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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About Susie Krivak

I was born in raised in Canada and LOVE all things country! Some may say I'm a redneck - I take that as the compliment I know it was intended to be.
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