Growing up in a professional music family, west coast performer Becca Hess is coming into her own, and claiming her place as an up-and-coming artist beginning to make a mark. She started out singing in the back seat of her dad’s truck (award winning performer and BCCMA Hall-of-Famer Kenny Hess) as he toured the country performing shows, and just naturally gravitated towards the stage and the spot light. Becca’s influences are classic – and so is she – but her sound is all her own. With her feet firmly planted in country roots, but an eclectic, fresh and organic approach, Becca’s big, rich voice and compelling performances have been steadily winning over fans throughout western Canada, and her songs are beginning to find an audience all the way to the east coast.
Becca is equally at home on an intimate stage or in front of festival crowds, and has opened for major country artists such as Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Travis Tritt, Trooper, Wynonna, Dwight Yoakam and many more, having performed at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival and the Rockin’ River Music Fest. Her self-released debut single “It Ain’t Even Raining” worked its’ way up the Canadian charts, and the accompanying video aired for 6 weeks on TNN’s Top Ten as ‘Rising Star’ – no small feat for a new independent artist. In 2016, Becca released “Fool My Heart” and “Mountain Child”, and is currently prepping to head back into the studio to record her sophomore project under the production guidance of Tom and Carly McKillip – both recipients of CCMA Producer of the Year awards and nominations.
Becca is enjoying some recognition of her own, having just garnered ACMA nominations for “Song of the Year”, “Video of the Year” and “Female Vocalist”. Fall 2016 will also see Becca appearing on a series titled “Payday” – airing on Viceland Canada on November 11 – offering a look at Canadians and Americans as they earn and spend their money, struggling to make ends meet and bring their dreams to life. The cameras followed Becca for two weeks while bartending, playing shows, writing songs and working production on Three Days Grace concerts.
Indeed, this gifted young performer is no stranger to the flip side of the music industry, with seven years of producing tours and major festivals under her belt. Spending time on big stages is just another day at the office for Becca, and this background has only served to further hone her musical chops, and help to develop the poise, passion and sense of ownership she brings to every performance she delivers.
Bees and the Bare Bones is a Canadian band from British Columbia, comprised of Madison Olds and Abby Wale. Maddie and Abby began individually by playing indie-folk music and joined efforts to develop an alt-country/folk sound.
The band formed in July 2016 just in time to make the submission cut off for the 2016 Chevy Tailgate Contest. They made their group music debut at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta.
As the 2016 Chevy Tailgate winners they went to Nashville where they recorded at the Sound Emporium and connected with industry professionals like Paul McGuire, CMT, Brad Stella and Angaleena Presley. Their first professionally recorded song, FOOL, aired on CMT as a bonus track during the Chevy top 20 and was announced by Paul McGuire.
They are very involved in their community and volunteer for local causes like the Salvation Army, Kamloops Food Bank (CP Holiday Train), United Way (Homes for the Holidays), and Christmas Amalgamated (Toys for Tots). Segments on Country 103, CBC Radio, NL Radio, CFNR and CFJCTV demonstrate their vibrant personalities.
Currently, they are promoting up and coming live performances while working with Brad Stella of Back40 Entertainment in Nashville to produce their first album(anticipated in 2017).
First Round 2017 JUNO Award nominated Country artist BEN KLICK is breaking through in country music. Winning his first British Columbia Country Music Association (BCCMA) Award in 2016, alongside five North American Country Music Association International (NACMAI) Awards in Pigeon Forge, TN, Klick continues to make a mark in the Canadian Country Music scene.
Competing against 350+ of Canada’s best artists across all genres of music, Klick became a Top 7 artist across the country in the 2016 Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artist Program. This topped off an incredible year of performing arts award nominations, a Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and being invited out to the BreakOut West Conference to be one of the artists in the SOCAN Song House.
This West Coast born and raised guitar picking country artist connects with his audience through an energetic acoustic and electric performance featuring his songwriting and a variety of different instruments including banjo, ukulele, and guitar. Ben Klick is a fun loving, interactive storyteller fusing traditional sounds and a modern country twist.
There must be something in the kick drum drumming, there must be something in the guitar strumming.”
It’s tempting to describe the chorus of Brett Kissel’s latest smash single, “Airwaves,” as what’s gotten him to this point, but that barely scratches the surface of the artistic growth Kissel displays on his new album, Pick Me Up. The pride of Flat Lake, Alberta has already reached a place very few other Canadian country music artists have attained, but defying the odds has been Kissel’s mission his entire life, the result of a tireless work ethic instilled while growing up on his family’s farm. Following the incredible success of his 2013 major label debut, Started With A Song, Pick Me Up shows that, like a thoroughbred just out of the gate, Kissel is hitting his stride.
For the new album, Kissel once again teamed up with CCMA Award-winner Bart McKay, as well as one of country music’s premier producers Mickey Jack Cones (Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins). The common thread was not an attempt to replicate the success of its predecessor, but to have the results reflect Kissel’s unstoppable drive to make his music bigger and better.
“There’s no other place I prefer to be than on stage,” Kissel says. “With all of the shows we did for the last album, we were totally prepared as a band when we went into the studio to cut the new material, and determined to exceed the fans’ expectations. Looking back, I might have been preparing for it even while we were finishing the last album, knowing that the next one needed to have more energy.”
It’s clear that rationale was behind the choice of “Airwaves” to be Pick Me Up’s first single, as the song established itself as a fan favourite after only a few live outings. Building on that kind of feedback from his audience has always been important to Kissel, and he takes a lot of pride in being one of the most active Canadian country artists on social media. It’s all fuelled his efforts to expand and enhance his live show, something that kicked into high gear once he hit the road in the fall of 2014 as special guest on multiple Grammy & CMA award winner Brad Paisley’s cross-Canada tour. Channeling that joyous experience into Pick Me Up became job one.
At the same time, Pick Me Up displays how far Kissel has come as a singer and songwriter, most evident on tracks such as “I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair,” a tribute to his mother, a multiple cancer survivor, as well as “I Can Play Guitar,” containing playful insights of life on the Brad Paisley tour, and “Come Pick Me Up,” a poignant rumination on a failed relationship. A desire to present these varied facets of his life played a big role in choosing the material for the new album, Kissel explains.
“I really want everyone who buys one of my records to feel as if they’re getting a piece of me at that moment. I’m very fortunate to be a 25-year-old guy touring the world, but at heart I’m still the same kid who grew up in an amazing family on a cattle ranch in Alberta, and going though a lot of the same things my listeners are. To try to get all of that on to one record is always a pleasant challenge.”
After the year Kissel had in the wake of the success of Started With A Song, no one could be blamed for kicking off their boots, cracking a cold one or two, and imagining things couldn’t get any better. But coasting on his accomplishments has never been part of Kissel’s makeup.
The numbers say it all, however: His JUNO Award for Breakthrough Artist marked the first time in 17 years a country act earned the honour. That accolade seemed a lock for Kissel, despite some stiff competition, as it came on the heels of five Billboard Canada Top 10 singles from his major label debut album, Started With A Song. And that’s not to mention his staggering eight Canadian Country Music Association Award nominations, of which he won two.
It was the fulfillment of the dream Kissel has had from the moment he received his first guitar at age six. At 12, he released his first album and took his first trip to Nashville soon after. Many, many, many more trips later, Kissel and his wife settled in Music City, and suddenly the notion of being accepted by the country music establishment was within reach. Kissel’s debut on the Grand Ole Opry in the summer of 2015 brought that into even sharper focus.
“Getting a chance to spend time with Brad Paisley, George Strait and Garth Brooks—my heroes —and having them be so kind and generous, has been one of the best experiences of my life,” Kissel says. “I’m trying hard not to take it all for granted, but soak it all in and learn as much as I can. It really does feel like a big family here.”
Kissel is indeed adding his unique artistic perspective to the rich musical tradition that has inspired and sustained him for as long as he can remember. On Pick Me Up, there is no disputing he now belongs to that tradition and will continue adding to it for years to come.
With a whiskey rasp and timeless soulful sound, Derek Pitts ignites the hearts of listeners with his bourbon soaked blues. He will take you on a journey as his voice and guitar blend together seamlessly creating a smooth resonance that echoes passionately through the chambers of the heart. Marrying Motown and Soul with old school R&B, Derek’s music carries a warm and familiar tone deep within its roots – while simultaneously – organic and original. However, when it comes to the music, the energy, and the fiery vocal style of Derek Pitts, it is in the experience…the emotions evoked/inspired and the desire to sing along that embodies the rustic old soul and youthful excitement of “then and now”.
Texas native and Nashville-based singer/songwriter, Kacey Musgraves’ first two releases with Mercury Records Nashville, Same Trailer Different Park in 2013 and Pageant Material in 2015, both co-produced by Musgraves, Shane McAnally and Luke Laird, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart and were met with massive critical acclaim and recognition. Musgraves has won two Grammy Awards for Best Country Song (“Merry Go ‘Round”) and Best Country Album (Same Trailer Different Park), and also took home awards for New Artist of the Year at 2013’s CMA Awards, the ACM Award for Album of the Year (Same Trailer Different Park), and the 2014 CMA Award for Song of the Year (“Follow Your Arrow”).
Musgraves releases her first holiday album, A Very Kacey Christmas, Featuring Leon Bridges, Willie Nelson & The Quebe Sisters in Oct 2016, giving the season four festive original tracks co-written by Musgraves in addition to her take on eight holiday favorites.
The Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue has sold out famous venues all over the world, including the famed Royal Albert Hall in London. Other stops on the tour included Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre and two performances at The Fillmore in San Francisco. She recently opened for George Strait’s exclusive Las Vegas shows at the T-Mobile Arena, with additional performances scheduled for Dec. 2016 and Feb 2017.
Just 4 years old and already he knew he was going to be a singer, he would stand on the kitchen table singing at the top of his lungs hoping someone would listen…
Born in Outlook Saskatchewan and raised in the small town of Fernie BC, Kenny was the middle child of a large working class family of 6 brothers and 2 sisters. Dad was a 6 day a week Monday through Saturday hard working man and the Family preacher in their small town Church of Christ every Sunday. This is where the whole family was taught to sing, every one of the kids was given their part to sing in the classic ole hymns that Dad and Mom loved to sing. Then when Church service was over Dad would break out his old 12 string guitar and start to play and sing some of his favorite country songs by greats like Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Charlie Pride and many more. All of the kids took their turns listening but Kenny couldn’t wait till it was his turn to belt out a new one from the stars of the day. And by the time Kenny was a teenager he had already set in motion his musical journey that he is still on today. Kenny Hess has now been a part of the music industry since the 80’s when he started a life of making music for a living.
At just 15 Kenny started traveling the country singing the songs of such greats as Charlie Pride, Don Williams and Merle Haggard and it wasn’t long before he was singing his own songs and sharing the stage with those very same great artists.
A prolific songwriter, Kenny was noticed by Nashville’ legendary songwriter Harlan Howard and soon Kenny began writing for Harlan Howard songs one of the most prestigious publishing houses in the country. This also led to a recording deal with Curb records Nashville. Though he has been blessed with a huge voice and songwriting skills, Kenny’ real strength has always been his ability to hold a crowd of any size in the palm of his hand whether it be with his voice, his sense of humor, or his heartfelt songs of life.
Kenny has had a very successful career with several songs reaching the top 40 nationally and 14 critically acclaimed CDs to his credit. He has also been nominated for Canadian Country Music Awards, a Juno award for country artist of the year and has won several BC country music awards including Male vocalist of the year, and Album of the year. In fact along with all of the other awards Kenny is the 8 time traditional country artist of the year and in 2010 Kenny was honoured with the Entertainer life time achievement award.
This has been another busy couple of years that has seen Kenny not only perform his usual slate of dates as the headline act but also had him working shows and opening for artists like Randy Houser, Travis Tritt, Nitty Gritty Dirt band and many more…
“A natural born entertainer with a huge voice and great songs makes for a very special show. If you have never seen him perform, please go grab a seat, sit back and enjoy a little taste of good ole country music… Kenny Hess style!
Kylene is currently in the studio with award winning producer Tom McKillip working on a radio ready single she is excited to release! After killing it on stage opening for Sam Hunt last year, she will be back to perform a full set with her band at #RockinRiver2017
Matt Hoyles is a low down, wailing bluesman, hailing from deepest darkest New Zealand:
Whether it’s the gypsy blood, some weird, untold astrological phenomena, or the impact of spending 2 years in Detroit as a kid… maybe it was being the middle child… heck, maybe the moon was just right, and there was goofer dust in the air, or maybe he just got dropped on the head one too many times. Whatever the cause, this boy was born with the blues in his heart.
The music began (if we forget the incessant humming and rambling songs of a distinctly weird child) when Matt started classical guitar at age 7; the guitar was bigger than his body, but not his passion for music. It wasn’t long until the allure of modern music called and thus several blues, punk, rock, and just plain bad bands were formed. Matt, his brother Alex, and brother from another mother, Dan, finally got some good tunes together and formed The Lastimes, a pretty rockin’ band that allowed for copious amount of underage drinking and talents to be honed. The Lastimes toured, played with The D4, The Checks, The Have… and many other significant “The’s”, they even got on Maori TV, ka pai, guys!
Many other bands and multi-instrumental roles followed over the next decade including the bizarrely named Queen Edward’s House of Blues; alt-folk groups Paper Cranes, and White Rabbit Black Monkey, where playing guitar, bass, harmonica, ukulele, percussion and ocarina could all be considered normal in a set; and Prog Rockabilly (if that’s even a thing) band The Deloreans, where Matt united with his best friends Dan Weston (of Lastimes fame), and Geoff Ong (just fame all round), and had to man up and sing in front of people properly for the first time. It’s mostly thanks to Geoff that he actually worked on singing, and mostly stopped wailing.
After broadening his horizons through prolific guitar teaching, obtaining a bachelors degree in music, and becoming proficient in both composition and orchestral scoring (that’s right, this bluesman is really just a big nerd), distant shores began to whisper their siren song. The call was too strong to ignore so, leaving New Zealand behind, Matt travelled to Europe and somehow managed to survive as a wandering minstrel until, that is, he finally took the long awaited flight to the Great North and settled in Vancouver, Canada.
Drawing inspiration from Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Son House, BB King, Eric Bibb, Gary Clark Jr., Robert Cray, Seasick Steve, Otis Redding, and countless others, he combines all influences both classic and modern to forge a powerhouse of passionate, blues fuelled soul that is wholly his own! Gritty guitar, wailing harmonica, mad foot percussion and howlingly expressive vocals combine to create a unique rootsy sound that will get you stomping your feet and clapping your hands like there’s no tomorrow.
Playing either as a one man whirling dervish of bluesy soul explosions, or on certain nights, when the moon is just right, accompanied by his band of rogues ‘The High Commission’; where, assisted by Graham ‘The Groove President’ Holland on bass, Dave ‘The High Commissioner’ Manson on drums, and Lorick ‘The Soul Sergeant’ Russow on sax, the magic really starts to happen.
Matt Hoyles’ debut EP ‘The Nimbus Sessions’, is currently available across all major digital music distributors. The EP was recorded live with an extremely talented group of local musicians, and filmed in its entirety to truly capture the energy of the music.
With their debut single, ‘Always Got Time’ recently released to Canadian Country Radio, and their debut self titled EP released this March, The County Line is making their mark on Western Canada’s Country music scene.
Dynamic, energetic, and unapologetically honest with their music and performance, the contrasting yet complimentary vocal styles and personalities of Hayden and Megan shape everything about The County Line. The chemistry between Megan and Hayden is seen in every performance, interview, and fan interaction.
Hayden’s grit, edge and yet humble energy is the compliment to Megan’s sweet but strong personality. Perfecting their craft at over 320 shows since their start in 2013, this contrast and chemistry is not only apparent in the interactions between them, but is what truly makes their fans relate to, and come to love, the duo.
The County Line had humble beginnings: playing acoustic guitars and singing their favourite country songs in small pubs and bars across Vancouver Island. In three short years, The County Line has grown as a band, as performers, and as songwriters. Their acoustic show beginnings have turned into performances across BC as a blazing 6 piece electric country band. Small bar stages have paved the way into appearances as opening acts for Dierks Bentley, Brett Kissel, George Canyon and The Washboard Union with the group performing before thousands on festival stages.
With the recent release of their original music, and a full touring schedule ahead, 2017 is set to be filled with momentum and new heights for the duo and their loyal and growing fan base.
It has been years since the pop music charts have been as diverse as they are today. Acts like Mumford and Sons, Vance Joy and the Zac Brown Band have served notice that it doesn’t always take synthesizers, drum machines and a Swedish production team to have a hit. Of course, this is something that Canadians have always known. True artists like Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson and Anne Murray first brought Canadian music to the top of the charts around the world. In subsequent years, it was groups such as Blue Rodeo, Spirit of the West and Great Big Sea that kept the spirit alive and scored multi-platinum albums of their own. And now, The Washboard Union are prepared to turn everything upside down once again as they throw together a melting pot of music including bluegrass, country and rock in to one big stew and serve it with a spoonful of unbridled energy.
In the few years they have been together, The Washboard Union have defied classification and have become one of the most exciting and talked about new bands on the Canadian Country music scene. They’ve being nominated for Roots Artists of the Year by the British Columbia Country Music Association, have signed on with the country music power house team at Sakamoto Agency and inked a recording deal Warner Music Canada/Slaight Music. The Washboard Union are a sextet out of Vancouver, British Columbia that are led by principle members Aaron Grain, Chris Duncombe and David Roberts. The three share a very similar unconscious soundtrack and unbridled love for the art of songwriting and storytelling. The three have been friends seemingly forever and the music they make has set them apart as one of the most unique talents in country music today. Aaron and Chris share a particularly special connection as the two were brought together at the age of 15 when Chris’s dad and Aaron’s mom began
dating. “Instantly there was just this musical bond between us. It amazes me that we had such diverse musical influences when we started out and are still making music together now; and it really feels like we’re just getting started” recalls Grain.
Duncombe & Grain eventually packed up and left their hometown of Kelowna, BC. and ventured to Vancouver where they moved in to a magnificently beautiful 1920’s Tudor style mansion. By coincidence Roberts was himself renting in the same mansion and would occasionally join the brothers for impromptu single malt fueled jam sessions. It was here the all three began writing and singing together. These early session would be the kernels of what would blossom and eventually give rise to The Washboard Union. Living there at that time Roberts would reminisce “was like living in a garden gone to seed.” Grain provided guitar and vocals and Duncombe added his own voice and a banjo. Roberts, a singer and multi-instrumentalist with harmonica, guitar, mandolin and of course, the washboard in his arsenal, became the team’s secret weapon. “We call David the Sparkle as he’s got this vocal range that produces these unbelievably high notes. I cannot imagine ever not making music with him. He never ceases to surprise us with what he comes up with.” says Duncombe.”
The Washboard Union is an authentic blend of where country and bluegrass have come and where they are headed next. It is for that reason that the band has gathered so many fans along the way. Serving notice that they are not about to confirm to convention, the band’s independently released self-titled debut album was produced by noted rock producers GGGarth Richardson (Nickleback, Biffy Ckyro, Hedley) and Canadian Music Hall of Famer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd) – on the track “Half Cree” – whom the band are proud to call a friend and mentor. That record led to the band’s BC Country Music Association nomination.
In January 2015, The Washboard Union returned to Nashville, Tennessee to record their latest EP In My Bones in the legendary RCA Studio A. Originally built in 1964 as the home for Chet Atkins, RCA has been home to some of the most prolific recording artists in Nashville’s rich history including Dolly Parton, Tony Bennett, The Beach Boys, and more and more.“… Standing in the great room you can literally hear a chorus in every wall. It remains as one of the most legendary music rooms in the world. I can tell you this, you don’t sing in Studio A, Studio A sings to you” says David Roberts.
In My Bones was produced by Trey Bruce (Faith Hill, Randy Travis, Diamond Rio), a name known well in Nashville circles and one of people responsible for saving RCA Studio A from potential demolition. The band met Trey after having written the song “Someday” together earlier in 2014. Trey called the band immediately after that first session and demanded he take the producer helm for the bands next record. The answer, of course, was “yes.” The Washboard Union were joined on the recording of this album by a group of accomplished Nashville musicians including Bob Britt (Dixie Chicks) on guitar, Greg Morrow (George Strait , ZZ TOP) on drums, Michael Brignardello (Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan) on bass and long time guitar player Craig ”Long Haul” McCaul
The Washboard Union is a band that you simply have to see live to fully appreciate and in the summer of 2016 they will share the stage with some of the biggest names in country music including Zac Brown Band and The Band Perry, and will head to Europe to headline the American Tours Festivals ‘Canadian Night’ in Tours, France.
With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, this iconic Texan is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of Crazy, Red Headed Stranger, and Stardust. Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In the last five years alone he delivered 10 new album releases, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestsellers book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the last three years of the on-going Luck Reunion food and music festival at his ranch in Luck, TX during SXSW, announced the launch of his cannabis company Willie’s Reserve, and graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. In 2015, Nelson added two more titles, “It’s A Long Story: My Life,” the unvarnished and complete story of Willie, hit bookshelves and landed him on the New York Times’ bestsellers list; and the new studio album with Merle Haggard titled Django And Jimmie, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Country album chart and #7 on Billboard‘s Top 200 album chart. In November 2015, the Library of Congress honored him with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to popular music. He is the first country artist to receive the distinguished award. And this year began with the release ofSummertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, a collection of 11 newly recorded Gershwin classics. The album debuted at #1 on both the Top Current Jazz chart and the Top Traditional Jazz chart.