Thomas Rhett

Boots & Hearts 2018 Lineup Announcement #1: Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Thomas Rhett, and more

Boots and Hearts is one of the biggest weekends on our calendar every summer. We’ve been at each of the first six festivals, and are looking forward to lucky number seven in 2018.

And now we know who to start getting excited for as B&H have announced their first round of performers, including three headliners that will take the main stage and run the show at Burl’s Creek.

We don’t know which night each Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, and Thomas Rhett will take the stage, but we’ll be ready to share that info with y’all when it becomes available.

Now, let’s have a look at the first six names on the Boots and Hearts 2018 artist roster…

Florida Georgia Line

Back again after a Sunday night gig as headliners, Florida Georgia Line, will hit the Boots and Hearts stage in front of tens of thousands of fans who should be in a party mood.

Yes, this is Florida Georgia Line, so there will be a whole bunch of people who complain about their return to the festival… but the truth is that Tyler and BK are headlining stars who know how to command a crowd, have a list of radio hits, and put on a show.

If we’re lucky (fingers crossed) we’ll hear the entire crowd singing along to H.O.L.Y. like we did in Toronto in 2016. It was an amazing live music moment, and we’d love to try to duplicate it at B&H 2018.

Florida Georgia Line Boots and Hearts 2015

Alan Jackson

I’m not entirely sure that I’ve processed this news to its complete extent yet. True story.

Alan Jackson is one of the country music stars that shaped my fandom when I was young. I listened and learned and sang along… and as when he starts singing Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow, Don’t Rock The Jukebox, and Chattahoochee, I’ll be the adult feeling like a kid who’s singing along as loud as I can.

This is huge. Really big. I’m excited.

Thomas Rhett

In our Boots & Hearts 2018 predictions post I included Thomas Rhett as the bonus name… and we nailed it!

Rhett’s Life Changes album will give him an expanded live library, and his showmanship and entertainment value are sure to get the crowd going. We know he loves to dance, and we’re sure we’ll see it on Crash And Burn, and we can’t wait to hear new songs like Smooth Like Summer and Sixteen this August.

We said we wanted to see Thomas Rhett in a headlining role – and here he is.

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015

Billy Currington

Currington has 11 US Country Airplay #1 hits, and six other songs that made it into the Top 5 on the country music charts. He’s been making music that’s been hitting country radio since 2003, and we’re finally going to see the Georgia native at Boots and Hearts this year.

We can’t wait to sing along to Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right, People Are Crazy, and the Sam Hunt penned, We Are Tonight. It’s gonna be fun!

Dallas Smith

One of the biggest country music stars in Canada is coming back to Canada’s biggest country music festival… and it’s going to be good.

We’ve seen Dallas Smith headline Thursday night’s kick off party, we’ve seen him main stage as the evening crowd poured in, we’ve seen him play arenas and amphitheatre stages – and this dude rocks every stage.

Related: Side Effects Tour: Dallas Smith, The Cadillac Three and Friends Rock Oshawa

Be ready for the hits, high energy, and the chance to give some Canadian love to Dallas Smith next summer!

Dallas Smith CNE 2015

Brett Young

Here’s another we got right in the prediction post… and man we’re happy about it. Brett Young is an emerging star and he’s got a ton of talent.

He’s going to get up on that stage, and he’s going to kill with songs like Sleep Without You, In Case You Didn’t Know, and Like I Loved You. Be ready for it to get loud and happy and give you goosebumps when the country music loving crowd starts singing along.

Stay tuned for more names to be added to the Boots and Hearts 2018 lineup – and if you’re wondering who else we predicted for next year, check out our 15 Boots & Hearts 2018 Artist Predictions.

2 days ago 1 Comment Views

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

2 months ago Views

Life Changes: Thomas Rhett Album Review

Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes may be the most aptly titled album of 2017. The new father of two has now released his third studio album, has already gone to number one on the US Country Airplay chart with Craving You, and is set to keep that momentum going.

Life Changes is a monster album, with 14 total tracks, guest appearances by his dad, Rhett Akins, on Drink A Little Beer and Maren Morris on the CMA Musical Event and Music Video of the Year nominated, Craving You, and the potential for as many as 7 or more radio singles. From start to finish, this is unmistakably a Thomas Rhett album, in all the best ways.

Note: if Thomas Rhett truly is announcing a comeback record from his pops, Rhett Akins, on Drink A Little Beer, we’re excited about it and ready for it!

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015

Life Changes is an album that isn’t afraid to take chances. Just like he did on his last record, Tangled Up, Thomas Rhett mixes in his own personal style with the country music he grew up on. The title track and Smooth Like The Summer are perfect examples, with different vibes, they both bring a beat in the background and unique touch, and they’re both reminiscent of the feelings I got when I first heard Crash And Burn.

At the risk of being too bold on the prediction front… I’m going to say here and now that Marry Me, the fifth track on the album, is poised to be a number one single if Rhett and his team make the decision to release it to radio. The heartbreaking story is pure country, dripping with emotion, sadness, and ‘play it on repeat in the dark while drinking whiskey’ potential.

Thomas Rhett has become a leading man in country music. With headlining tour dates, a 2017 CMA Male Vocalist of the Year nomination, and eight number one singles on the US Country Airplay charts, he’s made it. And with this third album putting him firmly in the country music spotlight, still only at the age of 27 years old, he’s got the opportunity to stay there for a long time to come.

One of my favourite moments on the record comes during Life Changes when Rhett rhymes, “And I wrote a little song about holding her hand/ And now everybody wanna die happy, man”. It’s autobiographical, it’s sweet, and (to me) it’s perfect.

There are other highlights, lyrics, and tracks that I could go on and on about, but it comes down to this… Life Changes is a country record that will take you from feeling emotional to feeling like you want to dance. It tells stories, it takes changes, and it plays for more than 45 minutes of listening pleasure. Pressing play and letting the music wash over you is a great decision if you’re a Thomas Rhett fan, a country fan, or if you’re looking to broaden your musical horizons.

Thomas Rhett, Life Changes Tracklist

1. Craving You w/ Maren Morris
2. Unforgettable
3. Sixteen
4. Drink A Little Beer w/ Rhett Akins
5. Marry Me
6. Leave Right Now
7. Smooth Like The Summer
8. Life Changes
9. When You Look Like That
10. Sweetheart
11. Kiss Me Like A Stranger
12. Renegades
13. Gateway Love
14. Grave

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2 months ago Views

Country Thunder Calgary 2017: Thomas Rhett Photo Review

Thomas Rhett is a new daddy x2, has a new album on the way, and rolled into Calgary to light up the Country Thunder stage. And the 27 year old Georgia native didn’t disappoint!

Check out the pics, a little video of Rhett getting the crowd in a dancing mood, and be ready for Life Changes on September 8, 2017!

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3 months ago Views

Boots & Hearts Preview: Andrew Hyatt & Alee Q&A

Boots & Hearts is coming, and it’s easy to tell you it’s one of our favourite weekends of the summer. It’s also easy to tell you that we’re excited to see Alee and Andrew Hyatt hit the stage to sing their songs.

These two Wax Records artists are coming to B&H to show the country music crowd what they have to offer… and if you haven’t seen them before, you’re in for a treat. And, if you have seen them, you know why you want to be there at the front of the stage to see each of their sets.

To get us all ready, we hooked up with Alee and Andrew for a little pre-festival Q&A action. We’d like to thank them both for their honesty, humour and use of emojis.

Q: What three words would you use to describe the feeling of getting up on a big stage in front of a bunch of rowdy country music fans?

Alee: Adrenaline-rush
Exhilarating
Wing-ding

Andrew: Hot and Heavy 🙂

Q: Which act are you most excited to see at Boots & Hearts this year?

Alee: Been a huge Eli Young Band since I was in junior high… so excited to finally see them live!!… but I mean, also, Brett Eldredge… 😍

Andrew: Keith Urban is definitely always a great show. Definitely looking forward to seeing as many of the acts as possible!

 

Q: How has the reception of your new music been with crowds so far in 2017?

Alee: Honestly, could not ask for more love from the fans! It has been pretty amazing to see social media posts with lyrics, or little messages about what certain songs mean to them… and it’s always magical to see them singing along at shows! I’m pretty blessed!

Andrew: It’s been amazing to see such a positive response to the current single and the record! It’s what drives me to keep going!

Q: Which Andrew Hyatt song is your favourite?

Alee: For starters – every Andrew Hyatt tune is a jam. I just tend to jam extra-hard when Goodbye Gone comes on.
Q:  Which Alee song is your favourite?

Andrew: Hard to pick! I love Bad Habit! Such a great hook!
Related: Iron & Ashes: Andrew Hyatt Album Review and Q&A

Q: Can you tell us something about you that we wouldn’t find in a Google search?

Alee: I used to play saxophone in a jazz band.

Andrew: I’m on Bumble haha

Q: If we got a look at your playlist right now, who would the top 3 artists be?

Alee: Rihanna, Rascal Flatts, and Thomas Rhett

Andrew: Jason Isbell, Donovan Woods, and Needtobreathe

CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt

 

Q: What is your number #1 festival tip for the fans?

Alee: Check out as many artists you don’t know as possible! Never know when you’ll find a new fave!

Andrew: Hydrate, and for the love of God shower at least once! 😂

Catch both of these homegrown Canadian talents at Boots & Hearts 2017… and if you don’t have tickets yet, what are you waiting for? Click Here! 

4 months ago Views

Country Thunder: Returning to Calgary for 2017!

With four amazing locations, Country Thunder is back again in 2017 and bigger then ever! With festivals in Florence, AZ, Craven, SK, Twin Lakes, WI and Calgary, AB everyone can have the opportunity to put on their cowboy boots and dance to an amazing lineup all weekend long!

Get ready for a weekend full of incredible entertainers in Calgary, Alberta, August 18-20th!

Country Thunder Lineup,
Calgary 2017!

★ Brad Paisley
★ Thomas Rhett
★ Blake Shelton
★ Randy Houser
★ Dallas Smith
★ Old Dominion
★ Chase Bryant
★ James Barker Band
★ Joe Nichols
★ The Dungarees
★ The Washboard Union
★ The Road Hammers
★ Ryan Hurd
★ Terri Clark
★ High Valley

Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley Boots and Hearts 2015
Dallas Smith
Dallas Smith Boots and Hearts 2015

I don’t know about you, but I am extremely excited to have male vocalist of the year & song of the year winner Thomas Rhett as one of the headliners! I am very thrilled to see what he has in store for everyone. We’re also lucky to have critically acclaimed singer and songwriter Brad Paisley who has won numerous awards in his career and is constantly taking over the charts. We also can’t forget about the hilarious Blake Shelton… five-time male vocalist of the year, Grammy nominee and one of my favourite judges on this season of The Voice.

Don’t worry we didn’t forget about the other remarkable artists taking over the stages at this years festival! I am looking forward to experiencing the diversity all these artists will bring; from heart filled songs to heart breaks, celebrating the weekend, grabbing a beer with your friends, and growing up in a small town – this festival will have all of your country needs checked off.

Due to the festival being 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 worth for free. Try not to wait to long to purchase tickets to Calgary’s Country Thunder though, as limited tickets are remaining for the full weekend festival.

Grab you’re cowboy hat, wear your best dancing shoes and get ready to experience everything that Country Thunder has to offer!

Thomas RhettThomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley
Old Dominion
Old Dominion Boots and Hearts 2015Chase Bryant
Chase Bryant BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016James Barker Band
James Barker Band SiriusXM Fan Stage BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016The Washboard Union
Washboard Union CMT Music FestThe Road Hammers
The Road Hammers Boots and Hearts 2015

7 months ago Views

thereviewsarein.com Playlist: Joshua’s Karaoke Classics!

In 2017 we have a goal of sharing some awesome playlists with you. Playlists curated by artists and friends from the music industry, and for festivals, and just because we believe in the power and importance of sharing music. So to get us started we have a playlist from Joshua…

If you know Josh, you know he loves karaoke. So here we are with some of his personal karaoke classics. You will get some country and some rock and roll. You will get some old and some new. But more importantly, you’ll get 20 songs that he’s sung live, in front of a crowd, with a microphone in one hand and maybe a drink in the other.

1. The Weight – The Band
2. Rain Down On Me – Blue Rodeo
3. Mr. Brightside – The Killers
4. What Was I Thinkin’ – Dierks Bentley
5. Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies
6. Take Your Time – Sam Hunt
7. Everlong – Foo Fighters
8. Tennessee Whiskey – Chris Stapleton
9. Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
10. You And I – Lady Gaga
11. Whiskey Girl – Toby Keith
12. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
13. Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band
14. No Sugar Tonight – The Guess Who
15. If You Could Only See – Tonic
16. Boys ‘Round Here – Blake Shelton ft. The Pistol Annies & Friends
17. Somebody Like You – Keith Urban
18. I’m The Only One – Melissa Ethridge
19. Get Me Some Of That – Thomas Rhett
20. Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler

And because we know Joshua isn’t the only one out there that likes to kick it at karaoke, we want you to leave a comment with your favourite karaoke jams. There just might a prize up for grabs!

Joshua at Karaoke in Ottawa, July 2007.

Joshua’s birthday karaoke in Toronto, February 2014.

10 months ago Views

My Girl: Dylan Scott at Boots & Hearts 2016!

Few artists packed the tent at the Boots & Hearts Front Porch stage the way Dylan Scott did, and there’s little wonder as to why after seeing him perform for the second August in a row.

Yes, it’s true that Scott came back to Canada without the benefit of an album’s worth of material fully familiar to fans. But he did bring some singles, some covers, and some new songs that we’re all going to know really soon… with his self titled debut album coming out Friday, August 12!

Dylan Scott brings the whole package to the stage. He’s got catchy, upbeat songs to pull you in, he’s got sweeter, sexier tracks to keep you going, he’s got a deep, powerful voice that has been described as a mix of leather and whiskey, and those arms and eyes and beard and… ya, ok, he’s handsome.

On Sunday at #BH5 Dylan brought all of that and more to an energized and enthusiastic crowd that sang his songs, and the covers he played, back to him with all kinds of volume and precision. You could see in his eyes that he may not have expected it, but at the same time he was soaking it in and enjoying it. And the fans were enjoying things too.

Dylan Scott BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016

The 25 year old showed his ability to work the crowd by telling stories about his songs…

‣ The story for My Girl was adorable, and started with that line about his high school girlfriend, now wife, turning to rap Eminem’s Lose Yourself directly into his face and loving every second of it.

‣ The story behind Beer Buddies was just as sweet, but in a different way, celebrating the bonds of friendship and loyalty between truly good friends… plus the inspiration came from a friend’s Facebook status.

‣ And the story of growing up listening to the country countdown radio show, dreaming of hearing his name and his song someday becoming a reality when Crazy Over Me did just that for him was the kind of thing you hope little kids hear and pushes them to go after their dreams too.

Dylan Scott BH5 Boots and Hearts 2016The bottom line is this, Dylan Scott has “it” and is ready to break out… and I’m ready to predict right now that this album is going to help him do just that. I don’t know if he’s going to reach Thomas Rhett level success with his break, but if Dylan keeps pushing forward with new music, more shows, and the excellent work he does on social media (seriously, he’s worth a follow on Facebook) there’s no doubting that he’ll continue to see more and more new fans singing the words back to him when he’s playing on stage.

Check out the set list, more pics, and a little video clip of Dylan paying tribute to his hero Keith Whitley…

Dylan Scott Set List, Boots & Hearts 2016

My Town
Ball Cap
Lay It On Me
Makin’ This Boy Go Crazy
Passenger Seat
When You Say Nothing At All – Keith Whitley
Check Yes Or No – George Strait
Sorry/ Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
Daddy’s Money – Ricochet
Can’t Take Her Anywhere
Beer Buddies
Crazy Over Me
My Girl


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1 year ago Views

Rock On: Tucker Beathard in Toronto!

With a quick hello, thank you for coming out, and “I’m gonna play you some songs I wrote”, Tucker Beathard took a seat on the Rivoli stage in Toronto and started a Monday night showcase for the intimate crowd in the back room.

The 21 year old from Nashville was comfortable on stage, and after a long day with Toronto media, we’re sure it felt nice to just get up and sing some songs with his guitar. Beathard presents as a singer-songwriter, introducing tracks with short stories and explanations, doing his best to share why he writes what he does. And then he starts playing and singing and it all comes together in one nice package.

Tucker Beathard - The RivoliNote: At one point Tucker gave praise to his dad, who also writes (Kenny Chesney’s Boys Of Fall, Eric Church’s Homeboy) and taught him the importance of writing truth and real life.

As talented a songwriter as the budding star is, it’s easy to see that he’s blossoming as a performer and singer as well. His guitar playing was fantastic and intricate, and his voice has country radio written all over it – which you know because there’s little doubt that you’ve heard Rock On over the airwaves in the last few weeks.

Tucker sang four songs for us on Monday night, all originals, all his own, and all easy to sit and relax and listen to and fall into.

Tucker Beathard Toronto Showcase Set List

✪ Momma and Jesus
✪ Ride On
✪ God And My Guitar
✪ Whiskey In A Wine Glass

Tucker Beathard - The RivoliNote: As Beathard worked through his songs I was reminded of early Thomas Rhett, not in the voice or an imitation way, but in the way he presents himself and sings his songs and believes in every lyric he’s singing.

Momma And Jesus can be found on Tucker’s The Demos – Vol. 1 EP (along with Rock On) which you can give a listen to online now… and you should. And the three other songs lead us to believe that there will more music before long from Beathard on Dot Records.

Tucker Beathard’s story includes a torn labrum that ended his college baseball career before it began, and resulted in his full-time move to music. As a sports fan you never want to wish an injury on someone, but this time, it feels like it paid off in all the right ways for this singer/songwriter on the rise.

Tucker Beathard: Whiskey In A Wine Glass


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2 years ago Views

Six String Circus Tour Photo Review: Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, A Thousand Horses

On Thursday, May 12 a country powerhouse concert rolled into Oshawa’s General Motor’s Centre and damn near blew the roof off of the arena!

Jason Aldean’s We Were Here Tour brought the headliner – Aldean + Thomas Rhett & A Thousand Horses to town as part of their Canadian leg, and the fans were 100% ready. All three acts did a great job of providing a Thursday night party, and we have the pics to prove it.

Have a look, and next time any of these guys come to a city near you – go see them!

Jason Aldean

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Thomas Rhett

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A Thousand Horses

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2 years ago Views

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 3

Twice before we’ve shared lists of 10 awesome country covers of pop songs… and now we’re back with a 3rd list to share.

10 More Awesome Country Covers

10 More Awesome Country Covers: Part 2

This time we’ve got songs from Canadian stars, Nashville hitmakers, emerging talent, a double shot of 1 of the biggest songs in a long time, and 2 tracks from one of our current favourites. Some of these were recorded recently, some are a couple years old, but there’s a strong chance that many of you haven’t heard nearly all of these versions.

Have a listen to the ones you haven’t heard before and leave a comment telling us which country artists have recorded pop/rock covers that you love!

Thomas Rhett: When I Was Your Man

Miley Cyrus: Jolene

Cam: Uptown Funk

Cam: Hello

Cory Marquardt: Sorry

The Band Perry: Fat Bottom Girls

Madeline Merlo: Crazy/Crazy In Love

Eric Ethridge: Honey I’m Good

Kira Isabella: Dark Horse

Chad Brownlee: Thinking Out Loud

Dylan Scott: Thinking Out Loud

2 years ago Views

Favourites Of 2015: A Year In Review!

2015 has been an awesome year for us at thereviewarein.com. We’ve had the chance to see more shows, cover more festivals, talk to more artists, have more fun, and share more content with all of you.

And now, as we get closer to the end of the year, Trish and I are looking back at 2015 and trying our best (it’s not easy) to pick our favourite things.

We cover a lot of country… but that’s not all, so we’ve got country and non-country categories to share, and a few runners-up, because sometimes picking 1 clear favourite in a category wasn’t even a little bit easy.

Here’s hoping that 2016 is just as awesome – and that you’ve enjoyed all the music you’ve found and seen and listened to in 2015.

Keep being awesome!

Favourite Live Performance of the Year: Country

Eric Church Boots and Hearts 2015Josh… Eric Church: On Saturday night at Boots & Hearts I got to see Eric Church up on stage for the first time. It wasn’t a set full of small talk. It was a set full of hits. From start to finish it was guitars and singing and everything that I wanted to see. The highlight of the night was These Boots, when dozens of cowboy boots flew up on the catwalk and Church picked each one of them up, signed them with a Sharpie and tossed them back into the crowd so the owner could get it back. It was a highlight for a lot of people that weekend. Would definitely see this dude again.

Dean Brody Boots and Bourbon Toronto 2015Trish… Dean Brody at Boots and Bourbon (club show): I’m the worst at picking just one. Dean Brody at Boots and Bourbon was an invite only, up close and personal show and I was so close I could have reached out and touched Dean. His energy was palpable and the packed club barely knew the words to his brand new CD. Did I mention how sweet, adorable and handsome this man is?

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts 2015Thomas Rhett (big stage): Up on the big stage Thomas Rhett was the big winner for me. Bright flowery shirt, drink in his hand, smile on his face with the sun shining down, winner. Engaging, entertaining, super fun to watch. Thomas moves likes he can’t stop and those dance moves, the audience loves them! This was my favourite performance at Boots & Hearts and that’s a tough spot to win.

Favourite Live Performance of the Year: Non-Country

Neil Young WayHome 2015Josh… Neil Young: WayHome 2015 It was the first, and likely the last, time that I saw Neil Young on stage. It was 3 hours that I’ll never get back, and wouldn’t want to. Because for all of the anti-GMO speeches and weird on stage activities, he’s still Neil Young. He’s still Rockin’ In The Free World. He’s still Heart Of Gold. He’s still a legend. And with an average song length of somewhere around 7 and a half minutes, there were plenty of extended guitar solos and jam sessions that brought smiles to old Uncle Neil’s face.

Runner-Up… Kendrick Lamar headlining on Saturday night at WayHome. He killed it for his entire set. And, I have to give a nod to Walk The Moon for their performance of Shut Up And Dance, they nearly blew the tent off the stage.

The Lazys Toronto Horseshoe TavernTrish… The Lazys (club show): It might be because it’s so fresh in my memory but the energy The Lazys put out at The Horseshoe was ridiculous! I could have watched this show over and over, night after night. Non-stop, insanely talented, catchy, make you wanna get up and dance, scream and jump up and down, loud experience. I can’t stop listening to them and you can’t make me. I hope when they return to Canada we get the chance to sit down again for ribs and a brownie.

Kendrick Lamar WayHome Art and Music Festival-9262-2Kendrick Lamar/Taylor Swift (big stage): Sorry I can’t choose between Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift, so I won’t. Kendrick’s performance at WayHome this past summer left me feeling changed. He touched me and the rest of the 35,000 who showed up. Powerful stuff. But I have to include Taylor. So amazingly put together, this sold out show made me so happy I cried, and I wasn’t alone. Keith Urban showing up as the special guest was the icing on the cake.

Favourite Award Show/TV Performance of the Year

Josh… Stapleton/Timberlake: Tennessee Whiskey/Drink You Away There are a lot of people that would pick this performance as the best of the year. For 8 minutes, through 2 songs, these 2 super talented dudes tore it up. The country industry has long loved Stapleton, and the entire world loves Timberlake, and when they got together on that stage it was damn near magic.

Favourite Album of the Year: Country

Dean Brody Gypsy Road Album CoverTrish… Dean Brody: Gypsy Road Put it this way, I put this CD in my car on April 21st and it’s still in the CD player. I played nothing but this album for weeks, never turning on the radio. It’s on both of my phones and in my iTunes library. The first track, first single Upside Down with its catchy opening whistle was the perfect thing to get things started. But the real question for me was, how many times did I hit the restart button for track 4 – Burning Down the House to hear Dean say ‘Banjo’. Too many times to count! A solid album from beginning to end with three radio singles including the newest one, Love Would Be Enough and who’s to say there won’t be more.

Brett Kissel PICK ME UP album coverJosh… Brett Kissel: Pick Me Up Celebrated by iTunes, CBC Music, and fans all across Canada, Kissel’s Pick Me Up is a great album that I played on repeat as soon as I got my grubby little hands on it. And it’s a bonus that it sounds great live. From the 1st single, Airwaves, to my personal favourite, Pick Me Up, and even the 2 tracks that get me a little chocked up – Feet Back On The Ground & I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair, this is a great album that I’m happy to have in my rotation.

Runner-Up… 2014 releases Montevallo (Sam Hunt) & Lifted (Dallas Smith) spent a lot of time on my playlists this year, and Cam’s debut album, Untamed is well on its way to doing the same. A lot of great country music out there!

Favourite Album of the Year: Non-Country

Taylor Swift 1989 Album CoverTrish… Taylor Swift: 1989 / Hozier: Hozier Who wasn’t listening to Taylor Swift’s 1989 this year? In an elevator on my way up to work I ran into 4 colleagues. To be polite we remove our headphones and I ask, “so what are you listening to?” Taylor, Taylor, Taylor, Taylor… yeah me too! Not a single song to skip on this album. Technically released in 2014 I’m including it because she did just wrap this tour!

A close second though is Hozier so many plays, so many great songs. Another late 2014 release this album garnered platinum and gold status all over the world. With five singles to date this album was a big part of my music history this past year.

Ryan Adams 1989 Cover ArtJosh… Ryan Adams: 1989 Is this cheating a little bit? Maybe.

But Adams’ covers of Taylor Swift’s songs were perfect for me. I loved the way he changed them just enough to make them something different – and turned Welcome To New York & All You Had To Do Was Stay into favourite cuts for me. I wrote about the album when it came out and said, As a 33 year old dude, I feel like Ryan Adams’ version of Taylor Swift’s 1989 was recorded specifically for me.”. It still feels that way 3 months later.

Favourite EP of the Year: Country

Jess_Moskaluke Kiss Me Quiet EPJosh… Jess Moskaluke: Kiss Me Quiet Yes, I would rather have had a a full length album, but I’m not here to look a gift horse in the mouth. I don’t have a “skip” song the 6 track EP and the added acoustic versions of Kiss Me Quiet and Lightning Bolt are great too. And yes, I hope that next time we get a new album from Jess there are 12 songs on it. But for now, I’ll keep playing the Kiss Me Quiet collection as often as I please.

Runner-Up… Cam: Welcome To Cam Country This was our true introduction to one of Country’s newest stars. With a 4 song EP (My Mistake, Runaway Train, Half Broke Heart, Burning House) she got folks ready for the full length Untamed.

Favourite EP of the Year: Non-Country

Poor Young Things Force of NatureTrish… Poor Young Things: Force of Nature Six songs, all great with a slightly different feel. I’m hooked. From the beginning Like An Animal to the last note of Hurricane, catchy, interesting, great lyrics and hooks. I find myself wondering if in person meetings and live performances are impacting my choices. I think yes!

Birds of Bellwoods: The Fifth A big fan of this band since coming across them in the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artists list their EP The Fifth is quiet, dark and haunting. Great lyrics, amazing voices and super talented musicians, this one stayed with me.

Favourite Photoshoot of the Year

St. Vincent WayHome Art and Music Festival-Trish… St. Vincent: I’d never heard of her. I know! I’m sorry. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. From the second she hit the stage I was mesmerized. Gorgeous, interesting, striking angles, that smile and those eyes! I took so many shots of her and there were so many good ones, it was very hard to narrow it down for the actual post.

Favourite Surprise of the Year

Rick Springfield-8898Trish… I started listening the week before the CNE show. I was surprised how much back catalog there was. I had an amazing time at the show and when I checked Spotify, my most played artist… Rick Springfield. And not what you’d think, it wasn’t Jessie’s Girl but Our Ship’s Sinking off the latest album – Songs for the End of the World, that got the most song plays. Who knew?

Favourite Interview of the Year

Small Town Pistols Boots and Hearts 2015Josh… Small Town Pistols We sat down with Amanda and Tyler at Boots & Hearts and had an awesome time. They had just come from the main stage, drinks in hand, and we all got comfortable while we talked about the music, their dad, the new record, and even the fact that my brother used to share a school bus seat with Tyler way back in the day. I’ve been listening to The Wilkinsons since the mid-90s, and to be able to interview these 2 was a good memory for the year.

Poor Young Things HMV TorontoTrish… Poor Young Things Shout out goes to Strut Entertainment for thinking this one up. Meet the band at HMV, chat about music, buy stuff with gift cards and then give away an album and a gift card to our readers! Favourite interview of the year.

Favourite Festival of the Year

High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015Josh & Trish… Boots & Hearts Between the 2 of us we saw a bunch of festivals this year, but Boots & Hearts is at the top of both of our lists.

The opportunity to see 4 days of awesome country music + the chance to sit down with The Stellas, Small Town Pistols, High Valley, The Road Hammers, Jess Moskaluke, The Reklaws… it was a great weekend, and continues to build on a “family” feeling every year for us.

Favourite Memory of the Year

Scott Weiland Meet and Greet Toronto, CMW 2015Josh… Scott Weiland Meet & Greet It was the end of the night, everyone had left the Mod Club, and I got a tap on my shoulder. Just minutes later I was standing side by side with Scott Weiland, arms over each other’s shoulders, ridiculous smile on my face, and caught on camera forever.

It was an awesome way to end a night when the now passed rock and roller brought his A game to the stage in Toronto.

Jason McCoy Red Carpet CMAO Awards 2015-3739Trish… Jason McCoy at the CMAOs An already amazing night had a cherry put on top. 

I’m sitting in the hallway of The Flato Markham Theatre, trying to get some juice in my battery for the next round of performances and awards, and someone comes and sits beside me and picks up their phone, which was already hanging out of the socket. Oh, it’s only Jason McCoy, the host. We chatted about technology and better batteries.

Thanks to everyone who helped make 2015 so great for us, and so hard to pick our favourites. And thank you to everyone who Liked and Shared and Retweeted their favourite posts from thereviewsarein.com during the year.

We love you all.

Happy Holidays & An Awesome New Year!

2 years ago Views

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 Views

Tangled Up: Thomas Rhett at Boots & Hearts 2015!

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3389With the sun still shining, the headline crowd rolling in, and a blue solo cup in his hand, Thomas Rhett took advantage of his time on the Boots & Hearts main stage by putting on a show that definitely made him some new fans.

After having seen Thomas play an acoustic show at Toronto’s Rock ‘n’ Horse Saloon a few months ago, we were excited to hear his music with the sound and energy of a full band – and we weren’t let down. From the start of the set with South Side, to the Crash And Burn finale, Thomas Rhett Akins, Jr. showed the Canadian crowd why he’s a rising star in country music.

Note: We loved the flowered shirt that Thomas wore on Sunday. This is new country. You don’t need a cowboy hat to play the game…

Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3524

Thomas Rhett’s set also included 2 new songs from his upcoming Tangled Up album (available September 25, 2015) that we hadn’t heard before, but certainly have made us excited for the release. Be ready for T-Shirt and Die A Happy Man to hit radio, YouTube, and iTunes.

And while this show was a party, and there was singing and dancing (shaking your hips would surely be mandatory if Rhett had his way) – I also got unexpectedly choked up when he played an acoustic version of Beer With Jesus and thousands of people sang along with him.

Check out the set list, more pics and be ready for more coming soon!

Thomas Rhett Boots & Hearts Set List

:wacko: South Side
:wacko: You Make Me Wanna
:wacko: Uptown Funk
:wacko: It Goes Like This
:wacko: T-Shirt
:wacko: Die A Happy Man
:wacko: Beer With Jesus
:wacko: Something To Do With My Hands
:wacko: Parking Lot Party (with an interlude medley of Dust On The Bottle, The Joker, Free Fallin’, Angel)
:wacko: Get Me Some Of That
:wacko: Crash And Burn

Work Hard. Play Harder. Be Awesome!Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3417Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3521Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3393Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3492Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3527Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3401-2Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3436Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3709Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3625Thomas Rhett Boots and Hearts -3633

 

2 years ago Views

2015 Boots & Hearts Day-to-Day Schedule and Set Times

Alright country music fans, if you’re going to Boots & Hearts you can start planning out your weekend.

The day-to-day lineups have been announced, and now on the Boots & Hearts website we’ve found the daily schedules and stage assignments for each and every act on the weekend bill. Have a look and let us know who you’re most excited for, and what scheduling conflicts are giving you the most trouble!

Note: There could be changes here and even new acts added in, nothing is really written in stone except for maybe the last 3 acts on the Main Stage each day. And as always, weather can be a factor.

Thursday, August 6

The Road HammersFront Porch Stage

The Reklaws: 5:00 – 5:45pm
Jess Moskaluke: 6:00 – 6:45pm
Old Dominion: 7:00 – 7:45pm
Blackjack Billy: 8:00 – 9:00pm
The Road Hammers: 9:30 – 11:00pm

Friday, August 7

Austin WebbFront Porch Stage

Open Sky: 11:00 – 11:30am
Abby Stewart: 11:45am – 12:15pm
Kate Suhr: 12:30 – 1:15pm
Kaitlin Kozell: 1:30 – 2:15pm
Ty Baynton: 2:30 – 3:15pm
Jesse Labelle: 3:30 – 4:15pm
Dylan Scott: 4:30 – 5:30pm
Austin Webb: 6:00 – 7:00pm

Brad PaisleyMain Stage

The Lovelocks: 1:15 – 2:00pm
Small Town Pistols: 2:30 – 3:30pm
Maddie & Tae: 4:00 – 5:00pm
High Valley: 5:30 – 6:30pm
Justin Moore: 7:15 – 8:30pm
Brad Paisley: 9:00 – 11:00pm

Saturday, August 8

Front Porch Stage

MacArthur Clark: 4:30 – 5:30pm
David Nail: 6:00 – 7:00pm

Eric ChurchMain Stage

Jesse Labelle: 1:00 – 2:00pm
MacKenzie Porter: 2:30 – 3:30pm
The Stellas (with Lennon & Maisy): 4:00 – 5:00pm
Chad Brownlee: 5:30 – 6:00pm
Little Big Town: 7:00 – 8:30pm
Eric Church: 9:00 – 11:00pm

Sunday, August 9

Frankie BallardFront Porch Stage

Them Dang Rattlers: 12:45 – 1:15pm
Genevieve Fisher: 1:30 – 2:00pm
Leah Daniels: 2:15 – 3:00pm
Melissa Payne: 3:15 – 4:00pm
Canaan Smith: 4:15 – 5:15pm
Frankie Ballard: 5:45 – 6:45pm

Florida Georgia LineMain Stage

Trinity Bradshaw: 1:00 – 1:45pm
Wes Mack: 2:15 – 3:15pm
Kira Isabella: 3:45 – 4:45pm
Dallas Smith: 5:15 – 6:15pm
Thomas Rhett: 7:00 – 8:30pm
Florida Georgia Line: 9:15 – 11:00pm

2 years ago Views
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