Year In Review – Best Up & Coming Band of 2016 nominees

2016 is one for the record books but not before we reflect on the amazing accomplishments of some of our Canadian artists who happened to be nominated this year and our Canadian Beats awards. These five bands have what it takes to make it huge, and here at Canadian Beats we believe they will! Find out what these great Canadian bands have been up to in 2016.

River Town Saints (Photo Credit: Linda Heldman)

Fresh on the heels of an amazing 2015, Ottawa-based country band, River Town Saints, carried that momentum all the way through 2016, which included being honoured with a nomination for the CCMA 2016 Rising Star Award.  They toured a lot this year!  Performances included the CMAO Awards Show, The Capitol Centre in North Bay with The Abrams, The One Horse Town Tour with Dean Brody and Chad Brownlee, Rock the Park in London, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, iHeart Radio Tailgate Party, Festival Country de Lotbinière, Sound of Music Festival in Burlington, Ottawa4FortMac, Canadian Music Week, The Queen’s Plate on Canada Day Weekend, on the main stage at The World Cup of Hockey and many others.  And, how could we forget their amazing performance at Boots and Hearts to a crowd of thousands?!  Many thousand miles were put on their new tour van, which was bought to replace their beloved Ron Burgundy, a van with its own web series.  The newest addition to their tour family is Trailer Swift, a trailer bigger than their giant van! River Town Saints also demonstrated their giving side by posing in the 2017 Top Country Sounds and Rescue Hounds Calendar.  2016 also saw the release of the video for their first single, “A Little Bit Goes A Long Way” (February), and the release of their latest single “Cherry Bomb”, which also has a great official video now! A special mention to front man, Chris Labelle, who celebrated his own ups and downs this year.  We want to congratulate him on the engagement to his lovely girlfriend.  We hope that it takes the sting away from being denied a high five at the CCMA awards!  All joking aside, River Town Saints is a super talented group who handle themselves with class, but have a ton of fun in the process.  This fun permeates everything that they do.  Recently the band announced that they have reached 1 000 000 streams on Spotify!  Congratulations on this huge accomplishment!   We can’t wait to see you soon on the “Shake These Walls” tour with Tim Hicks and Jason Blaine!

Kansas Stone (Photo Credit: Nicole Wolfe)

These self-described summer-loving, sun worshipers kept warm all year long with an eventful 2016!  This country band with attitude from Barrie, ON started off their year with a trip to Calgary to work at OCL Studio with Canadian country music heavyweight, Matt McKay (Brett Kissel).  This short trip proved very productive as it yielded them a few new recordings, including a song that is likely to explode on the airwaves, “Hand in Mine”.  In February the band hosted a successful and well attended Video Release party for their single, “Whiskey and Wine”.  Kansas Stone sought to gain recognition across the country, as they embarked on a radio tour in the spring, and they performed at many television stations across the country, including CP24 and Breakfast Television.  Their hard work was paid off in May when they were awarded “Artists of the Month” distinction by the CMAO.  During this month they also released their EP, Country 101.  Kansas Stone performed at many exciting events and venues in 2016.  Being extremely big Garth Brooks fans, they were honoured to perform at the Garth Brooks Pre-Show Tailgate Party in Hamilton back in March.  They also performed at the Boots and Hearts Hot Shots Showcase at the Phoenix (Toronto) during Canadian Music Week, Country Fest in Peterborough in June and the Indie Week Emerging Artist Country Showcase in November.  They will ring 2017 in, in style, as hosts to a New Year’s Eve celebration at Mavricks Music Hall in Barrie, ON, which will feature a rare indoor fireworks display at midnight.  However, if you want to catch these boys of summer at their finest, make sure to catch them during summer festival season.  This year they were co-headliners at the long-standing Havelock Country Jamboree and were featured on the main stage at Kitchener’s CMT Music Fest.  To break out into the music market in this generation, one must master their social media game.  Kansas Stone has proved this in a big way!  They are very active on their socials, like their idol, Brett Kissel.  In fact, very recently they entered Kissel’s online contest for up and coming bands to perform on his Ice, Snow and 30 Below tour this coming January.  Their video submission saw some 15 000 views in the first few weeks since it was posted.  We wish them luck on their quest to #kickitwithkissel!

The New Electric (Photo Credit- Zach Cooper)

The New Electric have had one hell of a year! Formed in 2014, the band has worked hard to earn their spot in Canada’s pop music genre. Their single Life’s What You Make it got the attention of the industry and landed them spots on multiple pop charts, including #18 on Hot AC and #28 on main AC. After the release of Inside Out in February, it also peaked at #20 on main AC. The New Electric were also hard at work on their 6 track EP and working with legendary producer Brian Howes (Hedley, Simple Plan). Living Loud was released on October 28th, and has been widely well received by their peers and of course dedicated fan base. Single Ride This Feeling was #2 on the most downloaded song list on DMDS during it’s first week. And you can’t talk about the year The New Electric has had without mentioning their cross Canada tour with Backstreet Boy’s own Nick Carter! They also took home an award for Group of the Year at the 2016 YYC awards. I can only be certain 2017 will bring nothing but more great things for The New Electric.

Rival Town (Photo Credit: Tara Thompson)

To say Rival Town had a busy 2016 is an understatement. After being signed to Manic Kat Records in late 2015, the band released their debut full length, Call It Like It Is, in April. Sticking to the pop punk stereotype of getting out of their hometown, the band moved from Thunder Bay to Saint Catharines and went on two tours, a summer tour of Ontario with Everglow and an Eastern tour in November. They were listed in the 12 Bands You Need To Know section of the December issue of Alternative Press and opened lots of big names including Millencolin, SNFU and Hawthorne Heights.

Owen Meany’s Batting Stance (Photo Credit: B Hartling)

2016 was the year that Halifax based band, Owen Meany’s Batting Stance released their highly anticipated self-titled debut EP. On top of this, the band played shows in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and once again took part in Nova Scotia Music Week, and the year isn’t over yet. This talented up & coming band will be back in Ontario at the end of the month playing The Cameron House, so don’t miss that!

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