~ AARON PRITCHETT ~
He may ask you to ‘Hold His Beer’, and we’re sure it’d be - ‘Better When You Do’~ ! We would gladly hold his beer, especially if that means hanging out with him (crushing just a little)! That’s right, January’s “FEATURED ARTIST” is Aaron Pritchett!
Aaron is one of the humblest man you will ever meet, and one of the most talented Country Artists Canada has been blessed with!Growing up in small-town Northern BC, Aaron’s earliest musical influences were from 80’s Rock, but the transition to country music came naturally, “it was based on being able to relate to the stories that country songs told. Those stories were a lot like mine. I was going fishing, camping, and riding buses to hockey tournaments, in even smaller towns than my own, life was a lot more country, than rock and roll. That feeling resonated with me and I strive to convey that in my music today”, Aaron said.
He’s had an impressively long career in the music industry. That’s a real testament to his talent and passion for country music. Aaron released his first album in 1996 and he continues to make music and is so crushing it ! With 14 career top ten singles, a gold selling smash hit, a recent string of Top 10 songs. “I have been fortunate enough to write & co-write many of my hits, but once we hit the studio, the best song wins, whether or not I have a hand in writing it. That’s what my fans deserve and that’s what they’ll always get from me.” As you can see from that comment, it’s one of many reasons why we, and his fans, love him ! He genuinely appreciates his fans.
With multiple Canadian Country Music Association Award wins, and The JUNO Awards nominations to his credit, Pritchett has never forgotten where he came from - and neither have folks from his home province. In the past few years, he’s added 5 more BC Country Music Association Awards wins - bringing his career total to 38 awards. A BCCMA record that will likely stand the test of time!
Aaron’s career relaunched with his release, “Dirt Road In ‘EM” in 2016 and it was his First Top 10 hit in a decade ! It even went GOLD in November of 2020! Congrats! His third release from the same album ~’The Score’- was “When a Mammas Boy Meets a Daddy’s Girl ‘’ - went all the way to Number 5 on the Canadian charts! Admittedly, we LOVE that song and video ! We knew it would do well. Aaron followed up that album, with release called “Worth A Shot” that went Number 6 and a release that went Number #1 - “Better When I Do” from the ‘Out on the Town’ album in 2018. We were so excited for him !
“I’m grateful everyday to be in this business. I am so thankful for my fans. They’ve stuck with me through thick and thin, and I’ll keep releasing the best music I can, and kicking ass in my live shows to continue to show my appreciation for their loyalty and love.” That’s exactly what he does every time he steps on the stage! You won’t find a more dedicated and talented artist than Aaron. We were in the audience, during a CCMA weekend in London, and while Aaron was performing, the sound system completely went down. He didn’t miss a beat!!! He kept singing, his fans sang right along with him, it was quite the evening! We were thrilled to partake and share, in that memory ! He might not feel the same about that experience but he was a total pro !
Aaron has a big heart, and helping his community is very important to him. He supports various worthwhile charities. Aaron performed and raised funds for children, through “Their Opportunity” and Give Back Program, that helps the community as well. That’s just one example of his generous nature and dedication to his community! Aaron had the honour of performing, as part of the celebration, cruising from Coast to Coast to Coast, on the CanadaC3 Expedition. That must have been an amazing experience for him, a true Canadian Adventure for sure !
Aaron retains his title as one of Canada’s most electrifying entertainers! We have seen Aaron perform several times in the last few years. We’re certain, that once you see him perform, you’ll keep coming back again and again! Aaron kept busy during the start of Covid, doing “Quarantunes Live” on Instagram, so that he could stay in touch with his fans. His latest release is “Never Seen Me Like This” is available everywhere you buy or stream your music! Make sure you check it out and his whole catalog of music, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!! We bet you’ll know most if not all of it !
~ KIRA ISABELLA ~
We are super excited to share our “FEATURED ARTIST” for the month of November, Kira Isabella ! We met this lovely young woman at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards in London, Ontario for the first time. She blew us away ! Such a big voice, filled the room, coming from someone so young and delivered with so much spunk, and professionalism, all at the same time. She made quite the impression on us both. We have seen Kira several times since and she always gives 150 percent in her performances!
Female country artists such as Faith Hill, Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain and Taylor Swift have been cited by Kira, as some of her major musical influences. She started writing poetry around the age of 9. Things started to take off with a record deal at the age of 16!
Kira has had more success than many dream of ! Since her debut release in 2011, she has landed three Top 10 singles on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, and eight con- secutive Top 20 radio singles. And that was just the beginning! Kira won the CCMA Award for Rising Star Award in 2012 and went on to be nominated for CCMA “Female Artist of the Year” - 4 years in a row - taking home the award in 2013. She was nominated for a Juno for “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” in 2013 and in 2016, for “Country Album of the Year”, as well. She was even a CCMA Nominee for Video of the Year for - “That’s When you Know” with Chris Buck Band. Her single, “Little Girl,” raced up the Canadian country music charts landing in the Top 15. Kira’s 2015 Album “Caffeine & Big Dreams” debuted at 1# Canada Country and featured two Top 10# Singles ~ “Good Enough” & “Quarterback”! She was also the 2013 & 2014 Country Music Association of Ontario - "Female Artist of the Year”. Kira also released singles from her “Sides” album, “Danger Danger” & “We Should Be Together” featuring Levi Hummon in 2019, which reached number 42 on the charts. She has a lot to be proud of so far, in her music career and we feel, a very bright future ahead!
Along with all that, she has checked a few key milestones off her list, including a main-stage performance at “Boots and Hearts” -the biggest country music festival in Canada and the opening performance on the CCMA Awards, with a tribute to her idol and the Award show host, Shania Twain. We can imagine, both of those memorable experiences, will always be treasured.
We are very proud of everything she has accomplished and how she has inspired other young female country artists, to go after the same dream, of a music career. We can’t wait to see new music from Kira, and what comes next for this very talented young lady, whose definitely not a “Little Girl” any longer!
~ STEVEN LEE OLSEN ~
Our Featured Artist for the month of October, is Mr “Hello Country” himself - Steven Lee Olsen!This talented singer & songwriter, is originally from Newmarket, Ontario. Steven moved to Nashville in 2004 to follow his dream. He released his debut EP in 2009. He had two singles off that EP, that charted well in Canada - “Now” and “Make Hay While the Sun Shines” - which earned Steven a 2011 Socan Award ! In 2014, his single “Raised By A Good Time” went Gold! Congratulations!!
Steven has worked tirelessly, honing his craft as both a singer and a songwriter, plus, co-writing with some of the best Nashville has to offer. All that hard work has certainly paid off in some monumental ways. He co-wrote Keith Urban’s double-platinum hit “Blue Ain’t Your Color” – which in 2017 was named the NSAI Song of the Year and crowned “Single of the Year” at the CMA Awards, in addition to being nominated for “Best Country Song” and “Best Country Solo Performance” at the 59 th Grammy Awards, and “Song of the Year” at the ACM Awards. Olsen can also take credit for penning Kip Moore’s #1 hit “More Girls Like You” and he co-wrote Dallas Smith’s #1 Platinum hit “Drop”, as well as, numerous cuts for other stars including Garth Brooks, Billy Currington, Rascal Flatts, The Judds, Emerson Drive to name a few of the biggest artists in country music! He has so much to be proud of! Olsen was also nominated for CCMA in 2015 for Rising Star.
Steven had a plan for 2020! He did a multi-day, multi-track digital release, culminating in the delivery of his song “Can’t Not” on March 20th. The campaign kicked off with the March 6th release of “Talkin’ About Last Night”, followed by “If You’re With Me” and “Unhappy Hour” on March 13th. “Can’t Not” follows Olsen’s previous release and very successful- Top 10 single “Hello Country”, which was the most added song at Canadian country radio during its debut week and garnered the attention of Pandora who named him one of their 2019 “Artists to Watch”. “Hello Country” is very catchy ! We loved the song the first time we heard it on the radio !Last year Olsen opened for multi-award winning country trio Rascal Flatts on the Canadian run of their “Forever Summer Playlist” tour. Such an amazing opportunity for him !
Fans will be able to catch Steven next summer with appearances at the legendary Boots and Hearts Music Festival and hopefully more festivals. Fingers are crossed! He always puts on a great show !We seen Steven twice when he was on 2009 CMT on Tour Live show, along with Jason Blaine, Tara Oram and The Higgins. It was a fun tour and we also got to see him a year ago September, with Tebey & Shawn Austin in London Ontario.
We also want to Congratulate and offer our best wishes, to Steven and his wife Shannon Ella, as they are expecting a little bundle of joy, arriving in December. Now that’s a wonderful Christmas present !
His latest release is “Can’t Not” has been making its way up the Canadian Country Charts, last seen around 23 so make sure you check out his acoustic video for the song as well! He’s been learning new instruments and working on lots of new music in quarantine, so we have lots to look forward to in 2021. We can’t wait !!!
~ HIGH VALLEY ~
This months “Featured Artists” are a brother duo - originally from Blumenort, Alberta, you guessed correct, it’s High Valley! Originally there was three brothers in the band but Bryan Rempel left the band in 2014. Believe it or not, Brad named the band at age 5, when they used to do their own pretend radio show for their parents and it was always called High Valley!
Although Brad & Curtis Rempel currently reside in Nashville, TN, they have an extraordinary huge following right here in Canada and abroad ! They have already earned 250 million streams across the US and Canada alone! We are so proud of them and the success they have worked hard and have earned!
Their 2016 debut album Dear Life produced fan favorite “Make You Mine” and Top 10 radio hit “She’s With Me,” both of which have been certified Gold. This album combined tradition with wide-eyed musical exploration, staying true to their family-first value system and celebrates resilient positivity. With those kind of results, pretty good for a debut !
High Valley has a lot to be proud of. They have been nominated & won several GMA awards. Been Nominated for Canadian Country Music Association Awards like Rising Star - (2), Album of the Year (2), Interactive Group of the Year (2) and won (1), Group or Duo of the Year (8) and won (2) at CCMA’s. High Valley was also Nominated for Country Album of The Year (2) for The JUNO Awards and Group or Duo of the Year (2) for ACM Awards. Since the start of their music journey, they have had many chart toppers - to many to mention ! Make sure you go take a look !
We met High Valley a few years back at the CCMA’s and have seen them perform. They are very engaging with the crowd. The brothers’ touring credits include dates with some of the biggest country superstars, from Shania Twain to Keith Urban ! Such amazing opportunities!
High Valley’s new EP “Grew Up On That”, is a six-song project that blends their experiences, with those of celebrated co-writers including Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard, GRAMMY-winning Golden Hour collaborator Daniel Tashian and Tenille Townes (Nadkrynechny). This EP offers insight into and reflections on their childhood, family and love, set to High Valley’s signature bluegrass-tinted country.
“This EP is super autobiographical,” Curtis said. “It’s a great representation of what things were like in our small town and on the family farm. Thanks to our producer Seth and all the songwriters, for helping us put together a project that is larger than just the two of us.” That’s a prime example of how genuine and down to earn they are, by giving credit where credit is due. It was a collaborative effort, and in true Canadian style - they acknowledge everyone that participated in the project!
“There are songs on this EP that have taken on such new meaning recently. We hope and pray, that this record will encourage our fans and help bring families closer together.” - said Brad. Their distinctive brand of positive-minded, bluegrass-infused country music, has made High Valley, a formidable duo across the globe, for sure.
“Grew Up On That” was chosen by CMT as one of it’s 10 summer albums to check out. The title track takes the listener back to High Valley’s childhood home in rural Alberta, Canada – where Brad and Curtis admittedly “had it so good, didn’t know how good” they had it. How exciting is that ! The brothers give fans a glimpse into their lives back then, in the song’s official music video. If you haven’t seen it, you NEED to see it - especially if you are a big fan of High Valley!
With a compact but robust track list on their latest EP - Grew Up On That - , Sounds Like Nashville, has already declared that the collection “could be the game-changer for High Valley.” We’re convinced that you will think so too!
~ TEBEY ~
We’re sure as a Canadian Country music fan, that you will recognize our “Featured Artist” for the month of August, as he’s one of the “Good Ones” - that’s right -Tebey! He’s an accomplished Singer, Songwriter - multi genre, Producer, Father, & Business Owner! You name it, he’s done it ! He’s one of the most overlooked, multi-talented, Canadian artists, that we know!
He is originally from Peterborough, Ontario but currently resides in Nashville, TN. Which as you all know, what’s not to like, we love Music City!Tebey started his music journey rather young having signed his first record deal at the age of 18. He has a lot to be proud of, especially, in the past 24 months, he has secured three #1’s as a writer - a #1 Billboard US single with Justin Moore’s “Somebody Else Will”, a #1 in Canada with Gord Bamford’s “Dive Bar”, and his first #1 single as an artist (and writer) with his song - “Who’s Gonna Love You” for which he also received a SOCAN award in March 2019! He also co-wrote his smash hit radio single, “Denim on Denim” (Top 5 Chart, Certified Gold and hit 10M streams to date)! Good Jeans - Top 5 Chart - made it to Number Two! Overall, Tebey has three official Top 5 singles in addition to two Top 10 singles as a recording artist, and seven #1’s as a songwriter; one in the US, one in the UK, four in Canada and one in Asia.
Tebey also has notable pop artists that have recorded his songs, like One Direction, Fifth Harmony, Pixie Lott and FLO RIDA. Then add Cher, Smash Mouth & Nick Carter & country artists ~ JASON BLAINE, Emerson Drive, Doc Walker and there are so many others, not listed but are just as important. We wanted to show just how diverse his songwriting talent is by the genres represented.
In his home province of Ontario, at the Country Music Association of Ontario, Tebey has won - Single of the Year ~ “When the Buzz Wears Off”, Songwriter of the Year ~ “Somebody Else Will” and Producer of the Year ~ “Two”. He has also been nominated for other CMAO awards and for “Rising Star” by the Canadian Country Music Association twice.
Over the past six years, three of Tebey’s singles have been noted for their substantial spin count, being named “Most Played Canadian Country Song” of both 2013 and 2014, and his hit, “Denim on Denim”, was the third highest spinning song of 2018 in this category. His songs have amassed over 235,000 spins at Canadian radio and over 14,305,000 streams!
In March 2019, Tebey jumped in and launched his own label and management company in partnership with his manager, Jill Snell called Jayward Artist Group Inc. They signed Matt Lang, from Maniwaki, Quebec, as their first artist and we have to say, what a great choice !
You may not know this about Tebey, he is very passionate about his work outside of music as well, with charities, like advocating for mental health care, anchored by his annual Tebey Golf Classic fundraiser partnered with Greater Peterborough Family Health Services. That’s amazing and we’re sure they appreciate the support!
Tebey’s release the “Good Ones” in 2019, wasn’t originally written as a duet but when Marie Mai - VIP was sent the song, she loved it and after hearing the song, we are sure you will agree, she was the perfect choice for the song, and we are glad it became a duet! It was a wonderful opportunity for both of them, to cross genres - Pop & Country. When it was released it hit Top 10 in the all genre on Apple Music Singles chart, in the first few days ! Not to bad at all !
We have been fortunate to see Tebey on several occasions, including when he was direct support for Tim Hicks, on his “Get Loud Tour”. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing Tebey, as the Headliner on his - Cross Canada - “The Good Ones Tour” - we caught the Toronto show. It was so good ! We have found that he always connects with the audience, whether large or small and leaves them wanting more!
Fast forward to 2020, Tebey has been nominated by the CCMA’s for “Male Artist of the Year” and “Fan’s Choice” Awards. It’s well deserved and exciting to see him get the recognition!
His latest single is “It Happened On A Saturday Night” and it was streamed 120,000 in it’s debut week and the video was just released! Make sure you check it out. With those kind of numbers, we feel it’s well on it’s way, to the top of the charts !
We are so proud of Tebey, and everything he’s accomplished so far and are convinced, that he’s definitely on the right path, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for him, we’re sure it’s going to be Top Shelf !!
Make sure you check out all his socials. You won’t be disappointed!
~ THE ROAD HAMMERS ~
Our Featured Artist for the month of July, is The Road Hammers!
We have met the Road Hammers a few times and have been fortunate to see the RH several times in concert! They bring it every single time! It’s a party, a rocking good time, the minute they step on the stage, such high energy. We are not surprised that the Road Hammers are the highest selling Canadian country rock band in history !! We so agree !
The Road Hammers was formed in 2005 and are comprised of front man Jason McCoy, Clayton Bellamy, & Chris Byrne. What a great combination, and of talent, that clearly works for them ! Jason from country, Clayton from rock, and Chris from the bluesy side of things, all with cohesive ideals, surrounding music. Their music is influenced by 1960’s & 1970’s trucker music and Southern Music. They even participated in a reality show the “Road Hammers” on Country Music Television here in Canada. We remember that show, and we couldn’t wait to see the Road Hammers in concert! They didn’t disappoint then, and never disappointed now!
The Road Hammers are part of the Open Road Recordings family in Canada/RGK Entertainment in Canada and with Montage Recordings in the USA. Together RH have won numerous awards including, 2005 & 2006 Canadian Country Music Association Group or Duo of the Year, The JUNO Awards win for Country Recording of the Year (The Road Hammers), and several nominations, for Juno in 2015 for Wheels! That was after they took a hiatus for a few years, to work on solo projects. Just goes to show how happy all their fans were, to see them come back together!
The Road Hammers self-titled album is certified Platinum, and single “Mud” certified Gold, in Canada 🇨🇦 The “record breaking” continued as the Road Hammers had Five Top 10 and nine Top 20 radio hits in Canada plus, Over 7 million plus YouTube views to date! Total radio spins to date are over 350,000, with over 1.6 Billion audience impressions, if not more! So many accomplishments!!
In 2017, the Road Hammers, released their album called “The Squeeze”. This compilation of tracks, epitomizes what the band has become known for – a truly synergistic blend of classic rock meets country, with just a bit of an edge. This album was a new personal side of the Road Hammers, sharing the realities of life and love, without the sugarcoating. It was Co-produced by Gavin Brown, Scott Baggett and David Kalmusky. Quite a variety of talent and expertise, went into that album! Their latest single released in 2019 is called Zamboni.
The Road Hammers music and their continued long standing success, is a clear indication, that they are here to stay and we couldn’t be happier !
We look forward to the next time RH ! We are sure, that all their fans feel the same way!! Keep on rocking !!
~ JAMES BARKER BAND ~
We have chosen a band this month, that we have enjoyed going to see live, numerous times. They have earned several awards and number one singles - 6 to be exact - that are all Gold Certified and Top 10 in Canada ! We are “Just Sayin” with certainty, that these guys are not “Lawn Chair Lazy”, that’s for sure ! Our Featured Artist (s), for the month of May, is the James Barker Band!
JBB was formed in 2013, and the founding members of this award-winning, record crushing band, is James Barker (lead vocals & guitar), Taylor Abram (vocals & guitar), Bobby Martin (bass), and Connor Stephen (drums). They are more than just a band.
Since the quarantine, we feel like we know James a little bit more, than before, with his live feed every night. Which we love by the way ! He’s brought the rest of JBB band members, online during some of his sessions, and we think that’s pretty amazing. It shows the mutual respect they have for one another and just how tight this band is, regardless of the current situation.
With over 140-million total global streams, the James Barker Band really has taken over the country music scene, in Canada and abroad!
JBB’s biggest exposure early on, was when they won the Ontario-based, Boots & Hearts Music Festival ~ Emerging Artist Showcase in 2015. All of their hard work earned them the attention of Universal Music Canada, which they later signed with. In addition to their first six singles success, James Barker Band, has had the most spun song by a Canadian artist on Canadian country radio in 2017 (“Chills”) and then in 2018 (“Good Together”). Their debut “Game On” EP was awarded “Country Album of the Year” at the 2018 Canadian The JUNO Awards.
Their first #1 Canadian country radio hit “Chills” climbed to #46 on the US Country radio airplay chart in 2018, and that was the first time for a Canadian Country artist, that wasn’t signed to a domestic label, was able to make that happen ! “Chills” went on to break all kinds of records, even achieving Platinum certification. It didn’t stop there either, it won “Single of the Year”, “Best Selling Canadian Single” at the 2018 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards. It was the most streamed domestic country single in Canada in 2017. They have had numerous nominations and won the coveted Fans Choice Award, at the Country Music Association of Ontario in 2017.
We think of JBB as trail blazers, paving the road for other Canadian bands & artists to follow ! As you can see above, they have a lot to be proud of and we certainly are proud of them and everything they have accomplished!The James Barker Band released their second EP “Singles Only” in May of 2019, which included the summer hit single “There’s a Drink for That” – that song became the fastest JBB single to hit the 2-million total global streams mark (took 4 weeks) (with over 12.6-million global streams already). Unbelievable! They also did a 12 stop European tour, last Fall to support the new EP.
We have run into James a few times, while out for an evening of music. No surprise there! He’s one of a handful of artists, that makes time to support his friends, fellow artists & musicians. Which we think is wonderful and we know, those artists really appreciate his support!
We have seen James Barker Band perform at several different venues including headlining some pretty big festivals. They bring it every single time ! Which is what their fans have come to expect & enjoy. Whether it’s a small intimate group or a festival size crowd, they connect with their fans, while looking like they are having a blast on stage, as their fans are, off stage! Not an easy task!
James Barker Band’s music has been described as contemporary country with a little bit of rock, thrown in there! Their influences include but are not limited to ~ Keith Urban, John Mayer, Brad Paisley, Dean Brody, Eric Church and many more! Their songwriting is continuing to evolve, as well as, their amazing harmonies. If you haven’t seen their videos, make sure you do, they are so much fun ! The latest single is “Slow Down Town” and it’s climbing the charts already. We are happy the James Barker Band is “Good Together” and we can’t wait to see which records they’ll crush, in 2020!!
C To C Canadian Country Music Insider
Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada