Johnny Cash

10 Awesome Country Covers: Tom Petty Edition

It’s a well documented and quoted fact that the late Tom Petty had some issues with modern country music – but there is no denying the love that modern country artists have for him and the impact he made on them. If you need proof, have a listen to this list of Tom Petty country covers.

Solo stars, groups, men, women, legends and upstarts are all here. Every one of them inspired by the songs that Petty wrote, sang, and gave to the world.

There are more out there, with varying video quality, and some songs, like Free Fallin’, just have too many versions to fall in love with.

If you know of a country cover of a Tom Petty song that you think we should hear, please leave a comment with a link.

And if you have a favourite from this list, let us know which it is.

Rest in peace Mr. Petty. Thank you for the music.

George Strait – You Wreck Me

Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood – Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around

Charles Kelley – Southern Accents

Chris Stapleton – You Don’t Know How It Feels

Sugarland – American Girl

Marty Stuart – Runnin’ Down A Dream

Dierks Bentley & Mat Kearney – Learning To Fly

The Wailin’ Jennys – Wildflowers

Johnny Cash – I Won’t Back Down

Linda Ronstadt – The Waiting

El Rio: Frankie Ballard at Boots & Hearts 2017

When he was 19 years old, Frankie Ballard used to take trips across the border to Windsor, ON from Michigan to have a drink, a Cuban cigar, and gamble a little. But on Friday at Boots & Hearts 2017, Ballard came north to put on a show!

Frankie Ballard and the Wildcat Band hit the main stage looking like a million rockabilly bucks, and sounding just as good. Hell, they might be the coolest looking band we’ve seen on stage in a long, long time.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Frankie Ballard

From the very start, and all the way through their set, Frankie Ballard and the boys showed that they have the musical chops to hang with any live country band, and Ballard himself reminding everyone in the crowd that he can pick it on both his electric and acoustic guitars.

Along with the sweet instrumental sounds, Frankie Ballard’s voice rang true as he started his Boots & Hearts main stage set with Young & Crazy, and moved onto tracks like Little Bit Of Both, Started With A Beer, Helluva Life, El Camino, You’ll Accomp’ny Me, Sunshine & Whiskey, and more. And when Ballard launched into a cover of Johnny Cash’s Big River, we got a peek at what it might have looked like to see James Dean channeling Elvis while covering Cash.

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Frankie Ballard

Throughout the set fans were singing along with their favourites, dancing and swaying in the crowd, and having an overall great time. It’s important to remember these moments before the rains came – because they were a whole lot of fun!

When you get a chance to see Frankie Ballard playing on any stage, take it. When you get a chance to sing along, do it. And when you have a chance to look as cool as Frankie Ballard, go for it!

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CMT Music Fest 2016: Meghan Patrick on the Main Stage!

After watching Meghan Patrick play songwriter’s circles, side stages, and bars, we finally go to see what we’d been waiting for… main stage action!

In the sunshine before the Friday storm, Meghan and her band took over the CMT Music Fest main stage and brought all kinds of energy, enthusiasm, excitement, and talent up with them. The crowd had started to file in, and they weren’t shy about grabbing drinks, and pushing toward the stage to party. And from the minute she started playing Grace And Grit to start the show, boots tapped, heads nodded, and fans who have heard Meghan’s first 2 singles on radio or picked up her debut album were singing along.

When Meghan and the boys (5 of them) took the stage there was a nice big pop, the first of the day, and a great sign that people have started to take notice of her work and accomplishments on radio so far. It was great to see!

Meghan Patrick CMT Music Fest Set List

⍟ Grace & Grit
⍟ Long Way From Waylon
⍟ Be Country With Me
⍟ Jolene
⍟ I Believe In Beer
⍟ Son Of A Preacher Man/Folsom Prison Blues
⍟ Bow Chicka Wow Wow

In a sweet little moment, Meghan took a second to dedicate Bow Chicka Wow Wow to her boyfriend Jeff for his birthday.

With a big smile on her face, and energy to spare, it was clear that Meghan Patrick was ready for the opportunity to main stage at a major festival, and we know that this won’t be the last time we see her doing it – not even close!

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2 years ago

Country Music Needs to Stop Hating on Country Music

Country music needs to stop hating on country music!

Sam Hunt with guitar Wheels Up Tour Toronto June 2015If you’ve ever read the comment section of a Sam Hunt or Florida Georgia Line video, you know what I’m talking about. And if your gut reaction to that sentence is to say, “That’s not real country music”, I really hope you keep reading this post.

In the last few years we’ve seen the country charts include monster hits tagged as Bro Country, we’ve seen Kid Rock, Don Henley, and Steven Tyler release country records, we’ve lamented the evolution of Taylor Swift from Tim McGraw to Shake It Off, and we’ve also seen Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves celebrated by the country music community for their work.

All of this has happened in country music, and it has very clearly made some “True Country Fans” upset. Because they love Willie and Waylon and Kitty Wells and Loretta Lynn, they hate FGL and vocally attack their popular music as an affront to the genre that they love. They post memes about country music not being dead, just asleep, and waking up with Chris Stapleton. And I get it, people like what they like, and they don’t like what they don’t like. The issue right now is that the conversations don’t stop at “I don’t like this song/album/band”, they continue to “this isn’t country music”.

Our reality in country music in 2015 is that we’re still saddled with an outdated and overly simplified categorization of the genre. And an even more outdated view of what that means.

Brad Paisley Boots and Hearts 2015Brad Paisley’s Country Nation proudly boasts that there are over 2,000 stations playing country music in the United States. That’s an awesome number, but let’s step back for a second and really look at what rock and roll has done in its evolution.

From Elvis and Buddy Holly to U2 and Foo Fighters, rock and roll has changed. In any major North American market you’re bound to find a New Rock station, a Classic Rock station, Alt-Rock, Soft Rock, etc, etc, etc. And in record stores or online we see Pop Rock, Punk Rock, Prog Rock, Southern Rock, Metal, etc, etc, etc. But in country music we have country music.

Let’s call back for a minute to the “It’s not country” thing. Rock and roll fans love to hate Nickelback en masse, but they don’t try to claim that they aren’t a rock band, or that they don’t make rock music. See?

Luke Bryan Boots and Hearts 2014 Saturday NightThe entire genre, from Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr. to Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan sits under one category. One listing. One banner to hold all of the music we like and don’t like.

There is nothing wrong with writing, singing, buying, or loving new country music that is popular on radio and the Billboard charts. And there is nothing wrong with loving roots artists that are holding onto influence from Hall of Famers like Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton.

As media, fans, industry, and artists we need to stop creating bullshit rules and boundaries about what is Real Country Music and saying it’s wrong if a song doesn’t fit your personal description of country music.

We have one country music that all of us need to either embrace regardless of our tastes, or use as an excuse to keep on hating.

None of us have the right to say that a musical genre can’t evolve. That an artist can’t express themselves and explore something new. Or that an audience whose grandparents love Marty Robbins, can’t love Maddie & Tae.

The country music community has always preached a message of inclusivity, and that all are welcome if they love the music.

Well now it’s time to practice what we preach and understand that country music you don’t like, is still country music.

Welcome to 2015. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

2 years ago

Six Feet Under: Meet Riki Knox! [Interview]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 years ago

Started With A Song: Brett Kissel At Boots & Hearts 2014

Brett Kissel On Top of the Coors Banquet Trailer Boots and Hearts 2014

Boots and Hearts 2014 started with a bang on Thursday night, and Brett Kissel was a big reason why.

From the second Kissel stepped onto the SiriusXM Front Porch Stage to the second he finished his hour long set, the crowd was loud and engaged. With a mix of his own singles and covers like Thank God I’m A Country Boy, Callin’ Baton Rouge and We Will Rock You, he had hands clapping, feet dancing and people singing along to the music.

Brett Kissel in the crowd Boots and Hearts 2014Hell, he even climbed a Coors Banquet tractor trailer and sang his party anthem, Raise Your Glass mixed with a little bit of Def Leppard’s classic Pour Some Sugar On Me.

Early in the afternoon we had a chance to sit down with Brett Kissel on the Gibson Guitars tour bus to ask a few questions about what he’s listening to, playing major festivals, and the Canadian Country Music Awards.

I asked Brett what his favourite part of playing big festivals like Boots & Hearts is and he told us that it starts with the crowd. Being able to have 35,000 country music fans in 1 place together is something that you don’t get every night. He used Toronto country bar (1 of my favourite spots in the city) Boots & Bourbon as an example saying it would take 35 shows in a place like that to get what you do at a big festival like this.

I also asked Brett the same question that I asked The Reklaws a few months ago, Who are the top 3 most played artists on your iTunes right now? But 3 wasn’t enough… so we ended up with a list of 5 artists that Brett Kissel (and his wife Cecilia) listen to most often.

Here’s his list:
Dallas Smith
Dean Brody
Brooks & Dunn
George Strait

And because I grew up singing along to country music on the radio I asked Kissel who he grew up singing along to in Flat Lake, Alberta. He told us that in the last few years he’s keyed in on country legends like Brooks & Dunn and George Strait, boasting that he could probably pick up his guitar and play any of Strait’s 60 #1 hits. He added that he started singing along to classic country artists like Buck Owens and Johnny Cash, which will make all of the grand-parents and pure country fans happy with the 22 year old Canadian hit maker.

We asked Brett 2 questions about the CCMA’s coming up… neither of them were easy to answer, so we don’t blame him one bit for hedging.

Canadian Country Music Association Logo1) Pick a winner in the Female Artist of the Year category.
He wouldn’t… when he finished telling us that Jess Moskaluke, Mackenzie Porter, and Kira Isabella all had a chance to win and wouldn’t be a considered an upset if they did he apologized for giving such a Miss America answer and told us that it was impossible to make a pick after becoming friends with all of the artists.

2) Which of his 8 nominations would he most like to win?
Again, too hard to choose. But he did mention that being named Male Artist of the Year would be a thrill, and that being recognized for the video to 3,2,1 would be great.

Note: There’s a strong chance that Brett Kissel leaves the Canadian Country Music Awards with more than 1 trophy this year and many other years before his career is over.

Brett Kissel owned the Boots & Hearts crowd on Thursday night and was fantastic in bringing to life songs like 3,2,1, Tough People Do, and Started With A Song, which he used to finish his set, thank the crowd and leave the stage as grateful, humble and awesome as he was when we met him on the bus just a few hours earlier.

Look for Brett Kissel to remain a name that you hear over and over again on country radio, CMT and award show nomination lists for a long, long time.

Work Hard. Play Harder. Be Awesome.

Check out more awesome pictures of Brett on the bus and on stage on Trish’s blog HERE.

Brett Kissel on Stage at Boots and Hearts 2014

Brett Kissel Bus Interview Boots and Hearts 2014

Brett Kissel Gibson Bus Interview Boots and Hearts 2014

3 years ago
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