Hi Everybody! Things around here have been insane. With 2 moves and a trip Calgary since January, I am pretty much exhausted.
First and foremost, I wish to send my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of Humboldt Broncos bus accident. What an absolute tragedy. To those still recovering and fighting, the county is with you at this difficult time. #HumboldtStrong
I have reworked this introduction several times and I was thinking about something I really wanted to share with you guys. Recently, our family lost a very dear family member, Debbie Apt.
My Auntie Debbie passed away after a very long battle with fourth stage lung cancer. She survived much longer than her original prognosis by using a combination of Western and holistic medicine. She immediately quit smoking, she vaped cannabis for pain, she did chemo and radiation but she also did vitamin c treatments and changed her diet. What was most incredible about my Auntie Debbie was her incredible disposition during this. I saw her during her illness and you would never have known she was ill. She looked vibrant and healthy and she had a great sense of humour. I will never remember my Auntie ill. From the time I was a child I remember her being firm but fair and funny as hell. When she told a story, her eyes would open up REALLY wide and she would really get in to it. But more than anything, I will remember that she loved to dance. From the time the sun was up, there was music on and almost until her last day, my Auntie danced. I can’t even imagine what my summers in Nova Scotia would have been like without her. The other day, I was in the kitchen and I had music on in the house. I started to dance. I smiled. Not only did I just feel better for dancing but I knew she would be proud. Maybe we should all take a page out of her book and just…dance. Auntie Debbie, we love you. You will be missed.
Alright, on to music stuff.
Just when you think Dean Brody has taken a break, BAM, there he is again! This time in Australia! Dean brought home the The Jeff Walker Global Artist Award, presented by the CMA, following his main stage performance at CMC Rocks in Australia in March. This award recognizes outstanding achievements by a Country Music artist signed outside of the United States. The artist must have furthered the popularity of country music as well as brought attention to the country music format in their territory. Dean was surprised with the award backstage during The CMC Rocks QLD festival on Saturday, March 17 in Queensland, Australia. HUGE congratulations!
Blake Shelton. Let me have my moment. Please. The video for “I Lived It” came out. I rarely put two videos on a blog but I have to today. Everything that I ever have loved about Blake as an artist is in this song. I MISS THIS BLAKE! Where are you? You used to tweet about your crappy tomatoes or having to chop wood for the wood pile. I miss that Blake. Oh well. At any rate, this song is beautiful and so is the video so I am going to put it here:
Plenty Of THOSE Nights On The Way
It has been announced that the 5 brother band from Shaunavon, SK, Hunter Brothers, will be hitting the road and opening for High Valley for all 7 of their Ontario shows starting on April 20. In preparation for that, they will be releasing a new single! On March 14, “Those Were The Nights” will be available everywhere. Another single from their debut album Getaway, this is bound to head straight up the charts. “Those Were The Nights” is a fantastic up-beat song that recalls summers past. You can hear the High Valley influence, as Brad Rempel helped with production on this album. Most importantly, you hear the impeccable Hunter Brothers harmonies that we have come to know and love. Absolute perfection. If you own Getaway, you know what I am talking about. This song is great. If not, either get the album…or wait until March 14! It will be worth it, trust me.
If you don’t catch Hunter Brothers on the road with High Valley, they will be at Country Thunder (Craven, SK), Stonewall Quarry Days (right here in Manitoba) and Havelock Jamboree (Ontario). You should get out to see them. They are a great group of guys!
Alright. Nobody asked me to do this I am doing it because I have been listening to it a lot.
Dallas Smith – Acoustic Sessions Vol. 1 EP (604 Records):
If you are a Dallas Smith fan and don’t have this already, shame on you. If you are on the fence about Dallas Smith, I recommend picking this album up.
While this is only a 6 song EP, is a wonderful taste of Dallas Smith at his finest. It is no secret that I am a fan, but having him in an acoustic setting allows the listener to hear the intricacies of his voice that sometimes get lost otherwise. When you hear “Autograph” and “Sky Stays This Blue” as more stripped down versions, these nuances are reflected, showing what a talent Dallas really is. This is the version of “Wastin’ Gas” that I want to hear around the campfire. Honestly, “Side Effects” should ALWAYS be performed like this. The intensity of this song only grows as an acoustic song. It is divine. His voice and intonation are bar-none some of the finest in the industry and this EP puts it confidently on display for the world to see.
Acoustic Sessions Vol. 1 certainly shows why Dallas is a force to be reckoned with in Canadian country music. I am looking forward to more volumes.
She’s Strong AND Beautiful!
When some people sing, you get a sense of how old they REALLY are. Their voices, like creaks in an old wood floor, tell of a soul that has lived many lives over. Shae Dupuy has always been one of those singers for me. When you pair her soulful voice with the deep topics she chooses to sing about, she is a star.
My first conversation with Shae was on the phone. It was an absolute delight. When we finally met face-to-face during CCMA Week last year, it was like the coming together of two long-lost friends. She is one of the sweetest people I have met since I have started this whole crazy thing. An absolute doll!
I was fortunate enough to get a few minutes with her that weekend. She was pretty high in demand. Shae was nominated for Interactive Artist of the Year last year. Not only was she the only female, she was the only independent artist. “It’s a really big honour and it feels really cool because I know that all the work that’s gone in to it has been me because I am an independent.” She added, “To be in a category with all guys and know that it’s not swayed like that [by gender], it’s just from the hard work regardless of our gender, that’s really important to me and that’s really awesome.”
She seemed really excited to be nominated in this category. I asked her why she felt it was so important to be “interactive”? Why did the Association need an award for something like this? She replied, “Social media and the internet have flipped the industry completely on it’s head with streaming and now you can connect with fans at the click of a button.” We spoke about how country often gets known for being old-fashioned and this really brings it up-to-date. However, bringing country music in to the 21st century also requires more work on the behalf of the artist. Gone are the days of just voice practice, writing, and live show practice, “Now you have to have a great social media presence on top of all of that.”
Since I was aware Shae was up for this award I asked her if she would rather have all of her thoughts visible in a bubble above her head or have her life live-streamed 24/7 – you know, like Ed TV. Without hesitation, she answered, “Live-streamed.” I asked her to clarify why. “I put my foot in my mouth a lot and do a lot of embarrassing things and I think that knowing myself I think that I’d be like, ‘Alright. That was live streamed. Oops.’ and I’d be able to laugh at it. Whereas, I think that your personal unfiltered thoughts don’t always come out the right way.” I agreed with her. I would much rather have my life live-streamed. Trust me folks, there is some weird stuff going on in this noggin. I am sure you don’t want anything to do with it! I have to agree with Shae that it would be nice to keep a bit of something for yourself, even if your life isn’t being live-streamed. “I’m a big believer in sharing and being authentic on social media, but I think you have to be careful how much you share. You have to keep some parts some for yourself.”
Last April, Shae started a movement called Strong Is Beautiful. We were talking a little bit about the idea behind it. Summer was on its way and social media was chock full of ads about getting your beach body and “fit is beautiful”. “I just found it to be suffocating.” she said. “I have the power and I have a platform to put a positive spin on social media because I love it so much but it can be detrimental to your mental health. So I wanted to take the time and focus on, regardless of how you feel or how you look or what you think, you being strong every day, and getting up and getting out of bed, being who you are, that is beautiful. That is strong.” As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, hearing someone say this is refreshing. Someone doesn’t think I’m a leper?? It IS hard getting out of bed some days. And thank you for saying the strength it takes to get up is beautiful. I always just consider it survival.
Shae released a series of videos of her doing a new activity every week. It was supposed to be for the month of April but ended up extending beyond because of their popularity. She plans to continue them this year. “I’m actually partnered with some organizations and charities and I’m going to be doing some work with them around the Strong Is Beautiful stuff.”
This girl is incredible. She is sweet and talented and you should definitely jump on her socials:
She is currently on her Let The Good Times Roll Tour across Canada. If she is in your area, I highly, recommend going to see her. Here are some dates:
Apr 12 – The Carleton – Halifax, NS
Apr 13 – O’Donaghue’s – Miramichi, NB
Apr 14 – Ringo’s Bar – Fredericton, NB
Apr 19 – The Almanac – Edmonton, AB
Apr 20 – The Junction YYC – Calgary, AB
Just to put you in the ticket buying mood, here is “Drink About It” by Shae Dupuy: