I was very, VERY young when I started listening to country music. When I say young, I mean, my early influences were Ray Griff, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, and Kenny Rogers….with the First Edition.
Many of you may not know he had a couple of bands before he became just “Kenny Rogers”, but he did. That’s when he released great songs like “Ruben James” and “Something’s Burnin’ “.
And now….he’s gone. Like that, Kenny is gone. I mean, he was poorly and 81. He was never going to live forever, none of us do. But I guess I thought Kenny would be the one thing I could count on to always be around. Now he’s not.
I have so many memories, so much of my past wrapped up in his albums. His music has been a colorful tapestry woven in and out throughout my life. His passing has brought me more sadness, more grief, than I thought it would.
It feels like I’ve lost a close friend. Someone who’s known me since I was a baby. Someone who has been on family vacations with me. Someone who has laughed, cried, had beers with friends with me. Someone who was at my wedding. His music has touched every part of my life.
With that, I’d like to bid farewell to our close friend, Kenny Rogers. He will be deeply missed by all.
The world is a crazy place right now. Tell the ones you love, that you love them. Hug the ones you’re in quarantine with. Be kind to one another. We really need each other .
You’d think I would leave you with “The Gambler” because of the tile of this piece. Well, I’m not. One of my very favourite songs by Kenny is this one, and I think it’s very fitting. Here is “You Decorated My Life”:
Things have been moving pretty quickly with the podcast. While learning to edit one, I had a couple more to do! I won’t complain though, I love being able to bring you such great content!
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!! Please help me in welcoming the newest addition to the Red, White and Country, Staff, Head Kitty in Charge of Snuggles, Fozzy:
We adopted this gorgeous boy from the Winnipeg Humane Society and we couldn’t be happier! Foz is a domestic mixed breed medium length hair 4 year old kitty who needs a special diet and a quiet environment. His sweet, cuddly nature won us over, making the other stuff unimportant. When the animal finds you…you do what you have to! He CERTAINLY found us!!
Alright. Enough fur baby talk. But seriously. HE’S SO FLUFFY!! Ok…on with the show. Because I swear I’m not a crazy cat lady…
Today’s guest is a phenomenal artist from Quebec. Matt Lang was the Sirius Top of The Country winner this year.
His latest single Water Down The Whiskey is an upbeat modern country tune that will literally get your toe tapping.
Matt is busy with both a tour in Quebec right now AND preparing to release a new EP but this down to earth guy took a few minutes to chit chat with us. We talk about his award, his music AND his shoes, so make sure you check it out!
Since our call, he’s also been asked to join Tebey on tour as a special guest! Be on the lookout for that show coming to your town:
Well…I don’t know what it’s like where you are today but it’s a pretty cold a crummy day here. So today seems like a good day to publish a blog post.
I cannot even begin to express the amount of fun I had during CCMA Week in Calgary this year! No, I didn’t have a media pass but I went, saw old friends, made new ones and best of all… collaborated. THIS is what makes CCMA week. Not the photos, or the interviews or seeing artists. Although, yes that’s TONS of fun! For me it’s seeing people, running ideas past them, getting feedback. And sometimes you get one or two people who say, “WE NEED TO DO THIS!”
Well, that’s what happened this year for me. While a podcast was something I had always thought about doing, I didn’t think I’d be any good at it. After having some discussions with some friends, and having some friends REALLY interested in wanting to try it out with me, The Red, White and Country Podcast is born! With a special “Back 40” section of the interview where it’s no holds barred, both barrels….who are we kidding; basically, we are gonna curse and probably talk about drinking…plan to be entertained in a brand new way by some of your favourite and possibly NEW favourite artists.
We’ve been REALLY busy Interviewing some phenomenal females over at Aunt Linda’s Country TaleGate. Linda had a great visit with Alberta artist, Krissy Feniak, What a firecracker! I ran into her over the weekend a couple of times over the weekend in Calgary and she is simply a delight.
Highly decorated, having some ACMA’s and some Pigeon Ford Awards under her belt, her latest single Better Left Unsaid is a testament to why she is raking in the hardware. This bluesy, smokey love song, is a great fit for Feniak’s sweet voice.
While she may be young, she has performed on some of North America’s most esteemed stages; The Bluebird Cafe and The Commodore in Nashville. I guess she was making herself comfortable because she plans to move there sometime this fall with best friend, BC artist (and Croc afficionado) Beamer Wigley.
While all of this is happening, Krissy assures us that there is new music on the way, 2 new singles specifically. This girl is a lot of fun so make sure you follow her socials to find out when that will be:
Here for you to check out is Better Left Unsaid by Krissy Feniak:
We had 2 female artists each present a song and give us some background about the song.
First up was Alexis Taylor. She shared her single Bend The Truth. Written while laying on the living room floor (where most of her writing occurs apparently lol), this song is the ‘inner dialogue’ of what your heart’s telling you when your head is telling me something else.
Alexis is an extremely talented artist from Hunstville Ontario. Be sure to look into her socials:
In the meantime, here’s Bend The Truth by Alexis Taylor:
The second artist to share was Brenda Dirk, who drove both her Dad and Bobby Cameron “nuts” until she got Killin’ It just right.
If you’ve ever met Brenda, you’d a agree that she is like a burst of sunshine when she walks into the room. She’s talented and exuberant. It’s no surprise that she would want to write a song that was an anthem to lift people’s spirits. “This song is dedicated to all the people who have been down; who are working hard and feel like they aren’t getting anywhere.”
Why don’t you go get some of the Brenda Dirk positive energy on her socials:
While you’re at it, why don’t you listen to her fantastic and inspiring single Killin’ It:
One of the 3-ways we had was with one of my favourite people. Sadly we didn’t run into each other in Calgary. TOTAL bummer. But Ajaye Jardine was hard at work playing at Diamonds In The Rough and promoting her brand.
About 2 years ago, she moved to Nashville and has been writing and performing tirelessly. She feels that there’s a new breed on country on the horizon and she’s excited to be a part of it. With songs like Midnight And Bourbon, it’s easy to get wrapped up in Ajaye’s voice.
In a new age where “content is queen or king”, she is currently in the process of releasing some new music online. If you become a member of ‘Team Jardine’, you’ll become the first to receive new music or music she hasn’t released at every membership goal that’s reached!
Make SURE you go and check out her socials! She constantly has a positive message! And if you join Team Jardine, she emails them to you! Umm… TOTALLY DID THIS and LOVE IT!:
Ajaye really does have a fantastic voice and this is probably my fave song of hers! Here’s Midnight And Bourbon:
The other female we had a 3-way with was Kalsey Kulyk! So. Much. Fun! And it was great to run into her and fiance country artist Eric Ethridge in Calgary! They met while Kalsey was in the Discovery Program in 2017 (which she won) and got engaged this past summer. Planning a date for this dynamic duo is a bit tricky, so nuptuals will have to be worked around their busy schedules.
The same year that Kalsey won the Discovery Program contest, she also won the Ole On The Spot Contest. Since then, she has signed with Anthem (the former Ole) and has been writing even more. Kalsey was already living in Nashville trying to find out who she was as an artist. Coming from Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, Nashville offered a bit more of a creative environment (but she’s still a big perogie fan. Hello….look at that last name 😉 ).
Her latest self-titled EP was released on August 30th and was on a radio tour when we chatted. Her latest single from that Bad Liar has been doing GREAT on the CMT musc charts. The song is really fantastic!
I caught Kalsey’s performance at the Sakamoto Agency Mixer in Calgary and she absolutely DAZZLES live!
Keep up with Kalsey, her new music and what’s going on with the upcoming wedding on her socials:
And make sure you check out her latest single Bad Liar:
So. Is there a reason I featured all females this week? Damn straight there is!!
Welcome to the very first, the INAUGURAL, if you will, podcast for Red, White and Country featuring Nicole Rayy!!
Nicole is a kick-ass female artist from Ontario with strong Manitoba roots. I ran into her at a party in Calgary, told her about the podcast and she was totally on board! It happened to coincide with a cross-country radio tour promoting her latest single Unfinished. The timing worked out and….uh…..a podcast was born! I don’t want to give away to much but we had a hell of a good time. We talk about her new single, unfinished business and discuss what the hell is up with men!! LOL!!
Please make sure you check in to all of her socials:
So, buckle up and enjoy Episode 1 of the Red, White and Country Podcast! It may not be Star Wars, but it’s GOTTA be better than THEIR Epsiode 1! Please enjoy the theme song I used! It’s Bird Creek by Hooky with Sloane.
You can find the podcast on both the Podbean and Soundcloud Apps. (You’ll have to excuse both sites, I haven’t had an opportunity to work on them yet. This all happened pretty quick! LOL!) BUUUT, to make things easy for you, I can leave this heeeeere……
It’s hard to believe that it’s midsummer and that the CCMA’S are fast approaching! It seems like just yesterday Linda and I were just TALKING ABOUT TaleGate and here we are in full swing, flying by the seat of our pants, as always! If any of you personally know Linda or myself, you know we plan about 15% and the rest we make up as we go. I wish I was even partially kidding…
That being said, we have a LOT of fun. Make be sure you tune in to us on Tuesday mornings at 11 am ET/10 am CT to catch us in our glory. You can hear us on CKLU 96.7 FM if you are in the Sudbury area. But BEHOLD! Technology is AMAZING! If you are NOT IN SUDBURY….You can also listen in! You can stream us at https://www.cklu.ca or find us on the Radioplayer Canada app. We also have a GREAT Facebook page happening with our first contest under way, so make sure to go and follow us there: https://www.facebook.com/AuntLindasCountryTaleGate/ You’ll also find content that we don’t play on the show there, so make sure you go and check it out!
As you can see, we have been SUPER busy. No matter HOW busy we get, I still want to remain true to what this blog always wanted to do in the first place and that was acknowledge when people in our community do something wonderful for others. Well, that Gord Bamford has been at it again!
Last weekend was The Gord Bamford Foundation 12th Annual Charity Golf Classic. The 2 day event, held in Red Deer, AB, raised a phenomenal $464, 755 this year.
The event included a sold-out evening hosted by Paul McQuire (of CMT fame) at the Cambridge Hotel Resort and Conference Centre, where over 750 guests were entertained by Gord, Dallas Smith, Aaron Pritchett, Jess Moskaluke and Jojo Mason. Buddy Owen and Galen Griffen joined Gord to do a Merle Haggard tribute piece.
Over time, the Gord Bamford Foundation has donated over 3 million dollars to help support groups such as CACAC, Make-A-Wish and Music Counts. This year was no exception. The beneficiaries included: Big Brothers Big Sisters Lacombe & District, Blackfalds Wranglers, Canadian Children’s Hospital Foundation, Hockey Alberta Foundation – Every Kid Every Community, Make-A-Wish Foundation, MusiCounts, The Central Alberta Buccaneers, Central Alberta U16AA Ringette, Robbie Dean Family Counselling Centre and The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre and Sutter Fund.
SO, a HUGE BRAVO to Gord, and his LARGE team of people who help put this together every year, proving once again that the people in our country music community are top-shelf.
On with the show…
This week on The TaleGate, Linda had a visit with Ontario artist Jordy Jackson.
Jordy hails from Elgin, Ontario and has performed all over the province, including at the very well known Havelock Country Jamboree (3 years in a row). Even though this super busy artist still works a full time job, he takes every opportunity he can to perform, “I don’t mind being tired for work the next day.”
On June 17th, Jordy released his latest single Can’t Cruise Without Country. Slightly different from his previous, fun-loving look at Canadian life Canadian Redneck, CCWC is a fantastic, laid-back, smooth summer song. Written with Dustin Bird, who he met at Havelock, it still stays true to Jordy’s sound. Personally, I find his sound to be reminiscent of early Tim Hicks and hey, you can’t argue with success.
So what does Jordy have in the works? He is working on a new EP as we speak! Other than that he says he just, “Tries to take things one song at a time. I’m just waiting to see how everything plays out at this point.”
He sounds fantastic and is definitely someone to watch so jump on his socials:
For your listening pleasure (I mean, I’ve listened to it 4 times just typing this) here is Can’t Cruise Without Country by Jordy Jackson
Don Amero…in a van
I can’t even come up with anything witty for this because Linda met up with Don Amero at Manitoulin Country Fest. And they had a visit…in a van. So, I can’t even…like she gave me NOTHING to work with on that one!! So yeah…it’s Don Amero in a van.
Don Amero is quite possibly one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Actually, watching a conversation between HIM and my MOM would probably send a room into diabetic shock LOL!
Don was in Manitoulin kicking off the whole festival, which for him, was a huge highlight moment. So much has gone on for him since the CCMA’s last year. He showed up in a massive way last year by bringing the house down by singing his single “Church” at the CCMA luncheon with a full choir. He came to play and people took notice. He’s been busy on tour, He got signed with MDM (and he took manager Laurie Brown with him, “That was non-negotiable.”) His new single Music Lover is out and receiving great reviews (as it should! the song is fantastic!) Did I mention all this AND he and his wife had another baby???
The best part of the interview (sorry, Linda) was hearing Don and his band do an acoustic version of church…in the van. THIS MADE MY MONTH! Absolutely fantastic!
Things show no sign of slowing for Don quite yet. He will only be at the CCMA’s for one day this year. He is getting ready to head out on a big tour with George Canyon, Doc Walker and Charlie Major! He is so humbled by it, but he really has earned it.
Make sure you follow his socials so you can keep up with him. He is VERY active:
Linda and I had JUST recently had a discussion about Greg Rider’s song Baby Girl so when his name came up AGAIN regarding a couple of different things happening, we knew we had to try to get him on the show. Mission accomplished. DO NOT…and I say…do NOT get in the way of 2 very determined middle-aged women. Chances are we won’t stop.
We got an opportunity to catch up with him the day after performing a benefit show for a charity called Heater’s Heroes. This was the 9th year that they have held the event. It is held to raise money for children who are cancer patients and living in Ronald McDonald House. The after party was held at Big Texas Niagara, as the owner’s wife is a cancer survivor herself. So, the charity is something that is close to both of them.
But with this even firmly behind him, Greg has a bigger task at hand. For tonight, he is in the finales of THE SHOT!!
His mom was actually the one who sent him the information on the contest at a time when he wasn’t really sure why he was still even back in Canada. But she suggested he take a look into it and he did. You are never too old to listen to Mom’s advice!
Despite the fact that he hadn’t heard much about singing competitions in Canada, when he got called in for a live audition, he decided to go. The group started out with 150 artists and it is now down to 8! Greg says that despite the fact that this IS a competition, he has met some great people that he can work with and collaborate with in the future. It also sort of reaffirmed his faith that there IS a strong and viable music community right here in Canada.
The finale is being held TONIGHT at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, ON. Tickets (if there are any left….) are $35 and can be purchased through The Shot: https://www.facebook.com/singfortheshot/
Oh. You thought that was it? Of COURSE it’s not! Greg has recently teamed up with Bar Rail Management and is getting ready to go on a 76 school tour across Canada. His mission has always been to inspire and empower young people and that’s what he plans to do. Greg will go from school to school performing acoustic sets and sharing his story.
I asked him how it has been for him since he has been for him since he has been back from Nashville and he was very honest, “It’s been a transition for sure.” He mentioned that he always felt like he was running and that he originally had planned going back to Nashville in January, “But there was something in my head telling me I should stay here for a bit longer.”
Well…It has been a pretty busy Summer! Between Craven and birthdays and my nieces from Calgary coming to visit, I have been on the run!
Oh, and some very interesting news. I am now co-hosting Aunt Linda’s Country TaleGate on Sudbury’s CKLU 96.7! YES! Someone was CRAZY enough to give Linda Heldman and I a radio show! Lol! We are still learning but we are having a BLAST!!
Needless to say, a lot of the blog will be tied in with the radio show, with great links to to the show and contests and ANYTHING TaleGate related!
You can listen to us live on Tuesday morning from 11:00 am – 12:00pm ET on 96.7 FM if you are in the Sudbury area. If you aren’t, you can listen here:
The beauty of this is we can bring you so much more content now by having both mediums at our disposal and with two of us, we can cover much more!
We have a few episodes that have already aired. In one of them, we discuss the new EP by Sons of Daughters, Love In A Bar.
If you haven’t run out to grab this yet, you are MISSING OUT! This entire EP is fantastic. The piece de resistance for me though was their cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. It is a stunning piece of work.
Follow Sons of Daughters and darn it…get this EP!!
We also had a chat about our mutual friend Greg Rider, who I had a call with back in May.
Greg is….a hurricane! Lol! But in the best possible way! He is so energetic and positive and darn charismatic!! Our quick call turned into a 1 hour world problem solving call. He is amazingly accomplished, as a songwriter and an a author. He just released a wonderful “coming of age” song called “Baby Girl” in May, which we played on the show. Look up his socials. Down load his song. The guy is phenomenal!
In last weeks episode we gave a big BRAVO to Miss Meghan Patrick who stuck it to some jerk that felt it was OK to yell a sexual comment at her at a show on the weekend.
We couldn’t be more proud of her for standing up for herself! She caused quite the stir online…
I also gave a rundown of Craven 2019. TBH, between the heat and the mud and no media pass, I just wasn’t willing to fight off teenagers again after the first night for decent pics, gang. I made more teenage girls cry than an entire 8th grade class of boys that first night. I will try again next year…
In the meantime, here are a few pics I managed to take when I wasn’t making children cry or pushing them down like dominoes. (Being middle-aged with a brain injury gives you certain advantages…like…. security NEVER THINKING you would do something like that….just sayin’ )
We also took some time to discuss Saskatchewan native Alex Runions.
I caught his set while I was in Craven. He was an early interview of mine and he was FANTASTIC! I couldn’t wait to brag about seeing him on the show! The guy is simply charming, both on stage and off. His new single “Heartland” is a great piece of work and what we chose to share with the audience.
Alex has an incredible voice! So, while you are looking him up, here’s “Heartland” for you to check out. We should note that the female part is being sung by his wife, Erin Hill, who is also a very talented artist.
This Week brought us a couple of GREAT treats!!
Chris Labelle stopped in for a visit with Linda to talk about going solo after leaving River Town Saints and his new single “Say Yeah” which is out August 9th.
Get on to Chris’ socials so you can follow his new solo journey:
I am sorry it has been such a long time since I’ve posted anything.
Since September, I’ve been dealing with both physical illness and to be honest, a severe case of depression.
This fall and winter has been really hard on me. I’ve had zero creative energy, unless it is in the kitchen because I can eat it. LOL! Still, I’ve lost weight despite the amount of bread and brownies I’ve been baking. I actually weigh less than my wedding day right now.
The weather is warming up now and my disorder seems to want to stabilize a bit. I was able to do some artwork with my nieces and finish some yesterday. And I was ACTUALLY able to write THIS!!
I’m playing with a couple of new things for the blog so I can try to make this a bit easier for me during these months when it IS hard for me to take on new work and get writing done. So, there are sfew things to look forward to at any rate.
Thanks for hanging in there with me. I promise I’m not ignoring you!!! I just needed to start to feel a even a BIT better to try to get some of this stuff done.
Hey gang. It’s been awhile. And I KNOW I owe you all sorts of stuff like a CCMA wrap up and some interviews. They are almost done. But I’ve been pretty much sick since September. Some of it physical illness…some of it mental illness. I’ve never been shy about the fact that I’m clinically depressed and that I’ve named her “Barb”. Well, Barb and I have really been on the outs.
I’m starting to feel a bit better. Last night sure helped! I dragged my city-boy husband, Frank to the Gord Bamford Honky Tonks and Dive Bar Tour. And inspite of himself, even he had a great time.
The show opened with local talent Aaron Starr. When I say local…I mean local. He grew up across the tracks from me in Selkirk, MB. (Yes, Aaron….the noise from your parties carried to the Moody Avenue cul-de-sac. Let’s not mention the free serenades from Chad’s at 4 a.m. But I digress…)
If you haven’t seen him on YouTube as over a million others have, I urge you to. His voice is great, as it in the same vein of Chris Stapleton. And, well, I’m a HUGE Stapleton fan. Aaron did mainly original music but did close his set with an expertly covered rendition of “Broken Halos”. Be sure to check out his socials so you can see where to catch him next.
THEN there was Gord. Can I just say, what a character! I enjoyed every moment of this show. He was entertaining and funny. He played a few new songs mixed in with some classics.
Songs like “Heard You In A Song” had the crowd singing along to every word and when he sang, “Stayed Til Two”, we really got moving! From “Red Dress” to “Farm Girl” he had us all warmed up.
But wait…what was this? He brought out Jojo Mason! One thing to know about Jojo, HE GIVES THE BEST HUGS EVER!!! I was so happy to see him!
He has boundless energy and watching him, it is obvious he loves what he does. He too, had the crowd singing along and dancing, and it was clear he enjoyed every moment. Singing “Good Kinda Love”, his new song “Future” and his first hit “Something To Wrap My Heart Around”, the crowd loved him!
Gord came back out and they sang together which….WAS AWESOME! They obviously have a great time together.
Gord continued with hits like “Drinking Buddy” and “Dive Bar” and then he brought out a young talent named Jade Eagleson.
He sang his new song “Count The Ways” and his big hit “Got Your Name On It”.
Gord came out to join him for a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” which was fantastic.
The evening wrapped up with a couple more Gord tunes and the band members played a couple of songs. HIS BAND…all of them are highly talented and award winning in their own right. Lisa Dodds is an award winning bassist. Ryan Davidson is an award winning guitarist. His drummer is an award winning drummer. So, it’s a pretty fantastic fricken band.
Gord came out for an encore of “Breakfast Beer” and a HELL of a version (that included a rap section by Jojo Mason) of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” (yes, Dad. My theme song.)
Bar none, this was one of my favourite shows. This small venue was great! It made it more interactive and you felt closer. Well…I was practically ON the stage. So I couldn’t be much closer. LOL!
Gord, Jojo, Jade and Aaron were all sounded great! I couldn’t have asked for a better night out. Well…only maybe that it was earlier. It was past my bedtime, Gord. WAY past.
I’m still plugging away on all the other stuff guys! Stay tuned….