On his Twitter page, Bryce Pallister calls himself the ‘Singing Farmer’ which is a pretty good fit considering he obtained his degree in agriculture from the University of Manitoba and works his farm by day, and takes to the stage to croon his traditional country tunes at night. Pallister’s new record is called Down Dusty Roads and it comes four years after his debut album RDY 2GO. While his first release served to whet people’s appetite for his talent, the follow-up has a resonance that’s as pure as a prairie breeze. The singer receives some able assistance from Doc Walker’s Murray Pulver who produced the record, and Pallister jokingly refers to their collaboration as a “Manitoba Mafia kind of thing”. Pulver also co-wrote a couple of the songs including the first single One Of These Days. It’s a classic boy-chases-girl song with a killer hook in the chorus that makes for perfect summertime radio fodder. Pallister will be ploughing through his repertoire rather than the wheat fields over the next couple of months as he hits the road to showcase the new record.
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Another Canadian country singer with a dual occupation is Ian Tyson, who has balanced a storied career as a writer/performer of western classics, with his day job of punching cattle at his ranch just south of Calgary. The iconic singer turns 80 in September, but his energy remains undimmed — and he’s releasing a second “best-of” compilation of songs from some of the dozen-odd albums he’s recorded for the Edmonton-based Stony Plain label. Titled All the Good ‘Uns Vol. 2, it is a collection of 19 recordings — including many of the story songs that Tyson has crafted about life in the west, the vanishing cowboy culture, and a few of the more personal songs that reflect the singer’s own experiences.
When it comes to the fairer sex, Teagan Littlechief has also been juggling two tasks of late. The 26-year-old performer from the White Bear First Nations north of Carlyle, Saskatchewan, recently took a musical hiatus to give birth to a son and she’s been relishing her role as a new mom. However, the country music itch recently took her back into the studio to record a new single, the gorgeous ballad Help You Cry. We were first introduced to the native performer in 2009 with her album Rising Above, which sported a number of singles that found their way to the country charts both in Canada and overseas. We can’t wait for Teagan to hit the road again as her shows are the stuff of legend; she mixes her songs with sizzling rock covers including AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long and the Stones’ Honky Tonk Women.
Cadillac Blue is also playing the singles game and their latest effort, Thinkin’ ‘Bout You, has hit pay dirt on both sides of the border. The Caddy duo consists of Terry Baker from Barrie and Lisa Ewing who was born and raised in Thunder Bay. While Lisa shares a surname with the iconic J.R. Ewing from Dallas fame, it is another American staple that helped launch the band south of the border…Nascar. Cadillac Blue’s previous single, Wide Open, was chosen as the theme song for Nascar driver Danica Patrick and caught on quickly with fans of both racing and country music. The band is also doing their bit for another kind of horsepower; they recently played at a Tennessee fundraiser for Running Wild Equine, a non-profit ranch dedicated to rescuing unwanted horses and adopting them to good approved homes. One of the charity’s mainstays is Willie Nelson, and his granddaughter Raelyn joined Cadillac Blue on stage.
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Deric Ruttan has released four stellar albums over the last decade but he has also enjoyed success writing songs for other performers. Country superstar and The Voice judge Blake Shelton recently recorded a song Ruttan co-wrote, “Mine Would Be You”, which appears on Shelton’s latest album ‘Based On A True Story. What really has the Ruttan chuffed, however, is the success of his own latest single Where the Train Don’t Stop. The number, a live version of which also appeared on his last album Out All Night, offers a nostalgic look at life in a rural area as evidenced by the opening line, “There’s a stop sign full of buckshot, a rusted El Camino, dandelions growing through the gears”. This may or may not reflect Ruttan’s Bracebridge roots; “There’s a lot of detail in the song that’s specific to my home town…some family history as well, but I think of it as my tribute to any small town, really, and to those who are proud to hail from those often overlooked places on the map.”