So who is the good looking singer firing up her sparklers in the country music video for ‘A Little More Work’? That would be Kira Isabella, the bubbly brunette who is presently burning up the country charts with the single from her recently released debut album ‘Love Me Like That’. Isabella has a decade of experience under her belt performing her brand of up-tempo country music across Canada – an impressive feat since she is just barely 19. If the single serves as the shot, the chaser is certainly the string of shows that she’ll be opening across Canada for Carrie Underwood until the end of the year. Underwood and Isabella have something in common when it comes to Canada’s capital; Ottawa is Isabella’s hometown and it’s also the former stomping ground for Underwood’s hubby Mike Fisher, who played with the hockey Senators. Some of his former teammates may well be in attendance looking for another country-hockey hook-up when Isabella plays Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place in December.
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Speaking of country-hockey connections, rising star Chad Brownlee was a sixth round draft pick for the Vancouver Canucks in 2003, who turned to country music after injuries sidelined his career. For a guy who spent his formative years on ice, Brownlee shows that he has warm pipes on his latest hit ‘Listen’, taken from his ‘Love Me Or Leave Me’ l.p. While he couldn’t quite pull off capturing the Male Artist of the Year Award at this year’s Canadian Country Music Awards (losing to Dean Brody), you better believe that Brownlee will go toe-to-toe with him again next year. Brownlee and another good ol’ boy, Dallas Smith, will be co-headlining the Boys of Fall Tour that begins in Hamilton and moves westward through the end of November.
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Dallas Smith is pumped about the Boys of Fall tour and he’ll be riding some momentum as the title track from his debut album ‘Jumped Right In’ is jumping to the top of the country charts. After spending nearly 10 years fronting popular Canadian rock band Default, the Langley B.C. native stepped out on his own and headed for the country, as in Music City. While in Nashville, Smith worked with acclaimed producer Zac Maloy and songwriter Chris Tompkins, who have both experienced success with the aforementioned Carrie Underwood. If you think that Smith pushes the vocal boundaries in the soaring chorus of ‘Jumped Right In’, you would be right. “I’ve always chosen and written songs with challenging vocals that I love to sing”, he says.
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“Show Some Respect”, the soul stirring single from Bobby Wills’ debut album release “If It Was That Easy” is getting a lot of respect when it comes to its lofty position in the Canadian country Top 10. The video for the song comes from a unique angle as it features an old guitar and a beat-up pick-up, and the singer asks that you treat them with respect as they were very much a part of the life of their previous owners. “I’m very proud of this song and the impact it’s having on people across Canada”, says Wills. “I guess showing respect for what has come before us is never out of fashion.” Part of this sentimental slant may come from Wills’ unveiling of his personal past. Wills, who is an ambassador for the Canadian Adoption Council, met his biological family as an adult. When he realized his birth parents and their children were all steeped in music it served as a signal to him to pursue his music career in earnest.
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How about that Canadian country warhorse Paul Brandt? He’s really one of only few performers who have been consistently ringing the bell and serving up country hits over the last 15 plus years. Well, it looks like he will be keeping that streak intact with his latest album, a stellar country bluegrass gospel collection entitled ‘Just As I Am’. Not that he really needs any heavyweight help, he has some fairly high profile guest vocalists on the record including Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless and John Anderson. First out of heaven’s gate, so to speak, are Brandt’s covers of a couple of great standards that may just crack the airwaves, including ‘It Is Well With My Soul’ and ‘Amazing Grace’. According to Brandt, “This album is such a labour of love for me; these are the songs of my personal walk with God and my faith. These classic songs also hold universal appeal — these songs have brought, and continue to bring, joy, comfort, conviction and inspiration to the lives of many people.”