Canadian Beats – A Year In Review – 2016

2016 has been a fantastic year for the Canadian Beats team. We’ve grown to over 25 contributors, consisting of both writers and photographers throughout Canada. On top of our regular Canadian content, we introduced a new segment called “Canadian Beats Passport” which allows us to also add in a bit of international content, which is an exciting move, although Canadian content will always come first for us.

We wanted to share some of the highlights of our year with you, so enjoy our Year In Review, and relive all the fun times with us! Stay tuned to Canadian Beats, as we have big plans to make 2017 even better!

Nicole Wolfe – Photo: Aaron Pritchett at Boots and Hearts

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

October, 2016 was a great month because it featured the release of an album that has been played the most in my house – Beautiful Freakshow by Dean Brody.  It was such a pleasure to cover Brody this summer at the CNE and to have a chance to hear songs from the album prior to its release.  I can’t wait for Brody to release his next album!

Favourite international release this year:

I was so excited when one of my favourite bands from the 90s released an album this year.  A Moon Shaped Pool, by Radiohead was my most anticipated international release in 2016.  Now I hope and wait for them to tour in Canada!

Act you saw the most times this year:

My hometown of Barrie, Ontario has been blessed to cultivate some amazing musical talent.  Of no exception is country band, Kansas Stone.  I have been incredibly lucky to follow this band from its birth to now.  2017 holds much promise for Kansas Stone.  Watch out for these guys!

Best musical discovery you made this year:

I was made aware of Big City Lights, a country band from Eastern Ontario, through friends this past summer and had the chance to meet up with them at the Havelock Country Jamboree.  This band is a riot on stage and have some heavy-hitting help in their corner as they are paired up with Doug Oliver (Fairhurst Management), drummer from Cold Creek County.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

I have been to so many amazing events this year but Boots and Hearts has left the biggest hole in my heart in its absence.  The festival took place on the hottest four days of the summer but it did not deter the thousands of fans that came out to celebrate country music.  I am anxiously waiting for next year’s festival and can’t wait to hear who will be on the stage in 2017.

Best show you went to this year:

Do I really have to pick a “best show”?  This is likely as close to the definition of impossible as their could be!  I have seen so many great shows this year at large venues, small clubs and outdoor stages.  But, if I had to choose one, it would be when Monster Truck came to Barrie this summer.  Again, this was likely one of the hottest and sweatiest shows I have ever attended, but the energy was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  I was so honoured to be in the presence of this Canadian rock band!

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

There are two new additions that I absolutely love.  I am so pleased that we are now covering larger international acts in our Canadian Beats “Passport” feature.  I am excited to see our fanbase spread into different countries as we roll this out.  I also love all of the live video footage that we are infusing into our comprehensive coverage of shows.  Stay tuned in 2017 for much more Facebook Live video and Instagram video at concerts and other events.

Amanda Hather – Photo: Marianas Trench in Halifax, NS

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

My favourite album released by a Canadian this year is Hearts on Fire by Chad Brownlee. He’s been one of my favourite artists over the last year or so since I covered the opening show of his When The Lights Go Down tour in 2015. He has consistently put out amazing singles and videos and is one of the most genuine people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and talking to.

Favourite international release this year:  

My favourite international release is hands down Upside Down by Set It Off. They changed directions to a more pop sound with this album, but with their onstage energy it totally works.

Act you saw the most times this year:

Unfortunately I actually didn’t attend many shows this year, but I did see Marianas Trench for the sixth time, and the fourth year in a row as well.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

I went to a show with fellow Canadian Beats writer Jordyn Meade-Baxter in May, just to help her out with the camera if she needed for her interview with Ontario band Harbour and I completely fell in love with their music. They have the stereotypical pop punk sound and lyrics, combined with the unbelievable energy they were able to pack onto a very small stage. Before the show we ended up hanging out with the band and going to a local restaurant and they are some of the nicest and funniest people I’ve met. Even if their tales of pranks are a little concerning.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

Again, I wasn’t able to be at many shows or festivals this year but many festivals had stellar lineups I wish I was able to go to – Cavendish Beach Music Festival, May Run Music Festival, East Coast Music Awards, to name a few.

Best show you went to this year:

The Last Crusades tour by Marianas Trench. It is no secret that they are one of my favourite bands – their music has helped me through so much over the last seven, almost eight years. Their new stage show was absolutely astounding and so well put together. The setlist kept the audience moving for their entire set and evoked a wide arrange of emotions. How Josh is able to keep up with tours and sing that high for that long is beyond me, but it was a fantastic show and probably my favourite performance by them.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?   

I love the new Passport segments that we occasionally do. Canada has some of the best music around and I am proud to represent the wide variety our country has to offer, but there are some acts from around the world that come here that I would love to cover and perhaps introduce to our readers who may not know them. I like a wide variety of music and artists and love to share that with as many people as I can. I’ve been with Canadian Beats from pretty much the beginning and to see how much it’s grown amazes me and I am so happy and proud of our team and how much we’ve accomplished.

B Hartling – Photo: The Struts in Toronto, ON

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

Gord Downie’s Secret Path. Gord is one of the musicians I most admire in life and the fact that he is putting his energy in what are very likely to be his last days into a project like this, to bring awareness to the plight of Indigenous people across the country is truly awe inspiring and the album itself is a masterpiece.

Favourite international release this year:

Catfish and the Bottlemen’s The Ride. It was released May 27th (the day I moved back to Toronto) and dominated my Spotify until the day Leonard Cohen died. As a band they are by no means reinventing the indie rock genre but they are unapologetically good at what they do. As good as their debut album The Balcony was, The Ride is about as close to perfect a rock album as there is these days.

Act you saw the most times this year:

James Bay. My son is a massive fan so I’ve seen him 9 times in total on his Chaos and the Calm tour in the past 3 years. 5 of those being in the past 12 months, 3 of them with pit access. The last show being at the Fillmore in Detroit. It’s been an amazing ride seeing this young guy grow into the performer he is today.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

Owen Meany’s Batting Stance. I was assigned their debut EP for a review and promptly spent 3 days lying in the dark with it on loop. I’ve always bean a sucker for really intelligent lyricism and OMBS has it in spades.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

WayHome Music and Arts Festival will probably always fill this spot for me. Last year I attended as a fan and was completely won over. This year I covered it for Canadian Beats with my partner in crime Cassandra and had even more fun. Despite not being a huge fan of The Killers; the feeling of the energy buzzing through the crowd of almost 40, 000 people as I walked across the field with the band opening up with Mr Brightside is something that will always stay with me and still gives me goose bumps.

Best show you went to this year:

Catfish and the Bottlemen at Lee’s Palace on June 20th.  It was my second time seeing them but first time in a club (the first time was Osheaga last year) and I was not disappointed. These lads know how to put on a proper rock show and despite the fact that it was an insane 40+ degrees with the humidity they didn’t hold back at all. As much as I love festivals there is nothing like seeing a great band in an intimate venue like Lee’s.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

Being the lover of British music that I am… Passport of course. I will always be a huge fan of Canadian music but it’s been so nice getting the opportunity to share with our readers some of the amazing international artists that have meant so much to me over the years.

Bernice Gray – Photo: Paul Brandt at Magna Hoedown

Favourite Canadian Album released this year:

Beautiful Freak Show  Amazing CD  so many beautiful songs !

Best musical discovery you made this year:

Jojo Mason. Saw him at Special KX  96. An intimate personal performance,  one on one!

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

Lucknow Music Festival and Canadian Country Music Awards. Nothing like live Country Music! I enjoyed the live acts!

Best show you went to this year:

Paul Brandt at Magna Hoedown! Paul is one of my favourite artists and he put on an amazing show .Sounds amazing live full of energy!!

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

I loved the idea of adding Friday Playlist and I also really enjoyed the Countdown to Christmas! It really gets you in the Christmas mood!!

Cassandra Popescu – Photo: USS in Toronto, ON

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

This is always a tough question, there were so many albums released this year that I constantly played on repeat but I really loved July Talk’s latest album Touch. The interplay between Leah and Peter’s vocal textures drew me in the second I first heard a July Talk song and this really shines through in songs like “Lola + Joseph” and “Picturing Love”. The album has the perfect balance between power and vulnerability. Plus one of the songs, “Beck + Call” features Tanya Tagaq, and she’s always amazing.

Favourite international release this year:

I tried to be a real music journalist and rack my brain for an edgy, underground album but I would have to say that my favourite international release this year is Sia’s This is Acting. Everyone’s heard “Cheap Thrills” and “Alive” but the whole album features catchy pop hooks, heart wrenching ballads, and uplifting anthems. Some of my favourites include “Reaper” and “Jesus Wept”.  There was a time this year where I listened to this album every day. It makes me feel like I can conquer the world.

Act you saw the most this year:

I think the act I saw the most this year would have to be Tokyo Police Club, and I think that’s pretty awesome. They put on such an energetic live show and their music has been an integral part of my development as a musician and music fan. I’ve seen them at CBC Music Festival and at KOI Music Festival in the summer, as well as most recently at the Mod Club when they played three sold out nights in Toronto.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

I stumbled into a Ginger Ale and the Monowhales show in early 2016 and haven’t looked back since. This band really knows how to put on an unforgettable show. Their music is brimming with infectious hooks, powerful vocals, and songs that pack a punch. Their live show is a party unlike any before with pool noodles, confetti, and glitter. This year they released their widely successful video “Home” as well as their amazing EP Bang. Do yourself a favour, and check it out.

Best event you attended this year:

I’ve been lucky to attend so many wonderful events this year, but had an absolute blast at WayHome Music and Arts Festival. Everything about WayHome is larger than life. The line up has a little bit of something for everyone, you can go see one of your favourite acts and also discover a new band all in the same weekend. I got to cross off favourites like Stars and Arcade Fire off of my bucket list, as well as witness the perfection that is Lucius and Foals, among many other amazing artists. The art installations and flags hoisted around the festival site create an awe-inspiring atmosphere, and make you feel like you’re in your own wonderful musical bubble. Oh yea, and there was a ferris wheel.

Best show you went to this year:

This is another tough one. There are so many shows and I’m super indecisive. I’d have to say that USS really blew my mind at their latest show in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall, which was part of an epic six day long concert series. The energy that USS brings to the stage is unbelievable and they easily create a community at their live shows. It’s an unforgettable, unique experience that gets you dancing and singing your heart out.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

I think my favourite segment is On the Spot. It’s so much fun to do these little videos with artists where they just get to be silly and show a bit of their personality. These mini interviews feel a little bit more laid back and we get to learn something about the artists that we might not see in regular interviews.

Dutch Bickell – Photo: Brett Kissel in Montreal, QC

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

With so many great albums out this year, and even getting the opportunity to review some of them it was the debut album from Fuso that I most enjoyed. It was the perfect combination of breezy and cool songs, with heartfelt melodies, and inviting vocals. The self-titled album caught my attention late in the summer and has been on the top of my playlists since then. A balance of French and English songs, this album reaches out and has something for just about everyone. A well rounded listening experience of unique sounds and deep lyrics.

Favourite international release this year:

Hands down my favorite international release this year was Loretta Lynn’s album, Full Circle. To release a full length album at the age of 83 is nothing short of impressive. Lynn has worked her entire life either as a daughter, wife, mother, homemaker, and eventually country music legend. Those who know me, know that Lynn still inspires me every day, and single handedly brought country music into my life. Full Circle was one of those moments where I felt so connected to an entire album, it brought me to tears the first time I listened to it.

Act you saw the most this year:

I am always humbled and feel so fortunate when I can attend a show, and even more so when I can attend an artist’s show more than once a year. This year I was fortunate enough to see Yoan perform more than any other artist. From small clubs to his debut at the Bell Centre, I was able to catch Yoan performing in multiple cities and venues this year. This young artist has captivated thousands of loyal fans. With his rich and deep vocals, his strong country sound is something I enjoy and appreciate. Yoan is also one of the most personal and humble artists I have had the privilege of working with and I know 2017 will be another great year for Yoan.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

At Canadian Beats we are always learning about new artists, new music, and new styles. One of the best discoveries I made this year was discovering the music of Guylaine Tanguay. The reason that discovering Tanguay was so important, was not only was I introduced to the music of this this talented artist but that I was introduced into the world of Francophone country music. A genre that is highly under represented, but is full of talented artists and amazing music both in French and English. It has opened many doors and allowed me to see amazing artists such as Tanguay blow the roof off of venues, and sing the heck out of some amazing country songs.

Best event you attended this year:

One of my favorite events to attend is the International Balloon Festival in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. They bring some amazing artists to their main stage, and couple that against a back drop of hundreds of colorful hot air balloons launching into the sky. The festival is fun, and there is something for everyone there. Whether it is watching or riding in a beautiful hot air balloon, seeing one of your favorite musical acts hit the stage, or enjoying their midway. I have been fortunate enough to visit the festival for the past four years and each year it keeps getting better and bigger.

Best show you went to this year:

One of the best shows I was able to attend this year was Dean Brody’s debut show in Montreal. Brody is a great performer, backed with a catalogue of well-loved songs. Brody was high energy all night, and entertained the crowd for over 90 minutes. It also gave me the opportunity to be introduced to the Coco Country Band who became an instant favorite of mine as well. Brody went on this year with extensive touring and releasing another solid album.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

Canadian Beats grows every single day. With each story, each tweet, and each post we bring Canadian music to more people every day. We connect some of our countries most talented artists with their fans and even bring them new ones. One of the new features I have been most impressed with has been the addition of our Passport feature. It has allowed our followers to connect with some international artists that give opportunities to Canadian artists either as featured artists or opening acts. It has opened the door for Canadian Beats to grow, as well as allow our contributors to grow and experience new music as well.

Heather Young – Photo: Nick Carter in Calgary, AB

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

Coleman Hell’s Summerland has been played pretty excessively at my house since it was released.

Favourite international release this year:

This was hard, but I’m listing two and maybe dating myself slightly, But Green Day’s Revolution Radio and Blink 182’s Bored To Death.

Act you saw the most this year:

I’ve seen so many this year that it was hard to recall. But if we include all performances, short sets and full on shows, I think it was Coleman Hell at 4.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

I feel like one of the perks of being on the Canadian Beats team is constantly discovering new music so this one is always so hard to narrow down. Yeah one I’m listening to the most right now is Dan Davidson.

Best event you attended this year:

This one is easy this year, Junos by a landslide. It was my first big event as media, and I tackled it solo, but with the help of some new friends. The experience was something I will never forget, and only solidified my need/want to be in this industry. I am forever thankful for what I learned and took away from it as a journalist.

Best show you went to this year:

So many great ones this year! But I think I’ll have to say Nick Carter with Dan Talevski and The New Electric. I grew up a huge BSB fan so covering Nick Carter was something I only dreamed of. And then having some great hometown talent there like TNE, adding to the vibe of the whole show was pretty incredible.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

I’d say Passport, it has opened the doors for us to cover more music. All the while keeping our Canadian Music focus. More music is always a good thing.

Gerrod Harris – Photo: I Mother Earth in Toronto, ON

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

9 Lives And Counting, Beautiful Distraction. Fusing modern hard rock with a 90’s alternative flair reminiscent of I Mother Earth and Our Lady Peace, 9 Lives And Counting’s incendiary debut record, Beautiful Distraction, is nothing short of amazing.

Favourite international release this year:

David Bowie, Blackstar. Bowie’s swan song is nothing short of perfection.  Blackstar saw the now late artist paired with one of New York’s top jazz ensembles to create a record that is as adventurous as one would expect from the Starman.

Act you saw the most times this year:

The Standstills. The Oshawa hard rock duo have had a busy and successful year.  Aside from opening for a string of I Mother Earth reunion shows- which saw the band reunite with their original singer, Edwin- they also opened for Lenny Kravitz at the WCOH ScotiaBank Fan Village and are in the middle of a cross Canada tour with I Mother Earth and Our Lady Peace.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

Like A Motorcycle. Upon my first listen to their latest record, I was immediately hit in the face by a fistful of unapologetic punk rock.  These girls are the real deal.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

Nothing that wasn’t a concert.

Best show you went to this year:

Prince, Piano And A Microphone Tour. The late Prince made one of his final appearances at Toronto’s Sony Centre in which he took the sold out audience through a career spanning set which saw the Purple One float between hits; a verse of “Raspberry Beret” here, a chorus of “Sign ‘O’ The Times” there.  It truly was a life changing occurrence to see such pop classics reworked in a jazzy and intimate manner that was flawless.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

Passport!

Jenna Melanson – Photo: Arkells in Halifax, NS

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

My favourite Canadian album released this year is an easy one for me, it has to be Arkells newest release, Morning Report. I love each and every song on the album, and it only makes me more and more excited to see them live again next year.

Favourite international release this year:

I rarely get time to listen to anything other than Canadian music, and cannot think of one off the top of head, although I’m sure I have one….

Act you saw the most times this year:

I didn’t see anyone more than once.

Best musical discovery this year:

Adam Baldwin. He opened for Arkells in Halifax in January. It was a great show, and I will definitely keep an eye out for more from him!

Best event you attended this year (i.e. festival/ music week/ awards):

I wasn’t able to attend any events this year.

Best show you went to this year:

Arkells. I know most of you are probably shocked that I didn’t say Hedley, but Arkells was such an intense, energetic show that made me fall in love with the band.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

I would have to say the Canadian Beats Passport section, although I was quite wary to add this to the mix, I believe it was a good call, and will open many doors for the Canadian Beats team!

Jordyn Meade-Baxter – Photo: Harbour in Fredericton, NB

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

Probably The Inventor by FourCities. I’m super good friends with these guys and was super excited to hear it!

Favourite international release this year: 

Either Life Afraid by Set It Off or Misadventures by Pierce the Veil.

Act you saw the most times this year:

Well I only was able to see each brand once but… Marianas Trench, Rival Town, and Harbour top my list of favourites.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

Probably Rival Town. They are actually really awesome and I’m glad for another good pop punk Canadian band.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

Marianas Trench is always a classic good show for me.

Best show you went to this year:    

Marianas Trench again haha. But Harbour and Rival Town wowed me as well.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?     

I really like that we bought back the Friday Playlist and revamped it. It’s cool we have an outlet to do an actual playlist for people instead of them having to go searching for the songs we put on.

Linda Heldman – Photo: Jessica Mitchell on North Channel Cruise Lines Songwriters’ Cruise as part of Manitoulin Country Fest

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

This is a tough one! I have had several titles running through my gray matter for weeks and I’m down to two. Okay, my pick is Doc Walker – The Best of Doc Walker Echo Road. This is a collection of Doc Walker classics and few new tunes, including their latest single, “Heaven On Dirt”. This CD coincides with the band’s 20th anniversary in the industry. That’s impressive for any act of any genre! Now, I only have one DW CD in my car instead of eight.

Favourite international release this year: 

Miranda Lambert – The Weight of These Wings

This is a musical ride with twists and turns in relatable songs. Hits like “Vice” and “We Should Be Friends” are just a glimpse into Miranda’s world. This CD has become part of my road trip repertoire and won’t be replaced any time soon.

Act you saw the most times this year:

Without an exact tally, I am going to say Andrew Hyatt. With both of us residing in Sudbury this isn’t surprising. Andrew performs at a few local establishments in the off season and I try to catch him when I can. In the early part of 2016, that was frequently. He was on the bill at CMT Music Fest and other Summer music festivals plus, a few dates in Toronto. He was an opener for Doc Walker on their Sudbury stop and he even made a special appearance with Tebey when he came to town.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

This is another tough category to pick just one. There are so many talented up-and-coming acts and you all deserve a pat on the back for your efforts. I am picking Jessica Mitchell in this category. I first met Jessica at the 2015 CCMA Awards in Halifax. She was part of one of the Songwriters’ Series and she had me at “That Record Saved My Life”. The story behind the song and the emotion she put into it had me fighting back tears. 2016 has been such an incredible year for Jessica. The most moving moment was at the 2016 CMAO Awards when she sang “Working On Whiskey” and brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation. That’s the power of music! Being asked to join several tours plus, a busy Summer festival season, Jessica Mitchell has made quite a name for herself and I am so happy that Canadian Beats has had the opportunity to support her every step of the way.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

Jenna, could you ask us some easier questions?…lol! I have attended a multitude of shows this year, as my faithful little car will attest. Tours, festivals, award shows and so much more. I have to say that so much of what I do all leads me to what I call, “The Big Show”; Country Music Week and the CCMA Awards. 2016 was my fifth year in attendance and I was busier than ever! A highlight for me was to be asked to emcee an afternoon of Diamonds In The Rough; a showcase for up-and-coming Canadian country artists. Another was to have Canadian Beats as a sponsor for Dj’s Musicians’ Jam to support Unison Benevolent Fund. Plus, being able to get together, in one place, to hang with friends, make new ones and network.

Best show you went to this year:

Again, there were so many! This may be a little shocking to some, it’s not one of my country acts. It was Luke McMaster’s CD Release Party for Trending. I was in contact with Luke many times in the weeks leading up to the CD launch to do an interview and promo for this show. I had reconnected with Luke, after not having seen or heard him for awhile, when he opened for Jim Brickman in Toronto in early 2015. I love his sound and style of music and so do many others. The CD Release Party was a hit and he owned that night!

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?    

On The Spot is a lot of fun. It’s a great way to find out about our favourite artists/bands than the typical questions. I am looking at a way that I can change up the questions for 2017.

Maxine de Graaf – Photo: Jesse Roper & Jason Buie in Victoria, BC

Favorite Canadian album released this year:

Angel Forrest. Her album is a compilation of her and 11 Canadian musicians.  Great mix of styles with her incredible voice being the common thread.

Favorite international release this year:

Villanovas. This is a great young band out of England.  Brett Smith Daniels was raised in Canada until the age of 10. His music is a mash of the top 60’s and 70’s British and current rock. I. E.  Black keys.

Act you saw most times this year:   

The Villanovas. 5 times. Never a bad show,  this young performer has a great stage presence.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

Spencer Mackenzie. This 17 year old Canadian has an old blues soul in him. He is able to play the blues like someone far older than his young years.

Best event you attended this year:  

Sunfest! Sunfest festival started as a backyard party that has grown from small humble beginnings to a multiple stage, 3 day concert.

Best show you went to this year:  

Jesse Roper at Alex Goolden Hall Victoria B.C. This self professed shy guy turns into a rock blues dyamio on stage. Jimi Hendrix would bow down to this guitarist.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the year with a lot of new features being added.  What is your favorite new addition? 

Five question interview.  Short and on point with answers.

Nanci Dagg – Photo: Chad Brownlee in Winnipeg, MB

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

This is a really hard one for me as many of my favourite artists released albums this year. I’m going to with Songs About a Girl by David James. I believe in supporting local talent first and David is a Winnipeg boy that is loaded with talent with a voice that I love to listen to. He worked so hard and so long to release this album, putting his heart and soul into making it great. And, he did.

Favorite international release this year:

Hmm … I don’t listen to a lot of international artists because I am a huge supporter of Canadian talent and really only listen to Canadian country music. In saying that, I think my favorite international release would be “Forever Country” by Artists Then, Now and Forever. It’s attribute to the country music genre and I love hearing all the great artists performing in one song.

Act you saw the most times this year:

2016 was the year of Chad Brownlee. I had the extreme pleasure of getting out to three shows of his  – all out of town. Chad is one of the kindest artists I know but puts on one hell of a show! (He is also the first artist I will see in 2017 as well.) Yay for road trips!

Best musical discovery you made this year:

There is a local artist that is astonishingly good and I didn’t realize how good he was until he performed some of his own songs acoustically at the Manitoba Country Music Association’s Songwriters in the Round Series in November. His name is Aaron Starr. He is Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean and a few others wrapped up in one. He hasn’t recorded anything yet which makes me sad.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

Well, due to circumstances I was only able to attend one event this year and that was the Manitoba Country Music Association’s Awards Show in November. The great thing is that I got to see 11 of Manitoba’s best perform. I also had the privilege of seeing Murray Pulver on stage with Doc Walker as they sang a tribute song to Manitoba country music legends. Legends singing about legends = PRICELESS!

Best show you went to this year:

I normally attend every country music show that Winnipeg has to offer. That wasn’t the case this year. I had to pick and choose what I thought was the best of the best. Does it have to be Canadian? If that is the case, it was Johnny Reid – What Love is All About Tour. I can’t say enough about how great the show was. If I had to choose all-time favorite concert: hands down Garth Brooks World Tour. No explanation needed – it’s Garth Brooks.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

Although I have only done this one once (with Chad Brownlee), my new addition has to be the “Five Questions” interview.  It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s fun!

Matthew Coyte – Photo: The Darcys in Montreal, QC

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

My favorite Canadian album this year was Coleman Hell’s “Summerland”. Just thought it was a great, energetic, passionate project. Loved the rural feel mixed with the electronic beats.

Favorite international release this year:

International release for me was KA – Honor Killed the Samurai. Bleak, intelligent rap with some of the best non-drum orientated beats I’ve ever heard.

Act you saw the most times this year:

Saw Arkells a couple times in Calgary over the past year. Always a fun show and a great band.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

 

Best musical discovery was The Darcy’s. Easily my pick for the album I have the most fun listening to.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

I didn’t go to many events unfortunately

Best show you went to this year:

Best show was The Darcy’s at the Theatre Fairmount in Montreal. Criminally undersold, but they killed it.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

I’m about as new as it gets but I love the ways the interviews are done.

Orest Dorosh – Photo: The Strumbellas at KOI Fest in Kitchener, ON

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

Jadea Kelly – Love and Lust. This is just a gorgeous album that is consistent throughout the whole disk. Looking forward to see her live sometime in the new year!

Favourite international release this year:

Lydia Loveless – Real. There is just something that resonates with Lydia Loveless. She has gone from being cow-punk to more of a power-pop sound. The record is intriguing from start to finish.

Act you saw the most times this year:

Multiple acts twice. Sam Roberts, Tokyo Police Club, Alvvays,
The Strumbellas – three times.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

Dear Rouge – Photographed them at RiverFest Elora and they were just fantastic.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

CCMA Awards London ON. This event was just filled with multiple stars gracing the green carpet to the arena stage at Budweiser Gardens in London, ON.

Best show you went to this year:

Glorious Sons – Waterloo ON. After being off the road for a bit The Sons re-grouped for a few December shows. Having Maxwells sold out with very enthusiastic fans set the stage for a dynamite show. This has to be one of the loudest shows that I have ever been to. And I’ve been to a few.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

Passport feature. This allows Canadian Beats to cover more international acts that come to Canada.

Tara Thompson – Photo: Rival Town in Halifax, NS

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

This question is usually so hard for me, but without a doubt this year my favourite was Vale by Cabbages and Kings. It’s hard to say that anything beats an album that’s been on repeat in your car for 8-9 months.

Close second is definitely Lazar by London Above though. Oh and Morning Report by Arkells! (Maybe this questions wasn’t as easy as I thought)

Favourite international release this year:

Dissonant by Hands Like Houses. I stumbled onto HLH’s music late last year and I absolutely love it. Theres not a track on this new album that I don’t like.

Close behind that is Headspace by Issues and Upside Down by Set It Off. I love both these bands and was so hyped for their new releases and neither let me down.

Act you saw the most times this year:

I’m not totally sure on this one but I think it’d be safe to say that this year it was once again, Waterfront Fire.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

Coldfront and Rarity. Hands down. Both groups are so good and I find myself putting their albums on pretty regularly. The Seaway, Coldfront and Rarity tour quickly became my dream lineup that’s for sure.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

This is so hard for me to choose! George Street Festival was a blast. It was my first time shooting bigger concerts and I got to shoot Hey Rosetta!, Our Lady Peace and Arkells which was pretty unreal.

Another big one for me was MusicNL week in Bonavista. MusicNL week is always one of my favourite times because I really do love so many bands from this province. Besides watching showcases (which were great), I did a lot of people watching. It’s really cool to see all these musicians interact with each other, check out each other’s gear, compliment performances, sing along to the bands playing. Plus I won Graphic Artist of the Year, which I’ll be forever grateful to MusicNL for.

Best show you went to this year:

The release party for Cabbages and Kings’ new album Vale was out of control. It was easily one of the funnest local shows I’ve been to in a long time.

I went to Halifax in November to see All Time Low (which got cancelled) but it worked out in our favour as Rival Town were coming through on their Eastern Canada tour. I’ve known their guitar player Bryce for years and it was so good to see him again. I’ve also been really digging their album lately so I was pretty excited to see the band play too.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

I think our best new addition was all the writers and photographers! I was the first to join after Jenna started the Canadian Beats so to see it grow to having so many contributors all across the country is super cool!

Remington Fioraso – Photo: Hedley in BC

Favourite Canadian album released this year:

Although there were many good albums released this year, my favourite Canadian album released this year was Madeline Merlo’s Free Soul.  I have been a fan of Madeline since I saw her perform in 2013 at JRFM’s annual Christmas Basics For Babies fundraiser.  With each consecutive release, the singer has demonstrated that she is a force to be reckon with. Free Soul is no exception.  I simply love the combination of lyrics, vocals, and instrumentals.  My favourite tracks are “Sinkin’ Like a Stone,” “Whatcha Wanna Do About It” and “War Paint.”

Act you saw the most times this year:

The artists that I saw the most times this year are Hedley and Carly Rae Jepsen.  I was able to see three dates of their last tour, Hello World! I specifically saw them in Kelowna, Prince George, and Victoria.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

The best musical discovery that I made this year was Francesco Yates.  Prior to knowing who Yates was, I started hearing “Sugar” everywhere.  Once I found out who he was, I was excited to see that he was touring with Hedley and Carly Rae Jepsen on the Hello World tour.  He put on fantastic sets in Kelowna and Prince George.

Best show you went to this year:

Unfortunately, I have only been to a few concerts this year!  The best show, however, has to be Hedley, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Francesco Yates in Prince George during the Hello World tour.  I found the venue to be very intimate.  The sound was great.  The performers were amazing.  As it was the first of three shows on the tour that my mom and I saw, it was a new experience.  There was no sense of predictability.  Jepsen and Yates have both become two of the most played artists in my playlists after the show!

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

I really enjoyed the addition of CB Passport.  There are a lot of talented international acts that are coming to play in Canada.  It definitely gives fans an outlet to see some of their favourite musicians and amazing photographs in one place!

Zach Cooper – Photo: Nickelback at Fire-Aid in Edmonton

Favorite Canadian album released this year:

Simple Plan: Taking One For the Team!

Favorite international release this year:

NF: Therapy Session

Act you saw the most times this year:

I haven’t had the chance to see anyone more than once.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

The Wild!

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

Grizfest 2016 in Tumbler Ridge, BC

Best show you went to this year:

One Bad Son’s 7 Shows of X-Mas in Grande Prairie, AB

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

The Friday Playlists!!

Travis Rump – Photo: Classified in London, ON

Favorite Canadian album released this year:

SnakTheRipper’s album “From The Dirt” that was released in June,2016. It is all Canadian and all about Snak’s life and experiences.

Favorite international release this year:

My international favourite has been Configa’s album “Hastility”. Coming from the UK and USA. An awesome collaboration between a great HipHop producer and a hiphop artist from the USA.

Act you saw the most times this year:

An  awesome hip hop artist Robbie G came to my area a few times in the summer and I enjoyed every show. He put out a great performance.

Best musical discovery you made this year:

Best musical discovery this year has been Neon Dreams. There sound and production team is on point.

Best event you attended this year. (i.e. festival, music week, awards show etc.):

Top event this year was the CCMA Awards, held in London Ontario this year and Jesse Cruickshank was a top host in that show.

Best show you went to this year:

A great show was Classified that I saw this year at the London Music Hall with a few other artists that were really amazing!! Best show I have seen since a JayZ show.

Canadian Beats has grown a lot in the past year with a lot of new features being added, what is your favourite new addition?

I have to say about a new addition to Canadian Beats has been myselfI am not saying I am the best addition. What I am saying is Canadian Beats has let me join their community and I am totally blessed and thankful to Jenna and the rest of the crew!! Thank you guys and gals.

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