There are a lot of great tunes heating up the country charts but there’s none hotter than ‘Our Town’, the first single from Cold Creek County. The song hooks you immediately with a memorable acoustic guitar lick and then turns into a party anthem that praises the virtues of Friday nights and cold beer, name checking Lynyrd Skynyrd in the
process. The band’s name comes from Cold Creek, which runs through the rolling hills, apple orchards and villages in central Ontario near the small towns that the band members call home. Our Town is the band’s tribute to these rural municipalities. “I’m a small town guy and I love it,” says drummer Doug Oliver. “Because I’ve been here so much and my community has been so supportive, everyone is loving and small towns have that I’ve-got-your-back vibe no matter what.” Guitarist Trevor MacLeod is the group’s only city slicker, hailing from Stratford. The band has already opened for the likes of Emerson Drive, Kira Isabella and Jason Blain in their short time together, and they will be playing selected Ontario dates into September, including the Havelock Country Jamboree and Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition. Cold Creek County’s debut album drops this fall and based on the Our Town the band should already have a lot of fans chomping at the bit to scoop it up.
Another smoking number that’s steaming up the charts is Madeleine Merlo’s ‘Honey Jack’. In the sultry single, Madeleine suggests that her lovin’ is sweeter and stronger than the famous Tennessee bourbon. The singer, who hails from maple Ridge, B.C. has been nominated for the Canadian Country Music Association’s 2015 ‘Rising Star’ Award. Madeline also stars in ‘Decades’, a special Throwback Thursday video cover series on CMT Canada. In Decades the singer covers hits by some of her favourite artists from the 1940’s on, including Shania Twain, Patsy Cline, and Dolly Parton. While the series is steeped in traditional country, Madeleine isn’t opposed to shaking things up a bit and this includes a fusion of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ and Beyonce’s ‘Crazy In Love’. “I chose this little mashup because these two songs are by some huge powerful soul singers in the industry. You can’t beat a Beyonce and Gnarls Barkley combo, plus I busted out my new telecaster, named Dolly, for this one.”
Quebec is not exactly known to be a hotspot for country singers, but that may be about to change with the first album from La Belle Province’s Yoan. The singer from Ferme-Neuve whose full name is Yoan Garneau, won season two of ‘La Voix’ (Quebec’s version of ‘The Voice’) by charming viewers with his deep, warm vocals that, at first blush, recall Elvis Presley. His debut self-titled album features duets with Isabella Boulay, his coach on La Voix, as well as country hotshot Brett Kissell on the Waylon and Willie classic ‘Good Hearted Woman’. The album features material in both English and French, mixing both original compositions and covers. The first single was a rollicking rendition of Jimmy Reed’s ‘Baby What You Want Me To Do’, while the current chart-climber is the swaggering ‘Gonna Fall In Love With You’, which showcases Yoan’s distinct vocal chops. He’s on tour in Quebec through September and hopefully the rest of Canada will have a chance to catch this rising talent in the fall.
Also flying high on the country charts is the latest release from High Valley, ‘She’s With Me’. The duo from Blumenort, Alberta is composed of brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel, and their acoustic roots are very much home-grown and do not lend themselves to fast comparisons to other performers. “We made music, we played hockey, we worked on the farm, and we never spent our lives thinking about how much we needed or wanted to be somewhere else,” Brad recalls. “Our parents took us outside, and we had a blast being creative and making our own entertainment. I think it was very beneficial for us to have been raised out there.” High Valley is gaining a lot of mileage from their most recent album, ‘County Line’, as She’s With Me is the third single taken from the disc. The banjo-driven number is irresistible and is certain to follow its predecessors, ‘County Line’ and ‘Make You Mine’, into the Top 10.
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