Raging Bull: One Bad Son with Crown Lands and Fallen Heirs at The Phoenix, Toronto

Thursday nights are good for rock and roll, so when One Bad Son showed up at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto with Crown Lands and Fallen Heirs, we knew it was going to be a good night.

The Saskatchewan rock and rollers, with a brand new album, Made In The Name Of Rock N Roll, have been touring and playing for live crowds all over Canada for years – and it’s easy to see that the crowds have grown, the energy has jumped, and they’ve truly come into their own. On Thursday night they proved all of that in Toronto.

The evening started with Toronto’s own, Fallen Heirs. These five dudes hit the stage and were 100% rock and roll from the jump. There was no easing into the night, they plugged in, turned up volume and opened the show with a bang.

The early crowd was behind them, as the band played and stalked the stage. There was no lack of showmanship, lead singer Tim Shaw worked the crowd with the support of Jay, Matt, Ryan, and Philly Dee behind him. As their set wore on it became clear to see why Fallen Heirs has opened for bands like Buckcherry, Scott Weiland (RIP), Age Of Electric, and now One Bad Son.

If you like local rock and roll, look for Fallen Heirs on a bill in Toronto – and if you’re not in the city, look for them on tour – more dates are coming in 2018.

Next on the stage, as the precursor to the main event, Oshawa, ON’s Crown Lands took over and kept the rock and roll party going without missing a beat.

The young rockers have been putting in work, playing shows and earning fans, many of whom were at The Phoenix wearing band merch as they sang and rocked along to songs like Misery and Mountain from their 2017 EP, Rise Over Run. On drums, Cody delivered with force, wowing people in the crowd that knew what to expect, but still wanted to soak it in.

And not to be outdone, Kevin covered every inch of the stage with his guitar. Putting on a show for the crowd, making sure to get everyone involved, and pairing with Cody to pump out as much volume as two dudes can.

We’ve had a few chances to see Crown Lands in the last couple of years – and as one of the most promising young Canadian rock and roll acts we’ve seen recently, we can tell you confidently that we’re sure we are all going to have a lot more chances to see them soon.

When it was time for the stars of the show to take the stage, Toronto was ready. With drinks and hands in the air, the voices got loud to welcome One Bad Son to the stage, and they delivered.

These four dudes, more than a decade into their career, know what they’re doing when they plug in. And from the moment they opened their set with Made In The Name Of Rock N Roll, they were all in.

The more they played, the louder the Toronto crowd got. And the louder the crowd got, the more energy the band shared back with them. It was a wonderful transaction to watch and be a part of.

Note: One of our favourite moments of the One Bad Son set, and night as a whole, came when Shane, Hicks, KD, and Steve paid tribute to Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip by playing a small sample of Wheat Kings at the end of The Promise. Gord’s legacy lives on in his fans, even the rock stars.

One Bad Son proved throughout their set that they are a legit headlining Canadian rock and roll outfit. The sound, set, and execution was tight – giving us exactly what we were hoping to see. And the music, including tracks like Rise Up, Scream For Me, and the band’s first #1 hit, Raging Bull all sounded great and connected with the live audience.

Live rock and roll should be heard and felt. And on Thursday night in Toronto we felt like we had been rocked.

Mission accomplished.

Check out more photos from the One Bad Son show at The Phoenix Concert Theatre!

One Bad Son

Crown Lands

Fallen Heirs

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Indie Week 2017 Independent Women: Supermarket, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

M88 Entertainment Group LogoPresented by M88 Entertainment Group

Indie Week continued on Thursday night as we hit the Supermarket to see more talented women show Toronto music fans what they’ve got.

The M88 Entertainment Group showcase had a stacked bill which had us stopping in to check out Amanda Jordan, Alessia Cohle, and Alexis Lynn. It was fantastic to see more women on stage, and experiencing their sets.

As a sponsor of Indie Week, and the showcase organizers, M88 continued to show their support for emerging talent. We’ve seen it at events like this before, and we know that artists like Alessia Cohle have greatly benefitted from the branding, development, strategy, and management services that they offer to up and coming artists. They’re tag line is pretty clear, “We focus on the business, so you can focus on the music.”.

Amanda Jordan started the show, working with her guitar player to fill the room with music and start grabbing the attention of the assembled Indie Week crowd.

The Smith Falls, ON native was strong and smooth on stage, with a sweet voice and seemed to be effortless as she displayed all the little nuances that makes a live vocal performance special.

Amanda worked through her set of originals and covers, playing her 2014 single, Lettin’ It Go Tonight, as well as more recently tracks including Driving In The Dark, Unknow You, You Fit Me Better, and Kinda Like A Guy Like You, which Amanda performed for the first time in front of a live crowd.

It was great to hear Amanda’s versions of Miranda Lambert’s heartbreaking Tin Man, as well as Rascal Flatts more upbeat, I Like The Sound Of That. The two covers were a good balance, and rounded out the set well.

We’re not sure what’s coming next for Amanda, but we won’t at all be surprised if we start seeing and hearing more from her in the near future.

Alessia Cohle hit the stage next, bringing a full band and her own mix of originals and covers to the Supermarket crowd for Indie Week.

The Mississauga, On native came prepared to show off her voice, and her ability to perform on stage. Her energy was palpable, and it was easy to see the growth and strength that has come over the last couple of years since we were first introduced to the country singer.

Alessia played a selection of songs from her 2016 album, Talk To Me, as well as her brand new EP, Wanderlust, which was released on November 3.

Songs like the two title tracks, along with How Bad, Two Steps Ahead, and More all helped to show off the sound and vibe that Cohle is cultivating in her young career, and they offer a look into where she may be headed in the future.

Her choices of covers on the evening were a lot of fun too. With Kelsea Ballerini’s Love Me Like You Mean It, Lady Antebellum’s You Look Good, Elle King’s Ex’s And Oh’s, Carrie Underwood’s Smoke Break, Dusty Springfield’s Son Of A Preacher Man, and Maren Morris’s My Church all hitting their mark and encouraging the Thursday night audience to sing along.

Look for Alessia to hit a lot of stages in the next few months to play her new material, and then be ready for what comes next after that.

Alexis Lynn, all the way from Vancouver, BC was our last Indie Week act of the evening. The teenaged singer/songwriter brought her pop/R&B vibe to the stage and showed off what she’s got in a strong way.

Already tabbed as a top 20 under 20 talent in the 2016 CBC Searchlight Contest, the 18 year old showed all of the confidence you’d ever hope to see from a teenager on stage. And while she admitted that she’s most comfortable on the keys, she stripped it down to play her own acoustic guitar and didn’t miss a beat.

Alexis Lynn told the Toronto crowd that she’s working towards an EP release sometime soon, and to be honest, it won’t be soon enough. The power and smoothness in her voice was attention grabbing, and when she announced that she was going to play a cover by one of her favourites, nobody should have been surprised when she started singing Alicia Keys’ Fallin’.

Original songs like Same Girl, That Kiss, Even Friends, and I Love You I Do, all worked to show off what she’s got ready to share with the musical world. And her closing number, Promises, did an excellent job of wrapping things up in style.

Alexis Lynn, along with her guitar/keys/beats player Caesar, brought a groove that people danced and bobbed and rocked to from start to finish.

She’s one to watch.

Check out some more photos from Thursday night at Indie Week, and stay tuned for more live music coverage!

Amanda Jordan

Alessia Cohle

Alexis Lynn

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Country Sorta Way: Danielle Bourjeaurd at Indie Week 2017, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

M88 Entertainment Group LogoPresented by M88 Entertainment Group

Danielle Bourjeaurd came to Toronto for Indie Week 2017, hitting The Dakota Tavern for a set with her band on Wednesday night. But before she climbed up with her boys to play, we had the chance to hang out with Country Sorta Way singer/songwriter for a little acoustic performance and more.

She may be country girl, but Danielle was ready to sing on a chilly night in the city as we found a light in the alley beside the venue. And as you’ll see when you press play, her voice carried into the evening in a fantastic live rendition of What Difference Does She Make.

On stage Wednesday night, Danielle was revved up and ready to go. With the support of her band, her songs rang out and connected with the mid-week crowd at The Dakota Tavern.

With songs like Lakeside, What Difference Does She Make, and Happy Hour from her EP, Country Sorta Way, Danielle showed Toronto that she has the chops to hang with anyone in the genre we’re seeing right now.

But, as impressive as she was singing the songs that put a smile on her face from start to finish, we were further blown away when she slowed it down to sing an emotional tribute to her father with, This Guitar. She told the crowd that it was going to be a hard one, and as she sang we saw her look to the sky a couple of times. And whether it was for strength, or with thanks, it was the kind of thing that reminds us exactly how powerful music can be.

Danielle also shared some of her Nashville learned southern hospitality, leading the crowd in a toast during her set. It was a show of charm, but not the only one of the evening. Throughout the set she showed the crowd as much love as they showed her as we watched people singing along with her songs.

One of our other favourite performances of the night from Danielle was Bigger Glass. As suckers for a ‘getting over you’ song, this one is a winner. And both the live solo performance and the album version with Drew Smith are a great listen.

Note: We aren’t the only ones who thought Danielle had a great show. It was later announced by Indie Week that she was the winner of the Wednesday night showcase, and will be playing Saturday night at the Cameron House. Congratulations to Danielle!

This was our first chance to see Danielle Bourjeaurd live on stage. If we’re lucky, it won’t be our last. And if you’re looking for new music, and a new artist to add to your list of indie favourites, we suggest you look up this singer/songwriter soon.

While we had Danielle with us before the show, we sat with her for a round of 5 Quick Questions… check it out along with some more photos from the evening!

Q1) If you could put one album on in the car on a long drive, and let it play on repeat without skipping songs, which album would you choose?

DB) Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

That’s a good choice. Go put it on and don’t even try to pretend that you don’t want to sing along!

Q2) What is your favourite Shania jam?

DB) Any Man Of Mine… or Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under

We forgive her for choosing two songs… that’s a hard question.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Danielle Bourjeaurd at The Dakota Tavern

Q3) What is your favourite late night fast food joint?

DB) McDonald’s.

We asked about her go to order, and she told us it’s cheeseburger happy meal, with a strawberry milkshake. Nice!

Q4) What is the one thing you always have to have in a writing session?

DB) My phone

Danielle told us that she uses her phone for notes, to brainstorm, and to help her write.

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

DB) Ian Janes

She raved about his voice and talent, and because she thinks he’s that good, he sang on her album.

Indie Week 2017 - Wednesday - Danielle Bourjeaurd in the alley behind The Dakota Tavern

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Indie Week 2017 Launch Party: The Hideout, presented by M88 Entertainment Group

Presented by M88 Entertainment Group

Indie Week 2017 has kicked off in Toronto, and it’s going to be a big one.

With nearly 30 venues across the city ready to host live music between November 7 and 12, Indie Week will put fans up close and personal with emerging talent that can’t wait to get out and show everyone what they’ve got.

We started our Indie Week adventure at The Hideout (423 College St.) for the official launch party and enjoyed a couple beverages (thanks Hop City Brewery and Jack Daniels) while the music flowed through the speakers and into the busy crowd.

With an extended 4am last call this week, music will be ringing out late into the night, which means everyone will have a lot of chances to soak it in and enjoy. We highly recommend checking out the Indie Week schedule to find a show or three – CLICK HERE to get started.

Tuesday night at The Hideout we caught four acts, Poor Nameless Boy, Pat Robitaille, Scalene, and The Empty Page on stage, and all four were ready for action.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Poor Nameless Boy

Poor Nameless Boy started the show with his singer/songwriter style flowing strong. Both solo with his acoustic guitar, and accompanied by an electric guitar and violin, Joel Henderson worked through his set and started his week strong.

Songs like Second Floor Balcony and I’m Not Going Anywhere showcased his indie folk vibe, and gave us a little JJ Shiplett feeling as he sang and played. And when Poor Nameless Boy exclaimed, “if you like a good country jam, here ya go” before he closed his set with 30 Photographs, we took notice and took it in.

Toronto is a long way from Regina, but we’re glad he made the trip and started Indie Week off right.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Pat Robitaille

Pat Robitaille was next on the stage, going solo and playing for the growing Tuesday night crowd.

With loops and pedals, Robitaille got to work with an eclectic set that included the first reggae song of his career, The Weed Song, and covers of Daniel Caesar and Radiohead.

For more than a decade, the Windsor, ON native has been putting in work on his music, and as an indie artist, a spot on stage at the Indie Week 2017 launch party was a perfect fit.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene

Scalene, a five piece Brazilian rock and roll outfit were the third act of the evening… and they took things to a whole new level.

With ringing guitar work, a tight sound, and energy that transferred freely to the crowd on the floor in front of them, Scalene owned the room in Toronto. And we’re willing to be they’ll do it again throughout the week at their upcoming shows (Wednesday @ Coalition, Thursday @ The Mod Club, Saturday @ The Garrison).

Scalene also proved that rock and roll is a universal language as they sang in Portuguese and the Toronto crowd didn’t blink, they just rocked right along with the band. Music is for all of us – and we’re glad these guys made the long flight in to play Indie Week in Toronto.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page

All the way from Manchester, UK – The Empty Page kept the party going at The Hideout.

Winners of Indie Week UK 2017, The Empty Page are in Toronto with four shows this week, looking to share their brand of Alternative Fuzz with Canadian music fans.

On Tuesday night, the trio plugged in and went at it, proving that they belong. The band has only been together since 2015, but you’d never know it. They were tight, on time, in rhythm, and ready to rock from their opening notes.

You’ve got three more chances to catch The Empty Page at Indie Week 2017 – Thursday @ Baby G, Friday @ The Paddock Tavern, and Saturday @ Cherry Cola’s. Don’t miss ’em.

There’s more music and Indie Week coverage coming. For now, check out more pics from Tuesday night at The Hideout, and get ready for great music.

Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Poor Nameless Boy Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Poor Nameless Boy Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Pat Robitaille Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Pat Robitaille Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Scalene Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - The Empty Page Indie Week 2017 - Tuesday - Empty Stage at The Hideout


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Queen West Goes Country: Johnson Crook and Dani Strong at the Rivoli

Country music came to Queen Street West on Friday night when Johnson Crook and Dani Strong hit the stage in the back room at the Rivoli in Toronto.

Dani Strong and her band of merry men opened the show, having as much fun as they do every time we see them.

Strong’s voice was, well, strong as she belted out her songs on stage, adding quips, stories, and laughter to her set as she drew the crowd in and made a whole out of all of the individuals in the room. It’s what she does, it’s sweet, and we like it.

And as she wooed the audience, Dani played through her set, including excellent versions of Fallout, Mountains, Mrs. Jones, Wild One and more. We could see people singing along, which is awesome to see for an indie artist, and it certainly seemed to us that the crowd was having just as much fun as the crew on the Rivoli stage.

Dani Strong at Rivoli

In the singing along department, we were loudest for two songs… 1) Dani’s most recent release to country radio, What You Need. 2) Her cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ classic, Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.

As Dani sang out some big notes on Child Of Faith we couldn’t help but think that we’d love to hear her sing The Black Crowes’ She Talks To Angels. It could be a whole lot of good.

After Dani and the band finished their set, Johnson Crook got ready to take the stage and continue the evening’s entertainment.

Johnson Crook hadn’t played a bar show in Toronto in months. In that time their debut full-length album, The Album, was released, two music videos (Canada To Heartbreak, Minnedosa) were released, and Shadows racked up nearly 100,000 streams on Spotify.

On Friday night, the boys hit the stage in a good mood. The crowd was ready for the show. And all signs pointed to a good time.

Johnson Crook at Rivoli

And from the moment they opened the gig with Canada To Heartbreak, until the final notes of The Doobie Brothers’ Listen To The Music as the end of the night, things were flowing free and easy in all of the best ways. It may have been a while since the boys played Toronto, but they made it look and feel like riding a four-man bicycle.

Note: Having seen Johnson Crook’s set more than a few times, and knowing their music, we’re pretty sure they’d be a great lead in to budding superstars, Midland at a club show full of country fans.

The band rolled through a set that included music from The Album, as well as new tunes that they’ve been writing and working on. And then there was one song, that Noel told the crowd just missed the cut for the record, and was written when he found out he was going to be a dad for the first time… Your Love is a lovely track, one that we’d love to hear again, and could end up being one of those ‘for the fans’ moments at shows for years to come.

As the set moved along, Johnson Crook reminded us once again that we absolutely love the harmonies that Noel, Nathan, Trevor, and Jared produce when they sing together. The musicianship supports the voices, the songs fit their style and strengths, and they continue to grow. Favourites like Hardwired, Feel Some Love, and Minnedosa worked well with new songs like No Excuse For Whiskey, High Road, and Summers In Gold. And when the Crook brothers (Nathan and Trevor) took the lead on a cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Mary Jane’s Last Dance, everyone grooved along with a little extra something in tribute to the lost legend.

Before the set ended, Dani Strong joined Johnson Crook on stage for Mr. Nobody (where she admirably took care of Tom Cochrane’s part on the song), Minnedosa, and Listen To The Music. It was a wonderful end to the set, and an example of the camaraderie that we love to see in the music industry.

This was a good Friday night in Toronto. The music, people, and love in the room were everything we hoped they would be. And we can’t wait for the next time we can say the same thing again.

Photos of Johnson Crook, The Rivoli – Toronto

Noel Johnson - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Nathan Crook - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Jared Craig - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Trevor Crook - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Noel Johnson - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Crook Brothers - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Jared Craig - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Crook Brothers - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Noel Johnson - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Nathan Crook - Johnson Crook at Rivoli Johnson Crook at Rivoli

Photos of Dani Strong, the Rivoli – Toronto

Dani Strong at Rivoli Dani Strong at Rivoli Dani Strong's Grant Taylor at Rivoli Dani Strong Band at Rivoli Dani Strong Band at Rivoli


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Dang If We Didn’t: The Cadillac Three Take Toronto

Call it Country Fuzz, call it Southern Country Rock, call it whatever you want, the bottom line is that The Cadillac Three are loud, tight, and they’re on a roll.

With the recent release of their latest album, Legacy, these Nashville boys have doubled down on the connection to their fans, their catalogue of songs, and the dedication with which they go about their business.

We had the chance to see The Cadillac Three open for Dallas Smith on the Side Effects Tour in Oshawa, ON – and then got to catch up with Jaren, Kelby, and Neil in Toronto at Boots & Bourbon Saloon before they played an intimate show for some very dedicated and enthusiastic fans on a Thursday night in the city.

We’ll get to the live performance stuff in a minute… but while we had the guys in the booth at the bar, we took the chance to ask them about the music, memories, covers, and we even got a new answer to a question we’ve asked many times before.

One question we asked, for no reason other than curiosity, was this – Cold Beer of Good Whiskey? The response, overwhelmingly, from the entire band, was both. We even got reminded that we have two hands.

The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

When we asked about the response to Legacy so far, all three members of the band told us that things have been great so far. They’ve heard good things from fans and the industry. And while they did the same worrying that many artists do when it’s time to release new music (will anyone like it, is it any good, are there any hits, etc.), the guys told us that this is the record that they really wanted to make. They believe in it, and they like it, and that’s a big win. As an added bonus, at shows like the Canadian dates they’ve played on this run with Dallas Smith, they’ve been able to see the crowd singing along to the new tracks just like they do on their earlier favourites. That singing along brings us to that new answer to an old question.

We’ve asked a lot of artist to try to explain what’s it’s like to hear the crowd sing along to your songs… and we’ve had a lot of artists have a hard time answering. However, The Cadillac Three were ready, and told us almost immediately that it makes them feel like they must be doing something right. And whether it’s because everyone digs a song, or is drunk and can’t help themselves, it doesn’t matter, it’s still cool to hear.

While we were on the topic of fans and reactions, we asked what it was like for three guys from Tennessee to have fans all over the world, and to know that they can travel thousands of miles away, or even cross an ocean to the UK, and have a crowd excited to see them. With genuine affection in their voices, TC3 told us that they never expected the kind of love that they now get in England and Germany… but they hoped for it. And just like in the States years ago, it started in small clubs in London, and has grown to headlining tours now. In fact, The Cadillac Three are getting set to start a run of 16 dates in 20 days in Europe, with stops in the UK and Germany, as well as Ireland, France, and the Netherlands.

The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

Note: Brothers Osborne are making the trip over to play with The Cadillac Three on some of those dates… which is going to make for an awesome show.

We asked Jaren real quick about being a new dad on the road, and while he did admit that it’s hard, he told us that me makes a lot of calls and facetime chats with both his wife and their baby boy to stay connected and make it work. He had actually just gotten off the phone with them a few minutes before we sat down. More than anything, it was freaking adorable to see his face light up when talking about his little dude at home.

When The Cadillac Three hit the stage in Oshawa on the Side Effects Tour we watched as everyone in the floor seats stood up and got into the party. And even on the big stage, the band seemed to be able to find a way to connect with the crowd in the arena, which made for a great atmosphere. Then, on Thursday night when we saw them climb up on the small stage in Toronto, with fans pressed right up against the edge and only a small chicken wire fence separating Jaren from the front row, they connected immediately and held onto it from the first note of Cadillacin’ to the very end of The South.

There is no denying that these boys have earned their space on big stages in big rooms, and to have their names at the top of the marquee on tours across Europe and at home. BUT, with all that said, I would choose to see them play a long, loud, sweaty set of their country fuzz in a small club 10 times out of 10. It was awesome. It won’t happen much in the future the way this band’s following and brand are growing, and we were fortunate to be there to see it.

There were boots stompin’, hands clappin’, drinks spillin’, and a whole lot of good timin’ going on in Toronto while The Cadillac Three rolled through their 10 song set. The beat from Neil’s drums thumped in the room, and the sweet combination of Jaren’s electric and Kelby’s lap steel guitars roared and rattled from start to finish. It was everything we’ve come to expect from TC3 live, and from the reactions of the fans in the bar and the looks on their faces, nobody went home disappointed on Thursday night.

The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

Big thanks to Jaren, Kelby and Neil for hanging out with us at Boots & Bourbon Saloon before the show, and an extra high five to Kelby for stopping over to talk a little NFL football before the boys hit the road. We won’t get into too many details, but we definitely talked about the Music City Miracle – 1999, Bills vs Titans in the AFC Wild Card playoff game. He remembers it fondly, sorry Bills fans.

The Cadillac Three Setlist, October 26, 2017 – Toronto

✰ Cadillacin’
✰ Slide
✰ Tennessee Mojo
✰ Take Me To The Bottom
✰ American Slang
✰ Hank & Jesus
✰ Tennessee
✰ Dang If We Didn’t
✰ White Lightning
✰ The South

The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon
Mike Fuller KX94.7 - The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

Mike Fuller, KX94.7

Jerry Archer KX96 - The Cadillac Three at Boots and Bourbon

Jerry Archer, KX96

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Women, Whiskey, and Music: Country Songs and Cocktails for a Cause

On A Wednesday night in the heart of the city, we gathered with country music fans and whiskey lovers at the newly opened Love Child Social House for an evening of Jack Daniels cocktails and celebrations of the power of songs and the women who sing them.

Jessica Mitchell, Madeline Merlo, The Lovelocks, and Jenna Walker of The Reklaws took turns at centre stage, playing short three song sets and telling stories about what they do and what brought them to where they are.

As the stories, songs, and the whiskey flowed, money was being raised for the victims and affected families of the Las Vegas shooting during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Dollars from the sale of tickets and special Jack Daniels cocktails were donated to the Music City Cares Fund. It’s a great cause, for the worst reason… and if you have a willingness or ability to help, please consider making a donation or sharing the link: MUSIC CITY CARES FUND.

Jenna Walker - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House The Reklaws - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

The music began with Jenna Walker taking the stage, with her brother, and the other half of The Reklaws, Stuart joining her to play guitar and sing a little backup for her. It was special to see Jenna open up and have Stuart step back to give her all of the space she needed and was supposed to have on that night.

Miss Walker’s voice was strong, steady, and started things off with the proof that we had all come to the right place on a Wednesday night. Jenna sang new music (that we can’t wait to hear on an album from The Reklaws) including Boy’s Don’t Cry, I Can Wait, and That Makes Two Of Us. It was a great start to a special evening.

The Lovelocks - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House The Lovelocks - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

Ali and Zoe, The Lovelocks, with all of the rich and sweet harmonies that we are used to and blessed with every time they sing, were next on the Women, Whiskey, and Music stage. We’ve been fortunate to listen to these two talented women over the last few years, and the chance to hear them stripped down and acoustic is never something we want to miss.

The Lovelocks shared two favourites with the crowd, and added in a sneak peek at their next single. The crowd was 100% into Home Sweet Home, Lovely, and the new track, Staycation. And while everyone surely wished they could have heard more, everyone was happy to have seen and heard Ali and Zoe perform.

Madeline Merlo - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Madeline Merlo - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

Madeline Merlo was the next to step up on the Love Child Social House stage, doing what she does and wowing the crowd with the depth and strength in her voice. The B.C. native has made her mark in Canadian country over the last two years, and on Wednesday night she left that mark again in Toronto.

With War Paint, a new song called Unravelling, and her summer 2017 jam, Motel Flamingo, Madeline had the crowd both emotionally pulled in, and tapping toes and singing along. In just three songs she was able to take everyone along with her, and nobody was disappointed with the short journey.

Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

Jessica Mitchell was the last of these wonderful women to come on stage on Wednesday night, and reminded everyone that she’s a shining star in Canadian music. The stripped down setting fit her perfectly, the weight of the event and cause weren’t too much for her, and if anything – it played perfectly into Mitchell’s performance.

With new songs, Bulletproof and Heart Of Glass opening her set, and her powerhouse hit, Workin’ On Whiskey wrapping it up, all eyes were on the stage and the songstress as she poured everything she had into the songs. It’s hard to explain the feeling of watching Jessica Mitchell, it’s like we should know better than to be surprised by her, but then she goes and wows you and you just stare and sing along.

At the end of Jessica’s mini-set, she invited and welcomed all of the women who had performed back to the stage and as a group they sang a stirring and powerful rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. It was sweet and strong and was the perfect ending for a good night for a good cause.

Jenna Walker, Zoe Neuman, Ali Raney, Madeline Merlot, Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Jenna Walker - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Madeline Merlo - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House The Lovelocks - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House Jessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social HouseJessica Mitchell - Women, Whiskey and Music - Love Child Social House

3 weeks ago No Comments Views

Hometown Kids: The Reklaws Interview and Performance, Toronto

The first time we interviewed The Reklaws they were coming off of their 2013 Emerging Artist Showcase win at Boots & Hearts and preparing for their performance at the 2014 festival in Bowmanville, ON. A lot has changed in the three and a half years between then and our afternoon hangout in Toronto this fall.

The sister/brother duo of Jenna and Stuart Walker have had their share of ups and downs in their young musical careers, from singing on big stages at major festivals to playing shows to small crowds in dark rooms. From releasing songs to country radio to wondering if it was time to give it up and try something new. But through the journey so far, The Reklaws have managed to come out on the positive end of things, signing with Universal Music Canada and releasing their 2017 single, Hometown Kids.

The Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse Toronto

Before the country duo signed their Universal deal, they made the move to Nashville to write. They put their heads down, they worked day after day, and they learned that this whole thing was going to be a process. There was no overnight success coming, no snap of the fingers that was going to make them a household name, just more work and dedication and perseverance needed if they were going to accomplish the things they had set their hearts on from the beginning.

The Walker siblings also made a point that we’ve heard from other artists in the past… the people around you matter. The Reklaws have been careful and deliberate about the people they’ve surrounded themselves with over the last few years. Knowing that the support, guidance, and opportunities that they needed would come from the relationships they built.

While we hung out with Jenna and Stuart at Toronto’s Rock N Horse Saloon, we played a round of 5 Quick Questions. Hit play to learn their favourite Shania jams, childhood nicknames, and more!

That work, dedication, and perseverance that The Reklaws have displayed landed them in a pretty good spot this summer. Hometown Kids made a splash, offering The Reklaws the chance to play shows like The Budweiser County Fair in downtown Toronto, Trackside Music Festival in London, ON and The Kee To Bala on Canada Day. The track also ended up as the only country song on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Summer Playlist with Spotify.

It’s a banger of a track that puts all of the youthful enthusiasm and energy that The Reklaws have on display. And in listening to it, we can hear the growth in Jenna and Stuart’s voices since we first came across their music.

We asked about the summer of 2017 and the hometown kids told us that things were crazy – in the best way. Between their shows and appearances, they filmed and released a music video for the single, and put in work on the music that will make up their debut album in 2018. And while all that was happening, Hometown Kids was climbing the charts, breaking the top 20, marking the first time the duo had reached that plateau.

To see where The Reklaws are now without context is to see a young duo making their way into the country music mainstream in Canada. To see where they are now as part of a longer timeline is to see the culmination of hard work and patience and taking advantage of opportunities.

It’s a story that’s been lived and told many times by many artists, and one that never gets easier for any of the emerging acts involved. However, the upside, the top 20 singles, videos, record deals, interviews, features, TV appearances, concerts and more are the payoff for the dedication that The Reklaws and many others can look to as the reward for sticking it out.

It hasn’t been fast or easy, but Jenna and Stuart Walker are closer to reaching their dreams and achieving their goals than they’ve ever been before. They aren’t unknowns playing for a panel of judges at Boots & Hearts anymore.

Before we finished our hang with The Reklaws we got Jenna and Stuart to give us an acoustic performance of their breakout single, Hometown Kids. Watch the video now and stay tuned for more from these two farm kids from Cambridge, ON – they’re comin’ for ya!

The Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse TorontoThe Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse TorontoThe Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse TorontoThe Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse TorontoThe Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse TorontoThe Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse TorontoThe Reklaws at Rock'n'Horse Toronto

3 weeks ago No Comments Views

Songs For Georgia: Dan Davidson Album Review

Dan Davidson, he of the ridiculously entertaining music videos, multi-genre experience, a Gold record, and multiple award wins is finally ready to release his debut country album, Songs For Georgia.

We’ve had the chance to meet Dan on a couple of occasions, we’ve seen him play live, and now we’ve had the opportunity to listen through his six song EP (on repeat) – and guess what, it’s a banger!

Davidson is adding two new tracks to previous singles, Say We Did, Barn Burner, 2015’s Unkiss Her, and the Gold certified, Found. And as the album plays, Dan’s fans are going to find themselves singing along to the new songs just as much as they have been to the radio hits they’ve gotten used to over the last 18 months.

Dan Davidson - Rod, Gun and Barbers Parkdale

Note: Don’t miss Dan Davidson when he rolls through your town with Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song tour. Click here to learn more!

To say that the former Tupelo Honey rocker has successfully made the move to country is accurate. It’s clear to see that the fans and industry have accepted him as independant artist, with shows across Canada, award nominations at home in Alberta, and from the Canadian Country Music Association.

Radio play of songs from Songs For Georgia (Found, Barn Burner, and most recently Say We Did) are also proof that country music has embraced Dan Davidson as one of their own. That’s not an easy ticket to punch, but Davidson has put in the work and produced a sound and energy that has connected.

If we have any nitpicking to do about Dan Davidson’s debut offering, it’s that we want more. The six tracks on Songs For Georgia go too quickly, leaving us wanting more songs to sing and tap our toes to. Here’s hoping that there will be a full length follow-up in 2018.

With that said however, we do have a special bonus track from Dan Davidson’s library that we can share with you. Hit play and watch Dan’s performance of Laugh When You Lie, live from Rod, Gun & Barbers in Parkdale, Toronto.

Related: Dan Davidson, Live in Toronto

If I were a betting man (which I kind of am) I’d be willing to wager that this won’t be the last country album from Dan Davidson. And If was told that a whole lot of country fans were hoping I was right, I wouldn’t be surprised by that at all.

Songs For Georgia drops on Friday, so be ready to hit up iTunes, and subscribe to Dan Davidson on Spotify now to make sure you’re ready for it. We’d recommend that you do those things. You’re not going to be disappointed.

Dan Davidson, Songs For Georgia Tracklist

1. No Last Call
2. Found
3. Say We Did
4. Barn Burner
5. Unkiss Her
6. Cigarettes

4 weeks ago 1 Comment Views

Smokin’: Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon, Toronto

Drew Gregory, the 2015 Alberta Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year, came to Toronto to make his first appearance at Boots & Bourbon while on a quick trip to southern Ontario – and he made the most of it.

With a set that lasted just over an hour, and a crowd made up of country music fans and industry professionals, Gregory hit the stage with a full band and rolled through a collection of his own songs and popular covers. The full sound, and a couple little surprises, made for a good time on a Thursday night in the city, and we’re sure it won’t be the last time we see Drew on the Toronto stage.

Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto

The Alberta boy showed off tracks including Like A Country Boy Can, Truck.Beer.Girl., All About It, and I Was There, giving everyone a taste of the music he’s been making over the last few years and three albums – Country Hurricane, The Way I Was Raised, and I Was There.

Note:During his set, Drew played a song that he told us he wrote with two artists and people that we know and like very much. Know Good’s Comin’ was a co-write with Brad Stella and Trinity Bradshaw, and if we have our way, we’ll hear it again.

One of the most pleasant and unexpected surprises of the evening came during All About It when Drew pulled out a washboard and became only the second man we’ve seen play the old standard in the venue. It also served a little notice to David Roberts of The Washboard Union that he’s in the game too.

Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto

During his time on stage, Drew played a series of covers and medleys that included Jack & Diane, Johnny B. Goode, Honey I’m Good, Dead Or Alive, Shine, Thinkin’ Out Loud, and more. But the highlight of the covers was certainly the inclusion of The Tragically Hip’s Wheat Kings. In a week where a nation wept for Gord Downie, it felt right to hear them represented.

After seeing Drew Gregory live on stage it’s clear to see that his ACMA Male Artist of the Year win wasn’t a mistake. He’s got a stage presence that fits his sound. He’s got songs that are ready for sing alongs… and tapping your toes or having a little dance. And we know that he’s got the passion and drive for what he does.

Be ready to hear and see more of Drew Gregory on country radio, and on stages across Canada. We know he’s looking forward to seeing you!

Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto Drew Gregory at Boots and Bourbon in Toronto


4 weeks ago No Comments Views

If My Name Was Whiskey: Carly Pearce Green Room Interview, Toronto

For the second time in the last few months, Carly Pearce came north to Toronto and shared her music with country music fans. And this time, with her debut album, Every Little Thing, released to the world, she was wowed by the response.

We stopped in at Rock N Horse Saloon on Wednesday night to see Carly play an acoustic set for some lucky contest winners, and just like at the Budweiser Stage earlier this summer, she was strong, charming, and showed off a mountain of talent.

As she sang her set (Color, If My Name Was Whiskey, Doin’ It Right, Hide The Wine, Every Little Thing) she noticed people in the intimate crowd singing along with songs and immediately told everyone that this was going to be a night that she wouldn’t forget. When we sat down with Carly on Thursday morning we asked her about it and she shared those same feelings again. To be this far from home, playing songs that aren’t at radio and have only been available for the 5 days since the album’s release, and seeing people sing along was special for her.

Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto

We asked her about that same thing on bigger stages this year when fans sang along to her first hit single, Every Little Thing, and she said that the feeling is more than she can explain. She also admitted that there have been times that it has overwhelmed her and she’s started to cry on stage as the band plays on and she brings herself back to the microphone. It’s something Carly told us that she used to dream about, and now, it’s turned into a dream come true.

There will soon be more chances for Carly Pearce to see the crowd singing as she hits the road with Brett Young on his tour. She told us that it’s an exciting opportunity, and one that she’s never had before. She’s had the chance to play on tours and open shows, but this tour will be the first that she’s officially on and part of all the way through.

While we had Carly with us, we got her to play a quick round of 5 Quick Questions… have a look and find out what album she loves, her favourite Shania jam, and more.

Note: Carly Pearce is charming as all get out. Whether she’s got a microphone in her hand or she’s sitting on a couch in the morning drinking coffee, she’s got it. With a laugh/ smile/ joke combination she has the ability to light up a room, and she uses it.

We talked to Carly about her new album, and the process that brought it together. Knowing that she’s a songwriter, we were curious about the songs she wrote that made the final cut. Carly told us that she wrote eight of the 13 songs on the record, and that seven of them were done and ready when it was time to start working with Big Machine. The eighth track, If My Name Was Whiskey, was written just three days before it was cut, sliding in at the wire.

Carly also told us that she is appreciative of the chance to make a full album of 13 songs. She remembers listening to and loving the 90s albums from Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and other powerhouse women in country music, and she wanted to release the same thing. She added that Scott Borchetta’s “go get it” attitude was a big help and piece of encouragement when it was time to start working on the project.

Carly Pearce at Corus in Toronto

We flipped the script on a question Carly’s heard before when we asked her what she thinks 16 year old her, the girl who moved from Kentucky to Tennessee to work and perform at Dollywood would tell her now. She laughed a little and told us that her 16 year old self was confident and absolutely sure that she was going to make it, so the success of her single, and the release of her record probably wouldn’t be a surprise. She did add that she thought it was going to happen sooner. That she was sure that when she moved to Nashville at 19 she was going to be Carrie Underwood, but that’s she’s glad now that it didn’t happen then, and that she had a chance to live and grow and write the songs she has now with the experience of the last 10 years or so.

Carly Pearce is an emerging star. Her voice, songwriting, charm, and overwhelming talent are going to grant her more opportunities in her career, and music fans will be lucky to be along for the ride.

For now, we’d recommend you press play on Every Little Thing and learn the words so you can sing along when you see her on stage. We know she’d love to see it.

Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto Carly Pearce at Corus in Toronto Carly Pearce at Corus in Toronto Carly Pearce at The Rock'n'Horse Toronto

4 weeks ago Views

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*
Night We Won’t Forget
Good Lovin’
Kiss Me Quiet
Good For You
Kill Your Love*
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
Cheap Wine And Cigarettes

*songs from Past The Past

1 month ago Views

NXNE Moves Back Downtown for 2018!

The 2018 music festival season just got a boost in Toronto with the news that NXNE will be coming back to Yonge-Dundas next summer.

The move by the 10-day festival will include three days of programming from June 15 to 17 – that will transform Yonge Street into a full on festival village that will offer concerts, talk sessions and comedy shows – all free to the public.

The return to Yonge-Dundas Square comes after attendance numbers appeared to be down in 2017 at the Port Lands. It feels to us like the NXNE organizers are listening to festival-goers by making the decision to head back into the heart of downtown Toronto. We’re very happy for the relocation as it will offer more fans the chance to see music, more bands the chance to make new fans, and us to capture it all.

The Anti-Queens - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

Building on the success of 2017’s curated showcases, the 2018 festival promises to expand and hit harder with shows and showcases at more than a dozen venues across Toronto including Yonge-Dundas Square, The Garrison, The Baby G, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern and more. With venues like that, and curated content like we saw this summer, NXNE 2018 should be another in a long line of good years for the fest in the city.

With the introduction of a video game component in 2016, NXNE added a brand new element bringing in a new audience. Reaching out to gamers by bringing in professional players from around the world and offering top-level prizes this seemed like a great way to increase attendance. Gamers were able to participate and play along online. The festival organizers are promising bigger things for Game Land, with new innovations to come.

Founded in 1995, the 24-year-old festival has seen some pretty big changes over the years. The 10 day music festival supporting local acts has turned into an event with internationally recognized music acts, industry experts, top-shelf comedians, pro-level gamers and so much more every single year.

Stay tuned for artist announcements and ticket info as we get closer.

NXNE - Yonge Dundas Square

via NXNE Facebook


1 month ago Views

Tenderheart: Sam Outlaw, Michaela Anne, and The Rifle & The Writer in Toronto

On a warm Monday night, Sam Outlaw brought country music to Longboat Hall in Toronto. With openers Michaela Anne and The Rifle & The Writer in tow, Outlaw’s show put a groove into the evening, and kept the audience tapping their toes from start to finish.

Outlaw has been touring extensively in 2017 in support of his album Tenderheart, which he released in April. With shows all over North America, including recent stops in Nashville and Brooklyn, and upcoming shows in Nashville again, the Los Angeles native has put the work in, making new fans, and entertaining loyal listeners along the way.

The Toronto show opened with Brockville, Ontario’s The Rifle & The Writer – a brother/sister duo that have been playing up and down the highways as often as they can. In April, the duo played at Boots & Bourbon during Canadian Music Week, and just like then, they showcased their singing and songwriting talent on the Toronto stage. With a mix of originals and covers, Rebekka and Colby got things rolling. The combination of musicianship and vocals works well for the duo, and it’s clear to see they are continuing to find their voice.

The Rifle and The Writer

Related: The Rifle & The Writer, CMW Preview Q&A

The twangy singing of Colby’s pedal steel and Rebekka’s sweet/soft/strong voice on tracks like Gig & Colour is something that we truly can’t get enough of… and hope to see more of soon.

Following the Canadian content, Michaela Anne took the stage, solo at first, to bring Toronto her Nashville sound. Standing at the microphone with her acoustic guitar, Michaela Anne charmed the crowd with her words and songs as she made her return to the city.

Songs like I’m Not Her, Take Me Back, and Luisa all showed the assembled country music fans what she has to offer as a singer and performer as her voice captured the room from the first note to the last. And when she told the story of her love affair with the song, Me And Willie, and then shared her cover of the song first recorded by the legendary Emmylou Harris, you could feel the intimate connection that she has with the song and its writer, Laurie Hyde-Smith. Americana/Country fans will see and hear more of Michaela Anne in the future – and they’ll be happy for it.

Michaela Anne

The main event of the evening, the man Toronto came out to Longboat Hall to see, all the way from sunny Los Angeles, Sam Outlaw headlined the Monday night gig with all of the showmanship and talent that we all expected.

The twangy, old-school, California country voice of Outlaw rang through the speakers as his band (including Michaela Anne on keys) played through a set of songs that included tracks from Tenderheart and fan favourites like Who Do You Think You Are and I’m Not Jealous.

Sam Outlaw

With his best silk shirt rolled up high at the sleeves, and his cowboy hat tipped low in the front, Sam Outlaw gave Toronto to full experience that he offers on tour. And while it was a Monday night in the city, the fans in attendance didn’t care, embracing the chance to see the American singer live.

Outlaw’s sound was full and rich, which was no great surprise as he and six bandmates worked through his catalogue. And while we’re certain that we could sit and listen to Sam Outlaw if he sat on a stool and strummed a guitar by himself, it was lovely to hear the entire room filled with the music that Outlaw presents to the world.

2017 has been a big busy year for the singing California cowboy, and while he’s earned some downtime, we hope it won’t be too long before he’s back to play in Toronto again.

Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Band Sam Outlaw Band Sam Outlaw Band Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw Sam Outlaw

More Photos of Michaela Anne at Longboat Hall, Toronto

Michaela Anne Michaela Anne Sam Outlaw band - Michaela Anne Michaela Anne

More Photos of The Rifle & The Writer at Longboat Hall, Toronto

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2 months ago Views

Forever Rebels: Tim Hicks Backstage Interview, Toronto

From the small stage of a downtown Toronto bar to making dreams come true in front of thousands of country music fans on the Budweiser Stage, Tim Hicks has been on a hell of a ride.

Canadian country music fans know Tim Hicks as the singer of top 10 hits, fan anthems, and major tour appearances with some of the genre’s biggest names. But before all of that success, Hicks fronted the house band at Grace O’Malley’s, singing covers of country favourites and drunken rock and roll standards like Pour Some Sugar On Me.

We caught up with Tim Hicks backstage before his Budweiser Stage show with fellow Canadian star Dean Brody to talk about the highlights, family, his live record, CCMA weekend and more.

It was clear that Tim was excited for the amphitheatre show. Even if he hadn’t told us about the excitement specifically (he did), it was plastered all over his face. He called it a bucket list event, a highlight that he’ll not only look back on as a big moment, but that he could appreciate as it was happening.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

That feeling of excitement flows over into everything that is happening in Tim Hicks’ career. He’s still very happy to be writing, recording and performing his music. But as much as he enjoys making a living doing what he loves, he fully admits that it isn’t always easy. “It doesn’t come with a manual”, he told us when we talked about the process of creating music, being on the road and juggling that with his responsibilities as a husband and a father. He told us that when he’s home he makes a conscious effort to put his phone away and just be dad. Whether that means colouring, crafts, puzzles or playing outside, that time is important to him and his young family.

While there may not be a manual, there has been help along the way. In 2014, at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto we talked to Tim and he told us that Dierks Bentley had become an amazing resource of advice and information as they prepared for their tour dates together. And as the years add up in his own career, Hicks feels like he’s ready to start sharing his insights and advice to the next wave of Canadian artists coming through the pipeline.

Note: As we talked on a balcony backstage, a group of Tim Hicks fans lined up for their meet and greet with him below us. When they saw him, they called his name, waving and trying to get his attention. We stopped for a second as he turned and smiled and waved at them. And when he turned back around he looked at us with a look of awe and told us that he was a little speechless. It was real and endearing and one of the small moments that still hasn’t gotten old for the homegrown star.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

While we had Tim we asked him about his live record, Tim Hicks Live, that dropped in May. Hicks told is that the 6 song release was a happy accident. He had been recording his shows live from the board and listening back to them to see where things could get tighter, better, and more exciting at the next stop – and then it happened. When Tim listened back to the Sudbury show he loved it. The sound was strong, his vocals were on point, and it got the wheels turning. After sharing it with his label, the tracks were sent to Nashville for a little cleanup and mastering, and from there all that was left as the release. Hicks told us that he’s especially proud of the fact that his vocals weren’t tuned or touched in the production of the record. And he also told us that he’d love to see more Canadian country artists follow his lead with their own live releases. He didn’t go so far as to challenge anyone by name, but as a fan himself, we’re sure there are some live releases he’d love to hear.

We also talked to Tim about the upcoming CCMA awards and weekend in Saskatoon. He told us what so many other artists have, that he’s looking forward to seeing all of the industry friends that he so rarely gets to hangout with. Tour stops like the Toronto show offer quick chances to say hi to local radio hosts and fellow artists, but Canadian Country Music Week will offer the chance for some real catch up time, and maybe a drink or two. Tim is also up for two awards on Sunday, September 10 – Male Artist and Interactive Artist of the Year – and taking home either of those trophies would most certainly be another highlight to add to Tim Hicks’ growing list.

On stage in Toronto, Tim Hicks and his band let it all hang out. With fire shooting into the sky, guitars ringing, and the fans singing along, it was a special night for the folks in the back row all the way to the man standing at the microphone. And don’t for a second think that he’ll forget it.

Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017 Tim Hicks - Budweiser Stage 2017

2 months ago Views
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