When I first thought about writing this blog, I wasn’t sure how Canadian I wanted to be. I mean, I love country in general; I don’t really care where it comes from. The more and more I listen to new artists, I can see there is definitely a slight difference between American country and Canadian country. I maintain that I love them both! That being said, I had actually toyed with the idea of not playing my maple leaf card too hard. Would people find it off-putting? Would Americans feel like they aren’t getting enough recognition? At the end of the day, I AM Canadian and have decided to let “le drapeau” fly! Don’t worry American friends, I have A LOT of love for you and I promise you will get just as much air time as my Canadian ones. It’s just…well…this week is kind of a big deal for us.
As CCMA week continues so does my all-Canadian jamboree!! I hope you enjoy what I have in store for you today because heaven knows it’s RISER FRIDAY (not to be confused with “Rider Friday”, Craven Jamboree participants/ Roughrider fans)!
Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame:
In Halifax this weekend, in a private industry event, Dianne Leigh and the late Elizabeth (Ma) Henning will be honoured as the 2015 inductees to the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame. An earlier press release stated that Leigh, who will be attending the ceremony, played the drums in Patsy Cline’s road band. She also has recorded in Nashville, has played the Opry stage and is “one of Canada’s first female country artists to earn national recognition.”
Henning settled in Winnipeg where she opened “Ma’s Corral” at The Down’s Hotel. She is also responsible for launching The Downs record label, The Downs Publishing Company and she lead the team that put together the first televised production of the CCMA Awards, which was broadcast by Global.
Giving Back to the Halifax Community:
Calgary Duo TwoShine County took some time out of their busy CCMA schedule on Thursday to lend a hand at the Souls Harbour Rescue Mission. The 2 members, Dennis Hann and Daron Schofield, said that their manager had helped at a previous fundraiser for the mission and they jumped at the opportunity to serve up some sandwiches and some dining music. Schofield was quoted as saying, “Music is a universal language that just kind of connects everybody together. It doesn’t even matter what genre or type of music or walk of life you come from.” Guests of the mission were surprised and pleased with the event; because for many of the guests and staff, this will be the only opportunity they will get to partake in any of the CCMA activities. Be sure to stay tuned to the blog. Next week I will be giving you a little peek in to who these guys are. Judging from this, these are 2 artists whose hearts are as big as their talent.
Who Is Jessi Cruickshank?
The host of this year’s CCMA Awards is Jessi Cruickshank. But who is she? Born in an A&W in Calgary, Cruickshank actually grew up in Vancouver. Both her mother and sister have been involved in the television business; her mother hosted a show called Alive: The Picture of Health and her sister is a reporter and anchor for a station in Seattle. Although she had small rolls in commercials and made-for-TV films as a child, she was one of the original seven co-hosts of the MTV series MTV Live. She now lives in Los Angeles and is the Canadian Correspondent in L.A. for eTalk and has joined them for coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival for the past couple of years. Most recently, Cruickshank’s Canadian work was as host of the game show Canada’s Smartest Person.
Ok, I realize that this is not necessarily “country” fashion but this company is Canadian and they also happen to be located in Nova Scotia, home to the CCMA Awards this year. So rather than do something really country, I decided to give props to a small company who is gaining some momentum.
New Scotland Clothing Company was started late last year by brothers Kevin and Scott Saccary. The guys not only wanted to start something of their own, but they wanted to develop something that showed their love of their Scottish roots, their love for curling and of course, their love for their home province. According to an article in the Chronicle Herald back in April, the brothers are still working full-time jobs while the project gets off the ground. They are both very surprised by the popularity of the line. They currently have a couple of locations that are selling the brand and they also have an online shop. I think it is safe to say that these down-home guys will probably have to draw straws to see who is going to quit their job first to take on the business full-time. Please take some time to check them out at http://newscotlandclothing.ca/. Taking a look at some of these styles, I think it may be time for this Prairie girl to show her New Scotland heritage:
Not many people are aware of the fact that there was one season of Canada’s Got Talent and know that Ivan Daigle is a country singer who was a finalist. How this happened and how he didn’t win, I am not really sure because he is fantastic! His traditional country sound is so familiar and comforting. It is sincere and it is obvious that this is not for show. Take a look at any of the clips of him from CGT and you can see that it is genuinely who is. So…who is he?
Ivan, originally from Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, started writing music at a very young 10 years-old. In 2012, he was on Canada’s Got Talent and was the only representative of country music on the show. He ended up going all the way to the finals. The show has led to some high-profile events for Ivan, including the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, The New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition and a number of engagements at Casino New Brunswick. Ivan took some time to answer some questions for me (for which I am very grateful)! Here is “5 in 5 with Ivan Daigle”:
- When you are feeling down, what cheers you up? Ivan: I’m Rarely down but when I am I like to throw myself into music – Looking for new shows contacting new venues, Planning new songs to do, revamping set lists, going over new songs that I’m writing to try to improve them…. it’s a never-ending storm of things to do
- What is something you have always wanted and did you get it? Ivan: Always wanted to Record in Nashville and I Recorded in Nashville 2013 at County Q productions. And wrote with a HIT songwriter: in this case “Phil O’Donnell” (who hails originally from a little place called Norton, New Brunswick) co-writer of Blake Shelton’s “Doin What She Likes” and George Strait’s 60th # 1 hit “Give it all we got Tonight” – What an honour to meet him, talk to him and write with him – he’s just a MUSICAL explosion!
- What’s it mean to be a Maritimer? Ivan: Maritimer; a put-your-back-into-everything-you-do type of person/ ain’t afraid to shovel/ ain’t afraid to help/ we pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps but we’re always there and we’ve got your back!
- What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten? Ivan: I met My Bass Player, Warren Butland, at the Venue and we were unloading our gear, I turned to him and said “Man I don’t like playing here – I think next time they call I’ll tell them we’re booked somewhere else” he turned to me and simply said “There’s a LOT of Guys sitting at home tonight wishing they were doing what we’re doing right now”. Since that Day I’ve rarely turned down a show – those few words made me appreciate what I do so much more and appreciate how people are still coming out to see us after all these years.
- What is the last photo you took with your phone? Ivan: The last photo I took was of my newly refurbished Boots – I wore them COMPLETELY out and they look good as new Thanks to Hiltz Shoe Repair, Dartmouth, NS.
Ivan has the ability to entertain fans of all ages, engaging the whole crowd in a high energy show. I had the opportunity to catch him on the MediaWorks “Live Off the Floor” webcast (which included past blog interviewees Andrew Frelick and Doug Folkins). If you didn’t see it live, I highly recommend checking out the recording. It was fantastic! Be sure to follow this guy on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ivan.daigle?fref=ts&ref=br_tf), on Twitter (@IvanDaigle) and check out his website (www.ivandaigle.com) for all of his upcoming events! He just posted this song a couple of weeks ago but it so awesome I HAD to share it! Here is “Ready Or Crazy Or Not” by Ivan Daigle: