993, the Big Valley Jamboree has been putting country music hit makers on stage for a weekend of good times – and in 2018 the tradition will continue.

The lineup of Canadian and American country artists is impressive and has a lot to offer to any live crowd. Put them all together and Thursday, August 2 to Sunday, August 5 should be a helluva weekend in Camrose, Alberta.

We’ve lined up the artists here (the main stage and then the SiriusXM Stage) with some of the reasons we think you should be excited, and what you might be able to expect.

Ready? Here we go!

Main Stage

Friday

Thomas Rhett – 9:00pm

Rhett has also been announced as a headliner in Ontario at Boots & Hearts this summer, giving the country music hitmaker back-to-back weekends headlining for Canadian fans.

We’ve seen Thomas Rhett on stage before, and he puts on a killer show. And now, with new music from his 2017 album, Life Changes, to add to his set – we’re sure he’s going to have a new wrinkle or two to add to his show.

Be ready to dance and sing and cheer and have a good time!

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015

Paul Brandt – 7:30pm

Paul Brandt is a hit maker, fan favourite, and Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Famer – and the opportunity to see him up on stage playing songs that fans will no doubt know all the words too is amazing.

Tune up your voices to belt out Alberta Bound, Small Towns And Big Dreams, My Heart Has A History, Get A Bed, and Paul Brandt’s most recent top 20 hit, The Journey!

Billy Ray Cyrus – 5:00pm

Yes, Billy Ray Cyrus owns one of the most divisive hits in the history of country music, but he’s got a lot more than that to offer.

We’ve seen Cyrus play live, but never on a big stage with a big crowd… but we’d bet that it’s awesome.

Whether he’s playing songs from Some Gave All, Set The Record Straight, or any of his 13 albums in between, Billy Ray Cyrus will be at the Big Valley Jamboree to put on a show.

Carolyn Dawn Johnson – 3:30pm

Canadian country music fans will remember how successful and important CDJ was in the early 2000’s. They should also know that she hasn’t stopped, and she’s got as much talent now as she had before.

When y’all hear songs like Georgia and Complicated, let yourself be taken back to 2000 and enjoy every minute of it.

Leaving Thomas – 2:00pm

This upstart country music duo out of Calgary has new music coming in 2018, which will give them more songs for their Big Valley Jamboree set. And if the response to Best Adventure and Waiting Kind Of Girl at the 2017 Leaving Thomas shows we saw is any indication, it’s going to be fun!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Leaving Thomas

Saturday

Alabama – 9:00pm

Having had the chance to see the legendary Alabama on stage at Boots & Hearts year one in 2012, we know just how great it is to experience all of the hits live.

The harmonies are still magical. The songs are still as impactful and fun as they always were, and Alabama have some pretty fun stories too.

With 32 number one hits, Alabama has no shortage of songs to choose from to play for a live crowd. That does mean that you might not hear a few of your favourites, but we can promise that what they do play will make you smile and sing.

Dallas Smith – 7:30pm

One of the biggest acts of any genre in Canada, Dallas Smith continues to wow fans with his live shows. And when he gets on a big stage at a big festival, he does exactly what he has to to get a big crowd fired up and engaged.

Smith has energy to spare when he fires it up, and as he sings and makes his way from one side of the stage to the other, you’re sure to see hands go up and cheers rise from the Big Valley Jamboree crowd.

Hits from Jumped Right In, Lifted, and Side Effects, will flow throughout Smith’s set – and we’d bet that the Juno and CCMA winner will give Canadian fans a highlight of their summer.

Dallas Smith CNE 2015

Jess Moskaluke – 5:00pm

As a three time Female Artist of the Year winner at the Canadian Country Music Association awards, Jess Moskaluke has shown that she is a star in Canadian Country. And when she hits the stage at the Big Valley Jamboree we are certain that her charm and talent will shine bright.

With nine singles cracking the top 20, and three of those landing in the top 10 (including her highest charting single, Drive Me Away, charting at number three on the Canadian country charts) Jess Moskaluke is not lacking for music to play live. And, with her background in YouTube covers part of her story, Moskaluke isn’t afraid to have a little fun and play some of her favourites from other artists and genres while she’s on stage.

Have fun!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

Aaron Goodvin – 2:00pm

Another rising star in Canadian country, Goodvin has been earning fans and pleasing ears with every step he’s taken in his career. 2018 will start on tour with Gord Bamford, and by the time the Big Valley Jamboree hits in August, Goodvin should be at the very top of his live performance game.

Be prepared for it to get loud in the crown when Aaron Goodvin and the band break into Lonely Drum – trust us.

Sunday

Florida Georgia Line – 9:00pm

A lot of people have a lot of things to say about Florida Georgia Line… here’s what we have to say.

1) FGL have proven to us on more than one occasion that they know how to have a good time and put on a great live show.

2) One of the very loudest and goosebump inducing moments we’ve ever had at a concert came in Toronto when the crowd sang along to H.O.L.Y. – it was amazing – click here to see it on video.

3) Tyler and BK are hit makers, and the crowd will know the words to their songs. And when you’re talking about a live show, that’s a big ingredient for a good time.

4) The energy that these two dudes bring to the stage, with humility and grace and appreciation for the crowd in front of them is overlooked and always connects well with a crowd.

5) Florida Georgia Line has a ton of energy – and if hit songs are a big ingredient, so is this!

Florida Georgia Line Molson Amphitheatre

Brett Eldredge – 7:30pm

This dude is one of the most talented and charismatic characters in Nashville right now, and when he comes to the Big Valley Jamboree main stage, y’all are gonna see it!

Brett Eldredge will be more than happy to play his Platinum, Gold, and Top five hits for the crowd. And if our experience seeing him in the summer of 2017 is any indication of what BVJ in 2018 will be, everyone should be very happy.

ps. If you’re lucky, he’ll have Edgar with him and you’ll get to meet one of the cutest dogs you’ve ever seen.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Brett Eldredge

Small Town Pistols – 3:30pm

When Amanda and Tyler Wilkinson hit the stage a wave of nostalgia and happiness will hit the crowd, and it will be awesome.

Each Small Town Pistols show we’ve seen has included fan favourites from their two records, plus great selections from Amanda’s solo career, and mega hits from The Wilkinsons.

We’ve never been disappointed and we don’t believe you will be either!

Small Town Pistols Boots and Hearts 2015

Danny Hooper – 2:00pm

The long serving (25 years) MC of the Big Valley Jamboree main stage, Danny Hooper has pretty much seen it all. And on Sunday he’ll be kicking off the last day of festivities himself.

Be ready for a good start to the end of a fantastic weekend of BVJ country music!

Kickoff (Thursday)

Luke Combs – 11:00pm

With Hurricane and When It Rains It Pours, Luke Combs has announced himself as one of the biggest new voices in country music. And when he hits the Big Valley Jamboree kickoff stage, we’d bet that things are going to heat up quickly.

Be ready for a party!

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – 9:30pm

Legends! What more do you need to hear about the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Yes, we all know they’ve got one of the most beloved songs in country music to play for y’all… but there’s more than just that. However, we’d by foolish and lying if we told you that the biggest cheers and loudest singing of the night wasn’t going to come during Fishin’ In The Dark!

Coors Banquet Saloon, SiriusXM Stage

Friday

Aaron Pritchett – 12:00am

Aaron Pritchett is a Canadian country music fan favourite. His songs range from the emotional stories we love from the genre, to the party hits that you can’t help but jam out to.

And while we don’t know which songs Pritchett will fit into his set at BVJ, we would suggest that you be ready for a party when he hits the stage at midnight.

Aaron Pritchett BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Drew Gregory – 10:30pm

One of Alberta’s favourite local boys, Drew Gregory knows how to have a good time on stage. With a combination of originals and covers, we watched Gregory introduce himself to Toronto this fall, and we know that when he gets on the SiriusXM stage at BVJ, he’ll give just as entertaining a set!

Saturday

Emerson Drive – 12:00am

Emerson Drive are one of the most successful acts in the last two decades of Canadian country music. With hits and fan favourites, we’ve seen them put on a show that wows that crowd and facilitates a party.

And when they hit the SiriusXM Stage at midnight on Saturday, we have a feeling that they’ll be doing the same thing all over again!

Emerson Drive BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Nice Horse – 10:30pm

One of our favourite new bands in 2017, Nice Horse will bring talent, energy, fun, and a good time to the late night Saturday set.

If you don’t know them yet, you’ve got time to get yourself familiar with these four ladies – because you’re going to want to know them when they hit that stage!

Sunday

SiriusXM Surprise Guest – 12:00am

I mean, there’s not a lot we can say about a surprise guest that we don’t know anything about.

But, after an entire weekend of fantastic country music at the Big Valley Jamboree, we can comfortably tell you that we expect an artist to be announced that knows how to throw a party and make sure everyone ends their weekend with a bang after Florida Georgia Line finishes on the main stage.

4 weeks ago

Jess Moskaluke & Friends Christmas at YouTube Space Toronto

Jess Moskaluke brought some friends to Toronto’s YouTube Space to share some music and Christmas spirit, and we were lucky enough to be there as they streamed live across the internet.

Joined by The Lovelocks, Leaving Thomas, David James, and Megan Nash – with Kate Petterson taking care of the hosting duties, and Stefan Guy on guitar – the holiday gathering of songs, stories, jokes, and more was a good time in person, and makes for a great watch on video too!

In just over 90 minutes there were 11 songs to listen to and sing along with at home, and a lot of great interaction and laughs in between.

Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Petterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash, Leaving Thomas, David James, Stefan Guy, and The Lovelocks

If we had some unofficial awards to give away they’d look something like this…

Best/Worst Dad Jokes: David James

Best (Most Unexpected) Stories: Megan Nash

Best Childhood Nickname Reveal: David James

Best Supporting Harmonies: Leaving Thomas on David James’ Sun Set On It

Best Update Of A Christmas Class: The Lovelocks on Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Best Christmas Food Traditions: Jess Moskaluke

Best Surprise Appearance: SANTA!!!!

Best Reaction To A Gift: Annika of Leaving Thomas

Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Peterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash, Leaving Thomas opening their gift, David James, Stefan Guy and SantaFrom start to finish this was a lot of fun. The time flew by as it was happening live, and on a re-watch, it does too. The stories will make you laugh. Even David James’ dad jokes will give you a chuckle – and because it’s a YouTube video, we would invite everyone to leave comments answering questions like ‘What’s Your Favourite Christmas Movie’.

Now, hit play, watch and listen as Jess Moskaluke, The Lovelocks, Leaving Thomas, David James, and Meghan Nash share their holiday cheer – and sing along. And, before you go, check out the rest of the photos from Jess Moskaluke & Friends Christmas at Youtube Space Toronto – and leave a comment telling us what your favourite part of the video is!

If you’re looking to skip right to the music, use the time marks on the playlist. Enjoy!

Jess Moskaluke & Friends Christmas at YouTube Space Toronto Playlist

1. Jess Moskaluke: Grown Up Christmas List (12:00)

2. David James: Sun Set On It (18:55)

3. Leaving Thomas: Do You Hear What I Hear (25:40)

4. Megan Nash: Salt The Salamanders (31:25)

5. The Lovelocks: Staycation (35:45)

6. Jess Moskaluke: Drive Me Away (42:34)

7. David James: Silent Night (56:00)

8. Leaving Thomas: Blame It On The Neon (1:02:30)

9. Megan Nash: Blue Christmas (1:10:50)

10. The Lovelocks: Oh Come All Ye Faithful (1:16:30)

11. All: Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree (1:29:45)

Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Petterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash, Leaving Thomas, David James Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Peterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash, Leaving Thomas, David James, Stefan Guy, and The Lovelocks Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Peterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash, Leaving Thomas, David James, Stefan Guy, and The Lovelocks Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Peterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash, Leaving Thomas Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - David James, Stefan Guy, The Lovelocks Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Peterson with underwear on her head Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Stefan Guy and The Lovelocks Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Peterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash opening her gift, Leaving Thomas and Santa Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Peterson, Jess Moskaluke opening her gift, Megan Nash, and Santa Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Peterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash, Leaving Thomas, David James, Stefan Guy Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Petterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash, Bryton Udy of Leaving Thomas Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - David James opening his gift Jess Moskaluke and Friends at YouTube Toronto - Kate Peterson, Jess Moskaluke, Megan Nash, Leaving Thomas, David James, Stefan Guy, and The Lovelocks

1 month ago

Country Thunder Music Festival 2018 Preview

With four incredible locations, Country Thunder will be back yet again in 2018, and it will be bigger than ever!

With festivals in Florence, Arizona, Craven, Saskatchewan, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and Calgary, Alberta everyone can have the opportunity to put on their cowboy boots, grab a cold one and dance to an amazing lineup all weekend long!

Get ready for some of the biggest names in country music taking over my city, Calgary, during the weekend of August 17th-19th. I thought the lineup last year was incredible but wait for 2018. The summer of 2017 featured Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Thomas Rhett, Dallas Smith, and Randy Houser to name a few! Country Thunder’s new 2018 lineup is filled with the most successful and chart topping artists yet; Eric Church, Toby Keith, Dierks Bentley, Dean Brody, Midland, Madeline Merlo, Hunter Brothers, Lindsay Ell, Bryan White and Jess Moskaluke and more!

Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonMay26

One of the artists I am most excited to see is Eric Church! I’ve been really lucky to see him a couple of times, and I must say he’s one of the only artists who gives me goosebumps every time he sings. One of the most memorable moments at Eric’s shows is when he strips it down to a solo acoustic performance; I truly believe this is the kind of live music experience we all crave. His acoustic performances are definitely something for the books! I highly recommend getting your tickets as soon as possible, as Eric will be closing off Country Thunder the finale night.

Another artist I cannot wait to see is recently announced CRS 2018 Artist Humanitarian Award winner Dierks Bentley. Sadly I have never seen Dierks perform, but I have only ever heard wonderful things. I’m a huge fan of Dierks, one of the biggest reasons why I adore his music so much is because of the stories behind his writing. Musically what he always tries to do is create records that reflect who he is, snapshots of his life at the time. I can’t wait to sing along to some of his most popular songs; Somewhere On A Beach, Black, What The Hell Did I Say, and Different For Girls.

Dierks Bentley BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

‘m looking forward to experiencing the diversity all these artists will bring; from heart filled songs to heart breaks, celebrating the weekend, living and learning, being outdoors with your friends and growing up in a small town, this festival will have all your country needs checked off.

Because the festival is located in the city, there are no camping accommodations, only hotels. But don’t worry!!! Country Thunder has a list of 19 different hotel partners near the festival site that will suit your budget and requirements. Plus, with your festival passes you are welcome to shuttle back and forth for free. Try not to wait too long to purchase tickets to Calgary’s Country Thunder though, as limited tickets are remaining for the full weekend festival.

So grab your sunscreen, cowboy hat, wear your best dancing shoes and get ready to experience everything that Country Thunder has to offer in 2018!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - MidlandJess Moskaluke-Calgary-StampedeMadeline Merlo - Dean Brody Tour-EdmontonLindsay Ell BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

Past The Past: Jess Moskaluke Live at Toronto’s YouTube Space

Jess Moskaluke wanted to do something different to celebrate and promote the release of her brand new album, Past The Past. So, the Juno and Canadian Country Music Association award winner came to Toronto, teamed up with YouTube, and live streamed an acoustic release party for the world to see.

It was a full circle type of project for the Saskatchewan native who started her career and fanbase on YouTube more than six years ago.

We’ve had the chance to talk to Jess about YouTube and the internet about how important it has been and continues to be for her career, and she acknowledges, accepts, and embraces it. As she’s told us, she doesn’t know any other way really, this is how it works for her.

On Friday night in Toronto, fans gathered around as Moskaluke and her band played songs from the new album, and some fan favourites. Some of those fans were contest winners that we were happy to send to the event – thanks to Jess’s team for helping us make that happen.

We also want to shout out Paul McGuire, who we all love, for doing a great job hosting the live stream at the Toronto YouTube space. Yes, we all miss seeing Paul on CMT Canada… but if you love country music, keep your eyes open, because he’s still going to be around and you’ll have lots of chances to see him. Stay tuned.

If you haven’t taken the chance to listen to Past The Past yet, we highly recommend that you do. And, when Jess announces tour dates and live shows in 2018 (they’re coming, we’ll tell you when we know more), we suggest that you get a ticket to see her perform.

Now, check out the recording of the live stream YouTube video, some more photos from the evening, and listen to the full album. Enjoy!

If you want to listen to the live acoustic performances of Jess singing… you can jump from song to song at times listed here.

Jess Moskaluke, Past The Past Album Release Setlist, YouTube Live Toronto

📹 Drive Me Away (14:25)
📹 Kiss Me Quiet (18:10)
📹 Kill Your Love(28:45)
📹 Camouflage (32:55)
📹 Right When Ya Left (44:55)
📹 Save Some Of That Whiskey (49:00)
📹 Take Me Home (58:08)
📹 Past The Past (1:02:45)
📹 Cheap Wine And Cigarettes (1:15:50)

And if you want to sit back and enjoy the music, the stories, some laughs and more – start the show, and enjoy!

Jess Moskaluke at YouTube in Toronto

Past The Past: Jess Moskaluke Album Review and Contest

Three-time Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year, Jess Moskaluke is back with a collection of seven songs on her third album, Past The Past.

The Saskatchewan native has already seen success with single releases of, Drive Me Away and Kill Your Love and looks to continue that trajectory with the rest of the album.

Note: Use the widget at the bottom of the post to earn up to 7 entries for your chance to win 1 of 5 CD copies of Past The Past.

Past The Past showcases a more grown-up Jess Moskaluke, singing about relationships in a way leans to the saddest parts. This is a collection of songs that could very well find itself in high rotation for many post-breakup women (and men) over the next few years. Paired with red wine or whiskey and the lights down low, this album is the companion to heartbreak, and the moving on that comes next.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

We were in Toronto with Moskaluke as she played some of the tracks from her new album at CBC Music’s First Play Live, and the country singer told the small crowd and cameras that there is definitely a theme of breakups and moving on through this album.

BUT, that isn’t to say that she’s going through these things. In fact, Jess Moskaluke is quite content in her relationship, and very recently got engaged to her fiancé, Clay. Congratulations to the happy couple!

Related: Jess Moskaluke Green Room Interview, Toronto

Note: Drive Me Away (the lead single, and first track on the album) is an upbeat song that will you want to pack a bag and hit the road with your lover in all the best ways. Whether they’re the one you’ve been with forever or the one that just started giving you butterflies after leaving another, put it on and dance in the living room, or start the car.

When we were talking to Jess in Toronto she told us that she had a first time co-write with The Cadillac Three’s Neil Mason as she worked on these new songs, and the result ended up being Right When Ya Left, the third song on Past The Past. The track isn’t a downer like some other breakup songs but does include the themes of second-guessing and doubt – as well as the realization that you’ll be alright, sometimes even right away.

While the themes and tone of the songs on this new album may be different from Kiss Me Quiet and Light Up The Night, one thing remains the same… Jess Moskaluke sings the hell out of the songs she’s preparing to release to the world. The CCMA, country radio and fans from coast-to-coast aren’t wrong when they heap praise on the talent that Jess brings to the table. She’s got it, and with releases like Past The Past, she’s once again confirming that she belongs in the upper echelon of female country singers in Canada. Strike that, she belongs in the upper echelon of Canadian country music talent, period. No qualifiers required.

Jess Moskaluke knows what she’s doing at this point, and as an artist, as she continues to evolve and find herself, we’re sure we will continue to hear new songs, new sounds, and explore new themes with her along the way.

Past The Past drops on Friday, November 3, 2017 – with Jess Moskaluke planning a special YouTube Live album release event at 7:30 pm EST. Find her online (website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) to learn more.

Be ready to put this album on repeat… even if you don’t have a broken heart.

Jess Moskaluke, Past The Past Tracklist

1) Drive Me Away
2) Camouflage
3) Right When Ya Left
4) Gotta Start Somewhere
5) Kill Your Love
6) Save Some Of That Whiskey
7) Past The Past

Click here to listen to Past The Past!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

Past The Past: Jess Moskaluke Album Release Contest, Toronto

3-time Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year Jess Moskaluke is getting ready to celebrate the release of her brand new album, Past The Past… and we want you to celebrate with her in Toronto!

Jess will be performing at an exclusive event at YouTube Headquarters in Toronto, and we have five (5) pairs of tickets to giveaway to her fans to be there with her.

Entering is easy, just use the widget in the post to earn up to nine (9) entries for your chance to be a winner.

All winners will be contacted by email – using the email address you enter with, on Monday, October 30 – and must confirm their win, name, and email address so we can submit your name to the guest list.

If you love Jess Moskaluke, this is a contest that you want to win… we saw her perform some of the songs from this album at her CBC Music First Play appearance in Toronto, and it was fantastic. And we’re pretty darn sure that November 3 in Toronto is going to be awesome too!

Kill Your Love: Jess Moskaluke Green Room Interview, Toronto

Jess Moskaluke, three time Canadian Country Music Association award winner for Female Artist of the Year, Juno winner for Country Album of the Year (2017, Kiss Me Quiet), and one of Canada’s biggest country stars, has new music to share with the world, and is making the rounds to tell her stories.

We caught up with Jess in Toronto, in the green room before her CBC Music First Play performance, to talk about her new EP, writing with new collaborators, awesome feelings on stage, and more.

The new album, Past The Past, is scheduled to be released on November 3, and it seems like it can’t come soon enough for the Saskatchewan native. She told us that it feels like the music has been done forever, and that she’s excited to share it with country music fans. She also told us that it’s been nice to start folding in new songs on stage, allowing her and the band to freshen up the setlist and have some new fun in the show.

While we had Jess for a few minutes we also jumped into a quick round of 5 Quick Questions. Hit play and find out what album she is listening to on repeat, her favourite Shania jam, her late night fast food go to, and more…

We asked Jess about writing with new people on this album, and as we talked she realized that there were more and more new minds on this set of songs. She told us that there’s a comfort that grows between collaborators, and that adding new people to that process of creativity and creation can be both exciting and sometimes can make her a little nervous.

On Past The Past she had a little of that when she wrote with Neil Mason from The Cadillac Three. Neil’s reputation and success are well known in the industry, and when you hear Right When Ya Left, you’ll see how that session turned out.

Spoiler: It went well.

Before we were done chatting with Jess Moskaluke we asked about the feeling that she gets when she’s on stage and the fans are singing along and singing back to her. It was hard for her to put into words what it is. She told us that it’s one of those things that you really only know after you’ve felt it for yourself.

When we asked if she remembers the first time it happened she wasn’t able to pinpoint it, but she remembers when Cheap Wine And Cigarettes became that songs and she could see people in the crowd at shows singing along with her.

We’ve asked other artists this exact question before, and Jess’s answer lines up with theirs. And we’re sure she’d agree with Chad Brownlee, who told us that when he stops getting that awesome feeling when everyone sings with and to him, it’ll be time to hang ‘em up.

Big thanks to Jess Moskaluke for hanging out with us pre-show, and for letting us invite some contest winners to see her perform at the CBC.

Keep your eyes out for video from the night. And stay tuned for a Past The Past album review and your chance to listen, coming soon!

Jess Moskaluke, CBC Music First Play Setlist

Drive Me Away*
Used
Night We Won’t Forget
Good Lovin’
Kiss Me Quiet
Good For You
Kill Your Love*
Camouflage*
Right When Ya Left*
Strong As I’ve Ever Been
Past The Past*
Parachute (Chris Stapleton cover)
Save Some Of That Whiskey*
Take Me Home
Elevator
Cheap Wine And Cigarettes

*songs from Past The Past

Past The Past: Jess Moskaluke CBC Music First Play Contest

Since Jess Moskaluke first hit our radar in early 2014 we’ve been all in on the Saskatchewan singer. And now that she’s prepping to release a new EP, Past The Past, we’re as excited as ever for what’s next in her career.

Related: Jess Moskaluke Boots & Hearts Preview Interview, 2014

As an early celebration of the November 3, 2017 release of Mosakluke’s new music, the CCMA and Juno award winning country star will be performing a selection of songs live and in person at the CBC in Toronto on Monday, October 16, 2017 – and we’re hooking fans up with tickets!

Note: As an extra bonus, Jess will have a Q&A session at the event, so if you win you could have the chance to ask your best question!

That’s right, we have five (5) pairs of tickets to give away to Jess Moskaluke fans in the Toronto area to be part of this exclusive CBC Music First Play event. The crowd will be small, the music will be new, the energy will be amazing. And the winners of this contest will be able to count themselves as lucky to be in the room!

Use the widget in this post to earn up to 10 entries for your chance to be a winner. Keep these points in mind…

1) Follow the instructions for each entry type to make sure that your entries count.
2) Pay special attention to the instructions for the Leave A Comment entry.
3) Email signups are worth two (2) entries… don’t miss that bonus opportunity.
4) Make sure you enter with an email that you check often – because that’s how you’ll be contacted if you win!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 5

I love country covers of pop songs. It’s proof of the quality and versatility of the song, it’s fun as hell to sing along to, and when it’s live and the crowd is into it – it can be a big highlight on the night.

So, here we are with the fifth edition of 10 more awesome country covers, featuring some of our favourite new covers, and some that we’ve pulled from a few years ago.

This list also includes a country cover of a pop song… by the artist that recorded the pop song. AND, a pop cover of a country song that we love.

So, check ’em out one by one, sing along, and stay tuned for more awesome country covers part 6.

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

10 More Awesome Country Covers

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 2

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 3

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 4

Brett Young – Hallelujah

Thomas Rhett – Cold Water

Kira Isabella – Missing You

Dylan Scott – Closer

Cam – Uptown Funk

Johnson Crook – Listen to the Music

Leaving Thomas – Dance With Somebody

The Lovelocks – Time After Time

Jess Moskaluke – Starships

Miley Cyrus – See You Again

Bonus Pop Cover of a Country Song: Haim – That Don’t Impress Me Much

Kill Your Love: Jess Mosklaluke at Boots & Hearts 2017

In the late afternoon sun, on the Boots & Hearts Front Porch Stage, Jess Moskaluke wowed the crowd with her voice, hits, and new music. The 2014, 2015, and 2016 Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year was on fire from the jump.

The Saskatchewan star had a pumped up crowd at the stage in the trees, and she didn’t let them down, as she kept the energy high and the good vibes flowing. It was a love fest from Drive Me Away all the way to Cheap Wine And Cigarettes, with sing alongs, dancing, and a whole lot of appreciation for the Canadian singer.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

One of our favourite cheers of the set came when Moskaluke announced that she’ll have a new album in November of this year – which means fans will have new songs to learn and sing along to the next time they see her up on stage. One of those new songs, Kill Your Love, is already becoming a fan favourite on country radio and during the live show, and another, Save Some Of That Whiskey, has been tapped as the next radio single from the upcoming album.

Note: Jess Moskaluke pulled double duty on Sunday, stopping in to perform on the SiriusXM popup stage in the VIP. And the hundred or so lucky fans that got to see the performance got a stripped down sound that shows off her chops in a different, but just as amazing way as she did on the Front Porch stage. We were lucky to be there, it was awesome.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

If you’ve seen a live Jess Moskaluke show before, you know a few things…

1) There are going to be some covers. And at Boots & Hearts we got to hear Chris Stapleton’s Parachute, Maren Morris’ 80’s Mercedes, Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, and TLC’s 90s classic, No Scrubs.

2) There are strong and awesome bromances on stage. Check the pics below for a little proof.

3) Jess Moskaluke continues to get better. Show after show and year after year, this is a performer who grows and gets stronger. It’s pretty awesome to see.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

So, get yourself ready for new Jess Moskaluke music soon. Stay tuned to see if she will win her fourth consecutive CCMA Award for Female Artist of the Year at the 2017 awards show on September 10 in Saskatoon. And keep singing along when you hear her hits on the radio!

Jess Moskaluke, Boots & Hearts 2017 Setlist

Drive Me Away
Night We Won’t Forget
Used
Good Lovin’
Kiss Me Quiet
Good For You
Kill Your Love
Camouflage
Right When Ya Left
Parachute (Chris Stapleton)
80s Mercedes (Maren Morris)
Shape Of You (Ed Sheeran)
No Scrubs (TLC)
Save Some Of That Whiskey
Take Me Home
Elevator
Cheap Wine And Cigarettes

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Rich da Silva Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess MoskalukeBoots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke and Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke - Brennan Wall Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke Boots and Hearts 2017 - Jess Moskaluke

Boots & Hearts 2017 Preview: Day-to-Day Schedule and Stage Lineup

Boots & Hearts 2017 is coming, and we’re getting ready for all of the live music action that we can handle. And now we know which day, stage, and time we’ll be catching our favourite country music artists from August 10 to 13th in Oro-Medonte, ON.

Now, we know that there are going to be some overlaps in artists you want to see, so it’s important that you start planning now for your busy days at the festival. Don’t be afraid to run from one to stage to the other so you get the chance to see as many of these acts as possible.

And, when there’s a time slot that doesn’t have an artist you know, we highly recommend taking that chance to discover some new music – you might just fall in love with what you hear.

So, without any further ado, here is the 2017 Boots & Hearts day-to-day stage schedule…

Thursday, August 10

Front Porch Stage

Emerging Artist Showcase
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Vanessa Marie Carter
7:25pm – 8:05pm
Love and Theft
8:30pm – 9:15pm
Doc Walker
9:40pm – 11:10pm
KICX Late Night Dance Party
11:30pm – 1:00am

Doc Walker Boots and Hearts

Friday, August 11

Main Stage

Leaving Thomas
2:15pm – 2:45pm
Endless Summer
3:15pm – 3:45pm
Brooke Eden
4:15pm – 5:00pm
Frankie Ballard
5:30pm – 6:30pm
Dan + Shay
7:15pm – 8:30pm
Keith Urban
9:15pm – 10:45pm

Dan + Shay Boots and Hearts

Front Porch Stage

Sykamore
2:00pm – 2:25pm
Andrew Hyatt
2:45pm – 3:15pm
Jessica Mitchell
3:35pm – 4:20pm
Drake White and the Big Fire
4:45pm – 5:45pm
Kiefer Sutherland
6:15pm – 7:15pm
KX Country Late Night Dance Party
11:00pm – 1:00am

CMT Music Fest - Drake White & The Big Fire

SiriusXM House

Music Row Happy Hour with Buzz Brainard
4:00pm – 8:00pm

Saturday, August 12

Main Stage

The Abrams
2:30pm – 3:00pm
JJ Shiplett
3:30pm – 4:00pm
Aubrie Sellers
4:30pm – 5:15pm
Chad Brownlee
5:45pm – 6:45pm
Eli Young Band
7:30pm – 8:45pm
Brantley Gilbert
9:30pm – 11:00pm

Chad Brownlee Boots and Hearts 2015

Front Porch Stage

Patrick Dorie
2:00pm – 2:30pm
Nice Horse
3:00pm – 3:30pm
Jesse Gold
4:00pm – 4:30pm
Lindi Ortega
5:00pm – 6:00pm
Tucker Beathard
6:30pm – 7:30pm
Country 105 Late Night Dance Party
11:00pm – 1:00am

Tucker Beathard - The Rivoli

Sunday, August 13

Main Stage

Alee
2:00pm – 2:25pm
Dani Strong
2:45pm – 3:15pm
Delta Rae
3:40pm – 4:40pm
Cold Creek County
5:30pm – 6:30pm
Brett Eldredge
7:15pm – 8:30pm
Luke Bryan
9:15pm – 11:00pm

Luke Bryan Boots and Hearts

Front Porch Stage

Tomi Swick*
2:25pm – 2:55pm
Kelly Prescott
3:15pm – 3:45pm
Midland
4:30pm – 5:30pm
Jess Moskaluke
6:15pm – 7:15pm
Country 101.1, 93.5, 106.7 Late Night Dance Party
11:00pm – 1:00am

Jess Moskaluke Trackside Fest 2016

*Tomi Swick replaces Colt Walker on the B&H schedule.

Calgary Stampede 2017: Jess Moskaluke Photo Review

Jess Moskaluke is a Canadian country superstar. With three consecutive Female Artist of the Year wins at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards, she’s proved it. And on Tuesday, July 11, she hit the Nashville North Stage at the Calgary Stampede to show it in person.

I remember seeing her years ago in a small theatre in Ottawa, Ontario – and seeing how much she’s grown and achieved since then is insane!

Jess Moskaluke at the 2017 Calgary Stampede

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! 

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