Toronto

Brett Kissel’s We Were That Song Tour Sells Out Toronto

Brett Kissel rolled into Toronto for two sold-out shows on Saturday, turning the Danforth Music Hall into a honky tonk.

The We Were That Song Tour brought Kissel (the reigning Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year) and Dan Davidson to the stage, thrilling GTA country fans. From Davidson’s energy in the opening slot, to Kissel’s cover of Callin’ Baton Rouge to end the show, there was no shortage of memorable moments for the crowd.

Brett Kissel and band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

First on the stage, as the fans filed into the Danforth Music Hall, was Dan Davidson. Fresh off wins for Male Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, and Song of the Year at the Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards, the rocker turned country singer went full speed ahead from the jump.

With a full band on stage with him, ramping up the sound, and filling the room with music and energy, Davidson wasted no time getting into things. And while his set was short and tight, country fans still had plenty of chances to sing along with favourites like Found and Barn Burner. It was also great to hear a couple of our favourites in Say We Did and No Last Call from DD’s 2017 EP, Songs For Georgia.

The Toronto fans in attendance also got to be part of a music video shoot for Davidson’s latest single, Let’s Go There, which is always a thrill.

It’s safe to say that Dan Davidson is an artist that Canadian country music fans should get used to hearing on radio and seeing on cross-country tours. This dude has got it, and we’ll continue to be happy to experience it every chance we get.

After the brief changeover of equipment, the lights came back up on stage, and Brett Kissel and his band came out to main event Saturday night’s festivities. The immediate pop from the crowd was loud, the loudest we’d heard to that point, and served as an excellent welcome to the Canadian Kid.

Kissel and the six dudes playing with him in the band, went all in from the very start, opening with the tour’s title track, We Were That Song. And from there things only picked up as Brett and the boys rolled through a 21 song set, including a medley of country favourites, covers of huge hits, and his own songs.

The release of the We Were That Song album in December 2017 gave Brett Kissel 13 new songs to work with and share with fans. But what we saw in his live show in Toronto was a well-executed mix of songs from all three of his albums (Started With A Song, Pick Me Up, We Were That Song) that gave the audience a chance to sing along to their favourites from his entire career to date.

With cameras rolling for an upcoming project (we’ll let you know when we know more) the Toronto crowd kept the energy level high all night. There was a reciprocating feeling flowing from Brett and the band on stage, to the packed general admission audience, and back again.

Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

We asked Kissel about country music in Toronto in our pre-tour interview, and he told us, “Deep down inside, I believe people from Toronto have always loved their country music… 2 shows at the Danforth Music Hall proves that. Having record crowds for the “country night” at the CNE proves that. Toronto loves its’ country music – and we love Toronto!”

And during the show, as the Danforth Music Hall attendees sang and cheered and danced along to the music, Brett Kissel looked out to the crowd and exclaimed…

“Anybody that says country music isn’t big in Toronto… that’s bullshit!”

There was no shortage of moments with huge cheers throughout the night And while we can’t list them all, here are three that made a lot of impact…

1) When Brett sang “with my 5% beer and Canadian girls”. It’s loud every time we hear it, and Saturday night was no different!

2) During the medley, Kissel’s guitar player Matty played the opening riff to Shania Twain’s Man! I Feel Like A Woman, and the place damn near exploded!

3) At the end of the set, after Started With A Song and before the encore, Brett threw a bunch of merch into the crowd, and predictably, everyone went nuts!

Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

There was another moment we loved, even though it may not have drawn the biggest cheer of the night. After Brett finished his medley, he played Cecilia, from his new record, and named for his wife. We could see the real-life Cecilia in the crowd, smiling as he sang. It was sweet and special to catch a little glimpse of that.

From beginning to end, Brett Kissel showed that he has earned his spot in the upper echelon of Canadian country music stars. He is a bona fide headliner as he crosses Canada on what is now booked as the largest Canadian country music tour in history, and he is still growing.

As a performer, we’ve seen growth in the sound, style, and polish of his live shows and records. We’ve watched as he’s learned how to both take control of and connect with a crowd. And we’ve seen his rise from the first time we interviewed him and saw him live at Boots & Hearts 2014 to the We Were That Song Tour in 2018.

If you’ve seen any of the shows on the tour so far, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t seen the show, and it’s coming to your town soon, get a ticket if you can. And, we’d be willing to promise that Brett’s got a whole lot more left in the tank, and we’ll all have more chances to see him again!

Brett Kissel, We Were That Song Tour Setlist, Toronto

🎙 We Were That Song
🎙 Something You Just Don’t Forget
🎙 Guitars and Gasoline
🎙 Canadian Kid
🎙 She’s Desire
🎙 Raise Your Glass
🎙 Cool With That
🎙 Pick Me Up
🎙 Drink, Cuss, Or Fish
🎙 Tough People Do
🎙 I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair
🎙 Airwaves
COUNTRY HITS MEDLEY:
🎙 Boot Scootin’ Boogie / Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) / I Swear / Goodbye Earl / Man, I Feel Like A Woman
🎙 Cecilia
🎙 Anthem
🎙 Damn!
🎙 Ordinary Day w/ Dan Davidson
🎙 Started With A Song
ENCORE:
🎙 3, 2, 1
🎙 Thank God I’m A Country Boy / Honey I’m Good
🎙 Callin’ Baton Rouge

We Were That Song Tour Photos – Brett Kissel – Toronto

Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Matty McKay - Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Justin Kudding - Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel and band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel and band on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Brett Kissel on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

We Were That Song Tour Photos – Dan Davidson – Toronto

Dan Davidson on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Dan Davidson on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Dan Davidson on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre Dan Davidson on the We Were That Song Tour at Toronto's Danforth Music Theatre

Four Chords and the Truth February Lineup Announcement and Interview

The power of stripped down, raw, emotional, live music is immeasurable. And, the chance to sit in a special room and listen to songwriters tell their stories and sing their songs is one of the most fantastic experiences a music fan can find. In Toronto, Four Chords and the Truth has been offering that experience at the Dakota Tavern since 2015.

Andrea England, the creator and host of Four Chords and the Truth (FCATT) is a songwriter and music lover, so it makes perfect sense that she has brought together a litany of talented people for FCATT. More than 50 songwriters and guests have taken the Dakota stage so far, including: Donovan Woods, Fred Penner, Tom Cochrane, Jessica Mitchell, Kim Stockwood, Joey Landreth, Serena Ryder, Scott Helman, Madeline Merlo, Bill Bell, Tim Hicks, and more!

Marc Jordan, Tim Hicks, Andrea Ramolo, Bill Bell and Damhnait Doyle at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth

And on February 22, 2018, Andrea and the Dakota Tavern will present Four Chords and the Truth for its 12th edition in Toronto.

Four Chords and the Truth Lineup – February 22, 2018

🎙 Andrea England (host)
🎙 Sylvia Tyson
🎙 Russel deCarle
🎙 Don Amero
🎙 Samantha Martin

This is a serious lineup with a ton of talent, critical acclaim, commercial success, and we have no doubt, a bunch of great stories to tell. We can not wait to take it all in.

But, before we get to the show, we caught up with Andrea England to ask about Four Chords and the Truth, how it got started, what the venue means to her, and even asked her to pick her favourite memories. Check it out!

Four Chords and the Truth Q&A with Andrea England

Q) What was the inspiration that pushed the creation of Four Chords and the Truth?

Andrea) In 2015, I was taking in a great round in Nashville and all I could think of was how many great Canadian writers I knew in Toronto alone who would kill it up on that stage. Although there have been songwriter circles in Toronto over the years, at that time there was really no established non-industry event in Toronto that approached the vibe and gravitas of a round at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe. It certainly wasn’t because we didn’t have the talent pool, and it wasn’t because there wouldn’t be an audience for it; but nonetheless there were none that existed in the consciousness of the community in the way that, say, Bruce Guthro’s Songwriter Circle did on the East Coast. There are so many amazing songwriters in this town – and passing through it – and there are so many music fans who don’t ever get to know the songwriter behind the song… so I decided then and there that I would try to bring those two groups of people together in a meaningful and intimate way. I knew that I might be able to do that at Dakota Tavern, if the stars aligned (no pun intended)!

Q) You’ve built a series of events that now sell out before a lineup is even announced… What is about the Four Chords and the Truth sessions that you think is special to the people that keep coming?

Andrea) No matter how much artifice and icing the world throws at us, at the end of the day, most of us just want to experience something meaningful. As a community, we’ve managed to create that together, and an early sponsorship from Jack Daniel’s really helped get me started. Also, we raise funds and awareness for the Unison Benevolent Fund at our show, so it really is about more than what’s happening in that room once a quarter.

In terms of getting the word out, folks like Stevie and Anne from Blues & Roots Radio, and Mike Highfield – who has captured a complete pictorial history of the show from the start – have been instrumental in our success, and I also have to shout out my friends Liz Rodrigues, Paul Reddick, the Trew’s Colin MacDonald, and his surprise impromptu guest, Serena Ryder, here because they joined me for the first show and set a high bar right from day one.

Andrea England, Bill Bell, Damhnait Doyle and Tim Hicks at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth

Q) This may be nearly impossible to answer, but do you have any top memories from Four Chords and the Truth sessions so far?

Andrea) Soooo many: how do you choose your favourite child!? That said, there are a few that jump to mind right away. When Donovan Woods performed “Leaving Nashville” (in my opinion, the ultimate song about the songwriter experience), one by one all of the other writers (Rose Cousins, Joey Landreth, Morgan Cameron Ross and I) joined him on the final refrain of “I ain’t never leaving Nashville…” and the truth, love and pain in that moment was palpable. Then, there are the many moments in which the audience realizes the person on stage wrote “that” song, like when Liz Rodrigues sang her Eminem hook, when Steve Poltz ended the night with his Jewel co-write, “You Were Meant for Me,” or when Andy Kim broke into Sugar Sugar (and Kim Stockwood & Kelly Prescott joined in with perfect back ups).

And I’d be lying if I didn’t say the surprise guests made a huge impact – I’ll never forget Fred Penner leading the entire audience in an impromptu version of “The Cat Came Back” after Damhnait Doyle (who is also a personal and fan favourite) invited him on stage. Or when surprise guest-host Dan Hill told us the story behind “Sometimes When We Touch”… or when Tom Cochrane & Justin Nozuka dropped by to join Bill Bell on his songs… I could go on and on…

Q) We are in love with the Dakota Tavern, and believe that a venue can have a big impact on a performance… How did it become home to the event and what is it about the room that makes it special to you?

Andrea) I couldn’t agree more: I knew that had to be FCATT’s home because it was the only place in Toronto that had all of the elements a show like this needed to be successful: a sense of community, a commitment to quality music and sound, and an intimate setting. But that room is truly great because it’s a reflection of the people behind it: Shawn, Shannon, Andy and the gang are good people and they deeply respect music and musicians. They treat fans and musicians like family – and Shawn is a musician himself so he cares deeply about it being a place with great music, great sound, and great service.

Q) There are many talented songwriters across multiple genres that have performed at Four Chords and the Truth, how do you choose and book the talent?

Andrea) Honestly, I started first by booking my friends and co-writers – I’m blessed to know and work with so many amazing writers. From there, it’s grown to booking people outside my network. In fact, some key members of the music community have really rallied around this series and encouraged their artists to participate. I’m so grateful to companies like RGK and Coalition for being early adopters, and to my friends in the music community (too many to mention) for referring talent and supporting this series!

Q) Do you have a dream lineup of songwriters that you haven’t yet had on stage at Four Chords and the Truth?

Andrea) First let me say that this series has already gifted me with so many dream line-ups that the pressure is certainly on to keep delivering… and if the best predictor of the future is the past, it’s exciting times ahead! I do believe, at this point, that almost anything is possible… did I also mention that our FCATT fans are the best in the world? Many have been to every show and it is for them that we will keep going. We are all a big musical family now!

Thank you again to Andrea for taking the time to answer our questions, and for the invite to Four Chords and the Truth. Stay tuned for all of the highlights, photos, and more!

 

Gimme Time: Last Bullet Ends the Rock & Roll Dream

It’s not easy being the band that loads into the bar to play a set of loud rock and roll for 12 people. And it’s even harder to keep doing it for a decade.

At some point things have to move in one direction or the other. Either there’s going to be a breakout hit, a label that’s willing to take a chance, or a hard decision to make about the future and the reality that doing the thing that you love more than anything isn’t the thing that you’re going to do for the rest of your life.

For thousands of bands over generations and around the world, the decision to pack up the gear and move on has been the one that ultimately gets made. Most recently, we’ve seen it from Toronto rockers, Last Bullet.

Bryan Fontez, Brenden Armstrong, Michael Silva, Will Shannon, and Chris Galaz played the band’s last gig together after more than eight years. They released three EPs (Last Bullet, Love. Lust. Illusion, and 80-69-64), earned praise from respected industry insiders, and did what they loved. But on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern, they played their last show.

“Filthy Rock N’ Roll from Toronto”
– Alan Cross, Radio Broadcaster / Music Writer

“One of the hardest working bands I’ve ever worked with. Their live show is incredible.”
– Brian Moncarz, Producer (Our Lady Peace, The Trews, Circa Survive, Moneen, Yukon Blonde)

“Last Bullet provide everything you could want from a rock show. They are flawless”
– Jamie Gutfreund, Journalist / Host at CP24 News


Like I said, the story isn’t an original one, it’s been played out a thousand times before, but it remains captivating because it’s never the ending that anyone planned for. A band doesn’t hit the studio, the stage, and the road for years with an end goal of playing one final show on a winter Saturday night and not making it to the top.

The story that we all love, the one we want to tell and that bands want to live can be found in the first half of Almost Famous. Yes, it’s a movie, an act of fiction, but it’s all right there… Lester Bangs says, “Tell him, you know, it’s a think piece about a midlevel band struggling with their own limitations in the harsh face of stardom…” and it sounds like the band is in bad shape (and they were). But they were also on the road, with a hit, and t-shirts, and fans, and groupies and the cover of Rolling Stone.

Last Bullet didn’t get their cover.

We talked to the band before their farewell set in Toronto, and asked them about the decision to hang ‘em up. We also asked about their highlights, the things they’ll remember fondly, and what might have been different.

We started our conversation with the awkward, but undeniable, elephant in the room… Why?

The guys told us that it wasn’t an easy decision to make, and it’s a little different for everyone in the band. But, when you boil it down and try to explain it, they’re burnt out from the heavy grind and stress/work/uncertainty that comes with the rock and roll business.

Indie artists like Last Bullet aren’t the glitz and glamour rock stars we see in the movies. These guys work 9 to 5 jobs to pay the bills and invest in their careers. They rehearse and write and play gigs on evenings and weekends and vacation days. They put everything they have into the thing they love in less than half of the time that they wish they had to do it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For Last Bullet, it became too much. We asked the guys if they ever felt like they were ‘this close’ to making it, to finding that level of success they wanted/needed to get to, and they said no. And not because they never had great reviews or features (TSN World Junior Hockey placement, Alan Cross endorsement, 97.7 HTZ-FM Rock Search, etc.), but because for years they heard industry insiders, radio reps, A&R pros, and others tell them that they were ready, that they had what it took, and that they’d call them on Monday to make it happen.

No matter who you are, that many broken promises can take a toll on you. It’s like Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football. And if you don’t know what that means, here’s a helpful gif.

And while we were all at The Horseshoe Tavern to bid the bad adieu, we weren’t all in a bad place. The band talked to us about the good times, and about performing, and about what comes next for them.

The guys talked about performing and their unwavering dedication to the show. They were proud to tell us that no matter how hard things were behind-the-scenes, they always came out and put on the best, loudest, most fun, rock and roll show that they had in them. And as we watched later in the night, they brought that same dedication, with maybe even just a little bit more, to the stage for their last show.

We asked about great memories, and tours, and whatnot, and Last Bullet wasn’t short on those. They look back fondly on the chances to share the stage with acts like Buckcherry, One Bad Son, The Wild, The Lazys, and more. They have great memories of the east coast, with friendly Canadians, great parties, and good times while they worked – and of the west coast, hitting Banff and playing in one of the most beautiful places they’ve ever been. Last Bullet at SounDrive's DriveWire at Brampton's Rose Theatre

On that same night in Toronto we caught up with Crown Lands, an up-and-coming rock and roll duo that had shared billing with Last Bullet at The Horseshoe Tavern. Their stories are contrasting, with one band on the way up and the other on the way out, but even still they are connected.

We talked to Cody and Kevin of Crown Lands about it, and they told us that they owe a bunch to bands like Last Bullet who have put in the hours and shows and proved that live rock and roll is an industry that can survive and works. They recognize that opportunities that they get will be (in)directly related to the efforts of bands that came before them (both indie and mainstream) in the industry.

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

And that Friday on stage, with Crown Lands rocking out, leading into Last Bullet coming on to take it to the end of the night in one of Canada’s most legendary venues, they were most definitely connected.

During our conversation with Last Bullet, we asked if there was anything they wish they had done differently or tried during their tenure. The one big thing they pointed to was taking a shot at the US market. For a variety of reasons (budget, time, opportunity, etc.) the band never loaded up a van to go south of the border on a tour to introduce their music to American audiences.

And while there’s no guarantee that going would have been a difference maker in their career, we completely understand where the band is coming from in wishing they had taken the chance.

Last Bullet Interview at the backroom bar in Toronto before their last show February 2018 with Joshua Murray

Here’s the thing about musicians… they rarely stop being musicians. And it looks like that’s the case with Last Bullet too.

Bryan, Michael, and Brenden all told us that they’ll continue to have music in their lives in one way or another. Whether it’s picking up a guitar after work to play around with a lick, or as Bryan told us, working on songs that weren’t marked for Last Bullet to see if there’s another project in the future.

In the end, the members of Last Bullet may or may not step on stage again to sweat and sing in front of a live rock and roll audience… but either way, the shows, memories, and years that they put into their dream can’t be taken away.

Bryan Fontez, Brenden Armstrong and Michael Silva of Last Bullet Interview at the backroom bar in Toronto before their last show February 2018

Rise Over Run: Crown Lands at The Horseshoe Tavern

On Saturday night, at a sold out Horseshoe Tavern, Crown Lands played their first show of 2018… and the duo started the new year the way the last one ended, rocking!

While the show was recognized as the farewell gig for Toronto rockers, Last Bullet, it should also be remembered as another step on Crown Lands’ journey to the big leagues. The band’s T-shirts could be seen throughout the crowd, their drum kit was featured throughout the two opening sets from Hot Lips and Ready the Prince, and it was easy to hear people talking about their excitement for the set more than two hours before they took the stage.

Related: Last Bullet, Crown Lands, Ready the Prince, and Hot Lips at the Horseshoe Tavern

We joined Cody and Kevin in the green room just before the show started to talk about where they’re at now, where they’re going, Rush, and more. And in typical fashion (as per our experience with the boys) there were laughs, hugs, and smiles to spare.

Crown Lands in the green room at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

The last time we saw Crown Lands they were opening for One Bad Son at the Phoenix. The crowd was big, there were Crown Lands fans in attendance, but it was clear that the majority were in the room because a nationally celebrated, radio star rock band was headlining the bill. But on Saturday night, at arguably Toronto’s most celebrated and legendary venue, they were far more responsible for the sold out attendance.

We got a cool moment with the band when we told them that people were lined up to the door waiting for the show to start. They’d heard that it was going to be a good crowd, but they hadn’t seen it yet, having been backstage since they finished their soundcheck earlier in the evening. To see the excitement and awe on their faces was special. Too often the picture of rock and roll and the music industry is one of ego or even apathy after someone has seen everything… but for these two young musicians, it’s still real and new and special and serves to show them that they’re on the right path.

When Crown Lands took the stage in front of that sold out crowd, to the cheers of Toronto, and the validation that they belonged, the boys embraced in a pre-show hug (that elicited another loud cheer from the Horseshoe faithful) and then they went to work.

From the top, opening with Being Right and Mantra, Kevin and Cody were all in, giving what they had to offer in energy, enthusiasm, and music in return for the energy and admiration of the crowd. It was an excellent example of the two-way street that is rock and roll. A pumped up crowd will die down if the band can’t match them, and a high energy band risks a let down if the crowd isn’t there to meet them at their level.

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

One of our favourite moments backstage was unrelated to Saturday night’s show. It wasn’t particularly linked to anything other than the band’s love for Canadian rock and roll legends, Rush, and my love for the movie Fanboys.

In the 2009 film, Hutch (played by Dan Fogler) is the biggest Rush fan on the planet, and in his sweet, sweet van is a case of cassettes… all Rush.

When I asked the boys if they knew the movie, it took very little time for us to be on the same page and get to Hutch and the cassettes and quotes from the movie, including, “Rule number one: In my van, it’s Rush. All Rush, all the time. No exceptions.”, and “Rush is variety, bitch.”.

Having seen the guys cover Geddy, Alex, and Neil more than once, we had a hunch they’d know the reference, and it was a fun little moment of laughter and love for some of the most influential music in Crown Lands’ career.

As their set went on, Crown Lands continued to show that they’ve worked to improve themselves as musicians and rockers. They told us that improvement through writing, rehearsals, and a determination to become better at their craft has been a big part of who they are as a band. They know that this is what they want to do, the signs are starting to show that they’re headed in the right direction, and they want to make sure they’re doing everything they can to give themselves a chance at lasting success.

One of those signs is the band’s recent deal with Ralph James and Mike Graham at APA. The move to a major booking agency will allow the boys to play bigger stages, in front of bigger audiences, and with a plan to move them forward in their career. They talked about the agency and their history of success, and with Canadian rock acts like Nickelback, Arkells, Sam Roberts Band, and more, it’s easy to see why they’re excited about having Ralph and Mike as part of their team.

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

In our review of the Saturday night show, we said “With driving bass throughout, Kevin Comeau’s shredding guitar work, and Cody Bowles’ drums and vocals all coming together in a retro-laced rocking effort, these two reminded the audience that they’re on the way up, and we should all be ready for it.”… we stand by it.

The rock and roll sound that Crown Lands creates with only two dudes on stage is their own, but it fits in the rich lineage of guitar/drum rock and roll duos like Death From Above, Royal Blood, The Black Keys, and The White Stripes.

They are few, but they are mighty.

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Geographically, the trip from Oshawa to Queen Street West in Toronto isn’t all that far. But for two young musicians, it can feel like it’s a thousands miles away.

On Saturday night, Crown Lands made the trip, filled the house, and showed ’em all that they are set for the next leg of their journey.

Be ready for it. They are.

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Crown Lands Setlist, Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (January 27, 2018)

Being Right
Mantra
Misery
Waterfall
Mountain
Leatherman’s Blues
Scott Fitzgerald
When The Levee Breaks
Constant Motion
Big River Road
Working Man

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands in the green room at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

One Last Night: Last Bullet, Crown Lands, Ready the Prince, and Hot Lips

The legendary Horseshoe Tavern has been hosting sold out Saturday nights for 70 years, and on a late January weekend they did it again with Last Bullet, Crown Lands, Ready the Prince, and Hot Lips hitting the stage in front of happy, hot, sweaty Toronto rock and roll fans.

There’s something special about live music and concerts in small clubs, but this one also offered an added element… Last Bullet, the Toronto based rockers, took the stage for the last time. After 10 years, three EPs, and hundreds of live shows, the band stepped out under the lights to rock the crowd one last time, and they brought it.

Before the headlining farewell, the rock and roll show started with Hot Lips, Ready The Prince, and Crown Lands taking their turns on the beloved stage in front of those checkerboard floors. And as the sold out crowd lined up and filed in, filling the room and standing shoulder-to-shoulder, the music greeted them and set the tone for the night.

Hot Lips at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Hot Lips, a local Toronto three-piece, hit the stage first, welcoming the crowd and raising the temperature in the room. The trio (Karli, Keith, and Alex) were straight rock and roll to start the night, with guitar, drums, synth and beats creating their sound.

Karli’s vocals were strong, and awesome to hear on a testosterone filled bill. And as the set flowed from song to song, the band stayed tight, energetic, and on point.

We’re still early in the career of Hot Lips, but as they progress and play more shows like this one, they’ll only prove that they’re here to stay. Check out their 2017 EP American Hardcore and single Limelight for a taste of what they’ve already got to offer.

Ready the Prince at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Another Toronto trio took centre stage in the second spot on Saturday night, and from the first note, there was not doubt that Ready the Prince came to play.

Rocking out with a traditional three piece guitar, bass, and drums lineup, Ready the Prince offered a deeper groove and lyrically driven rock and roll to the Toronto crowd. And with the over the top energy that genre thrives on, these three dudes (Stephen, Daniel, and Jordan) offered the promise that the outrageous spirit of rock and roll lives on.

Get your own sample of what Ready the Prince provides with a listen to their 2017 EP, Note to Self.

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Co-headlining the show, and coming to the Horseshoe Tavern stage in third slot, were up-and-coming stars, Crown Lands.

The Oshawa duo wasted no time getting into their own groove, acknowledging the crowd’s loud energy, embracing for their pre-show hug in the middle of the stage, and then letting it all hang out in their set.

It was clear from the t-shirts and conversations in the crowd that Cody and Kevin were a popular attraction on Saturday night. And as they played and the Toronto audience danced, clapped, sang, and cheered, it was clear that they continue to become a fan favourite with every show they play.

With driving bass throughout, Kevin Comeau’s shredding guitar work, and Cody Bowles’ drums and vocals all coming together in a retro-laced rocking effort, these two reminded the audience that they’re on the way up, and we should all be ready for it. Listen to 2017’s Rise over Run to get caught up, and stay tuned for more to come.

Note: We hung out with Crown Lands in the green room right before the show to talk about where they’re at and what’s coming next. Stay tuned for that, the full setlist from Saturday’s show, and more.

Last Bullet at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

In the fourth spot, headlining and saying goodbye, Last Bullet came with everything that had to offer.

While they’ve always been balls to the wall, high octane, rockers, it was clear that there was a certain freedom that came with playing their last show. There was no tomorrow, no reason to hold back, and all the reason in the world to leave everything they had on the Horseshoe Tavern stage.

They hit the ground running, opening with Cowboy, and they didn’t slow down from there.

Yes, this was a goodbye, last show, farewell night for Last Bullet, but it was also a celebration of nearly a decade of songs and hard work and playing rock and roll.

Note: We had a chance to talk to Bryan, Brenden, and Michael before the show to talk about the band’s decision to call it a day, their highlights, rock and roll, and more. Stay tuned for that.

The sold out Horseshoe Tavern was the perfect setting, and the opportunity to play for sweaty, loud, enthusiastic fans one last time was no less than what the band deserved.

Last Bullet Setlist, Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (January 27, 2018)

◊ Cowboy
◊ Can’t Move On
◊ State Of Confusion
◊ Carefree
◊ What Is Meant To Be
◊ Smoke & Ashes
◊ Runnin’ Out Of Time
◊ Gimme Time
◊ Bright Lights
◊ Last Bullet
◊ Love Song To Rock
◊ Southern Lips
◊ Rock Til We Die
◊ Sin
◊ Little Miss Filthy
◊ Forget The Rest
◊ Girl’s Gone Wild
◊ Jailhouse Rock

Photos of Last Bullet at The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto

Last Bullet - Bryan Fontez at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet - Bryan Fontez at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet - Brenden Armstrong at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet - Bryan Fontez and Michale Silva at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet - Christopher Galaz at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet - Will Shannon at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet - Bryan Fontez and Michale Silva at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet - Will Shannon at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet - Brenden Armstrong at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet - Bryan Fontez at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Last Bullet at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Photos of Crown Lands at The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau and Cody Bowles at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Photos of Ready The Prince at The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto

Ready the Prince at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Ready the Prince - Stephen De Ciantis at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Ready the Prince at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Ready the Prince - Jordan Ross at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Ready the Prince at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Ready the Prince at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Ready the Prince - Daniel Prada at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Ready the Prince - Daniel Prada at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Ready the Prince at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Ready the Prince at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

Photos of Hot Lips at The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto

Hot Lips at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Hot Lips at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Hot Lips at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Hot Lips at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Hot Lips at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018 Hot Lips at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern January 2018

CMA Songwriter Series, Toronto: Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Marcus Hummon, and Levi Hummon

On Tuesday night in Toronto, four country music singer/songwriters sat on the stage at The Great Hall to share their stories and songs with an attentive, appreciative audience. It was powerful and peaceful and everything we love about the magic of music.

The CMA Songwriter Series came to Toronto and featured Canadian superstar Dean Brody, emerging star Jessica Mitchell, and a familial duo of writers and performers from Nashville in Marcus Hummon and his son Levi Hummon. These four artists sat, with smoke and lights behind them for ambiance, and offered us everything we could have hoped for. There were jokes and laughter on stage and in the crowd, there were moments of closed eyes and intent listening, and there were tears, because that’s what happens sometimes when the songs and stories and situations come together perfectly in music.

Note: The Country Music Association (CMA) also presented a music and brand forum earlier in the day, offering great research and insight into the country music landscape in terms of audience and consumption and more. And know this, country music is alive and well and strong in Canada, the numbers prove it.

Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon and Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

During the Tuesday evening performance, each of the artists on stage took four turns to their songs… with one cover thrown in when Marcus Hummon paid tribute to Canadian rock and roll legend, Neil Young by playing The Needle And The Damage Done.

And while Marcus did throw in a cover, he also shared three amazing and famous country songs that we were privileged to hear. The elder Hummon started with Born To Fly, the 2001 #1 single from Sara Evans, followed that up with Cowboy Take Me Away, the 2000 #1 hit from The Dixie Chicks (co-written with Martie from the country music mega-trio), and after his Neil Young cover, he wrapped by singing a duet of Bless The Broken Road, the 2005 #1 record by Rascal Flatts (first recorded and released by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and then Hummon himself) and winner of the 2006 Grammy for Best Country Song.

Marcus Hummon, Levi Hummon, Jessica Mitchell CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

Following Marcus in the lineup of singing and sharing was Levi Hummon. The 26 year old singer/songwriter showed his talent, proving that it’s in his blood, and that he’s got the same thing inside of him that his daddy does.

Levi has been named One To Watch by multiple publications, he’s played CMA Songwriter Series shows in the US and abroad (UK, Netherlands, Sweden) and his 2017 single Stupid is nearing 7 million streams on Spotify.

On Tuesday night the younger Hummon played Don’t Waste The Night (with nearly 3.5 million streams of its own), Songs We Sang, Love Heals (his next single, coming soon), and Stupid, the track that is helping him make his name as a young country artist.

Levi Hummon showed the Toronto crowd that he has the songwriting chops, and the voice to carry himself through a career. His range is impressive, he’s crisp and in tune with where country is right now, and it’s clear that he has deep roots in the genre.

This was Levi’s first trip to and show in Toronto… we’re guessing it won’t be his last.

Jessica Mitchell and Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

Next in line was Jessica Mitchell, the CCMA nominee and one of the best people we know. Mitchell showed off the power, connection, and emotion in her songs over her four turns, and shared some information that is setting up a big 2018 for her.

Earlier in the day it was announced that Jessica Mitchell will be the opening act on Johnny Reid’s upcoming Revival Tour over two months from late February to late April. It’s a massive trip across the country, and a great opportunity.

The second piece of news was equally, if not more, exciting… Jessica told the crowd that her debut album, Heart Of Glass, will be released this spring. And while she told us after the show that she doesn’t have an exact date yet, it was clear that she’s excited to share this collection of songs with the world.

On her first round, Jessica played Bulletproof, a new song that we should expect to hear on the new album. On her second trip through, she played her 2017 single, Tear It Down, and as we quietly sang along we were reminded once again of how powerful she is.

Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon, Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

When her third turn, Mitchell played the title track to the upcoming record. Heart Of Glass is good, deserving of the lead on the album, and fits perfectly with everything we know about her ability as a songwriter to explore and capture that things that we feel but don’t always know how to say.

And, on Jessica Mitchell’s fourth and last turn we got exactly what we hoped for and were afraid of.

A year and a half ago we first heard Mitchell play Workin’ On Whiskey at the Country Music Association of Ontario awards and were blown away. We’ve watched and listened as her career has taken off since then and have heard Jessica play the song live a bunch. However, that takes absolutely nothing away from the impact the song had on Tuesday night. The room was quiet. You could have heard a pin drop. It was only Jessica Mitchell, her guitar, and a song that will make you cry. It was perfect.

Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon, Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

On the end of the stage, in jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap, was Dean Brody. The BC born country star who has played for thousands and thousands of fans, has been celebrated with awards from the CCMA and at the Junos, and continues to write and record hits.

Over his four turns on Tuesday night, Brody shared some new music, and played a favourite. He connected with the fans and industry in the Toronto audience, and he did his part to impress upon all of us, how country music works at its heart.

The first time through the rotation, Brody played a new song. And while we don’t know the official title, or when/if it will make it to a record or single, we’ll tentatively call it Moonlight Girl. It was sweet and lovely and the kind of acoustic track that puts a smile on your face.

On this next turn, Dean put a little vacation feeling in the room with another new song. Leaving Mexico (another title we’re unsure of) is a little different for Dean as it tells the tale of leaving Mexico at the end of a trip, rather than the odes to the country that he’s sung about going to before.

Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

On the third trip, Dean Brody put a feeling of love in the room, playing a song that he wrote after finding a person that has clearly put a smile on his face.

Happily Ever After (our last tentative title, we promise) is the kind of song that couples will latch onto. It is sweet and full of love and will be played on radio and at weddings. Whenever it is released it will become a fan favourite. We’d bet on it.

And then, on Dean Brody’s last turn, and for the last song of the night, he played the song that earned him the Canadian Country Music Association’s Songwriter of the Year award in 2017… Time.

If you’ve heard the song, you know how hard it can hit you. And if you’ve heard Dean Brody sit in a silent room and play it on his guitar, with nothing between you and the song, you know that can stop everything and own you.

Hearing Time on Tuesday night at The Great Hall was the end to a wonderful evening. One that brought laughs, excitement, cheers, and tears to the intimate crowd.

Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

More Photos from of Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Marcus Hummon, and Levi Hummon at the CMA Songwriter Series, Toronto

Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Jessica Mitchell CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell and Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Jessica Mitchell and Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon and Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Levi and Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Empty Chairs under blue lights - CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related: Jojo Mason, Game On Tour Interview & Feature

More photos below…

Jojo Mason Setlist, Game On Tour, Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More photos below…

Meghan Patrick Setlist, Game On Tour, Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Barker Band, Game On Tour, Toronto

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

*new songs, unrecorded, names may be inaccurate.

James Barker Band Photos, Game On Tour (Toronto)

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

Meghan Patrick Photos, Game On Tour (Toronto)

 

Jojo Mason Photos, Game On Tour (Toronto)

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

1 month ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Jojo Mason Setlist, Game On Tour, Toronto

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

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

1 month ago

New Touch: Caveboy, Parallels, and Aviva at The Rivoli

On a frigid Wednesday night in Toronto, we hit the back room at The Rivoli on Queen Street West to check out some talented musicians on stage, and celebrate Trish’s birthday.

Caveboy, Parallels, and Aviva all took their turn on the stage, warming up the crowd and keep spirits during the mid-week, holiday break live show.

Aviva…

The 19 year old singer and actress (Family Channel’s Backstage & CBC’s Workin’ Moms) showed her pop chops to start the show. Singing songs from her 2017 EP, Songs About Boys, Aviva charmed the crowd and showed her ability to put forth fun pop music to a live crowd.

Songs like Fire To Start, Princesses Don’t Cry, Hype (her first single), and WILD (her next single), all played well with the early crowd. And if there’s anything we’d hope to see the next time we catch Aviva on stage that we didn’t see this time, it would be a live band to back her. That would be a lot of fun.

Parallels…

Parallels released their third album, Metropolis, in 2017, and on Wednesday night they mixed in some of the tracks from the record to entertain the Toronto crowd during their mid-show set.

With an electro-pop sound and a dance party vibe, Parallels gave all of the bass we could have hoped for, and along with the smooth vocals of Holly Dodson we were given a string of songs that were a whole lot of fun.

Tell The World, Civilization, and the title track, Metropolis, all gave the Queen Street West audience something to groove to, and showed us that the third album from Parallels should be a stepping stone to their fourth, and more!

Caveboy…

Caveboy headlined the show and were ready to go as the main event at The Rivoli.

The Alt Dream Pop trio from Montreal looked and showed that they felt at home on the Toronto stage. They ripped through fan favourites, 2017 releases, and new music that’s coming soon in a year-ending show that we’re glad we got to see.

Note: Caveboy also played I Wanna Dance With Somebody – which is always, always a good choice!

During the set we got the hear 2017 release, Raconteur, as well as Love Song from their self-titled 2015 EP, and Landslide, which we hope we’ll find on an early 2018 album.

Related: NXNE 2017 Port Lands – Caveboy Q&A

The songs, none directly connected to each other, all worked well in the set, and will continue to help Caveboy build bigger and longer sets that crowds will be able to dance and jam along to.

We’ll be ready!

More Photos of Caveboy at The Rivoli

More Photos of Parallels at The Rivoli

More Photos of Aviva at The Rivoli

Joshua’s Highlights and Top Memories of 2017!

2017 was a year packed with great experiences, moments, and memories. I had the chance to see a lot of live music, review great albums, and interview some very talented people.

I am a lucky dude to get to do what I love and share it here and through our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and I look forward to doing more of it in 2018 and beyond!

Here are five of my favourite musical memories of this year, I’d love to hear some of yours in the comment section!

Country Set of the Year

Eric Church at Air Canada Centre, Toronto (March 2, 2017)

Toronto can be cold in March, especially in hockey arenas, but when Eric Church came to the Air Canada Centre, and 16,000+ came to see him, things heated up in a hurry.

For more than three hours Eric Church played hits and fan favourites. There was no opening act. There was no bullshit. There was just Church, his band, and his fans living and loving on country music in Canada’s biggest city.

Having seen Church live once before at Boots & Hearts, I thought I knew what I was getting into. But from my seat in the ACC, I experienced something different. Something more intimate… because while 16,000 is a lot of fans, it’s smaller than nearly 40,000 fans. And whenever you put a roof and walls around music and let it stay in the room instead of floating off into the night, things are instantly more real and the ability to feel the music in your bones is increased.

I don’t know when, where, or if I’ll see Eric Church live again. But I can tell you now that even if I never do again, I’ve got my melody to remind me of a memory.

Holdin’ My Own: Eric Church Takes Toronto

Rock and Roll Set of the Year

Arkells at Budweiser Stage, Toronto (June 24, 2017)

My 2016 and 2017 playlists have included a lot of Arkells… and on a summer night in Toronto I added some live rock and roll to the year.

I stood on the grass, and I cheered and sang and danced and loved every minute of the show. And even now, looking back, I remember how great it was to watch Max direct the crowd while he and the band rolled through a set of radio hits and fan favourites.

Note: If you’re looking to get lost down a YouTube rabbit hole, I suggest a long list of Arkells live performance videos.

There were more than 17,000 people at Budweiser Stage that night to see July Talk and Arkells, and it was a moment and memory that I’m glad I was able to experience and add to my year. It was fun, like live rock and roll is when things go right. The energy was right. And just like they did at WayHome 2016, Arkells owned the stage and held the crowd in their hands as they put on their show.

Let’s do it again in 2018!

Celebrating Summer: Arkells, July Talk & Friends Rock Toronto!

Breakout Band in a Little Bar

Midland at The Dakota Tavern, Toronto (April 25, 2017)

In late April, before the excitement of summertime or a number one hit on the radio in Canada first, and the United States – Midland came to Toronto for the first time, and made a stop at The Dakota Tavern to play an acoustic showcase for media, industry, and some lucky fans.

Mark, Jess, and Cameron were funny, smooth, and showed off the talent that country music fans have come to know and fall in love with as 2017 has progressed. And while it’s awesome to listen to the album and sing along (On The Rocks is a quality listen), and to remember seeing Midland on stage at Boots & Hearts in August with Drinkin’ Problem at the top of the charts… it’s amazing to think back to that night in April, in a basement bar in Toronto, and remember those boys picking and strumming and singing.

That night they played songs we know all the words to know from the album, songs they had release on YouTube before that, and heard for ourselves just how legit their harmonies and songwriting chops are.

I’m not sure many people are going to get that kind of chance again. I’m glad we didn’t miss ours.

Drinkin’ Problem: Midland Comes North to Toronto

Favourite Interview of the Year

Jessica Mitchell, The Feature

In June of this year we published a Jessica Mitchell feature that looked at the moments in her life that have helped push her to where she is now. I wrote about the music, the memories, and the woman herself.

Over the last couple of years we’ve had a few chances to catch up with Jessica Mitchell in interviews, but in preparation for the feature, we had my most memorable interview of 2017.

Trish and I met Jessica on a rooftop patio in Toronto and sat for more than an hour. We talked about childhood memories, we took turns telling stories, and we learned more about Jessica Mitchell than we knew before.

But more than the information we took away from that day, and the story that I was able to write and share, we left knowing more than ever that Jessica Mitchell is one of the most genuine, thoughtful people we know.

It took months of planning before we made it happen, but I don’t begrudge that, because that interview was a highlight of my year.

Moments: Jessica Mitchell, the Feature

Live Song That Broke Me

Tim Hicks – Throw A Ball

When you are as fortunate as we are to see a lot of live music every year, there’s a higher statistical chance that there will be moments that transcend the enjoyment of the music and turn into emotional moments and memories. This fall, at one of my favourite venues in Toronto, I got to experience one of those moments.

Tim Hicks, Canadian country music star, was one of five featured performers on stage at The Dakota Tavern for Four Chords And The Truth, a singer/songwriter event that celebrates music. At that event we got to hear Tim Hicks play a new song, an unreleased track that nearly broke me.

The song, Throw A Ball, is dedicated to Hicks’ young son and tells the story of a boy growing up playing catch with his dad, and then becoming a father and playing catch with his son. It’s a story song, the kind that country music is best at, and it resonated with me as a kid who grew up loving baseball and playing with my dad.

It also hit me hard because just over a year ago I lost my dad, AND next summer I’m going to become a father for the first time. And as I listened to Tim Hicks sing his song, and tell his story, I thought about my story and the memories that I hold onto, and the memories that I hope to be lucky enough to make in the future.

I hope that some day Hicks records Throw A Ball so you can all hear it. But until then, I will hold onto the memory of that night in Toronto, listening with my eyes closed, wondering if I was going to cry.

Four Chords and the Truth: Marc Jordan, Tim Hicks, Damhnait Doyle, Andrea Ramolo, Bill Bell & Friends

I hope your 2017 was as memorable as mine was. And I hope that we all make twice as many good memories in 2018.

Horseshoe Holiday Bash: Jane’s Party, The Kents, and Caren

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, and at The Horseshoe Tavern on Tuesday night we enjoyed a Holiday Bash with Jane’s Party, The Kents, and Caren.

From the jump it was clear that Toronto was in the spirit of the season, with live music fans covering the checkerboard floor, and jamming along with the action on stage. The four act show (sadly we weren’t able to stick around for The Almighty Rhombus to close things out) was certainly a celebration, with festive decorations on stage, and good feelings throughout.

The show started with Caren taking to the stage with her band.

Playing the legendary Toronto stage to celebrate the season, and give people a chance to listen to her play songs from her self-titled 2017 EP, Caren held her own on Tuesday night. Both with her band, and during a solo acoustic break in the middle of the set, she was engaging and entertaining.

The sounds were smooth, and the songs hold a lyrical depth that is as refreshing as it is impactful. To hear Caren play songs like Teach Me and Berlin live was a nice way to follow-up the listens I’ve put in since the EP’s October release.

Watch for more from Caren in 2018 as she looks to build on the momentum she’s started to find this year.

We’ve got more photos of Caren at the bottom of this post, scroll on down to check them out.

The Kents continued the Holiday Bash when they took the stage next, and they put The Horseshoe Tavern fully in the spirit when they played a cover of the Saturday Night Live classic, I Wish It Was Christmas Today.

But it wasn’t all skit show covers, The Kents also released an EP in October 2017, and were ready to play songs from Within Waves for the early week Toronto crowd. Upping the energy to four piece rock and roll levels and playing songs including Caroline (I Can’t Explain) and From The Street, we got a taste of what The Kents have to offer. And we’d gladly take more of it.

With EP releases in both 2016 and 2017, The Kents are consistent in their ability to provide new music. Here’s hoping there’s more in 2018 to continue their young career.

Want to see more photos of The Kents from the Holiday Bash at The Horseshoe Tavern? Scroll down, we’ve got some!

Local boys, Jane’s Party were next on the stage, and the name that brought many of The Horseshoe Tavern attendants out on Tuesday night.

The four part rock and roll outfit were amped up from the get go, and put on a great club gig to compliment the outdoor set we saw from them this summer at the CNE when they opened for Sam Roberts and ripped through songs like Cigarette Buzz.

The Tuesday night Jane’s Party set included What I’ve Been Missing and Old Friends… and a little extra taste of Christmas music that we’ll be remembering from the Holiday Bash. Early in the set we got a taste of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Carol Of The Bells, and Good King Wenceslas on guitar – and it was the kind of special little touch that makes live music worth going to see – especially at this time of year.

Jane’s Party did what they do, bringing fans to the front of the stage, keeping them moving, and supplying the soundtrack to a night out in the city. We’ll be seeing them again… hope we see you there.

AND, Jane’s Party dropped a Christmas single this year. Give Last Train Home This Christmas a listen and get in the spirit!

Now, check out the rest of our photos of Jane’s Party

More Photos of Jane’s Party at The Horseshoe Tavern

More Photos of The Kents at The Horseshoe Tavern

More Photos of Caren at The Horseshoe Tavern

Hard As I Can: Joey Landreth with Roman Clarke at The Drake Underground

On Monday night in Toronto, Massey Hall brought two talented Prairie boys to The Drake Underground for a night of music and more as Joey Landreth and Roman Clarke hit the stage on Queen Street West.

Earlier this year, Joey Landreth released his debut solo album, Whiskey, exactly two years after the award winning and critically acclaimed release of Let It Lie by The Bros. Landreth in 2015. Since the release, Landreth has been busy on the road, playing the songs from the new album, as well as working on new material for his solo follow-up, and a new album from The Bros. Landreth. It’s a heavy workload, including recording sessions in Toronto this week leading up to Christmas, but it hasn’t taken a single thing away from his performances on stage.

Roman Clarke opened the show, and the Manitoba native, and member of The Middle Coast, started the night with wit and talent.

Clarke also released new music in 2017, with his EP, Looking For Mine, dropping in September, following The Making Of: from The Middle Coast in April. And on Monday night he played the Toronto audience some of the 2017 releases as he sat at his keyboard.

Roman Clarke’s voice has a depth that will catch you off guard if you’re not ready for it. It’s smooth and strong, with the gentle vulnerability it needs to carry the soft and emotional moments that come when needed in his storytelling and songs. And when he’s not singing, Clarke is funny, engaging with the crowd through jokes that allow for a feeling of comfort and ease during his captivating solo performance.

During his time on stage, the early crowd at The Drake Underground heard Roman roll through songs from his EP including, Waiting, Let You Fall, and Looking For Mine. And while we don’t know Roman’s 2018 plans or schedule, we can tell you that we hope to see him again in Toronto, either solo or with The Middle Coast, or if we’re lucky, both.

As Joey Landreth prepared to start his set, the Queen Street West audience moved forward, getting closer to the stage and the man they came to see. And, when Landreth took the stage, accompanied by Meg Dolovich on bass and Michael Carbone on drums, they gave all of their attention to the stage.

I’ve said before that Joey Landreth can be mesmerizing on stage, and he proved it in Toronto on Monday night. From the opening notes of Hard As I Can, Landreth had the crowd all in, it was pindrop quiet (aside from the instruments on stage) and there was a feeling of peace and calm as folks gathered at The Drake Underground let the music wash over them.

To watch and listen to Joey Landreth on guitar is something that is hard for me to describe. You can see it on YouTube and Facebook as he plays onstage or alone in a room, his skill is incredible. And when you go ahead and add his songwriting and singing to the equation, you can feel the emotion drip from both his strings and his words. It’s a combination that not many can boast, and it’s special to witness.

In the middle of the set, Landreth gave Meg and Michael a break, taking the stage to himself, and allowing his voice and guitar to stand alone in the spotlight. It became super clear in that time that Joey Landreth could captivate a room in any city, on any stage, any time he wanted to give it a go.

During his set, Joey Landreth gave life to songs from his 2017 album, Whiskey, and The Bros. Landreth’s, Let It Lie, as well as covers and new songs that we’ll have to hope for in 2018. The crowd swayed and sang along to Made Up Mind, Time Served, Still Feel Gone, Gone Girl, Let It Lie, and Whiskey. And when Joey came back to the stage alone for his encore, playing Leonard Cohen’s Bird On A Wire, the crowd got quiet and attentive one more time as the show came to a gentle landing.

Monday night was the second chance I’d had to see Joey Landreth live in 2017, and both lived up to every hope and expectation. It was lovely to add drums and bass to the Toronto show, just as it was amazing to see him solo in Oshawa. And if I’m lucky enough to see him again in 2017, solo or with the band, I’ll be a happy dude.

More Photos of Joey Landreth at The Drake Underground, presented by Massey Hall

More Photos of Roman Clarke at The Drake Underground, presented by Massey Hall

Sold Out: The Dead South with Johnson Crook at Lee’s Palace

On a cold winter night in Toronto, with snow on the ground and a feeling of pre-holiday energy in the air, a sold out crowd packed Lee’s Palace to see The Dead South bring their energy to the stage.

The Regina, Saskatchewan band were on their second of back-to-back sold out nights in Toronto, but showed no signs of fatigue in their set. And as the music played, the crowd reacted, loving every minute of it.

The show started with Toronto’s own Johnson Crook – warming up the stage and the crowd, and playing songs from their 2017 debut record, The Album.

Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017-

We’re no strangers to Johnson Crook and their music, we’ve seen the live show, but this was the first time we’d seen them on the Lee’s Palace stage, looking out over a sold out crowd, and playing their hearts out.

The set was their last of the year, and it was clear that they weren’t holding anything back as they rolled through tracks like Mr. Nobody, Call Me Home, Feel Some Love, and Mining For Freedom. They were tight, showed off some big smiles that confirmed to us that they were having a good time up on stage, and we’re pretty sure they earned some new fans in The Dead South’s crowd.

Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017

Twice in the set Johnson Crook gave a little mash-up/ throwback love, putting together Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls with their own Down The River as well as Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock And Roll with their own Old School Rock & Roll. The crowd got into it, and it was a nice touch by the band, showing love to music that everyone reveres and connecting it with their own.

The set ended with Johnson Crook’s first single, Minnedosa – and a big cheer from the Lee’s Palace crowd. It was a hot open to a show on a cold night in the city… and the night kept going.

The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017

By the time The Dead South took the stage, Lee’s Palace was packed from front to back. Drinks were in the air, cheers were already ringing through the room, and the music was just getting ready to start.

The punk influenced bluegrassers were tight and dirty (just the way we like them) from the very start, pumping volume through the speakers, and supplying all of the energy that a Thursday night ast Lee’s could handle.

With tracks like Deadman’s Isle, Boots, and The Good Lord ripping through the air, the four piece band from the Prairies reminded us just how much fun they are live. It’s been just over two years since we saw and interviewed the band at The Horseshoe Tavern, and in that time they’ve only become more confident, polished, and ready to put on a show that people aren’t soon to forget.

Related: Good Company, The Dead South Lands in Toronto

The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017

The band played on into Thursday evening, with Miss Mary, Massacre Of El Kuroke, and Time For Crawlin, all from their 2016 album, Illusion & Doubt. And during Time For Crawlin they gave us our favourite moment of the night as Nate, Scott, Eliza Mary, and Danny took turns pulling on a bottle of Jameson in the middle of the song. It’s the kind of thing that works, it’s fun, and I’ll never begrudge anyone who wants to take a shot of good whiskey.

The grassroots fanbase of these bluegrass pickers is something to behold. Having sold out The Horseshoe on Wednesday, Lee’s Palace on Thursday, and regularly killin’ it in Europe, The Dead South are making a name for themselves in the world of live music. They are entertaining as hell, and when it comes to the technical side of things – they can pick it. You go find an old bluegrass fan and let them listen to the banjo, mandolin, and bass on these songs, and they’ll tell you it’s legit.

The show was fun from start to finish, also included two of our favourite songs from the band’s 2014 album, Good Company. And we aren’t the only ones that were excited when they started into both In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company, and Banjo Odyssey. The room loved it. They loved all of it.

And they’ll be back again to love The Dead South when they hit a Toronto stage again.

We’d bet on that!

More Photos of the Dead South at Lee’s Palace, Toronto

Nate Hilts - The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Scott Pringle - The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Eliza Mary Doyle - The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Danny Kenyon - The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Nate Hilts - The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Danny Kenyon - The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Nate Hilts - The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Eliza Mary Doyle - The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Nate Hilts - The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 The Dead South at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017

More Photos of Johnson Crook at Lee’s Palace, Toronto

Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Noel Johnson and Jared Craig - Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Nathan Crook - Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Trevor Crook - Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Jared Craig - Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Noel Johnson and Jared Craig - Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Nathan Crook - Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Nathan Crook - Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017 Trevor Crook - Johnson Crook at Lee's Palace in Toronto on December 14 2017

5 Quick Questions with Joey Landreth: Holiday Edition and Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Joey Landreth has had a busy year… and it’s not done yet.

On New Year’s Eve, Joey and Bros. Landreth played on the CBC’s countdown/celebration show, and on January 27th, Joey Landreth released his debut solo album, Whiskey, to the delight of fans, and the applause of critics.

Related: Joey Landreth Album Review, Whiskey

And after a spring, summer, and fall of concerts and working on new music with Bros. Landreth, and for his follow-up solo project, Joey is coming back to Toronto to play a pre-Christmas show at The Drake Underground.

The Massey Hall Presents show comes exactly one week before the holiday, on Monday, December 18th, and having seen Joey Landreth live before, we can tell you that it’s going to be a show you’ll want to see.

With standout guitar work, and a voice that will pull you in, Joey can be mesmerizing on stage, and we’re willing to bet that will be the case on Queen Street West this December.

To get everyone ready for the show, and the holidays, we caught up with Joey for a holiday round of 5 Quick Questions. Enjoy, and get a ticket for Massey Hall Presents Joey Landreth with Roman Clarke before they sell out!

Related: Joey Landreth with Trish Robb & Jacob Henley Live in Oshawa

5 Quick Holiday Questions with Joey Landreth

Q) Did you have a favourite Christmas song when you were a kid?

Joey) Anything off the Nat King Cole Christmas record

Q) Do you have a favourite Christmas song to play?

Joey) Any of the old hymn ones. I love those old tunes…

Q) If you could partner up with any artist for a collaboration on a Christmas song, who would you choose?

Joey) Living? Metallica because that would be crazy. Not living, Nat King Cole.

Q) What is your favourite beverage for a holiday party?

Joey) Coffecoffeecoffeecoffee.

Q) If you could only have 1 dessert after Christmas dinner, what would you choose?

Joey) Nanaimo Bars. I know that’s not a Christmas classic but they’re my favourite. Okay?

And since Joey loves nanaimo bars, but says, “I don’t know how to make them. Only eat them.”, we found a recipe to share so you can give them a shot at home this holiday season!

Nanaimo Bars made from Recipe from Food Network Great Canadian Cookbook's

The Ultimate Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Ingredients:

Bottom Layer
½ cup (125 mL) Unsalted Butter (preferably European-style cultured butter)
5 Tbsp (75 mL) Cocoa Powder
¼ cup (50 mL) Granulated Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
1 ¾ cups (425 mL) Graham Wafer Crumbs
1 cup (250 mL) Shredded Coconut
½ cup (125 mL) Almonds, finely chopped

Middle Layer
½ cup (125 mL) Unsalted Butter, softened
2 tbsp + 2 tsp (40 mL) Whipping or Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder
2 cups (500 mL) Icing Sugar

Topping
4 oz (115 g) Semi-Sweet Chocolate
2 Tbsp (30 mL) Unsalted Butter

Directions:

Bottom Layer
1. Pour 2 cups (500 mL) water into bottom of double boiler. Place on stove over medium heat and bring water to simmer.
2. In top of double boiler; combine butter, cocoa and sugar; place over simmering water. Heat, stirring, until butter has melted and mixture is smooth.
3. Add beaten egg; stir until thick. Remove top of double boiler from heat. Stir in graham wafer crumbs, coconut and almonds.
4. Scrape into parchment paper-lined 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish. Press firmly to create even bottom layer.
5. Tip: If you don’t have a double boiler, half-fill a saucepan with water and heat over medium heat until water begins to simmer. Then, place a metal or glass bowl over the simmering water and proceed as directed.

Middle Layer
1. In bowl, cream together butter, cream and custard powder. Gradually add icing sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Scrape over bottom layer, smoothing top with spatula or palette knife.

Topping
1. In clean double boiler, melt chocolate and butter together. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. When cool, but still liquid, pour over custard layer.
2. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Recipe via foodnetwork.ca

Joey Landreth Whiskey Album Cover with Santa Hat

Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Photo Review

On Friday night Goodnight, Sunrise played the opening slot at Toronto’s Bovine Sex Club. It was everything I imagined and so much more.

It was warm inside and crowded for 9:15. The full room was pushing up against the front of the stage and the energy was palpable. There were plenty of friends and fans up front making it feel super familiar and comfortable.

I was expecting the band to be good, but what I got was great. There was way more intensity in the set than I’d anticipated and I guess the lesson here is to forget expectations and to go into shows with an open mind.

My favourite moment had to be when Goodnight, Sunrise started playing Remember Now. I love the official video but this was a performance at a completely other level.

Thanks so much to the band for the invite, it was truly a pleasure.

Related: Remember Now: Goodnight, Sunrise Video Release

Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto - David Kochberg Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto - Joel Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto - Paul Weaver Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto - Vanessa Vakharia Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto - David Kochberg Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto- Vanessa Vakharia Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto - David Kochberg Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto - David Kochberg Goodnight, Sunrise at The Bovine Sex Club in Toronto

Scroll to top