To still be considered an Indie artist with all the accolades this young man has already collected we're sure you'll agree that Dan Davidson deserves to be our 'FEATURED EMERGING INDIE ARTIST' for the month of October. Dan is a Canadian country singer and songwriter but he is most formerly recognized as the guitarist and later lead vocalist of rock group Tupelo Honey that he formed in 2003 with five fellow musicians from Grant MacEwan College. He released three EPs with the band between 2006 and 2008 as the guitarist and backing vocalist. When their lead singer parted ways with the band in 2010, Davidson took over that role.
Since 2014, Davidson has been pursuing a solo career in country music.In addition to his work with Tupelo Honey, Davidson also served as a songwriter and producer for other Canadian artists during this period, as part of his partnership with Red Brick Songs. Following the release of 'Brave New World' in 2014, Tupelo Honey had been on hiatus so Davidson redirected his efforts towards a solo musical career in country music. Moving from rock to country isn’t exactly a stretch for him. “Born in Alberta,” Davidson says his father introduced artists like Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Cash and Blue Rodeo. For Davidson, “Country music’s always been there. I just hadn’t gone in that direction.”
Before deciding to dedicate his efforts to country, Davidson had a heart-to-heart talk with Dallas Smith, whose career path in the industry – first as lead singer of alt-rock band Default, and later as a successful country artist in his own right – was similar to his own.“I saw Dallas open for Florida Georgia Line,” says Davidson. “Afterwards we were chatting and he said, ‘You’ve got the right voice for this, you’ve got the personality for the scene, and I think you’d love how supportive the country industry is." Dallas couldn't have been any more on the money and Dan was easily able to make the transition over to country music and was welcomed into the industry with open arms.Dan’s country sound came together as he started writing and working on music with Toronto producer Jeff Diesel and the two spent the better part of a year developing an EP that’s characteristic of Dan’s love of “good time” music. Those “good time” vibes are also a huge part of his personality.
He independently released his first solo single, "Unkiss Her", in July 2015. Davidson also had the fantastic opportunity to work with Karen Kosowski, Troy Samson, Alee , Emma Lee, and Pete Lesperence on his debut record. His second solo single, 'Found' that he cowrote with The Road Hammers band member Clayton Bellamy reached #16 on the Canada Country chart, making it the highest-charting single by a Canadian Indie artist on Canadian country radio. It was also the #1 selling Canadian country song for several weeks in July and August 2016. On just his second release ever in country music he had earned himself a GOLD single. The video for 'Found' cost only $500 to create and yet somehow it climbed into the top 20 on CMT! The same year at the Alberta Country Music awards he won 'Single Of The Year', 'Song Of The Year', Video Of The Year' and 'Rising Star' which definitely proved he made the right decision to pursue country music!
At the 2017 Canadian Country Music Awards he was nominated for the Sirius XM 'Rising Star' Award and nominated for songwriter of the year for 'Found'. His string of awards continued the next year in his home province of Alberta with him winning 'Single and Song of the Year' for his smash hit 'Barn Burner' along with 'Male Artist Of the Year' and the coveted 'Fan Choice' award.
The following singles “Say We Did”, and “Lets Go There” helped further his momentum with more top 20 recognition and solidified his name as an artist on the rise – definitely someone to watch. Off his February 2019 released EP 'Juliet' he's also had radio success with 'Can't Help Myself', 'Cinderella' & 'Church'..with his most recent single 'No Last Call' heating up the charts as we speak! 'Juliet' debuted at #1 on the Canadian iTunes Country charts. If you haven't already, check out his Youtube page to watch his videos. The video for Barn Burner involved Dan dressing up as a cross between John Wayne and Elton John, wandering the streets of Tokyo and the video for 'Say We Did' shows Dan converting his garage into a cardboard version Star Ship Enterprise. His latest video for 'No Last Call' was filmed by himself at his home during the height of Covid 19 isolation this past spring. Dan has to be one of the most creative guys in the business..every video is so entertaining and will leave you smiling.
At the end of March 2020 Dan did what no other artist had done previously. Knowing how hard the effects of Covid 19 was hitting the music industry he started his own online music concert call the Diesel Bird Music Festival hosting a massive weekend lineup of Canadian country stars including Dallas Smith, Meghan Patrick, Jason McCoy with Clayton Bellamy, Jess Moskaluke and so many to raise money for the Unison Benevolent Fund. In August he then followed up the 'Sold Out' Diesel Bird Hotel Music Festival performing with other artists socially distanced at the Ramada Hotel Downtown in Calgary. Most recently he was nominated for a 2020 Canadian Country Music Association award for 'Interactive Artist Of The Year' for organizing both these festivals.
Dan not only has a solid Canadian fan base but his international fan base is also growing at lightning speed. Dan has played shows in Beijing, China and Tours, France. He's also performed in Milan and Budapest to film a music video for “These Are My People”. The idea for the music video came about when Dan discovered on YouTube that people from all over the world are line dancing to his songs.
It's hard to believe that after everything he has accomplished in his 5 years in country music that he's still an unsigned artist! BUT he's creative and talented enough to forge his own path in Canadian country music. He marches to the beat of his own drum and we're pretty sure that's the way that Dan Davidson likes it!!!
Our “EMERGING INDIE ARTIST” for the month of September, is Beamer Wigley Music !
Can you imagine your son saying at the age of 5, that he knew that he wanted to be just like his favourite musician - Keith Urban ??? Well that’s exactly what happened ! He started playing guitar when he was 5 years old, after having seen for the first time, Keith Urban in the video “Start A Band” with Brad Paisley. We have to admit, we liked that fun video too!!! Rumour has it, he turned to his Mom and said “I want to learn to play guitar. I want to be just like Keith Urban”. So his parents never missed a beat, they got him his first guitar and he started lessons. If that wasn’t enough to solidify his love of music, he wrote his first song at the age of 7! Just incredible ! The same year, he started singing as well, mesmerizing audiences everywhere he went. Even though he was the only person pursuing music in his family, they always had music playing in his household.
When Beamer was 9, he took first place at the Vancouver P.N.E. ‘Star Showdown’ in the youth category, against contestants from all across British Columbia. Pretty cool ! He also performed major roles in numerous stage musicals, adding “actor” to his talents, showcasing this by holding the 4th lead role in the Norman Rockwell movie, “A Christmas Tail”. At just the age of 11, he was awarded the inaugural Penticton Youth Arts Award for ages 25 and under. Incredible ! He also became the youngest ever, to be signed to award winning Agency ‘Invictus Entertainment Group’. It didn’t stop there !
In November 2015, he was thrilled to be awarded membership in The Brotherhood Of The Guitar, a group of highly talented musicians from many parts of the world. In addition, he also received a sponsorship from Music Man/Ernie Ball guitars. So many accolades!
His talents didn’t go unnoticed! Beamer received recognition from several major Canadian Country Music artists for whom he earned the opening slot, including 3 times each for both George Canyon and Brett Kissel, as well as, Aaron Pritchett, to name a few. He went on to open for Dwight Yoakam in 2018, which originally started as a 20 minute set and quickly turned into a 65 minute, fill in performance, to an very appreciative audience. Those kind of experiences shows just how accomplished he already is, at such a young age!
In 2016 he released his first EP and two singles from that, and they went to Country Radio. The first of which he co-wrote, it reached #74 on the charts and was nominated for ‘Song of The Year’ at the ACMA’s. For a debut, that’s amazing ! Beamer has been writing steadily both on his own and with other songwriters in Nashville. He’s very humble, sharing that he appreciates every co-writer and person in the industry, that he’s been blessed to work with, for having gotten him to where he is today. Included in that, the past 3 years, he’s been working closely with legendary Billboard hit song writer Keith Follese and his wife Adrienne.
In July 2018, he released his third single “Roller Coaster”, which had over 450k+ streams and was added to Disney Country Radio in L.A. . In 2019, he released 3 singles, including “I Knew”, “I Want It Now” and in December, he released another single. “Crazy Being Crazy, which has hit #53 on the TRAX Chart and #58 On Mediabase Chart”. To date, he has accumulated over 1,300,000 streams+ on Apple Music & Spotify and 500k views on his Music Videos.
In 2020, he released a new single titled “I Got You” and then his single ~ “Something to Do with a Girl” was released in February 2020. He is very proud to have just released his latest album, “Cloud 9, 24/7”. You can find it on all streaming - Spotify, Apple Music - make sure you check it out. We met Beamer in Hamilton at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards, a few years ago. We were impressed by his talent and just how accomplished - seasoned - he was. Very relaxed and at home, on the stage. Kudos to him and his parents, for nurturing and encouraging him to pursue his passion for country music! We believe his strong work ethic and drive, will result in a lengthy career in country music and we couldn’t be prouder that he’s Canadian ! We think we should also Thank Mr Keith Urban, for inspiring this fella, by playing a mean guitar! We have enjoyed his journey thus far and can’t wait to see where his career takes him next! Good luck Beamer!
'Emerging Indie Artist' for the month of August, is Aaron Allen! Originally from Chatham, Ontario and is currently residing in London, Ontario. His passions in life, are tattoos, music and his family and not necessarily in that order ! Allen is not new to the country music scene, with having recently released his 10th EP, and we feel he’s a breath of fresh air! Aaron has spent countless hours honing his songwriting skills. Even as a teen, songwriting helped Aaron get through the tough times and roller coaster that life can be. Remaining true to his signature sound that fans have come to love, with his raw and honest songwriting, he’s brought songs to a whole new level! He worked with multiple award winning producer - Jeff Diesel on his new emotionally charged EP, called Highway Mile! The songs are mature, honest and relatable. It’s easy to see that Allen is carving out his own path in the industry and taking the road less traveled with this new EP.
“I wanted to make something that stood up over time,” said Allen on the new EP. “Highway Mile is really about the stories from my real-life experiences — I just tried to be transparent with the hope that maybe my story would connect with others. I hope we’ve done that with this new record.”
Quickly becoming Allen’s fastest-growing single, the new releases’ title track — “Highway Mile” — was added to 7 playlists on Apple Music out of the gate, gaining almost 200,000 streams in its first month. It is set to surpass the previously released “Where Music Comes From,” “Highway Mile” demonstrates Allen’s dedication to creating deeply personal stories through music.
“I didn’t really intend for this song to be recorded but when Dalziel heard it he said we had to,” said Allen when speaking of “Highway Mile.” “The song is meant as a reminder to slow down — to take time for my wife and myself. Life can be so darn busy, especially in this industry, so I need that reminder every day. “ We couldn’t agree more with that statement ! Aaron’s voice is often compared to that of Eric Church and classic country - Willie Nelson. Believe us when we say, he is okay with that comparison!
The new EP includes three previously released singles and a handful of new tracks including “Can We Go Back,” “Superman” and “Mine All Mine.” Featuring many of the same players throughout, the record has a unique, cohesive feel, that the listener can identify with from the first song to last.
Aaron is currently nominated for two CMA Country Music Awards. of Ontario - “Rising Star” and “Male Artist of the Year”! How exciting ! We are very happy for you !
With more than a million streams to his name, Allen’s style remains as true-to-life as ever but after years of forging a devoted fan base as an independent artist, and working hard on performance side of things, he felt the time had finally come to take the next step. Pushed by the support of Dalziel and others in the Canadian country music scene, Allen has created music that will definitely have the industry listening!
We first met Aaron in Toronto at a showcase. We have since seen him about town, and a few other events, and he always takes to time to chat and to get us caught up. We appreciate that !
To stay up to date on all things Aaron Allen, you can visit his website, Instagram and Facebook.
RIVER TOWN SAINTS
If tragedy and overcoming adversity are the hallmarks of a good country song, then this band have earned their dirt road credibility. It's our pleasure to feature the River Town Saints as our 'Emerging Indie Artists' for the month of July.
Originally a 5 piece band from the Ottawa Valley, the River Town Saints have a lot to show for the last couple years, including millions of YouTube views and Spotify streams, a top 10 hit with their single, “Bonfire”, Canadian Country Music Association nominations, Country Music Association of Ontario and Canadian Radio Music Awards, tours with Tim Hicks, Kip Moore and large-scale festivals. Known for their energetic live show, rich vocal harmonies and good times, the Saints were just getting started.
When their original singer departed in 2018, and months later their bassist and best friend Daniel Di Giacomo died from a blood clot tragically at 31, it would have been understandable to throw in the towel.
NOT. A. CHANCE..
Remaining members Jeremy Bortot, Chris McComb and Jordan Potvin got to work writing songs and looking for a new lead singer. As fate would have it, newcomer Chase Kasner fit the bill. Kasner hails from Kirkland Lake, Ontario, where he was raised in a large musical family. Country music runs deep in his blood, given his grandmother Mary Bailey was an accomplished Canadian country singer, who also went on to discover and mentor Shania Twain early on in her career. Lifelong friend Joe Patrois was the final piece to complete the group. A friend to the band since the beginning and a gifted bassist himself, it only made sense for Joe to humbly continue on in Dan’s place.
The challenge of replacing a lead singer as well as dealing with the loss of bass player and dear friend, Dan Di Giacomo, was a lot for the guys to overcome. The fact that Jeremy, Jordan and Chris made the decision to keep the band together, rebuild and come back with more music to share with fans is a success story in itself and something we should all congratulate them for. Has it been easy? No. But their determination has been admired by their steadfast fans who have stood by them for the past few years encouraging them every step of the way.
And now with a powerful, soulful new voice from new lead singer Chase, the River Town Saints are back ready for action & ready to take the bull by the horns. They’ve already made a strong start with their new single 'Slow Kiss' right out of the gates. Combined with a renewed determination to pick up where they left off, the River Town Saints are reborn, recharged and ready to take Canada by storm. 'Slow Kiss' is at country radio now and is also available to stream anytime and anywhere on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and wherever you listen to great music. And since its release, it has racked up more than 60,000 spins on Spotify.
With a new EP released Friday June 26th called 'Long Time Coming' they're back to instantly turning people's heads again! We recently sat down and listened to it and loved every song on it! It's refreshing yet different enough to make you fall in love with the new version of the band. But you can definitely hear the similarities still in a few of the songs as Jeremy & Chris's guitar styles come right through it and remind us why we fell in love with the band in the first place! Most recently they were recognized by the Country Music Association of Ontario who featured them as June's 'Artist of the Month' which was a fantastic accomplishment to be supported by the country music family in Ontario.
The Two Christine's at C To C have been fans of these young men and their music since their humble beginnings and have travelled all over Ontario to support them and have been lucky enough to become friends with them over the past few years. Our next roadtrip is Saturday July 18th in which we get to see them perform at their first 'Drive In' concert in Pembroke Ontario. We're excited to finally seeing the new band perform live and we can't wait to hear the new music they've been working on and recording!
Yes, things are a bit different now, but what remains the same is the vibe that the band brings to Canadian country music. They are still RTS and they are still great. And they still a very fun band to follow! Kasner fits really well with the boys and his vocals lead the way as River Town Saints make their return to the airwaves. On behalf of C To C Canadian Country Music Insider we look forward to seeing what's ahead for these talented young men and we'll still be the fans up front at all the shows we can get to!! You've got this guys!
We are thrilled to share with you, our “Featured Indie Artist” for the month of June, were pretty sure you already know her, from Kingston, Ontario, Abby Stewart !
Abby is a singer/songwriter that has been described as a true Canadian girl! She fishes, plays hockey and softball but feels most at home on the music stage. You definitely can’t get more Canadian than that !Abby’s parents introduced her to rock music as a child and she’s always loved to sing ! At the age of 6, she sang a song in a school talent contest, and loved it so much, that she hasn’t looked back !
Stewart has had the opportunity of touring with Hunter Hayes , Dan + Shay, and has had the privilege of singing duets, with Dean Brody, Dallas Smith, Aaron Pritchett, and the Hunter Brothers! Abby has opened for many top Canadian talents, including Cold Creek County, Brett Kissel at CNE and in Ottawa on his Ice, Snow and 30 Below Tour. That’s not all, she’s opened for Tebey, Michelle Wright, Emerson Drive, Tim Hicks, Jessica Mitchell, and many others! That’s quite the accomplishments !
Abby and her 4 piece band, has performed sets at some of Canada’s biggest fairs, music festivals like Boots & Hearts Music Festival - where she was one of ten chosen for the Emerging Artist Competition, Havelock Country Jamboree, Trackside Music Festival and was chosen 1 of 8 across Canada for the “She’s the One competition” at Ottawa Bluesfest, and several others. While on her 2019 visit to Ottawa RBC Bluesfest, she received an invitation to promote the festival & showcase her own music, by appearing on CTV Morning Live! That’s pretty exciting in our books !
Stewart’s voice is that of an angel, that’s versatile, being able to sing a Dolly Parton song one minute and belt out a Carrie Underwood’s cover the next minute. She has been turning heads and collecting fans, every single time she performs, and rightly so!
She released her EP "Firsts", in 2015 which included “I’m Still Faster”, followed by her first music video, which now has over half a million views on YouTube! In 2017 she collaborated with Invictus Entertainment, Big Star Records and released a duet entitled "What If They're Wrong?" to national Canadian radio. A proud accomplishment we’re sure, especially at the age of 16 ! It peaked at #87 on the Canadian BDS Chart and was featured on 22 stations from coast to coast. Way to go Abby !
In addition to the achievements indicated above, Stewart received a Maestro Award at the World Strides competition in New York City for a vocal solo. She was the Winner of the Junior & Open divisions of the Country Singing Showdown at the Kingston Fair in 2010 and 2012 & was 1 of 6 winners of the first annual YGK Emerging Musicians competition.
Abby shows her love by contributing to her community, through her music. She has worked with the POSSIBLE Campaign for many years, ending the stigma surrounding people living with addiction problems. Her song “No More Falling Down” was dedicated to them, and was their 2017 campaign song! How cool is that ! Recently, the music video for “No More Falling Down” is posted on her YouTube channel. She has also worked with Lionhearts Inc, which provides a safe place for homeless communities of Kingston and Ottawa, to come together for food and live music through The Embassy Live Music Cafe. Lionhearts & Loving Hands Kingston have also been providing COVID-19 relief by providing free meals throughout all of quarantine. Abby has been raising money for these charities through live online concerts, where ALL proceeds go towards their relief. We can’t say enough about this talented young lady. Her contributions to all of these amazing charities, is a testament to who Abby really is and how lucky her community is, to have her.
Abby has taken some time to write and gain more experience in the craft she loves. Several trips to Nashville has gained her recognition in the field, collaborating with some of the best writers Music Row has to offer. Co-writes with Phil Barton, Patricia Conroy, Dave Thompson, Bill DiLuigi, and others, have led to more originals. She hopes in the future to write with Liz Rose, Aaron Goodvin & Deric Ruttan, to name a few. Further collaboration with CCMA Producer of the Year - Jeff Dalziel shows great promise for new music in 2020. We can’t wait !
Abby has some audacious goals, like singing with her hero Bryan Adams, to singing on the Grand Ole Opry stage, and we know with her talent and determination, that she will make it happen !
You can check her out on all the social media platforms!
Our “Featured Indie Artist” for the month of May is Alberta’s own, Mariya Stokes ! In January 2020, she was recognized and awarded, the Female Artist of the year (for 2019) by Association of Country Music in Alberta. Such an amazing honour, and we can’t think of anyone else that was more deserving!
Mariya is originally from Stavely, Alberta but currently resides in Calgary, Alberta. Mariya’s music influences were/are Lindi Ortega, Kacey Musgraves, Mary Gauthier, Ingrid Michaelson, Dixie Chicks & Maren Morris. Stokes debut single "Hands on My Body" was released in February 2019, and it debuted at #10 on iTunes Canadian Country Chart ! and was #8 most sold single in Canada, on iTunes, February 1st, 2019! It was also added to Spotify's curated New Music Nashville and Down Home Country playlists and has over 120,000 streams on Spotify alone ! She was crowned the #1 Most Active Indie at Canadian Radio, the week of August 9th, 2019 (Yangaroo/DMDS).
She may be from a small town, but her songwriting talent, certainly isn’t small ! Stokes gained international recognition when she won two awards for her work, including the “2016 International Modern Country Songwriter of the Year” from the North American Country Music Association. She has been a co-writer for other artists, Leaving Thomas, even crossing over to other genres of music, like alternative pop (Celia Palli) & blues (Devin Cooper). She wrote her first song at the age of 14 ! Stokes has worked with Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Stephen "Koz" Kozmeniuk during SOCAN Song House, as well as, Terri Clark, during her RBC Master in Residence program at National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta (May, 2019).
Stokes was the Runner up in Project WILD, a country artist development program run by Alberta Music, WILD 95.3 (Calgary), and Jim Pattison Group (November, 2019). She also was selected to participate in Canada’s Music Incubator Artist Entrepreneur program in Toronto, honing her craft and learning more about the business side of the music industry. We are sure it was worth the time invested!
Mariya has always liked to give back to the community. So much so, that two of her songs are featured on the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre's albums "Shelter From the Storm" (2015) and "Verses Vs. Homelessness" (2016) in Calgary, Alberta. Mariya has recently performed on the Alberta Country Music Awards Show 2020, CCMA Showcase in Hamilton 2018, Alberta Spotlight in National Music Center 2018, Calgary Stampede 2018 & Country Thunder Alberta 2018 & 2019 and numerous others. Stokes has shared the stage with Jann Arden, Leaving Thomas, Jocelyn Alice for the Grey Cup Festival & Trixie Mattel & Nice Horse, to name a few.
We had the pleasure of meeting Mariya in Calgary Alberta at a pre-event for the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. We were blown away by her voice, she has a very unique tone, definitely country with a touch of blues shining through and her ability to captivate the audience, through her performance, she’s amazing! We are looking forward to the next time we get to see her perform ! We see a bright future for this young lady, the sky really is the limit and we’re sure your going to love her too!