Ontario-crafted country outfit James Barker Band formed in 2013, and consists of James Barker, Taylor Abram, Bobby Martin, and Connor Stephen. As winners of the 2015 Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase, they were awarded a release with Universal Music Canada and an all-inclusive trip to Nashville, Tennessee. The band was also given the opportunity to open for Thomas Rhett on the Boots and Hearts main stage in front of 40,000 of country music’s biggest fans and returned to play the mainstage at the festival in 2016.
The guys have had a busy year, with no signs of slowing down. Their first single, “Lawn Chair Lazy,” which was written by band front man, James Barker, along with fellow Canadians Gavin Slate and Travis Wood, became the highest charting debut single ever from a Canadian artist at Country Radio. Their video for the song also spent two weeks at #1 on the CMT Canada’s Chevy Top 20 Countdown. The band’s follow-up single, “Just Sayin’,” received mass praise from the industry and fans and just like the first, went Top 10 at country radio. The third, single “Chills” released on March 3 also received a #1 from CMT Chevy Top 20 Countdown, but also a #1 at Canadian country radio, making them the first band to have a number one at radio off a debut album. The boys have played shows with the likes of Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, Brothers Osborne, Kip Moore, Jon Pardi, Dean Brody, High Valley, Tim Hicks and more.
The band performed live on the 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Awards and were nominated for five awards:Single of the Year – “Lawn Chair Lazy”Album of the Year – Game OnRising Star AwardVideo of the Year – “Chills”Group or Duo of the Year
In April the band dropped their first EP, Game On, via Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company, which debuted at #2 at iTunes during release week. On the EP Barker found an immediate chemistry with writers Gavin Slate, Travis Wood, Todd Clark, and Donovan Woods with who he wrote the majority of the songs for the EP, which was engineered and produced by Todd Clark. The result displays a consistency of voice, which is both authentic and clear. The cohesiveness of Game On leaves no doubt that James Barker Band knows the land on which they stand. On this EP they lay bare questions of love, life, and responsibility – and ask of their fans to be equally uncompromising on this journey.
“We’re so excited to finally release our EP, Game On. It feels like we’ve been working on these songs for so long that everyone should already know them, but at the same time it feels like only yesterday that we were recording Lawn Chair Lazy. We have poured everything that we have into these songs, and I hope people can feel that,” says Barker. “From the diverse collection of tunes, to the working album art and EP title, we wanted to make sure that the whole project made sense with who and what we are. We are a group of fun loving country music fanatics that are influenced by all kinds of genres, but we aren’t just party animals. We have personal lives and relationships just like everyone else. We really hope our fans enjoy listening and can relate to these songs as much as we do!”
Alberta’s newest up and coming country sensation Dan Davidson exploded onto the Canadian country scene in 2016 with the release of his second single “Found” (Co-written by Clayton Bellamy of The Road Hammers). Dan became arguably the indie story of 2016 as his single “Found” rocketed up the charts and he became the #1 charting indie artist in Canada. By June 2016, “Found” reached #22 on the charts and was the 8th highest charting Canadian song in the country. The hit single also went to #57 (so far) on the Shazam charts across all formats and hit #18 on the iTunes sales charts.
The future is bright for Davidson. Already in only 2 years of being involved in the country music scene, his name is right up there on the charts with some of the top artists in north America – and he has found a way to do it 100% indie. Dan is new to the country scene, but is far from “green” in them music industry. He spent 10 years playing in the well-known Canadian indie rock band Tupelo Honey (who had several top 40 hits, top selling iTunes records and toured with bands like Bon Jovi). On the advice of a couple long time friends (who happen to be top selling Canadian country artists), Dan decided to start focusing on his new country project.
Dan’s sound came together as he started writing and working on music with Toronto producer Jeff Dalziel (Alee, Andrew Hyatt, Autumn Hill, Brett Kissel) and the two spent the better part of a year developing an EP that’s characteristic of Dan’s love of “good time” music.“ I love country music because it’s not about being cool, it’s about feeling something. It’s about having a good time and connecting with people. Country fans love live music, and are loyal to the artists they love. You can catch Dan sharing the stage in 2016 with artists like John Pardi, The Washboard Union, Kira Isabella, Beverly Mahood, George Canyon and many more!
River Town Saints released their debut single “A Little Bit Goes a Long Way,” landing them on many “Artists to Watch Lists” for 2016. Their highly anticipated second single, “Cherry Bomb” was released in the spring of 2016, along with a video that has over 1 million views online. Their third single “Bonfire”, hit Top 10on the country charts and more recently the group opened for Tim Hicks’ on his Shake These Walls tour, as well as toured with Kip Moore in western Canada. The band released their debut self-titled album in spring, 2017. Their latest single from the album, “Woke Up Like This”, is at country radio now.
Led by the strong vocals of Chris Labelle, River Town Saint’s unbeatable energy has already landed them on stage with Tim Hicks and the front page of the Hamilton Spectator.
Since signing with Open Road Recordings, the band has shared the stage with The Road Hammers and opened for Tim Hicks. This past summer saw the group on the festival circuit, impressing fans and winning new ones with their dynamic live show, at Boots and Hearts in Ontario, Rock the Park in London and The Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Race track.
Canadian Rock icon Kim Mitchell has sung those lines from his personal mission statement, “Rock N Roll Duty” for decades now and he’s still doing exactly that, creative energy and enthusiasm fully intact. For Mitchell, that’s what it’s all about, not the money, not the fame nor the gold and platinum on the wall…
Today, Mitchell and his band of accomplished musicians continue to tour the country selling out theatres, casinos and festivals coast to coast. Live audiences, which continue to grow and are comprised of newer fans in their late teens and early twenties through to fans that have been following him since the late seventies are thrilled to find that participating in a Kim Mitchell concert is like being at the live recording of a greatest hits box set which includes his solo hits and regularly Max Webster gems like “Diamonds Diamonds” and “High Class in Borrowed Shoes”. Each night they get to see a guitar player who has always been and continues to evolve into of one of the most interesting and innovative rock guitar players in the business today.
Recently Mitchell has started on his first solo recording in half a dozen years. He has been working with producer and friend, Greg Wells (multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer for artists such as Katy Perry, Keith Urban, Twenty-One Pilots, and Adele.) They are working towards a full new album release for spring time 2018.
Kim Mitchell has achieved gold and multiplatinum sales status over a long and storied career, starting early on as leader of the musically influential and eclectic Max Webster ( 5 albums), a band who in the late 70’s defined “alternative” and “independent” long before the words became clichés.. Mitchell left Max to pursue a long and very successful solo career that continues to this day.
He has won three Juno Awards and a SOCAN 100,000 Radio Plays Award for his certified hit, “Patio Lanterns”. He is a gifted and peer-respected guitar player as well as an acclaimed songwriter, having penned (in partnership with Pye Dubois) and recorded numerous classic hits including “Go For Soda”, “Rock N Roll Duty”, “Patio Lanterns”, “I am a Wild Party”, “Easy To Tame” and “All We Are”, all songs that have become part of the Canadian musical genome.
In the early 2000’s while maintaining a busy touring schedule, Mitchell was invited to join the on-air staff at the CORUS flagship station Q107 in Toronto. He left Q107 in 2014 but not before he had become one of the most popular and most listened to afternoon drive DJs in the country.
Mitchell has the respect of peers, fans, and industry types alike. Just what does he consider his greatest achievement? “Shoot, that’s easy,” says Kim, “it’s in the couple of hours the band is onstage, being able to take people to a special place through our performance and music. When that happens, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.” Legions of Canadian fans agree!
BIF NAKED was born in secret, to a teenager living in India, the product of a Canadian girl and a British boy, she was rejected by both families, hidden away in a mental hospital from her diplomat-grandparents’ society and politico friends. Adopted by American missionaries, and after years of legal hurdles, eventually gaining her and her adopted sister’s release from India they returned to North America. She embarked on what she recalls with humor as a “charmed life”. A childhood of secret abuse, running away, targeted beatings by girl gangs, she was institutionalized for alcohol abuse as a teenager and sexually targeted, preyed upon by a long list of adult predators. She escaped this early life by joining a punk rock band and left on tour, she married the drummer became pregnant and under extreme duress she aborted the unborn child and later the marriage and continued on a deadly downward spiral which culminated when she hit the floor of a Vancouver drug den overdosed.
All of this before her21st birthday.
Through it all, her creative and academic potential, multiple personalities, and her unstoppable humor were her weapons of self defense. Bif showcased her life’s journey etched in tattoo ink across her body and with her unique ability to transform her true life stories into song lyrics, she found her voice as a solo artist, started her own record company Her Royal Majesty’s Records and at 23 years of age became a Platinum and Gold Album selling International Recording Artist. Throughout her remarkable career, armed with her unique talent and instantly identifiable look, Bif would captivate the imagination of audiences and media alike, releasing ten albums and 24 videos. She embarked on seemingly endless international tours, several feature films and multiple television roles, only to be struck down with breast cancer at the age of 37, the newly married Bif would discover the passion for advocacy, and a triumphant return to health and what she cherished most of all- her own resilience, strength and her unfaltering relationships with her adopted (dog) children Anastasia the bichonfrise, and Nick Naked her maltese poodle dog. It’s already been a long, winding road… this is Bif Naked’s story so far….
Captain Tractor has been playing their distinctive brand of Celtic Folk Rock in Alberta and abroad since 1993. If the band were a person, it would be graduating high school this year. Graduating, with honors that is. With seven full-length albums, two retrospective compilations, appearances on several collections (Due South, Higher Ground, Michael Weston King, Songs From the Ave), and a handful of awards, Captain Tractor is forging ahead with a new member and studio album. The full-length Famous Last Words will be released in Spring 2011.
Long time friend, collaborator and colleague, Juno-award winning violinist Shannon Johnson (The McDades) has officially joined Captain Tractor. Although Johnson appears on many of the band’s past releases, this is the first time that she has been a part of the band, and involved in the songwriting and recording process from start to finish. Armed with some strong new songs and a fantastic new member, Captain Tractor is a powerhouse unit ready to storm through Canada and beyond. Recorded in Edmonton, mixed in Los Angeles, and mastered in Toronto, Famous Last Words is a collection of new songs, traditional songs, and two songs by their dear friend Joe Bird, whose untimely passing in 2009 left the Edmonton music scene reeling.
Over the years, the Tractor has never stopped rolling through western Canada, and last summer headlined several Alberta festivals. With six exceptional players and performers, Captain Tractor has never been stronger or more entertaining than it is today.