Selected New Releases 8 April 2016

collage copy

Back on April 3, Sorel, Quebec’s Antoine Lachance released his beautiful debut album Cimetière d’avions, an eclectic pop blend of strings, piano, flashy guitar work, and singer-songwriter vibes. Country fans have a couple of LPs to check out this week. Lacombe, Albertan superstar Gord Bamford releases his latest, Tin Roof. Also from Alberta (Fairview) is newcomer Aaron Goodvin with a self-titled album. Alternative pop/rock works include Matadora from Waterloo, Ontario’s Danny Michel and Dazzle Camouflage from Toronto’s Highs.

A trio of Jeans release albums this week. Jean-Frédéric‘s Et en attendant is an impressive debut showcasing folk pop. Jean-Michel Blais on the other hand gives us a wonderful instrumental piano-leading work entitled II. All classical-style compositions are his own. JeanPhilip goes for more of a rock sound on solid album La mécanique des jours.

Perhaps the highest profile of this week’s releases is Midnight Machines from Toronto’s LIGHTS, an acoustic (mainly guitar) reworking of songs from JUNO winning electropop album Little Machines. Lovers of classical quartets can enjoy Quatuor Molinari‘s Noravank: Shoujounian’s String Quartets Nos. 3-6. For experimental electronica, JUNO winner Tim Hecker is back with his latest work, Love Streams.

EPs this week include multiplatinum artist David MylesHere Now, essentially a pop record but infused with his characteristic folky reggae style. He is from Fredericton. Newmarket, Ontario alt-rock group Tokyo Police Club contribute Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness, Pt 1.

We leave you with the new music video from Carly Rae Jepsen for “Boy Problems” off her critically acclaimed album Emotion. Carly is now on a cross-Canada tour with Hedley and Francesco Yates.

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The Four Kings of Country Airplay

There are the sizzling female soloists and the delicious groups and duos, but from 2013 through to 2015, it is four Canadian male soloists who have scored #1 hits on Billboard country airplay. Other artists have succeeded in different ways (awards, gold platinum certifications, etc.), but in this post, we take a look at the four Canadian kings of country airplay and review the songs that climbed to the very top. They are Gord Bamford, Dean Brody, Dallas Smith, and Brett Kissel via “When Your Lips Are So Close”, “Bounty” (with Lindi Ortega), “Wastin’ Gas”, and “Airwaves” respectively.

GORD BAMFORD

Gord Bamford m

Origin:  Lacombe, Alberta
Formal Debut:  2001
Certification Level:  Platinum
Studio Albums to Date:  7
Hot 100 Songs:  14
JUNO Awards:  3 nominations
CCMA Awards:  15
Interesting Fact:  Gord was born in Australia but emigrated to Canada when he was 5.
#1 Single:  “When Your Lips Are So Close”

DEAN BRODY

dean brody m

Origin:  Jaffray, British Columbia
Formal Debut:  2008
Certification Level:  Platinum
Studio Albums to Date:  5
Hot 100 Songs:  19
JUNO Awards:  1
CCMA Awards:  9
Interesting Fact:  Originally from BC, Dean now lives in Chester, Nova Scotia.
#1 Single:  “Bounty” (featuring Lindi Ortega)

DALLAS SMITH

dallas smith m

Origin:  Langley, British Columbia
Formal Debut:  2011
Certification Level:  Platinum
Studio Albums to Date:  2
Hot 100 Songs:  11
JUNO Awards:  1
CCMA Awards:  1
Interesting Fact:  Dallas used to be lead singer of rock band Default.
#1 Single:  “Wastin’ Gas”

BRETT KISSEL

brett kissel m

Origin:  Flat Lake, Alberta
Formal Debut:  2013
Certification Level:  Gold
Studio Albums to Date (major label):  2
Hot 100 Songs:  6
JUNO Awards:  1
CCMA Awards:  3
Interesting Fact:  Brett keeps a king of diamonds beneath his cowboy hat.
#1 Single:  “Airwaves”

Headlines and Footdots for Mid-September 2015

hmv oxford street london

Carly Rae Jepsen will be signing autographs and performing an acoustic set at HMV at 363 Oxford Street in swinging London September 18 to celebrate the UK release of her album Emotion. The vintage shop has been there since 1921. One week after, Carly’s Canadian brother will hit London as well.

graham norton show

Yes, The Weeknd will be guesting on Britain’s The Graham Norton Show along with Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, and Peter Capaldi on September 25! It is the season opener of the comedy chat show on BBC One. Other Canadian recording artists to have appeared on the show include Michael Bublé, Alanis Morissette, Arcade Fire, and Justin Bieber.

bieber guinness

The latter celeb was recently inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for becoming the youngest male artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot 100. He was presented with a plaque in honour of the achievement. In Canada, the #1 hit “What Do You Mean?” was certified gold just one week after its release.

brett kissel - 321 copy

Also going gold is “3-2-1” from Flat Lake, AB’s Brett Kissel. It is his first certified recording. Brett was one of the winners at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards this past weekend. The big winner of the evening, scoring a cowboy hat trick, was Gord Bamford. A list of all the winners can be found here.

jess moskaluke kiss me quiet

Immediately after the broadcast, CMT announced the release of the brand new music video for “I’m and Open Road” by Paul Brandt featuring two-time CCMA Female Artist of the Year winner Jess Moskaluke. It is beautifully shot, worthy of inclusion on our year-end best MVs list, and we have embedded it below. Jess has a new EP coming out on September 25 called Kiss Me Quiet.

Canada Day 2015 Parliament Hill Performances

While a number of recording artists performed at various cities across the country to celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday, the main televised extravaganza took place in Ottawa on Parliament Hill. It was a beautifully done affair with Francophones and Anglophones, women and men all sharing the stage together, something we need to see more often. Most performers played three songs, and a single group of professional musicians backed them all. We took some screen shots posted below with notes on each performer. You can watch a condensed version of the concert here with just one or two songs per artist.

1. Dance music superstar Kiesza opens the event with double platinum “Hideaway” and two more songs:

01 - Kiesza

2. The large crowd cheers for Kiesza. One man held up a sign asking her to marry him:

02 - Parliament Hill Crowd

3. Beautiful fresh, young talents and two of our finest vocalists Francesco Yates and Andee welcome all to the event:

03 - Francesco Yates and Andee

4. JUNO winner Karim Ouellet performs a string of his hits. We were very lucky to acquire him from Senegal:

04 - Karim Ouellet

5. Gord Bamford gets us countrified with hits including #1 radio smash “When Your Lips Are So Close”:

05 - Gord Bamford

6. The sun begins to set in Ottawa:

06 - Sunset

7. Cassidy Mann reps The Peg and charms us with her sweet songs:

07 - Cassidy Mann

8. Jonas and the Massive Attraction rocks out equally well in both official languages:

08 - Jonas and the Massive Attraction

9. Andee showed us just how incredible her vocals are, performing Top 40 hit “Never Gone” and other delights:

09 - Andee

10. Francesco Yates proved he has natural performance talent flowing through his arteries:

10 - Francesco Yates

11. Marc Dupré no doubt had the ladies swooning with his magnetic delivery:

11 - Marc Dupre

12. MAGIC! capped things off with three including new single “Sunday Funday” getting beach balls going in the crowd.

12 - Magic

13. The night wouldn’t have been complete without a stellar fireworks display:

13 - fireworks

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.

2014 Canadian Country Music Association Award Winners

Canadian Country Singers copy

7 September 2014 – Tonight Edmonton played host to the annual Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) awards, emceed by Calgarian pop star Jann Arden and Newfoundland comedian Rick Mercer. The sold out affair saw Gord Bamford take home the Song of the Year trophy for “When Your Lips Are So Close” which topped the Billboard Country Airplay charts last year. The Australian-born Albertan was also named Male Artist of the Year. The Female Artist of the Year award went to Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke whose hit single “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes” was recently declared gold by Music Canada for sales in excess of 40,000 units. Dean Brody’s Crop Circles was named Album of the Year while Scottish Canadian Johnny Reid took home the Fans’ Choice Award. Other trophies went to Small Town Pistols (Group or Duo of the Year), Lindi Ortega (Roots Artist of the Year), and Tim Hicks (Rising Star of the Year). Brett Kissel’s “3-2-1” was named Video of the Year. Below is a list of nominees in selected categories with the winners bolded in green. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Bounty – Dean Brody
Started With A Song – Brett Kissel
Take The Week Off – Deric Ruttan
Tippin’ Point – Dallas Smith
When Your Lips Are So Close – Gord Bamford

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
All Kinds of Crazy – Codie Prevost
Crop Circles – Dean Brody
Started With A Song – Brett Kissel
Throw Down – Tim Hicks
Tippin’ Point EP – Dallas Smith

FANS’ CHOICE AWARD
Gord Bamford
Paul Brandt
Dean Brody
George Canyon
Johnny Reid

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Terri Clark
Kira Isabella
Jess Moskaluke
Lindi Ortega
MacKenzie Porter

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Gord Bamford
Dean Brody
Brett Kissel
Dallas Smith
Bobby Wills

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
Autumn Hill
The Boom Chucka Boys
The Road Hammers
Small Town Pistols
The Western Swing Authority

ROOTS ARTIST OF THE YEAR
The Lovelocks
Corb Lund
Lindi Ortega
Jimmy Rankin
The Western Swing Authority

RISING STAR
Lindsay Ell
Tim Hicks
Wes Mack
Jess Moskaluke
Tebey

CMT VIDEO OF THE YEAR
3-2-1 – Brett Kissel
Bounty – Dean Brody
Duet – Wes Mack ft. Carly McKillip
Friends Of Mine – Jason Blaine
Got A Feeling – Tim Hicks ft. Blackjack Billy
Take The Week Off – Deric Ruttan

SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR

Bounty, Dean Brody
(Written By: Dean Brody)

Hell Raisin’ Good Time, Tim Hicks
(Written By: Jeff Coplan, Tim Hicks, Casey Marshall, Neil Sanderson)

Mine Would Be You, Blake Shelton
(Written By: Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, Deric Ruttan)

Started With A Song, Brett Kissel
(Written By: Brett Kissel, Craig Wiseman)

When Your Lips Are So Close, Gord Bamford
(Written By: Gord Bamford, Brent L. Baxter, Byron Hill)

Gord Bamford Stands Where a Farm Used to Be

Gord-Bamford“There’s a new Walmart just down the road across the street from Home Depot…” sings Aussie-born Canuck Gord Bamford in his new Hot 100 charting single, “Where a Farm Used to Be”. This is the opening track from his album Country Junkie which spawned the gold-certified, #1 country radio hit “When Your Lips Are So Close”. Gord has been nominated for a JUNO thrice and has attained platinum status thanks to his album Christmas in Canada. The new single deals with disappearing farm land due to urbanization, a theme which ran through much of Archibald Lampman’s poetry. The music video is interesting in that it features a vinyl record shop, an urban symbol that has itself disappeared due to digitization. The girl selling the vintage records has difficulty dealing with preppy urbanites chatting on their cell phones. She has to force a smile. In the end, though, the purse-flashers smarten up and pay a visit to the countryside. We can all relate to the concept of grief over the loss of something we liked that is no longer there.

2014 CCMA Nominations

Jess Moskaluke

The Canadian Country Music Association has announced the nominees for its 2014 music awards. Broadcasted on the CBC and CMT, the gala will be held in Edmonton on September 7 and will be hosted by two of the funniest Canadians: Jann Arden and Rick Mercer.

In terms of radio airplay these days, country music in Canada is predominantly a boys’ club. Male singers made up 84% of 2013’s top 50 spins. The nominations this year are a reflection of this male dominance, as the main categories – Album of the Year, Single of the Year, and Fans’ Choice Award – are an all-male sweep. Bright new faces like Kira Isabella, Jess Moskaluke, and Lindsay Ell are working very hard in the midst of this. Good for them.

Flat Lake, Alberta’s Brett Kissel leads the pack with 8 nominations. He is followed by Dean Brody (6) and Gord Bamford (5). Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke has 3 nominations. Below in selected categories are the nominees. A full list is available HERE. You can vote for the Fans’ Choice Award HERE.

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Bounty – Dean Brody
Started With A Song – Brett Kissel
Take The Week Off – Deric Ruttan
Tippin’ Point – Dallas Smith
When Your Lips Are So Close – Gord Bamford

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
All Kinds of Crazy – Codie Prevost
Crop Circles – Dean Brody
Started With A Song – Brett Kissel
Throw down – Tim Hicks
Tippin’ Point EP – Dallas Smith

FANS’ CHOICE AWARD
Gord Bamford
Paul Brandt
Dean Brody
George Canyon
Johnny Reid

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Terri Clark
Kira Isabella
Jess Moskaluke
Lindi Ortega
MacKenzie Porter

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Gord Bamford
Dean Brody
Brett Kissel
Dallas Smith
Bobby Wills

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
Autumn Hill
The Boom Chucka Boys
The Road Hammers
Small Town Pistols
The Western Swing Authority

ROOTS ARTIST OF THE YEAR
The Lovelocks
Corb Lund
Lindi Ortega
Jimmy Rankin
The Western Swing Authority

RISING STAR
Lindsay Ell
Tim Hicks
Wes Mack
Jess Moskaluke
Tebey

CMT VIDEO OF THE YEAR
3-2-1 – Brett Kissel
Bounty – Dean Brody
Duet – Wes Mack ft. Carly McKillip
Friends Of Mine – Jason Blaine
Got A Feeling – Tim Hicks ft. Blackjack Billy
Take The Week Off – Deric Ruttan

SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR

Bounty, Dean Brody
(Written By: Dean Brody)

Hell Raisin’ Good Time, Tim Hicks
(Written By: Jeff Coplan, Tim Hicks, Casey Marshall, Neil Sanderson)

Mine Would Be You, Blake Shelton
(Written By: Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, Deric Ruttan)

Started With A Song, Brett Kissel
(Written By: Brett Kissel, Craig Wiseman)

When Your Lips Are So Close, Gord Bamford
(Written By: Gord Bamford, Brent L. Baxter, Byron Hill)

Gold/Platinum Certifications 2013-2014

Here are the latest certifications from Music Canada. Congratulations to the artists and a big thank you to Canadians for continuing to support them by buying their music. To date, five 2013 Christmas albums have received gold/platinum certifications, the latest being Gord Bamford’s Christmas in Canada (platinum), Maxime Landry’s Noël Blanc (gold), and Paul Daraïche’s Ces Noëls d’autrefois (gold). The other two recently certified are Johnny Reid’s A Christmas Gift to You (platinum) and Noël à deux by Janvier & Breau (gold). Two Canadian country singles have struck gold: Dallas Smith’s “Tippin’ Point” and Gord Bamford’s “When Your Lips Are So Close”.  “3 Foot Tall” by rapper Classified has made platinum.

2013 - 12 - 13

DEFINITIONS

For both albums and digital singles, current definitions are: Gold = 40,000 units sold. Platinum = 80,000, 2x Platinum = 160,000, 3x Platinum = 240,000, 4x Platinum = 320,000, etc.

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Song Faves of 2013: #20 to #11

Canadian Artists 1

PREAMBLE
Considering that literally thousands songs from Canadian artists came out in 2013, coming up with the top 200 would have be difficult enough, but the top 20 was extremely difficult! To create a fairer and tidier list, we allowed only one entry per artist.

EILIGIBILITY
Equally difficult was trying to decide whether a song could be considered a 2013 song. Eligibility was determined by the following points:

1. For songs on albums not released as singles, the album had to have been released in 2013.

2. For non-Hot 100 charting singles, the release date had to be in 2013.

3. For charting singles, the song had to reach its Hot 100 peak position during 2013 regardless of when it was released.

4. If a song made our Faves list last year but ended up being released as a single or reaching its peak chart position this year, we will not re-include it on this year’s Faves list.

5. All songs eligible had to be in whole or in part credited to and performed by a Canadian artist whether or not it was composed by a Canadian.

PROCESS
As with our albums list, we listened to all 2013 songs shortlisting the ones we loved, then ranking them at the end of the year. We were not at all swayed by how popular (or unpopular) a song or artist was or what the genre was.

We have included the cover art for singles. For album non-single songs, we framed the album cover with the song’s name on the frame.

THE LIST…

#20. “When Your Lips Are So Close” by Gord Bamford

Gord Bamford - When Your Lips Are So CloseThis Australian born, Alberta raised, CCMA-winning master of country music pulled a rare feat for a Canadian this year by topping the domestic country charts. He became only the seventh Canuck to do this since the Nielsen BDS era began in the mid-1990s. This was well deserved given that the song is just beautiful and managed to dazzle even those not into country music. While American country artists were writing songs about trucks and guzzling booze with their girl on the beach, Gord penned this more tasteful ode to romantic longing towards a gorgeous sight beneath neon lights.

#19. “Le verbe amour” by Forêt

Foret - Le verbe amourLove’s certainly the word to describe how we feel about this debut duo consisting of classically-trained vocalist Émilie Laforest and guitarist Joseph Marchand. We named their pop mélancolico-romantique ADISQ Félix nominated album our 2nd favourite of 2013. It was difficult to choose a standout track (we loved “Après la guerre” too). “Le verbe amour” is a dreamy, hauntingly beautiful tribute to creativity, songwriting prowess, and masterful instrumentation that captivates the listener with a sonic perfume of mystery and charm.

#18. “À la vie, à la mort” by Anik Jean

Anik Jean - A la vie a la mortOff our third favourite LP of the year, Schizophrène, Canada’s JUNO-nominated answer to Joan Jett stuck it to misogynists who cringe at women in rock by letting loose songs of fiery splendour in 2013. We are blessed to have the pure talent of national treasure Anik Jean in our midst with her classic rock delivery that betters what both males and Anglophones are able to muster. Larger than life rock anthem “À la vie, à la mort” presents an irresistible vibe in the spirit of Patti Smith. It booms, crashes down, and soars taking us on the ride of our lives.

#17. “Ancient Nouveau” by Phèdre

Phedre - Ancient NouveauA robotic, quirky, new wave delight, “Ancient Nouveau” ironically brought us back to a time when music was rapidly advancing forward, and this is in fact what the title suggests. Daniel Lee and April Aliermo are the duo Phèdre, an offshoot of Toronto’s Hooded Fang. The pulsating electronica is augmented with the clever use of vocals delivered in a spirit of boredom which paradoxically elicits feelings of excitement in the listener. We have always been grateful for acts that experiment, dabble, combine the poles, and make it all work, and Phèdre has succeeded here.

#16. “Tonight Is Alright” by Bryan Finlay

Bryan Finlay - Tonight is AlrightWe are glad to see Edmonton contributing to the great pool of Canadian music, and the city seemed to rebound from its loss this year of founding father Wes Dakus. After winning a few radio contests, the city’s Bryan Finlay unleashed this breezy charmer which was brought into regular station rotation in the Whyte Avenue clad northern metropolis. Continuing on the course of smooth set by George Michael and Trevor Guthrie’s soulDecision, “Tonight Is Alright” includes a refreshing saxophone solo and a cute reference to Carly Rae Jepsen.

#15. “Baby’s Got It” by Maylee Todd

Maylee Todd - Baby's Got ItThe fact that she uses vibraphone in her music is enough to adore her, but Toronto’s Maylee Todd is a marvel. Not only has she been able to recreate the wholesome fusion of 1970s boogie, funk, bossa nova, and soul, but we feel she has actually improved upon it. And, with a fabulous backing band, her live performances are a must-see. While Todd’s 2010 effort saw her finding her way, she hit her stride with Escapology in 2013. The invigorating grooves of “Baby’s Got It” ices the cake on Claudja Barry putting Canada on the dance map.

#14. “Bagatelle” by Ariane Brunet

Ariane Brunet - BagatelleIt seemed like only yesterday, the ADISQ Félix gala had nominated this champion of adult contemporary greatness for Newcomer of the Year, a former student of voice, piano, guitar, and jazz. The nod seems to have fortified her talents and honed her skills, for sophomore album Fusée was one of the choicest releases of the year. Lead single “Bagatelle” lit the rocket fuse and zoomed up into the iTunes Francophone Top 10. Graceful, soft, and smartly decked with strings, it stands as one of the Kirkland, QC songstress’ finest accomplishments.

#13. “Harder Than Stone” by City and Colour

City and Colour - Harder Than StoneAccording to St. Catharines’ Dallas Green, in this exquisite composition, he was “born and raised to live beyond the heft and weight of a world undone”. The song is his melodic statement of how hard life can be. He resolves in a future time to turn his back to the setting sun and leave behind “Toronto’s incessant hum”. The lyrics are grand enough to make this tune work but adding torrents of overkill are the masterful songwriting and cool, tempered delivery that makes this gem shine forth while its composer traipses “underneath the dead moonlight”.

#12. “Wish I Could Say” by Mat Joly

Mat Joly - Wish I Could SayAfter his band Mobile scored a gold record and won the JUNO for New Group of the Year in 2007, Mat Joly flew solo in 2013 by releasing a self-titled album. According to Nielsen, single “Don’t Tell the Girl” was bubbling under the rock airplay chart at one point. We were most impressed with the catchy “Wish I Could Say” from the album, a popular rock jewel that shimmers at the level anything The Police concocted in the 80s. Its bass-jabbing verses and free style percussion precede a very catchy two-tier chorus, not to mention a fantastic bridge.

#11. “Loved Me Back to Life” by Céline Dion

Celine Dion - Loved Me Back to LifeAustralia’s competent Sia Furler had a hand in writing this Top 30 hit, title-track of Céline’s quadruple platinum album, the best-selling in 2013 domestically. It is a critically-acclaimed power ballad that features a modern dubstep beat drop updating the diva’s AC roots with a fresh sound. Crisp, smartly-tweaked production and a surging chorus provide that extra umph to the soaring, emotional vocals, which are always a given, from this Companion of the Order of Canada reminding us why she has sold some 200 million records worldwide.

See #10 to #1 HERE…

2013 Christmas and Holiday Canadian Releases

quebec_city Christmas

Below is a selection of some of the new Christmas albums that have been recently released. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of Suzie McNeil’s This Is Christmas from last year, we highly recommend it. It is quite possibly the best pop/rock Christmas record ever to come out of Canada. Michael Bublé’s Christmas is an absolute must for those of you desiring more traditional vibes. As not everyone celebrates Christmas, we have thrown in some albums showcasing a wintry spirit of sorts. We have represented each album by a flavour of the season.

2013 Canadian Christmas Single

Kira Isabella - A country Boy For Christmas“A Country Boy For Christmas” by Kira Isabella. Ottawa’s fresh, young starlet blessed with the voice of an angel nabbed the coveted Female Vocalist of the Year award at this year’s Canadian Country Music Association gala. She also won a Canadian Radio Music Award and was nominated for a JUNO. Her awards and the success of her singles have recently led to a signing in Nashville to release her music in the United States. Kira’s Christmas single is a beautiful song well worth the purchase.  iTunes

2013 Canadian Christmas Albums

Johnny Reid - A Christmas Gift to YouThe Gingerbread Album: A Christmas Gift to You by Johnny Reid. This is the second Christmas album from the husky voiced import from Scotland and recently debuted at #6 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. Although Johnny normally records country music, this album is more generic. The tunes (mostly covers) are very intense and emotionally powerful. Johnny is backed by a choir on most tracks, and the album was produced by Bob Ezrin. Peter Frampton appears on one of the songs, and Isabelle Boulay joins Johnny on a bilingual version of “Silent Night”.  iTunes

Maxime Landry - Noel BlancThe Cinnamon Album: Noël Blanc by Maxime Landry. Even if the Canadian education system failed to bilingualize you by high school graduation, Maxime’s mesmerizing voice will win you over to the Francophone side. In fact, it comes as no surprise that he was declared champion of the 2009 season of Star Académie, was nominated for a JUNO Fan Choice Award, and has scored a multiplatinum album. Noël Blanc debuted at #9 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. The (Canadian) Tenors are featured on “L’enfant au tambour” (i.e. “The Little Drummer Boy”).  iTunes

paul daraiche - ces noels d'autrefoisThe Cranberry Album: Ces Noëls d’autrefois by Paul Daraîche. Paul is a country artist, and this is a country style Christmas album which features a few guests including Charles Aznavour, members of the Daraîche family, Shawn Barker, Marie-Michèle Desrosiers, Michel Rivard, and Tex Lecor. Paul’s studio album last year was certified platinum, and it sounds like he had fun making this Christmas record. He sounds great including on the lone Anglo track, “Blue Christmas”, and this album will fill the room with warmth and cheer especially to rural dwellers.  iTunes

Christmas in Canada - Gord BamfordThe Eggnog Album: Christmas in Canada by Gord Bamford. Gord sure is working hard. He just recently released his sixth studio album, has topped the country radio charts, donated $100,000 to children’s hospitals across the country, and now he launches his first Christmas album. Albertans will adore the opening track and all Canadians will love the seventh. Like many country artists, Gord pens delightful lyrics on the album’s original tracks. This is a playful work that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Anna Maria Kaufmann joins him on “The Christmas Song”.  iTunes

604 Records - Get Back to ChristmasThe Mint Album: Get Back to Christmas by 604 Records. The Vancouver record label has established somewhat of a tradition by releasing Christmas albums every year with tracks by their signed artists. The latest Christmas record contains six tracks, plus a bonus radio version of one of them, by Cassica, Paige Morgan, Kieran Mercer, AJ Woodworth, Kate Kurdyak, and Autumns Cannon. All the tracks appear to be original songs and sound fantastic. You can check out all the label’s Christmas albums with the search term “604 Records” in iTunes Canada.  iTunes

Janvier and Breau - Noel a deuxThe Plum Pudding Album: Noël à deux by Marie-Eve Janvier and Jean-François Breau. She is from small town Québec (Roxton Pond), and he is from big city Ontario (Hamilton). This sweet duo has scored two gold albums. Their new Francophone Christmas album is mostly covers delightfully reworked into 1950s doo-wop, boogie-woogie, and vintage rock n’ roll and sung in duet. The album seems to have struck a chord, as it is currently among the iTunes Top 20 albums. Chuck Berry would be impressed.  iTunes

2013 Canadian Classical Albums For the Season

gino quilico - serata d'amorePanettone and Struffoli: Serata d’amore by Gino Quilico, OC. Gino is a Canadian baritone of Italian descent who was born in New York. He is the son of world-famous Louis Quilico and pianist Carolina Pizzolongo. Gino released a Christmas album back in 2002 that went gold. This new album is a collection of famous Italian love songs. Italian really is the ideal language to sing songs in any genre. His exquisite voice is backed by the musicians of TrioSphère (piano, cello, and violin) as well as a guitarist and accordionist. The album received a feature on CBC Music.  iTunes

nelson page - vie et souvenirsThe Chocolate Fondue: Vie et souvenirs by Nelson Page. This is not a Christmas album but one that can certainly be enjoyed during the season. Nelson Page is a classically trained pianist, singer, author, composer and arranger straight from the Conservatory of Music and Laval University. Beautiful and passionate instrumental music abounds on this disc. All tracks are original compositions from this talented artist showcasing a piano and string quartet and feature prestigious Australian artist James Morrison.  iTunes

Update: 2014 Christmas releases are here.

“When Your Lips Are So Close”, Gord Bamford’s Sizzling New Single

Gord Bamford - When Your Lips Are So CloseYou might say that Gord Bamford cleaned up at the 2013 CCMA gala winning more than a couple of country music trophies. He was actually born in Australia but emigrated to Canada at the age of five growing up in Lacombe, Alberta which is just north of Red Deer. Gord’s mom had toured with a country band in the land down under and encouraged him in his pursuit of a music career. He started off as an indie country artist (yes, there is such a thing) releasing his first album in 2001. Interestingly, as Gord began writing his own songs, his music came out of obscurity. It was his third album, Honkytonks and Heartaches, that saw his career take off; he scored a number of radio hits including “Blame It On That Red Dress” the music video of which reached #1 on CMT.

Eventually, Gord was signed to Sony Music and launched Is It Friday Yet? named album of the year at the CCMAs. All in all, the man to date has scored 12 Billboard charting singles. His latest which heralds his upcoming album Country Junkie is called “When Your Lips Are So Close”. It debuted on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 at #87 last week and has broken into the iTunes Top 60. From the standpoint of country music, these indicators suggest that the song is hot. Even those not normally captivated by the genre are getting swept up by this exquisitely written gem.

“When Your Lips Are So Close” on iTunes     Gord Bamford’s Website

2013 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Award Winners

Gord Bamford kira isabella ccma 2013

The CCMA gala was held in Edmonton today during which the final lot of awards for the year’s best in country music were announced. Below is a list of nominees for all major awards with the winner bolded in red. A list of further CCMA awards is HERE.

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
It’s Friday – Dean Brody feat. Great Big Sea
Jumped Right In – Dallas Smith
Leaning On A Lonesome Song – Gord Bamford
Main Street, 1979 – Deric Ruttan
Show Some Respect – Bobby Wills

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Classics II – George Canyon
Is It Friday Yet? – Gord Bamford
Jumped Right In – Dallas Smith
Roll – Emerson Drive
Small Town Pistols – Small Town Pistols

CMT VIDEO OF THE YEAR
A Little More Work – Kira Isabella
Hope & Gasoline – Beverley Mahood
I’m Movin’ On – Terri Clark feat. Dean Brody
Leaning On A Lonesome Song – Gord Bamford
Maybe You Remember Me Now – Hey Romeo

SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR
Baby I Know It (written by Caeland Garner/Johnny Reid; performed by Johnny Reid feat. Carolyn Dawn Johnson)
Bob Marley (written by Dean Brody; performed by Dean Brody)
Cool (written by Jason Blaine/Deric Ruttan; performed by Jason Blaine)
It’s Friday (written by Dean Brody; performed by Dean Brody feat. Great Big Sea)
Leaning On A Lonesome Song (written by Gord Bamford/Buddy Owens/Ray Stephenson; performed by Gord Bamford)

FANS’ CHOICE AWARD
Gord Bamford
Dean Brody
George Canyon
Terri Clark
Johnny Reid

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Terri Clark
Jaida Dreyer
Kira Isabella
Carolyn Dawn Johnson
Michelle Wright

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Gord Bamford
Dean Brody
Chad Brownlee
Dallas Smith
Bobby Wills

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
Emerson Drive
Hey Romeo
High Valley
Small Town Pistols
The Stellas

ROOTS ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR
Clayton Bellamy
Shane Chisholm
The Heartbroken
Corb Lund
Lindi Ortega

RISING STAR
Autumn Hill
Tim Hicks
MacKenzie Porter
Tebey
Bobby Wills

INTERACTIVE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Terri Clark
Leah Daniels
High Valley
Codie Prevost
Tenille

SOME OTHER AWARDS
CCMA Hall of Fame Inductee – Rita MacNeil
CCMA Discovery Award – Wes Mack
Top Selling Album of the Year – Red by Taylor Swift
Top Selling Canadian Album of the Year – Fire It Up by Johnny Reid

CRJ is Rocketing Forward in the USA

Carly Rae Jepsen’s United States radio tour is paying off.  “Call Me Maybe” (which is back at #1 in Canada this week – its 3rd week at the top spot) has debuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 within the Top 40!  She has the 38th biggest song in that country this week.

While Carly is taking the U.S. by storm, her Canadian sister Alyssa Reid is the latest craze in Britain.  “Alone Again” (her reworking of Heart’s classic “Alone”) is at its 5th week in the U.K. Top 20.  It is the most successful Canadian single so far this year in Britain, having peaked at #2 on the charts there.

Fans of Celtic / new age music are no doubt delighted at Loreena McKennitt’s latest release, a live album of some of her classics, called Troubadours On The Rhine.  Johnny Reid, Ian Thornley’s Big Wreck, and Gord Bamford have new releases out in just a couple of days.

With all the tours going on and about to begin, we are pleased to announce that LIGHTS will be touring the land down under for the very first time.  Her album Siberia released last year is up for JUNO pop album of the year, and she will now be showcasing her dazzling electronic rock sound live in Australia.  Perhaps she can bring a little Canadian snow with her.