Review by Rebecca Mattina
Photos by Nicole Wolfe
The sun continued to shine on us at Burl’s Creek all day Saturday, and you can’t ask for much more to enjoy a full day of country music. Watching the crowds of music lovers belting out their favourite songs and dancing until their heart’s content is what festivals are all about – bringing everyone together in the name of good music.
Saturday’s lineup was just as stellar as the previous nights, there hasn’t been one performer that has not lived up to or exceeded expectations. Whether it was newer names like Smithfield, Jameson Rodgers, or Mitchell Tenpenny or headliner Miranda Lambert and everything in between – what better way to spend the weekend then with this group of talent?
Over on the front porch stage, fellow Canadian Tenille Arts was serenading us with her blend of country; vocals that are both soft and delicate, and powerful. Her authenticity translates into a medley of songs that range from love, family, to heartbreak and every relatable emotion that makes country music what it is. The genuine storytelling and overall sweet demeanor give me early Taylor Swift vibes, which means her potential is immense. We know country music needs more female voices and stories, especially truly talented Canadian women.
The Wild Feathers
Having seen these guys before – during their opening run for Brothers Osborne – I knew they would put on a killer show. Flawless harmonies, catchy rhythmic guitars and overall musicianship; blending country, soul, and southern rock and spinning them into timeless stories. There’s a nostalgia about them and the music they play – their blend of genres throw a nod back to 70s and 80s sensibilities. I was blown away the first time I saw them on stage and they kept me just as impressed the second time around. I hope their fan-base continues to grow and they bring their talents back to Canada ASAP.
From the get-go, Sarnia, Ontario- native Etheidge was all ease and smiles, clearly soaking up being back at the festival for the first time since his 2015 Emerging Artist showcase. Opening with his breezy country take on Wave’s 2001 hit “California” it was all fun and sun from there. Even when the ballads came, Ethridge continued to move around the stage, engaging with his fans and wowing us with his silky vocals. Throw in a jam session with his band on the runway stage and you couldn’t really ask for a better way to start the afternoon.
Watching Tyler Rich twirl and and jump to centre stage was a clear indication of what we were to expect on the main stage. His performance marked his first on Canadian soil; while I was familiar with a few songs like “11:11” and his new single “Leave Her Wild” I had never watched a live performance so to see him with the energy and genuine personality that he brought. Not long after his set I caught an intimate acoustic session that cemented my feelings about his talent. We could only hope to see him pass through southern Ontario again real soon.
RaeLynn was doing it for the ladies on Saturday. Clad in denim on denim, she swayed and strutted her way through some of her hits including my personal favourite “Queens Don’t” while debuting upcoming music, making us one of the few crowds to hear her unreleased tunes. She was a real treat to watch; oozing confidence and proudly wearing her vulnerability. Throughout her growing career, TheVoice alum has used her distinct voice, her southern drawl, and her knack for songwriting to churn out hip-swaying sultry-country tunes. Her debut album went to number one, a testament to her talent and the longevity you see what you watch her perform and speak about her journey.
For a group that kept saying they were new and we may not have heard of them yet, they sure turned out a massive main stage crowd. Booming drums, twangy vocals, and a sunny energy sure kept us on our feet. This band screams rock star – at one point Tripp, the drummer, was casually standing on his kit and playing the symbols. Not long after lead singer Brandon pulled out an inflatable duck and crowd surfed his way to the end of “Troublemaker.” What a party!
From the moment he stepped on stage and immediately took a swig of Jack Daniel’s, you knew Kip Moore was ready to rock. The energy that vibrated through the crowd never seemed to waver; through party anthems like “Beer Money” or “Something Bout a Truck”; and an unexpected cover of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle.” That famous husky voice, his band turned all the way up, and a few more swigs of Jack Daniels; you’ve got yourself a Kip Moore show.
I’m Nicole, a biology teacher by day, but my life revolves around music. I’m that girl that you will always find with the concert t-shirt on and ear buds in. It is rare that you find me without some type of music playing in the background. I connect all of my life experiences to music. It truly has its own language in my heart. There is nothing more exciting than taking in all that a concert has to offer. I love to support local Canadian acts and attend as many shows that I can.