The Six Reigning Queens of Canadian Country

We have determined the current queens of Canadian country from CCMA (Canadian Country Music Association) Female Artist of the Year nominations for the past two years (2014 and 2015). Based on a good word from one of their hit songs or albums and their style, we have created a title for each queen. Let’s get to know the Six Reigning Queens of Canadian Country! The music videos we have embedded below will give you a taste of each artist, though each queen is versatile in the songs she makes.

Terri Clark: The Queen of Life

terri clark

Terri was born in Montreal but grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta. She has released ten albums since 1995 and has scored hits in the United States, not just on their country charts but the top 40 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100! Here at home, Terri’s debut, self-titled album has achieved triple platinum certification for sales exceeding 300,000 copies. Many of her other works have seen gold/platinum certification as well. Terri Clark has won three JUNO awards to date.

Kira Isabella: The Queen of Love

kira isabella

Newer at it, Kira Isabella is from Ottawa and has released two albums so far. She won the CCMA Female Artist of the Year in 2013. Kira has scored Top 10 hits at Billboard Country Airplay and four entries on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. She has been nominated at the JUNOs twice thus far and has toured with Carrie Underwood.

Beverley Mahood: The Queen of Hope

beverley_mahood

An import from Northern Ireland, Beverley Mahood was raised in London, Ontario. Besides a music career, she is also a well-known television personality. Bev has released half a dozen albums since 1998 which have spawned a host of hits on country radio. She is the recipient of two JUNO nominations.

Jess Moskaluke: The Queen of Light

Jess Moskaluke

Langenburg, Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke has won the CCMA Female Artist of the year the past two years (2014 and 2015). She is the first Canadian female to score a gold single since Shania Twain. Two EPs and one LP have appeared, and her feature in Paul Brandt’s “I’m an Open Road” helped the song make the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. She has a pair of JUNO nominations to her name.

Lindi Ortega: The Queen of Grace

lindi ortega

Specializing more on the roots and traditional side of country is acclaimed Torontonian Lindi Ortega. Six albums have hit the market since 2001 plus a few EPs. Lindi was featured in Billboard Country Airplay #1 hit “Bounty” by Dean Brody. She has won two years in a row for CCMA Roots Artist of the Year and has received two JUNO nominations.

MacKenzie Porter: The Queen of Fun

Porter for Faze 3

A successful actress and talented musician, Medicine Hat, Alberta’s JUNO nominated MacKenzie Porter is also the sister of Canadian Idol winner Kalan Porter. She is a Billboard Canadian Hot 100 charting artist. MacKenzie plays violin … oops … fiddle and has studied piano. Her debut, eponymous album came out in 2014.

Brett Kissel is Riding on the Airwaves

Brett Kissel - AirwavesFrom Livy Jeanne, we touch base with her Albertan counterpart, Brett Kissel. Raised on a rural cattle ranch NE of Edmonton, listening to Johnny Cash, and mastering the guitar, Brett began releasing independent albums when he was 12 years old in 2003. At 16 in 2006, he became the youngest nominee in the history of the CCMAs. Warner Music signed him in 2013 and released his first major single, “Started with a Song,” which peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October. He was off the races. The album of the same name spawned a total of five charting singles on the Hot 100, the most successful of which was “3,2,1” (#52). In 2014, Kissel won the JUNO for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, an award that does not come that often to country stars. Brett lent his vocals and star power to a track on the debut album of Yoan, winner of The Voice. That album currently stands as 2015’s best-seller from a Canadian.

The time has come for some new music from Brett Kissel. His new single bears the title “Airwaves”. A beautifully shot music video was recently launched. It features a red jeep, a diamond ring, dangling lights in a clearing, and of course a young couple on the path to wedded bliss. Check it out below.  iTunes

Three Country Stars on the Rise

3 rising stars of country

Whether the name’s Alee or Alessia, Cohle or Nicole, Canada’s rising stars of country are all worth a listen.

‘I was never much into country music. Aside from the occasional number, country music just never hit the spot for me. But everything changed the first time I heard Kira Isabella.

‘The Ottawa native’s first single “Love Me Like That” caught me off guard. “What’s this?” It was refined and beautiful and sent a few chills down the spine. From there, I began checking out other modern Canadian country artists and found music of exceptional quality from the likes of Gord Bamford, MacKenzie Porter, Dean Brody, Lindi Ortega, High Valley and the like. There was something refreshingly different about Canadian country. Jess Moskaluke’s “Good Lovin'”, if there ever was a country song that made you want to get up and dance, stands as one of the greatest pieces of music in any genre in the past five years. I then realized why the Canadian country scene was one that has attracted people of every demographic.’–Shawn PT

Beneath the surface of A-listers are the rising stars who are making notable contributions to the pool of rich Canadian country and should brighten up the summer. Below are profiles on three, all from different provinces. Wilf Carter would be proud.

LISA NICOLE

Lisa is a professional musician thanks to Selkirk College. She comes from Castlegar, BC and her sound leans more towards the country rock flank. She released a single last year called “Do You Like That”. We have embedded her MV for “It Got Ugly” below which was very well done with a bit of a western shoot out. Website.

ALEE

Alee whose real name is Alexandra Adamoski is from Edmonton. Her upbeat style can be enjoyed on her brand new EP Say Hello to Goodbye. She co-wrote all its tracks. We have embedded the MV for “Moonshine” below to give you a taste. Website.

ALESSIA COHLE

Alessia hails from Mississauga. She is brand new at the game releasing her debut EP Let’s Get Gone last month. “Sunday Shoes” is very catchy country pop. We have embedded the MV below. Website.

Dean Brody Travels the Gypsy Road

DeanBrody_GypsyRoadStar of country music Dean Brody was born and raised in British Columbia, now residing in Chester, Nova Scotia. As a BC boy, Dean worked in a sawmill while honing his guitar skills and writing songs. He was offered a recording contract in 2008 and launched his career. Since then he has done exceptionally well, planting a total of 18 songs into the Billboard Hot 100. “Canadian Girls” broke into the Top 40 and was certified platinum. “It’s Friday” and “Bounty” have struck gold. The latter reached #1 on BDS Country. Brody’s third album Dirt was his best seller, certified gold. His last, Crop Circles, received the JUNO Country Album of the Year Award.

Dean Brody’s new album Gypsy Road (Open Road Recordings) is his fifth and mounted the iTunes Top 10 upon release. “Upside Down” heralded the LP. Like his past works, the album was produced by Matt Rovey. Dean gives us a new batch of beautiful songs with engaging lyrics strengthening his foothold at the forefront of Canadian country.  iTunes

Terri Clark Hosting CCMA Holiday Special

CCMA Holiday Special 2014 copy

Fans of Canadian country music will be pleased that the Canadian Country Music Association will be presenting the CCMA Holiday Special, airing on CBC-TV on Monday, December 15 at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT and on CMT Canada on Thursday, December 18 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET. The special will be hosted by multiplatinum artist Terri Clark and will feature performances by some of Canada’s top country greats.

Terri will be joined on stage by Gord Bamford, Jason Blaine, Dean Brody, Chad Brownlee, Lindsay Ell, Tim Hicks, High Valley, Kira Isabella, Brett Kissel, Beverley Mahood, One More Girl, Lindi Ortega, Deric Ruttan, and Tebey. As well, The Stellas will be performing with their daughters Lennon and Maisy.

Clark says, “I hope this Special brings some holiday spirit to our country music fans.” Don Green, president of the CCMA, adds, “The CCMA, and the Canadian country music industry, really does feel like a big, extended family.” The CCMA Holiday Special was filmed at Rexall Place in Edmonton this past September. A portion of all ticket sales from the filming has gone towards MusiCounts.

In addition to the televised airdates above, the audio of the CCMA Holiday Special will broadcast on CBC Radio One, Canada Live on Friday, December 19 at 2 p.m./2:30 p.m. NT and CBC Radio 2, Canada Live on Monday, December 22 at 7 p.m./7:30 p.m. NT. It will also re-air on CMT on December 25 at 1 a.m. ET.

Update: You can watch the CCMA Holiday Special here.

Take Me There, Lindsay Broughton

Lindsay Broughton2

Lindsay Broughton - Take Me ThereShe has charted three songs on the Billboard Country chart, been named a SOCAN artist of the month, had eight songs featured in TV series Heartland, and won a 2013 Country Music Association of Ontario Rising Star Award. It’s high time for Brooklin, ON’s Lindsay Broughton (pronounced Brʌu’n) to launch her debut LP, Take Me There. She joins the growing list of sizzling female prodigies of country music like Jess, Kira, Lindi, and MacKenzie. Shortly after setting her album spinning, we were hooked. There is a welcome mixture of country rock and country ballad confections that shine with strokes of songwriting genius and vocals of honey.  iTunes

High Valley Content on Dirt Road Side of the County Line

High Valley - County LineBlumenort/La Crete Alberta’s High Valley is a JUNO-nominated country group of brothers (The Rempels) who scored six hits on the Hot 100 since debuting in 2007. Originally a trio, Bryan decided to depart the band to focus on his family and raising of his two children with wife Jessica. With that, the band is down to duo Curtis and Brad on fourth album, County Line. The album opens with the title-track and current hit single (see MV below). Recent hit “Rescue You” closes out the work. The quality of music sandwiched in-between the two hits is remarkably good. The album presents a rousing and rugged feel with attractive lyrics and a dose of spirituality. U.S. multiple Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs is featured on one of the tracks.  iTunes

MacKenzie Porter: A Fresh Face in Canadian Country

MacKenzie PorterAs the country gets ready for the CCMA Awards tonight in Edmonton, we thought we’d throw in a profile of nominee MacKenzie Porter who is up for the Female Artist of the Year award. MacKenzie is from Medicine Hat, AB and is the sister of Canadian Idol winner Kalan Porter (talented family!). After studying piano, violin, and voice growing up, she began a career in the acting field starring in a number of television and motion picture productions. Following a move to Vancouver and hooking up with local musicians, she launched a solo music career with 2012 debut single “I Wish I’d Known”. “Never Gonna Let You” made its way into the Billboard Hot 100 the following year. MacKenzie released her debut, self-titled album in July through her own entertainment company. We have embedded below the MV for the sweet marriage themed song “If You Ask Me To”.  iTunes

Trivia: The wood-deck truss bridge shown at the end of the video is Westham Island Bridge in Metro Vancouver which spans Canoe Pass in the Fraser River estuary connecting the island to Ladner. This bridge was featured in the X-Files episode “Kill Switch”. 

Here Comes the Thunder … at 5:01

TimHicks_501They say that St. Catharines’ Tim Hicks played gigs every night for 17 years before he broke through. His first two singles “Get By” and “Hell Raisin’ Good Time” made the Top 60 of the Hot 100 (strong chart performance for country) and were certified gold. Debut album Throw Down appeared last year landing four tracks in total on the charts. In 2014, Tim launched country-rock lead single “Here Comes the Thunder” of sophomore album 5:01. The album, available now, earned a top 5 iTunes placement upon release.

Hicks’ seemingly instant success attracted top songwriting brass from the Nashville hive to co-write the 5:01 tunes. A number of guests appear on the album including Maple Ridge, BC’s Madeline Merlo, Blackjack Billy, and the Road Hammers’ Clayton Bellamy. The album is a revved up, high-energy tour de force that’ll gird up the revelry at the Ontario cottage, Alberta saloon, or just about anywhere you hang your … toque.  iTunes

Bobby Wills’ New Album Is Crazy Enough For Us

bobby-wills-crazy-enoughBobby Wills first landed on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 with “Somebody Will” in February 2013. The same year, he won the Canadian Country Music Association’s Rising Star Award. Bobby is from Calgary and has been active since 2010. Heralding his third album, title-track single “Crazy Enough” became his second Hot 100 hit in early 2014. We think it is the finest country music album of the year so far, as with cleverly poetic lyrics and alluring Building a Mystery guitar riffs, the music’s appeal stretches far beyond the quaint picket fences of country, even to the stars; listen for the cool use of Star Trek terminology. It’s a very solid album all the way through with a galaxy’s worth of catchiness.  iTunes

Dean Brody’s 16th Hit, “Another Man’s Gold”

Dean Brody - Another Man's Gold“Another Man’s Gold” is the new single with music video from Canadian country music superstar Dean Brody. The song debuted on the Hot 100 this week, his 16th to make the charts! As far as homegrown artists go, only Drake, Hedley, and Justin Bieber have landed more songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 than Dean Brody. The song is his third single from album Crop Circles. It builds stories around the concept that what one man throws away is another man’s gold. Dean reminisces about a time in his childhood when his dad took him to the dump and they found a bicycle that someone had thrown away. With a little oil it was as good as new. He fast forwards to his youth when he got his first job at a dairy farm driving tractor and bailing hay. He discovered an old Mustang abandoned in a bog. He asked the farmer and was told it was his if he wanted it. He towed it home and restored it. The third story deserves quoting. Read it below and enjoy the music video.  iTunes

It was an awkward blind date
We met at a park
She had her little girl tagging along
A Beautiful smile hadn’t been out in a while
She was a hard working single mom
In time I learned he’d left her
He said I’m just way too young
To be having a kid, I’m not ready for this
If you keep it I’m good as gone

He never looked back
As she watched him go
She stood there crying in the rain
Til one January day she had a beautiful baby girl

Tonight I took her in and read her stories
And hold her mama while the sun set low
My two arms full
Of this man’s gold

Road Hammers Get the Wheels Spinning

TheRoadHammers_WheelsCountry rock outfit The Road Hammers won a JUNO award in 2006 for the debut album which achieved platinum certification in 2013. A couple more albums followed. After a disbandment announcement in 2010, the group reformed launching Hot 100 charting single “Get On Down the Road”. Wheels is the newly released album from The Road Hammers and contains the latter plus current hit single “Mud”. The album opens with the spinning splendour of the title-track and dishes out an energetic cover of Geoff Mack’s “I’ve Been Everywhere”. Pure fun follows. Fred Turner himself appears as a guest on the band’s fantastic rendition of BTO’s “Roll On Down the Highway”. Sweet ballad “Annie” gives the tympanic membranes a rest stop. Be sure to check out the album “outtakes” on final track “Fender Benders”. Whether your vehicle of choice is the truck or tractor, this album will make the ride so much more enjoyable.  iTunes

Chad Brownlee’s The Fighters

Chad Brownlee - The FightersKelowna, BC’s Chad Brownlee was a professional hockey defenceman, a draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 2003. After one too many injuries, Chad turned to his other love, country music, and launched his first album in 2010. Since then he has scored six Hot 100 charting singles. Following up his current hit, “Fallin’ Over You,” Brownlee has released his third album, The Fighters, which has scored a Top 10 iTunes placement. The album contains a slew of well-written, catchy songs which, more accurately, fall under the country-pop/rock category. The Fighter is definitely Chad Brownlee’s best album yet with strong bass, hearty guitars, animated percussion, smart touch ups and some unexpected elements. The overall flavour is one of perk and confidence. Very nicely done.  iTunes 

Quarterback, Kira Isabella

Kira Isabella - QuarterbackOttawa’s wonderful and heroic Kira Isabella has rolled up the artificial turf in her new single “Quarterback” and laid down some ground shaking lyrics, tackling an issue that few recording artists have had the guts to address. In the beginning, Kira’s biggest strength was her singing. If you ever have the chance to hear her acapella, you will be stunned. Needless to say, she was signed by Sony Music. Her very first single, the beautiful, tender “Love Me Like That,” made the Canadian Hot 100 and won the Canadian Radio Music award for Country Song of the Year.

Kira Isabella won the Canadian Country Music Association’s Rising Star Award in 2012 and then the prestigious Female Artist of the Year in 2013. This led to her being hooked up with some top writers and producers in United States music hub, Nashville. Song “Quarterback” is drawing attention both south and north of the 49th. Here, it’s bubbling under the Canadian Hot 100. We present for you both the lyrics (check accuracy against lyric video here) and the newly-released official music video (embedded below). The MV set decorations are gorgeous, and we appreciate all the work that must have gone into it.

It was Friday night and the lights were shinning
Everyone was sitting in the stands
He was being scouted by a big time college
She played trumpet in the marching band
In the parking lot, when the game was over
She had a bus to ride
When he pulled up in his buddy’s truck
And the door swung open wide

He was the quarterback
Smiled at her, imagine that!
How do you explain the star of the game
And the no name girl from the freshman class?

She got out at a bonfire party
Never had a drink before
But he held it to her lips and she took her first sip
And before she knew it, she had three more

She always heard that a girl’s first time,
Is a memory she’ll never forget
She found out the hard way about love
When she saw those pictures on the internet

He was the quarterback
Smiled at her, imagine that!
Who you gonna blame – the star of the game
Or the no name girl in the freshman class?
He was the quarterback
Smiled at her, imagine that
Who you gonna blame – the star of the game
Or the no name girl in the marching band?

Monday morning when the word got out
Everybody picked a side
He had the school and the whole town too
And she had nothing but the truth inside

He was the quarterback
Smiled at her, imagine that!
Who you gonna blame – the star of the game
Or the no name girl in the freshman class
He was the quarterback
Lied to her, imagine that!
He was the quarterback
She was in the freshman class
He was the quarterback
Who you gonna blame – the star of the game
Or the no name girl in the freshman class?

Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke Lights Up the Night

Jess Moskaluke - Light Up the NightCountry artist Jess Moskaluke was born in the small town of Langenburg in eastern Saskatchewan and as far as soloists go is the province’s top hope and best chance of becoming an international superstar. Yes! She’s that good! In fact, we think she has the potential to be the next Shania Twain. The last couple of years, Jess has been working extremely hard with incredible odds stacked against her. In the current country radio climate, it is hard enough for Canadian artists to receive some spin doctor love. But if you’re a new, female, Canadian artist from Saskatchewan? Very, very tough. After a mini album and collections of covers to verify to the masses that her singing ability is astonishing to say the least, Jess launched song “Good Lovin'”. In January, it reached #17 on the Billboard Canadian Country chart which, given her particulars, we count as the equivalent of a #1 single. What makes the song such a charmer is its hard core bass, which, combined with her other skills, gives Jess Moskaluke somewhat of a signature sound. If she can come out with songs this good, look out!

Jess has just released album Light Up the Night containing some of the best country music being made anywhere in the world. Top marks for all aspects: writing, singing, production, and musicianship. Jess Moskaluke is shining brightly. The question is, are we going to wake up and check out the splendour? Lyric video for opening track “Good Lovin'” embedded below.  iTunes