I hope that this new year has been treating everyone well. This year has been a bit of a rough start for us. Besides things going on in the family, the weather has been wreaking havoc with my trigeminal neuralgia. The nausea and the pain have been at it’s worst levels ever, but I am constantly trying to persevere. I am changing a couple of things (NOT resolutions, just adjustments) so we will see if they will help.
I don’t know if any of you know this, but I write another blog called “Struggles Of A Fat Girl”. I recently posted a pretty controversial and touchy-feely piece over there. It’s been ages since I posted there but it was something I didn’t want to say here. We keep it light and fun here. But if you are interested, the link is https://suzeq64.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/well-hi/
Some REALLY cool country music news though is that Canadian country music super star Dean Brody soared to the top of the Nielsen BDS Canadian Country Airplay Charts with “8th Day”, making this his third song that has hit #1. Deservedly so. This is a great song. Congratulations Dean!
Let’s move on to some other really cool stuff!
Country Music Juno Award Nominees
With this year’s Juno Awards set to air from Vancouver, a brand new list of nominees has been issued! Our country music family did amazingly well this year! Going through the ENTIRE list, I took a moment to see where some of our friends showed up.
Johnny Reid is up for Album of the year for his latest album Revival as is Shania Twain for comeback album Now. Shania is also nominated for Artist of the Year.
Representing country music for Breakthrough Group of the Year is James Barker Band. I am so happy to see this! These are talented guys, they are great live and most important – they are nice guys. My fingers are crossed for them.
For Country Album of the Year, the list is as follows:
Beautiful Freakshow – Dean Brody
Dear Life – High Valley
Game On – James Barker Band
Past the Past – Jess Moskaluke
Shake These Walls – Tim Hicks
I am going to predict Beautiful Freakshow to win this category. It is not that I don’t love the other albums, because I do (Game On and Shake These Walls are on high rotation for me). Based on the response I have seen to Dean’s album, the reviews I have read, the buzz I have heard, I think this will be the winner. I guess we will see.
Tune in on March 24, 2018, 6:00 PM PDT to see who takes home the Juno in these categories. Best of luck to everyone!
The last time I checked, CMT stood for Country Music Television. However, there is no longer ANY country music to be found. Sadly, this change in format also included them axing The Chevy Top 20 Countdown with Paul McGuire.
Music publishing giant Ole have recently taken Paul on to produce and host content for OleTV, the company’s Multi-Channel Network (MCN). This includes a…you guessed it, countdown! I am sorry, but, how can you take away a music countdown on what is supposed to be a channel with music? So thank you, Ole, for giving us a countdown.
If you haven’t caught any of Paul’s work on the new channel yet, or if you haven’t seen it at all, here is a link:
Trust me, there is a lot to take a look at, especially if you are missing the Top 20! It is really nice to see Paul back and doing what he does best!
This playlist is based on Paul McGuire’s first Top 20 on OleTV
She’s A Wild-eyed Wanderer
She was 8 years-old, singing and dancing away at a Shania Twain concert. She said to her mom, “That’s me! That’s what I want to do!” Her mother sighed, “Oh dear…” Alessia Cohle knew at that moment that she wanted to be a performer. Coming from a music oriented family, “it was bound to happen sooner or later.”
So what was it about Shania that made the 8 year-old Alessia decide that this would be her career path? “I think it was the energy that I was feeling from her, like the energy she was giving to the audience and she’s just such a force to be reckoned with and she’s so amazing and her vocals are outstanding so it was just everything combined.”
Alessia is starting to build up some cred herself. Last year, she joined Brett Kissel on his Ice, Snow and 30 Below Tour. I asked her what the experience was like for her. “So Incredible. I still don’t believe it actually happened.” Right from the moment she got the news it was a whirlwind, “It was such a a surreal moment getting the phone call,” which she received while out with her management team for a Christmas party. We talked a little bit about the evening of the performance as well. “He [Brett] is so nice! He really is and I’m sure people say that all the time and he gets that all the time. But he really was so sweet.” She opened that evening with Ontario artist Ben Hudson. From hanging out and chatting with them to personalized notes, as expected, Brett was a class act. “It was just so surreal and the response I got from the audience too because, you know, some of them don’t really know who I am. And they were even coming up afterwards saying, ‘We thoroughly enjoyed your performance,” and it just felt so good. It was like ‘Alright, this is where I’m supposed to be.'”
What got her to this pivotal point in her career? Because It doesn’t stop here. She has opened up for River Town Saints, The Washboard Union, The Road Hammers and many others. She has performed on festival stages such as Lucknow’s Music In The Fields, Havelock Country Jamboree, Manitoulin Country Fest, and Cider Fest alongside Lee Brice, Madeline Merlo and Small Town Pistols. Alessia has also had the opportunity to be a part of the house-band at CCMA Music Week 2016 & 2017 performing with artists such as Meghan Patrick, Jason Blaine, Tim Hicks and the list goes on and on. It seems like this girl is unstoppable!
Songs like “Wanderlust” on Alessia’s latest EP Wild-eyed Wanderer are the reason Alessia is having the success that she is. This song is wonderful and light-hearted and really instills that wanderlust feeling. It makes sense though, as Alessia is quite the traveler herself. The video for “Wanderlust” is beautiful, and the home video footage from Italy and Spain happens to be hers. I asked her if there was any place she hadn’t been yet that she would really like to go and why. “Bali.” She said immediately. “Bali is at the top of the list.” I laughed and said that she answered that pretty quick and I was curious as to why the fascination with Bali. “‘Eat, Pray, Love. I love the Movie. And the Book. I love the book. I felt such a kinship with that story.” Besides the deep connection she already felt, she had some friends who had gone. So long with their pictures and stories, Bali stays as a top location. She then added, “Cost Rica and Nicaragua are also high on the list.” That was a pretty far jump from Bali! “I have a friend who did some backpacking down there. All he did was stay at some hostels and he said it was one of his favourite trips ever.”
The rest of the EP is just as great as this song and I highly recommend you check it out. The one thing you won’t find. A boy song! “It was very much an internal story for myself.”
Absolutely correct. There is no “boy” song on this album. Alessia’s sweet and melodic voice carries us through a bit of a journey through who she is with this album. Please note…it is NOT a whiny, sad millennial album. It is upbeat and positive. I mean, she DOES slow it down once or twice. However, it doesn’t feel like one long sad song like some of these types of albums can be. Mind you, after speaking to Alessia, this doesn’t surprise me at all. She is charming and upbeat and positive. She has a zest for life and it definitely shows that this is who she is in this album. It is great. Go get it.
So, where did this beautiful songtress catch her travel bug? She was completing her Masters at Berkeley in Spain. She was 22 years-old, studying in an environment where there were students representing 24 countries. It was very eye-opening. “It really inspired me to want to travel and see as much of the world as possible and experience all these new cultures and it really allowed me to take a look inside at myself and be like, ‘Well, what do I want out of life? And what do I need out of life?’ This album is very much about me, it really is my story. Each song has my truth in it.”
Travel is her second love to music of course. Luckily she has been able to combine the two, travelling to Nashville and Austin on writing trips. Yes. I said Austin. I was SO excited to hear this. We were both giddy to talk about it! It seems like Austin is this untapped wealth of amazing music. Why more people don’t go there, I have no idea. I asked her what she thought of the city, “The city was so cool!” We both got really excited. She continued, “Even though it’s not as saturated with musicians as Nashville, it’s still such a musical city and its more about their live music than anything which is really cool.” If you have never been to Austin, Texas, you DEFINITELY need to go. It is one of my favourite cities. The music scene is amazing and don’t even get me started on “Dirty Six”. Alessia continued, “I got hooked up with some songwriters over there and I’m like, I’m gonna bite the bullet and just go.” So she went. She stayed on a buddies couch and head on down to the city known for “staying weird”. She said the experience was very different than writing in Nashville, not that writing there doesn’t have its merits, obviously. Alessia said of her Austin writing experience, “It was a little bit more raw. It was a little dirtier than trying to write more commercially. It was more like, ‘Ok, well, what do you want to say?’ And I was like, ‘Well, I have a lotta things that I want to say!’ So it was really interesting. It was a really fun experience.
It was time to wrap things up with Alessia. So I wanted to ask her one last fun question. After all of this talk about travel, what were the Top Three Things She Couldn’t Travel Without:
- Phone/Camera: “For me my phone IS my camera. I don’t necessarily need Wifi or service. I just need the camera.”
- Dry shampoo/Baby Wipes: We revised our list to include these together for general “cleanliness”. Tip from Alessia; baby wipes are the way to go. “I don’t always need to have the 4 star resort experience.” And apparently THESE are the ticket. Great for wiping down after a long day of hiking.
- Notebook and pen/pencil: “You never know when an idea is going to hit you.” That’s right. And your phone may be dead. Or maybe you might feel like going analogue for a change. It’s pretty freeing. I write almost everything first. THAT is my first draft.
Alessia is so very talented and a delight to talk to. We joked about running in to one another at a monastery in Bali sometime. You know, that wouldn’t be bad at all. Maybe we can start with somewhere a little closer first? Hamilton perhaps?
Please make sure to follow her on ALL of her socials:
This video is stunning. Please take a moment to check it out. Here is “Wanderlust” by Alessia Cohle: