Manitoulin Country Fest – Day 2

Friday, August 5th, was the longest of the five days in Little Current. It began with another Songwriters’ Cruise aboard North Channel Cruise Lines. Again, the 2-hour outing was hosted by Jamie Warren. This day’s musical line-up included Alessia Cohle, Sean Hogan and Jessica Mitchell.

Jamie Warren, Ken Vella, Sean Hogan, Jessica Mitchell, Alessia Cohle and Corey Barnes (Country 103)

Jamie Warren, Ken Vella, Sean Hogan, Jessica Mitchell, Alessia Cohle and Corey Barnes (Country 103)

The day was much windier on the water than the previous two, which lead to some wake splash. Nice and refreshing for a hot day but, not so good for instruments or cameras.

Alessia Cohle started off the music, along with her accompanist, Ken Vella. She performed several songs from her debut CD, Let’s Get Gone and her most recent single to radio, “How Bad”. If you have ever been to Manitoulin Island or streamed in Country 103, Great Lakes Country, Alessia’s voice could sound familiar to you. She is the voice of Country 103, an honour she is very proud to add to her resume. Please watch our video interview with Alessia during MCF here.

Alessia Cohle

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Ken Vella and Alessia Cohle

Ken Vella and Alessia Cohle

Up next, Sean Hogan. Born in Sarnia, Ontario and now living on the west coast, Sean has been a name in Canadian Country Music for a good 20 years. He performed and told stories behind several of his songs including, “Catalina Sunrise”, “Suck It up” and “Heartbreak Song”. Sean is working on his annual Canadian Country Christmas Tour. This is always a nice group of singer/songwriters that perform a writer’s round set of their own songs and a set of Christmas tunes. If the show comes to your town late Fall, please support it. There is a charity aspect to it, helping a local organization at each stop.

Sean Hogan

Sean Hogan and Jamie Warren

Sean Hogan and Jamie Warren

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While lunch was being served, Jessica Mitchell kept the music going. Starting on the make-shift stage until the wind and water spray became a bit too much; she moved down to safer ground, so she thought but, a few good splashes made their way over the bow of the boat. Jessica has been make a buzz since last year’s CCMA Week. She was part of the Songwriters’ Series and she emotionally touched many in the room. This is where I first met her. Since then, she has released an EP, toured with Kiefer Sutherland and opened for many other acts. Her resent single to radio, “Working On Whiskey” she performed at the CMAO Awards this past May. The power of her voice and this song brought the whole house to its feet for a standing ovation. She is up for 2016 CCMA Roots Artist of the Year. Definitely an artist to watch.

Jessica Mitchell

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This is one of those rare photos that captures a moment that is not common. One wake splash was so strong that it came over the bow and soaked both Jessica and me.

This is one of those rare photos that captures a moment that is not common. One wake splash was so strong that it came over the bow and soaked both Jessica and me.

A few hours later, we were back on the festival grounds for the Day 2 Musical Line-up. First up was brother and sister duo, Instant Rivalry. Canadian Beats first met up with Megan and Caleb Hutton in May at the CMAO New Faces Showcase in Markham. You can check out our On The Spot with them, as well as their Acoustic Session. These two play with attitude! For a half hour set they fulled it with originals including, “Hoedown” and a few covers.

Instant Rivalry

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It was a busy day of performing for Jessica Mitchell. After playing on the cruise earlier in the day, she was next up on the MCF stage. This time, with a full band. Whether alone with her guitar or a band backing her, Jessica Mitchell sounds amazing. The late-afternoon crowd got a taste of what we have known for a year now, JM is a special lady. A noteable mention, I have a soft spot for an upright bass. Her bass player started out with one and later changed over to electric. When my attention wasn’t on Jessica, it was on her fantastic female bassist.

Jessica Mitchell

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Tim Chaisson hails from P.E.I. It may be the smallest of our Canadian provinces but, there is nothing small about the talent that comes out of there. Tim is a name that has been rising for the past few years. He comes from a musical family and looks at home on the stage. Easily changing up instruments throughout his set. His, is music that makes you want to dance, which is not easy when you are trying to work a camera. His set was over way too soon. A highlight of his performance is when he asked Jessica Mitchell to join him for a song. These two together are gold!

Tim Chaisson

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Tim Chaisson with Jessica Mitchell

The momentum of the day was turned up another notch when Jess Moskauke hit the stage. This young lady has had an incredible few years with several singles to radio; one of which hit gold status (“Cheap Wine and Cigarettes”). She is the first female Canadian Country solo artist since Shania Twain to do this. And, Jess can do more than sing. Her stage show is very energetic. She mingles well with her handsome band, who themselves, cover almost every inch of the stage.

Jess Moskaluke

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Finally, the crowd was ready for the headliners of the night, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band! Yes, the band that brought us “Mr. Bojangles” and “Fishin’ In The Dark” was here and it was insanely great! 50 years as a band and they can still keep the music fresh. Definitely a highlight of the festival.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

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Stay tuned for our Day 3 Review!

See more photos from Manitoulin Country Fest here!

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