Something New….

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:

WEBSITE: https://krissyfeniak.com/home
FACEBOOK: https://m.facebook.com/officialKrissyfeniak/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/krissyfeniak?s=09
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/krissyfeniak?igshid=1ivwd7wlzgn7l

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:

WEBSITE: http://www.alexistaylormusic.com/bio
FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/alexistaylormusic/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/MissTaylorMusic?s=09
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/alexistaylormusic?igshid=l1ld4la6gzs2

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:

WEBSITE: https://www.brendadirk.com/
FACEBOOK : https://m.facebook.com/brendadirkmusic/
TWITTER : https://twitter.com/brendadirkmusic?s=09
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/brendadirkmusic?igshid=vcx7kbge3orb

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!:

WEBSITE: https://www.ajayejardine.com/
FACEBOOK: https://m.facebook.com/ajayejardinemusic/
TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/ajayejardine?s=09
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/ajayejardine?igshid=y2354218fdz0

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:

WEBSITE: https://kalseykulyk.com/mystory
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/kalseykulyk/
TWITTER : https://twitter.com/KalseyKulyk?s=09
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/kalseykulyk?igshid=nc7on57rrx9

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:

WEBSITE: https://nicolerayy.com/nashville-new-music/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/NicoleRayyMusic/
TWITTER: Take a look at Nicole Rayy (@NRayy): https://twitter.com/NRayy?s=09
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/nicolerayymusic?igshid=1trbtk9fykiu6

She also made a great video to go with this so you have to take a look at that! Here is Unfinished By Nicole Rayy:

You can also find Unfinished along with all of the other songs mentioned here…with maybe a couple of goodies on the Spotify Playlist to accompany this Podcast:

https://open.spotify.com/user/redwhiteandcountry/playlist/2HWzMGaOZa8xSaVlCOoksI?si=MKVKa3qGRd6WdNEV7QA9JQ

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……

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Concert Reviews, Country Music, Country News, Country Playlist, podcast, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Shot

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:

WEBSITE: https://www.jordyjacksonband.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/jordyjacksonband/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/jordyjackson1

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/jordyjackson1/

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:

WEBSITE: https://donamero.ca/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/donameromusic/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/donaldamero

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/donamero/

For now…here is Music Lover by Don Amero

Greg Rider Is Taking A Shot

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.”

HERE’S WISHING YOU ALL THE LUCK TONIGHT, GREG!!

Stay in touch with him on his socials:

WEBSITE: https://gregridermusic.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/gregridermusic/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/gregridermusic

And…because I like this song so dang much…here is Baby Girl by Greg Rider!

Until Next week, friends! Stay Wicked 🙂

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New Things Happening

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:

https://www.cklu.ca

Or find us on the Radioplayer Canada App.

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!!

SOCIALS:

WEBSITE: https://sonsofdaughters.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/sonsofdaughtersmusic

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SonsOfDaughters

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/sonsofdaughters

While you do that, you should check out one of their latest releases, “What If We Stay”:


https://youtu.be/dbRqm11lh4Q

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!

SOCIALS:

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHdOR6Vb9lgjY6yVqPIHU5Q

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/gregridermusic

You should really take a listen to this song and go pick it up!! Here, let me help you…


https://youtu.be/LO42usfrSt0

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’ )

Terri Clark – Craven 2019

Terri Clark – Craven 2019

Terri Clark – Craven 2019

Dallas Smith – Craven 2019

Dallas Smith – Craven 2019

Dallas Smith – Craven 2019

Darren Savard – Craven 2019

Travis Switzer – Craven 2019

Saturday Night’s Main Event

The aftermath of 2 hail storms

Our neighbour hooking up his car to be towed.

Me in the mud…


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.

Make sure you get on Alex’s socials:

SOCIALS:

WEBSITE: https://www.facebook.com/alexrunionsmusic/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/alexrunionsmusic/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/alexrunions

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/alexrunions/

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:

SOCIALS

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/chris.labelle.90

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Labellecountry

INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/labellecountry

Plus…Linda and I had out first 3-way…INTERVIEW that is!! Krista Wodolet from the all-girl country band Nice Horse!

Photo Credit – Heather Pollack

Let me tell you something. I met these girls last September. I have never met a group of girls who encapsulate who I am better than these ladies. They are PHENOMENAL! They are still kicking it in high gear with their second CCMA nomination for Interactive Band of he Year and have a BRAND NEW single out. “Good Life” is an upbeat, fun, summer love song. These gals just seem to continually deliver. Krista promises that the girls are in the process of working on some new music to release, and we couldn’t be happier.

They have released this stunning video to go along with “Good Life” which they filmed in Hawaii on one of their girl trips. Take a look!

If you aren’t already on to these ladies, you should be! go and check them out:

SOCIALS:

WEBSITE: http://www.nicehorsemusic.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/nicehorsemusic

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/nicehorsemusic

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/nicehorsemusic

Make sure you keep tuning in to the show! Linda and I have a lot more great music and some GREAT content to bring you!

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It’s been a minute

Hey Everyone,

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.

See you soon!!

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Me…I’m definitely a Dive Bar.

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….

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I’M LEAVING WHEN?!

I kid you not when I say that I wrote part of this blog post while on a road trip to Regina last weekend for a family function. Yes…there is photographic evidence:

I also finished writing it while in an airport and maybe even in the air and en route to Hamilton…

And I’m finishing it backstage at the CCMA Gala Awards.

There was just too much to tell you BEFORE I start bringing you stuff from the weekend! So…In a psychotic craze, I am trying to do it all. LOL! It is totally worth it. Trust me! Worth it!

Let’s give ‘er

COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS
Made In Canada, From Coast-to-Coast

George Canyon is about as Canadian as they come and has no intention of ever hiding it. Last month, he announced his Made In Canada Tour.

The multiple CCMA and Juno Award winning artist will be hitting the road on November 1st, starting in Pictou, NS (his hometown). The tour will include 12 dates and will conclude in Calgary, AB on November 17th.

Tickets went on sale on August 17th, so if this sounds like it is your cup of tea, then you may want to see if you can still snatch one of these up!


Coming Soon To A Honkytonk Near You

If you currently do not follow Gord Bamford’s socials, you really should. He’s a pretty interesting guy. This year, he has been everywhere. Austrailia, Paris. Well, it appears that he is going to be home for a little bit and he is going back to his roots.

There is a bit of a trend happening right now where artists are “coming home” to play in smaller venues. Though it may be harder to get tickets, the experience is
uncomparable. Gord is no exception. He recently announced that he will be embarking on The Honkytonk And Dive Bars Tour. It will begin in Calgary, AB on October 17th and play in 29 cities coast-to-coast, playing in local bars and honkytonks.

Tickets for this went on sale on August 30th and are very limited. If you are interested, you should probably get on it. He promises it will be a hell of a night! From persoanl experience…this will be absolutely true.


The Solo Tour You’ve Been Waiting For!

Ok. Maybe it’s the solo tour I’VE been waiting for! It is no secret that I have an undying love for Jessica Mitchell. They call her “country’s Adele”. For me, it’s more like if Adele and Melissa Etheridge had a baby…it would be Jessica Mitchell.

After going out on a large-scale tour with Johnny Reid, Jessica is going out on her first solo tour. It begins on November 14th in Calgary. I, for one, am super excited to hear this.

Since I spoke to Jessica, she released her debut LP Heart of Glass. If you have not heard it yet, shame on you. In one word, this album is “exquisite”. It is a true testament to Jessica’s skill as both a songwriter and a vocalist. Her next single from this album “Maybe It’s Me” was set to release September 5th!! Upon hearing Heart Of Glass it is easy to see why Jessica earned her CCMA Nominations this year for both Songwriter and Roots Artist Of The Year. Bravo.

If you have the opportunity to catch Jessica live, you should. She is captivating.

Perhaps We Should “Mansplain” This

Let me tell you something, 8:30 in the morning is a hell of a time for an interview. I grabbed my coffee, and Katie Rox from country-rock group, Nice Horse, grabbed hers and we were off to the races.

I really wanted to get this interview in before CCMA Week. This was an ALL FEMALE band….something pretty unheard of. They are up for CCMA Interactive Artist of the Year and it is their very first CCMA nomination. Naturally, with the big week coming up, this is where we started. I asked her what her first reaction was to hearing the news about their nomination. Katie laughed, “I didn’t realize we were still eligible for anything to be nominated for.” Someone had mentioned to her that she should watch ET Canada and she remembered that they were still eligible for Interactive Artist Of The Year. She had a difficult time watching the program because of the stress, even going for a run to calm her nerves to no avail. When she saw that they DID get the nomination, it was pure jubilation, “I did shed a bit of tears,” she admitted, “I was very overwhelmed and very excited.”

Rightfully so. This all-female country band hailing from Alberta has only been around a couple of years and consider themselves to be the quintessential “party-crashers”. “We pretty much show up invited or not!” This award for them has changed a lot. “To officially be ‘CCMA nominated Nice Horse’ will forever be that, whether we win or not. We got the nomination and that’s huge for us.”

We started talking about their latest album There Goes The Neighborhood, which, incidentally, is fantastic. If you’re looking for a boot stompin’ good time, go pick it up! The whole project really picked up traction when member Brandi Sidoryk decided to go on a writing trip to Hawaii. Katie was taking a bit of a break from music, but Brandi invited her and gal pals Krista Wodelet and Tara McLeod along for the ride and Nice Horse was born. “We spent the days at the beach and drinking mai tais and writing completely uninhibited and I think that was the best part. We didn’t think anybody would ever hear them, so it didn’t matter what we wrote

They loved what they were writing and we’re enjoying themselves to boot. They really felt like they were on to something. They came home with an arsenal with some awesome tunes and made a demo. They originally started shipping it around to people they knew in the industry as something to do to get some gigs. You know…something to do during Stampede. The feedback was phenomenal! Better than they expected. “They said you should drop everything else you’re doing and focus on this because you are on to something great here.”

From CCMA performances to shows with Tom Cochrane to being the CMT Fresh Face Feature Artist, these girls are on fire and I don’t think they’d have it any other way. Their latest single “Mansplainin’ proves that these girls are strong enough to tow the line on their own. Written while recording the album, the girls would come in and regale their producer Jeff of tales of things that had happened to them, “He couldn’t believe the things that would be said to us and he just kept saying ‘you have to write a song about this.'” Jeff brought on Tarea Green (from the former Autumn Hill) and history was made.”

It was time to discuss the inevitable…being girls. This has really been the year of the woman. Have there been any noticeable changes in the industry? According to Katie, there still is a long road ahead but people are definitely making an effort. Women are moving more and more in to the forefront and Nice Horse is helping to make that happen, “People do openly talk to us about it because WE openly talk about.” The “For Girl” initiative and seeing and being a part of all female showcases prove to them that strides are being made.

While they are an all-girl band, they didn’t set out to be a beacon of feminism. Katie explains, “You’re right. We didn’t set out to be a feminine anthem band. We are truly just friends who happen to all be women who started a band. We didn’t even know at the time that we would be the only self-contained all-girl country band.” They were shocked when they realized this! “We realized we had an opportunity to stand for something.”

What is really exciting about one if these young ladies is that they make great music that’s not “angry chick music.” They are just out to have a good time. Being female is just a part of their brand, “Ideally we’re writing good songs and being a good band, regardless of our gender.” They want to write great songs, not great songs “for a girl”. They want to be recognized as good musicians – not good musicians “for a girl” (after seeing them live this weekend…..THEY ARE).

So here I am talking to a member of an all-female band, there is the obvious question of if you had to add a man to the band, who would you choose? “Oh my god! That’s a hard choice!!!” Katie started. She was, however able to narrow it down to 3 top choices: Butch Walker, Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three and Dierks Bentley. Thinking about it now, I don’t think any of them would look really great in daisy dukes…

CCMA Week has been busy for the girls, playing showcases and the Warner Showcase at the CCMA Fan Village. I asked Katie what her favourite part of the week is, “To me it’s almost like summer camp. You see all these musicians you get to know because you toured together and played one show together, really hit it off and then you don’t get to see each other because everybody’s off touring. I find that’s the one opportunity when everyone gets together.”

To end our call I had one last question. I asked her to choose a song that describes her personality. I shouldn’t be surprised when Katie replied, “Girl’s Just Want To Have Fun”.

While the girls didn’t win their category last night, don’t count them out just yet. This is just the beginning for this group of talented, vivacious, young women. Be sure to check out their socials:

WEBSITE: http://www.nicehorsemusic.com

FACEBOOK: https://m.facebook.com/nicehorsemusic/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/nicehorsemusic

INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/nicehorsemusic

IF you have not have the pleasure of hearing these gorgeous gals (who incidentally….are amazingly sweet and SUPER fun to be around), let me leave you with Mansplainin’ by Nice Horse:

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Fall Is Evolving

I’ve been trying to figure out why I have been so blue this summer. I mean, I spent three weeks in Mexico! I honestly am starting to believe it’s because I have seen no live music. I have been to no festivals or concerts this summer and that is a BIG DEAL for me. They are a HUGE part of my year. So maybe, just maybe, this is why I am out of sorts. I love music, especially seeing it live. Perhaps there is something to that.

I love music SO MUCH…that I took up the ukele. Yes. Frank bought me a beautiful Fender soprano ukele. I named her “Lola”. It’s challenging but I am enjoying it. So beware, in the future you may get some terrible songs. Just letting you know.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who took a moment to call, send a message, text, whatever, and send along their birthday wishes as well as their wishes for our wedding anniversary. I know all of you have lives going on so knowing that you’ve even taken a a little bit of time out of them to send those along makes me feel very loved and very blessed. So…Thank You.

Speaking of birthdays, Presley turned one. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! Time where are you going? We had a party for her and she had a great time playing with the kids…and her cake:

It’s hard to believe that a year ago she was so tiny you could hold her in one arm and she didn’t even weigh 5 pounds. She was happy from day one, despite what she went through and she is clearly a ham to this day. I love this kid.

Ok, my summer may be light on the music side, but it’s been busy for some other people. Let’s take a look.

COUNTRY NEWS

It’s Hammer Time

September is almost here and that means…it’s…CCMA TIME AGAIN! This year’s Country Music Week and CCMA Awards will be held in Hamilton, Ontario from September 6 – 9, culminating with with the CCMA Awards show on Sunday, September 9th which will be live broadcast on CBC. Last year was one of the best times of my life and I’m looking forward to the whole thing all over again. I received my media accreditation today so let the perogie making begin.

This year’s big announcement was the CCMA Fan Village, which will bring the artists to YOU! Live performances and photo walls bring you closer than ever before. Everyone is FREAKING OUT!! Go to https://www.ccma.org for more info on all of the weeks activities. Keep in mind – this only scratches the surface…

In preparation for the “BIG NIGHT” let’s take a look at our nominees:
APPLE MUSIC FANS’ CHOICE AWARD

  • Gord Bamford
  • Dean Brody
  • Chad Brownlee
  • Tim Hicks
  • High Valley
  • James Barker Band
  • Brett Kissel
  • Jess Moskaluke
  • Dallas Smith
  • Shania Twain

FORD ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • Country Music Made Me Do It – Meghan Patrick
  • Past The Past – Jess Moskaluke
  • The Project – Lindsay Ell
  • We Were That Song – Brett Kissel
  • What We’re Made Of – The Washboard Union

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

  • Lindsay Ell
  • Madeline Merlo
  • Jess Moskaluke
  • Meghan Patrick
  • Shania Twain

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

  • Gord Bamford
  • Chad Brownlee
  • Brett Kissel
  • Dallas Smith
  • Bobby Wills

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR

  • High Valley
  • Hunter Brothers
  • James Barker Band
  • The Reklaws
  • The Washboard Union

ROOTS ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR

  • The Lovelocks
  • Jessica Mitchell
  • Lindi Ortega
  • The Washboard Union
  • Donovan Woods

SIRIUSXM RISING STAR

  • Dan Davidson
  • Aaron Goodvin
  • Hunter Brothers
  • Leaving Thomas
  • The Reklaws

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

  • Chills – James Barker Band
  • Country Music Made Me Do It – Meghan Patrick
  • Drive Me Away – Jess Moskaluke
  • Lonely Drum – Aaron Goodvin
  • Side Effects – Dallas Smith

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

  • The Bad Guy – Meghan Patrick
  • Drive Me Away – Jess Moskaluke
  • Hometown Kids – The Reklaws
  • Sky Stays This Blue – Dallas Smith
  • We Were That Song – Brett Kissel

SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR

  • Dean Brody, Matt Rovey Song: 8th Day (Performed By: Dean Brody)
  • Dan Isbell, Meghan Patrick, Jeremy Stover Song: Country Music Made Me Do It (Performed By: Meghan Patrick)
  • Zach Abend, Corey Crowder, Jess Moskaluke Song: Drive Me Away (Performed By: Jess Moskaluke)
  • James Barker, Gavin Slate, Travis Wood Song: It’s Working (Performed By: James Barker Band)
  • Skip Black, Aaron Goodvin, Catt GravittSong: Lonely Drum (Performed By: Aaron Goodvin)

INTERACTIVE ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR

  • Tenille Arts
  • Hunter Brothers
  • Brett Kissel
  • Leaving Thomas
  • Nice Horse

Do you see your favourite up there?

Sending out good luck vibes to all of my personal favourites and to my friends over at Ole/Ole Red Dot who are up for Music Publisher and and Record Company of the Year! Best of luck, gang!

Another Hole In One for Bamford

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it probably about a hundred times; country music has the most generous fans and artists. Gord Bamford has proven that theory once again.

On August 15 – 16 in Lacombe, Alberta, the 11th Annual Gord Bamford Charity Classic raised $469,720. This is the main fundraiser for The Gord Bamford Foundation (for more information on the foundation, please visit http://www.gordbamfordfoundation.com/ ). Several Canadian country artists came out to go head to head on the course, including: Aaron Pritchett, Chad Brownlee and Tebey. By night, they dazzled the sold out group of 800.

This years Title Sponsor was JEDCO Energy Services. Contributing to the fundraising total included bids from auction prizes such as gourmet chef in-home dinners and NHL travel packages – two of which went for $35,000! The charities that were in attendance to receive their awards from the foundation this year were: MusiCounts, Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Lacombe & District, Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Sutter Fund, Hockey Alberta Foundation, Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, RDC College – Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Blackfalds Wranglers, and Robbie Dean Family Counseling Centre. Congratulations on what looks like what was another Ace, Gord!

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COUNTRY MUSIC

There has been some really great music released this summer. But there are a couple that I really like right now.

“Good Goodbye” by Dean Brody. Alright. The song is about getting stuck in an airport leaving Mexico so this could be in January. I don’t care. This is a fantastic summertime drinking song. In fact the lyrics instruct you to do so, “…Step one, raise it up; step two, tilt it back; step three, go on repeat…” Well, if you insist. Then he adds a mariachi? Shut up and take my money, Brody. If you haven’t got it, go get it. Dean is up for the Apple Music Fan’s Choice Award at this year’s CCMA Awards. You can vote for him or any of the nominees at https://ccmafanvote.com/

Dean is heading back out on the road this fall. But if what you are looking for is the big Brody show, settle in for a very different evening. The Dirt Road Stories Tour begins October 20 in Truro, NS and makes its way to Cranbrook, BC on December 2. This has been planned as intimate, acoustic show where he showcases his talent as as both a songwriter and a storyteller. Brody, if nothing, is a poet, so for me this is the perfect venue to enjoy his craft. He brings along with him Jessica Mitchell (East Coast and Montreal dates), Andrew Hyatt (Ontario dates) and Tenille Arts (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta dates). I suggest you find out when and where and get tix.

The other song is “Make ’em Like You” by Dallas Smith. I know. You are probably starting to think this is a Dallas Smith fan page. While I am a huge fan, it is not my fault this guy has been working his ass off and been making great stuff. Which is why he TOO is up for Fan’s Choice Award this year (https://ccmafanvote.com/). “Make ’em Like You” definitely errs more on the side of country than his last album. Not mad at all. This song is more of a bluesy rock and Dallas totally delivers. I really recommend getting it. His voice honestly sounds better than ever.

We can not go this whole summer without discussing “Drowns The Whiskey” by Jason Aldean ft. Miranda Lambert. I’m pretty much in love with this song. I could listen to it on repeat…a bazillion times. It’s sad…but just sad enough. It’s not “Tin Man” sad, which, let’s face it, leaves me a mess. It’s relatable. They sound great together. Miranda may be a real…whatever…but she sounds fantastic right now. So I kinda hope she is giving Gwen the good ol’ southern “bless her heart” treatment because she is kicking her ASS in the talent department these days. Sorry Gwen, take your B-A-N-A-N-A-S elsewhere.

What are you guys listening to? Is it maybe time to throw something a little new in to the mix. Why not checkout some local artists…..like Don Amero.

Just A Part Of His Evolution

From the moment we are born, we are ever changing. From infants to children to eventually adults. Even as adults, we shift and grow as we age. It’s our Evolution which is the name of Don Amero’s latest studio album released EARLIER TODAY (August 24th)! I was TRYING to get this up this morning. There were…ahem…problems.

It is being released as a country album, which is considered a genre switch by some. For Don, the fit is natural, “I don’t feel like I’m trying to switch anything up. I think this is just a natural evolution of me.” He didn’t intend to set out to do it. It was naturally occurring. His previous and Juno nominated album Refined had several tracks on it that had received country treatment to them. Keeping all of this in mind, when it came time to name the new album Evolution seemed to be the perfect fit.

I had the opportunity to listen to the album and discuss it with Don. I caught up with him while he was en route to play the Songwriters Stage at Big Valley Jamboree.

First of all, Evolution as a whole, is a fantastic piece of work. A true musical feast, Don explores a pure country song in songs like “How I Feel” and “Give It To You” but reminds of his gritty rock roots with “Live While I’m Alive” and “Smoke In My Eyes”. During our interview Don referred to himself as a “chameleon artist”. This album is proof that he is able to glide seamlessly from genre to genre. A perfect example of this ability is “Try”. A Blue Rodeo cover, Don has made this a little more country, a little softer and I love it as much as the original. Jim Cuddy, if you haven’t heard this, you should. It. Is. Perfection.

In a nutshell – go and pick this album up. A) You will be supporting local talent. B) You will be supporting someone EXTREMELY talented. C) You will be purchasing an incredible piece of work.

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Ok, After listening to the album, I had questions! There is one track on the album called “Addicted”. Adjectives to describe it? Smoky. Sultry. Sexy. I love this song. I needed to know more. Well, apparently it was a larger production sent to Don from a production company in Nashville. He opted to break it down. “I really wanted that to be sort of the signature love track on the album.” Mission. Accomplished. He said, “I love the idea of giving someone a variety if they are going to buy an album. I don’t want to give them the same song ten times over.”

That is something he did NOT do. There is a beautiful track called “Head Over Heels”. It is the sweetest song about always being there for someone. This song was written for his 3 year-old daughter Stella. “I wrote a song for my boy a number of years ago called “My Heart Melts” and I remember realizing about two years ago, ‘Oh wait, I haven’t written a song for Stella.’ and the last thing I want is an angsty teenage girl around going, ‘Why didn’t you write me a song, Dad?’ ” We both burst out laughing. Me more so because having been an angsty teenage girl, I knew he was correct in going ahead and just writing the song. “I really am head over heels for her and that’s the message I want her to live with for her whole life is that no matter what happens out there in the world, she can know that her papa is always there for her.” If you need a Father/Daughter dance song – forget every song you thought you wanted and pick this up. Believe Me. And Hand out tissues.

There was one more song I was really curious about. It’s called “Church”. When I listened to it, I was completely transported. It paints this beautiful picture of country roads, open skies and tranquil spaces. Don had originally passed on the song when it came to him from Nashville. His manager suggested he take a second listen to it a week later. It was on that second listen that something resonated. He realized that the song wasn’t about him. It was about his father who had passed a year earlier. His father never went to church, he enjoyed his time outdoors according to Don. “When I’m out amongst the trees, that when I get to meet God.” Once the connection was made, he knew he had to record it and it has been one of his most successful songs yet.

It’s clear that Don takes his inspiration from everywhere, so who are some people who inspire him? I asked him to name three country artists (past or present) that he would like to collaborate with. With little hesitation, he said, “Keith Urban has always been an inspiration to me.” We both agreed that he seems like someone you could just sit back and hang out with too. Second on the list was Garth Brooks. “He’s the King of Country.” Well, that and this is someone he grew up listening to with his dad. Last but not least he mentioned Merle Haggard. “Hearing the stories, the histories and the past of country music.” That would be the highlight for him.

What is he currently listening to? Well, he’s a bit of a chameleon in that area as well. In the gym he admits to listening to dubstep and dance but for personal listening, he’s more into Ed Sheeran, Thomas Rhett and Brett Young. He’s a big fan of an artist named Donovan Woods, “I’ve had him on repeat for a week now.”

To finish our interview I asked him to pick one song that would describe him as a person. “Happy by Pharrell Williams. I’m a pretty happy guy.” I’ll agree 100%! He was wonderful to chat with and I’m absolutely proud to say he’s from my city.

Please go and check out his socials:

WEBSITE: http://donamero.ca/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/donameromusic/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/donaldamero

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/donamero/

Do yourself a humongous favour. Go pick up Evolution. It really is a great piece of work. Until you do…here is “Church” by Don Amero:

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