There must be something in the kick drum drumming, there must be something in the guitar strumming.”
It’s tempting to describe the chorus of Brett Kissel’s latest smash single, “Airwaves,” as what’s gotten him to this point, but that barely scratches the surface of the artistic growth Kissel displays on his new album, Pick Me Up. The pride of Flat Lake, Alberta has already reached a place very few other Canadian country music artists have attained, but defying the odds has been Kissel’s mission his entire life, the result of a tireless work ethic instilled while growing up on his family’s farm. Following the incredible success of his 2013 major label debut, Started With A Song, Pick Me Up shows that, like a thoroughbred just out of the gate, Kissel is hitting his stride.
For the new album, Kissel once again teamed up with CCMA Award-winner Bart McKay, as well as one of country music’s premier producers Mickey Jack Cones (Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins). The common thread was not an attempt to replicate the success of its predecessor, but to have the results reflect Kissel’s unstoppable drive to make his music bigger and better.
“There’s no other place I prefer to be than on stage,” Kissel says. “With all of the shows we did for the last album, we were totally prepared as a band when we went into the studio to cut the new material, and determined to exceed the fans’ expectations. Looking back, I might have been preparing for it even while we were finishing the last album, knowing that the next one needed to have more energy.”
“I really want everyone who buys one of my records to feel as if they’re getting a piece of me at that moment. I’m very fortunate to be a 25-year-old guy touring the world, but at heart I’m still the same kid who grew up in an amazing family on a cattle ranch in Alberta, and going though a lot of the same things my listeners are. To try to get all of that on to one record is always a pleasant challenge.”
After the year Kissel had in the wake of the success of Started With A Song, no one could be blamed for kicking off their boots, cracking a cold one or two, and imagining things couldn’t get any better. But coasting on his accomplishments has never been part of Kissel’s makeup.
The numbers say it all, however: His JUNO Award for Breakthrough Artist marked the first time in 17 years a country act earned the honour. That accolade seemed a lock for Kissel, despite some stiff competition, as it came on the heels of five Billboard Canada Top 10 singles from his major label debut album, Started With A Song. And that’s not to mention his staggering eight Canadian Country Music Association Award nominations, of which he won two.
Kissel is indeed adding his unique artistic perspective to the rich musical tradition that has inspired and sustained him for as long as he can remember. On Pick Me Up, there is no disputing he now belongs to that tradition and will continue adding to it for years to come.
The youngest of six children of the late Margaret and Lennox Gavan (1992 Hall of Fame Inductee), Gail’s childhood and early teen years reverberated with the sounds of various genres of music at the well-known Gavan’s Hotel in Quyon, Quebec. She grew up listening to live Classic Rock and Country bands in the famous Shamrock Lounge. Her musical education also included Irish, logging and Ottawa Valley songs taught to her by her father. Gail absorbed those early influences and was soon asked to guest with bands like Howard Hayes, Mick Armitage Band, and Ambush. Her numerous accomplishments include placing 2nd in the Canadian Open Singing Contest in 1989, and in 1991, winning the CKBY Bud Country Talent Search at the Gatineau Clog, subsequently placing in the top 10 in Canada. Gail released 3 compilation CDs of popular house party songs entitled “For the Love of the Valley- Vol. I, Vol. 2” and “For The Love of the Valley Irish”-Vol. 3. She has sold over 20,000 of these CD’s , literally out of the trunk of her car!
Gail has opened for many Nashville stars like George Jones, Tom T. Hall, Merle Haggard and Charlie Pride, and has performed at almost every fair in the Ottawa Valley. In 1993, she hosted “Gail Gavan and Friends” on CHRO Pembroke and co-produced and wrote the theme song for another TV show, “Fred’s Place“, based on her uncle Fred’s famous hotel in Chapeau, Quebec. It aired nationally, winning an Independent Producer’s Award in Jasper, Alberta. This lead to her becoming the co-host for CBC’s “Cottage Country” which had 1/2 million viewers nationally each week!
In 1994, she was voted Entertainer of the Year by the Ottawa Valley Music Association and, in 1998, she hosted and performed in Bosnia with the DND Canadian Peacekeeper Tour. Gail sang the National Anthem in front of the Queen on Canada Day in 2010. With the Ryan Brothers and Louis Schryer, she opened for Pam Tillis, Gene Watson, Sammy Kershaw, Marty Stuart and Lorrie Morgan, among others. In addition, she performs a live show for corporate clients called, “Canada Coast to Coast” at venues like the Museum of Civilization, the Marriott, and Hotel Lac Leamy.
Gail was inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.
Gail has written an anti-bullying song, “Bully, Bully” that is being used by many schools to promote a positive message to their students.
Gail teaches French during the day to amazing young ladies at Elmwood School .
There she composes French children’s songs and thoroughly enjoys teaching her students French songs from Canada and France.
Gail believes that her passions for singing, song-writing, and teaching French complement each other in a dynamic and unique way!
The band’s sound has morphed and matured, their southern-rock roots pinnacled on 2011’s sprawling work “Princes and Kings” and moved from there into something far more unique. Today the songs are much more focused, and give more the feeling of looking forward than looking back. Working with John Chandler and Ken Friesen as producers on new material, the band still believes in and relies on local talent rather than looking beyond the Ottawa valley for the big names and hype of other cities.
Silver Creek have reinvented themselves while firmly establishing their place among the “must-see” bands in Ottawa. Sharing the stage with diverse legends ranging from The Guess Who to Kevin Costner, from Blue Rodeo to Bob Weir, Silver Creek is at home in any setting. This was confirmed when they were tapped to be the backing band for such acts as Jim Cuddy, Barney Bentall, White Horse, William Prince, Tanya Tagaq and more when the Juno Awards came to Ottawa in April of 2017.
Delaney Grant sings bold, modern country tunes that tell tales illuminating both life’s joyful adventures and its heartbreak. She wraps up catchy classic country, pop and bluegrass-tinged melodies and harmonies with fresh and clever lyrics that flow like diaries, revealing her intimate perspectives on love, loss, hope and her own evolution. Her authenticity and generosity as a songwriter and performer resonate through her powerful voice, which dances through the vivid colours of human emotions as she unleashes the contents of her soul like lightning bolts during performances. Delaney’s lush, well-crafted recordings and willingness to share raw emotion through her music continue the tradition of the fierce female pop and folk poets, including Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Taylor Swift and Allison Krauss, who continue to inspire her.
An Irish Canadian, Delaney’s passion for music was first ignited inside her mother’s step dance studio. She performed for the first time in public at age two and, moved by the rhythm and energy of traditional folk music, she picked up the fiddle at four. She soon added guitar, piano and mandolin to her repertoire as she improved her technique and musicianship through formal lessons and youth ensembles. Her world was opened up to country and the craft of singing as she learned about the textures the instruments she was playing added to the genre and began to look up to Canadian country vocalists like Shania Twain who were able to conjure up familiar, relatable feelings through their songs. Delaney was constantly experimenting with singing and songwriting, composing poems and lyrics about her experiences and piecing together delicate melodies. But she fully discovered her talent at 14 when her family lost their home to a fire, and she began to write music to help process the loss, triumph over adversity and rediscover joy.
Though poised at the beginning of her career, Delaney has already collaborated with big names in both the Canadian and American country scenes. She co-wrote the anti-bullying song “Cuts ‘ Bruises” with Juno Award winner Daryl Burgess. Staying true to her willingness to dive into personally-challenging subject matter, she wrote “So Long,” about her struggle with the untimely passing of her aunt with alt-country singer/songwriter Tara Shannon. Her single “Black & Blue” was released in March 2015 and spun on Canadian Country Radio.
In December 2015, Delaney put out her own rollicking rendition of “Holly Jolly Christmas” on Canadian radio. January 2016, she released “Better,” her first international single, co-written by Andy Gibson (Jason Aldean/Kelly Clarkson “ Don’t you wanna stay”) and Maks Gabriel and engage in a radio promo tour in both the U.S. and Canada. Delaney is currently working on her debut full-length album with writers and producers in Nashville and preparing for summer festivals. The album will drop in Spring 2017.
Kelli Trottier toured much of the world as a featured soloist in the Sensational String Production, Bowfire for nine years, “The finest lineup of fiddle and violin virtuosi ever assembled on one stage.”
As a triple threat, Kelli brings her crisp fiddling, Angelic voice and fiery stepdance to all of her performances. Her talents carry her to stages across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far North, making fans and friends at every venue along the way.
Kelli has performed for Canadian soldiers in the Middle East and the Canadian Arctic. She has brought twenty thousand NHL Ottawa Senators Fans to their feet many times as the featured mid-game entertainer. More highlights for Kelli include performing for Sir Sean Connery’s Dressed to Kilt several times in NYC and for his private 80th birthday party in the Bahamas.
Her art was developed from deep and lasting Scottish and French roots, and together with other influences of contemporary and traditional music, Kelli shaped her performing and recording career. She has earned a dedicated and growing following and glowing accolades from promoters, organizers and fans.
In addition to her extensive performing experience, Kelli continues to be a highly sought-after instructor and judge of fiddle and stepdance events across Canada and parts of the U.S. She has been nominated three times for Fiddle Player ofthe Year by the Canadian Country Music Association and has performed live and in studio with George Fox, The Family Brown, Randall Prescott, Wayne Rostad, Lucille Starr and more. Most recently, Kelli was inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame!
With ten independent recordings; singing, dancing and playing her way to the top of her musical genre, Kelli Trottier is an unforgettable and enchanting artist, consistently delivering performances that raise her stature in the hearts and memories of audiences everywhere.
In 1988, a young man set down a long rolling gravel road. In the distance a small yellow farmhouse faded from view. Leaving the safety of his home in the foothills of Southern Alberta, George Fox was about to get the break he had long hoped for. On that clear spring day he could never have imagined the amazing success story he was about to become.
It is now more than a dozen years since that fateful drive. Fox has a mantle of country music awards, he has recorded 8 albums and there is a street named after him in his hometown. George has traveled the world, opened for some of the biggest names in country music and headlined sold out shows coast to coast. Growing up in Cochrane, Alberta, (pop. 4500), the son of cattle ranchers Bert and Gert Fox, George was like a lot of rural kids he lived, breathed and worked the farm. One day he arrived home from school and casually told his parents he was starting a rock band. Little did anyone know that the seeds for the future had been sown. In 1981, George went to Sweden on a farm exchange program. The host farmer asked Fox to bring along some country albums and it wasn’t long before Fox also took to the music.
Upon his return to Alberta, he decided he should devote another five years to ranching but fate had other plans. Soon Fox was back playing music, writing songs and a short while later with his life savings he went into the recording studio. The end results were tapes he could sell at local shows. In 1988, one of those recordings passed through a series of hands, eventually landing on the desk of a Warner Music executive. A short while later a phone call from the label took George from the safety of the foothills and set the wheels in motion for what was to become an extraordinary career. With the release of his first self-titled album in 1988 country music fans discovered George Fox. Debut singles, “Angelina” and “Goldmine” were sent soaring up the country charts and in subsequent years, “No Trespassing,” “Mustang Heart,” “I Give You My Word,” “What’s Holding Me” and “Breakfast Alone,” to mention just a few, would join them in the Top 10 and become signature songs. Throughout the eighties George opened for such country greats as Randy Travis, Dolly Parton, George Strait and Willie Nelson. It wasn’t long however before he was headlining his own sold out shows from Canada to Australia. Fox’s music has also traveled him to Switzerland, Spain, Brazil and even Germany where he entertained Canadian troops. George’s charm was found not only in his music but also in his ability to weave a story and engage the listener.
Ottawa Country Band Rainwater Whiskey are playing today’s top country hits!
In the spring of 2012, the guys in Rainwater Whiskey came together from very diverse musical backgrounds, ranging from Acadian to metal, from rock to big band; and you wouldn’t expect a country band to form out of those styles. However the love for country was reignited in the bands members and they have fused as a hard hitting country band.
After a few months of rehearsal we found our groove and decided to make a go of playing throughout Ottawa and the Valley. We had our first opportunity in Arnprior, playing Priorpallooza which went really well and the ball started to roll from there. Since then we’ve been lucky enough to play with Brea Lawrenson, Jordan McIntosh, and Rory Gardiner, which as everybody knows, are some of Ottawa’s best country music artists. We’ve also opened for Bill Durst, The Road Hammers and were fortunate enough to play with Tyler Stewart of the Barenaked Ladies. We’ve played some awesome events along the way as well: Burn Your Bra for Bev, Carleton Place Winter Carnival and Canada Day, Priorpalooza, The Eastern Ontario Firefighters Challenge, the Live Love Laugh Fundraiser, the Arnprior Stampede, Ranch Night and Fair as well… just to name a few.
It’s looking like an EP is in the works for 2017 as well. We’ve already written 7 original country tunes and are well on our way to completing the rest needed for an album. You may have already heard “Redneck Represent”, “Seventh of September” or “Bless this Heart” at a recent show, so stay tuned for album updates!
Leahy The Next Generation
Building on over three generations of Leahy musicianship, Doug Leahy, together with his wife Jennifer and their children, are keeping those traditions alive through music, song, and dance.
Doug, as a member of “Leahy” and Jennifer, having played music throughout her life, both understand the joy and exhilaration only music can provide. It is no wonder then that their children understand innately that music will be a huge part of their lives. Even the smallest children feel the music pulsing through their veins. They are drawn to it. They are passionate about it.