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First Canadian Country Weekend a hit

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The future looks bright for the Canadian Country Weekend, in Fort Macleod, which attracted several thousand country music One More Girl celebrated a new record deal at the Canadian Country Weekend. Photo  By Richard Ameryfans to the Fish and Wildlife Park, Aug. 12-13.
 While general manager Broc Higginsen told his volunteers he didn’t want to know the final numbers until the end of the event, Aug. 13, he was pleased just looking around.

“ I think we did really well. We did the best we could have. The weather couldn’t have been better,” Higginson enthused noting the beer garden was filled to its capacity of 1,000, on Friday night.

 Ian Tyson was a highlight of the weekend. Photo by Richard AmeryThey had beautiful weather and a wicked line up including some of Canada’s most popular country musicians including Tim Hus, Jaydee Bixby and Terri Clark, the latter of  whose Friday night set was a huge hit, Gord Bamford, George Canyon, western music legend Ian Tyson and talented up and comers like One More Girl and Shane Chisholm, who were enjoying trying out new music for the laid back crowd.

They also had a strong contingent of Southern Alberta talent like Chet DeFreese and the Chill, Breanne Urban on the main stage, who won talent contests in High River and Lethbridge respectively

“The highlight would be how personable all of the performers were and how happy the crowd was,” Higginson said.

 “ And how supportive the fans have been and how supportive all of our families have been,” he said. They have been looking out for thier kin, making sure they are supplied with sandwiches and water.
“It’s been amazing,” he said.

Alyssa McQuaid was one of many acts playing the beer gardens. Photo by Richard Amery
 The beer gardens was rocking in between main stage acts where performers like Alyssa McQuaid shone with a set of originals music plus crowd pleasing covers like Seet Child O’ Mine.

They also featured some of the other talent show participants like the Smokin’ Pistols, Leanna Santangelo and Riley McKinnon plus Armond Duck Chief, Netty Mac plus Nuggy Dust and the Stuff.

 Shane Chisholm, who introduced a lot of music from his upcoming “more country CD,” to the responsive audience, was pleased to be part of the festival.

“We’ve never played a festival only 20 minutes from home,” said the Claresholm resident, who used to tour with Saturday night highlight George Canyon, but is now attempting to make it as a solo act.Shane Chisholm playing his gas tank bass. Photo by Richard Amery

“It’s nice to play for people from my hometown,” he said.

He is excited about the future, being up for a CCMA roots artist of the year award against luminaries like Corb Lund and Jimmy Rankin, plus special instrument of the year for his home made gas tank bass and all star band.

“I’ve just completed my second album. It’s a lot more country,” he said.

 He collaborated with numerous esteemed songwriters for it including Jake Matthews and Patrick Ballantyne who has written with the likes of the Trews and Big Sugar.

Breanne Urban and Southern Flyer played a solid set of mostly covers. Photo by Richard Amery Chisholm played his country version of Big Sugar’s “All Hell For a Basement.” which began with a few bars of AC DC’s “Hells Bells,”  and a new honky tonk country foot stomper written with Ballantyne.

 His new material was indeed a lot more country than his more rockabilly inspired debut CD “Hitchhiking Buddah,”  from which he played a couple tracks. He sent out a new ballad to his wife, who he said he met at a country music festival and even countrified Nazareth’s “This Flight Tonight.”

Chisholm played many of the tracks from it during his Saturday afternoon set, using his regular bass for the entire set, only pulling out the gas can set for the last song.
 A lot of the mid day performers played a lot of covers, Saturday afternoon.

 Local band Breanne Urban and Southern Flyer played a cover heavy set featuring a lot of classic rock, including her beautiful version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, a little country and a couple of originals.

 I unfortuantely missed Shaela Miller’s set, but was impressed by High River Country rocker Chet Defrees and the Chill who Many vendors were on site selling everything from cowboy hats to organic ice cream. Photo by Richard Amery played a set of upbeat rocking country.

Chet DeFreese and the Chill. Photo by Richard AmeryOne More Girl, riding high off a freshly inked record deal with Interscope and Universal Music, featured the lovely and talented Britt and Carly McKillip who provided all the pop, country fans could stand.

They and their crack band played a peppy, upbeat, hit-heavy radio friendly set, including popular numbers like “Misery Loves Company,” and “Tumblin’ Tears” punctuating each song with chirpy “thanks yous” from the girls after each number.

They danced like  pop stars and sang pretty harmonies.

“Misery Loves Company,” sequed into  a cover of Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You.” They also did a credible version of the Eagles’ “Life In The Fast Lane.”

They played several pleasant new songs and a cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”

 They wound down their set by thanking the audience for giving them their fist hit  “ When it Ain’t Raining,” and launching their careers.

For a complete counterpoint to all of the pop country and countrified classic rock on the bill, Canadian country and western music legend Ian Tyson took the older members of the audience on a trip down memory lane and gave the younger members an education about what authentic country music is.

 Tyson was an affable host rasping out stories in his whiskey drenched, weather worn voice about cowboys and horse thiefs and observations of Canada’s beautiful countryside.

He began his set with a song about hawks and introduced his  band, “fellow Vancouver Island boy” guitarist Lee Warren and bassist Gord Maxwell who laid down a country bedrock for Tyson to build his tales and songs upon.

 He played popular hits  incluGord Bamford meets star struck fans Alyssa and Valerie McQuaid. Photo by Richard Ameryding “Navajo Rug,” and a heart wrenching version of “Someday Soon,” made all the more poignant by his sandy voice.

 He took requests from the enraptured audience. “MC Horses” drew particualry loud applause.

 He showed his more contemporary side by performing a cowboy rap about cowboy Jerry Ambler — a Paul Zarzyski poem set to music provided by Tyson. Guitarist Lee Warren tapped out a rhythm on his guitar for Tyson to “rap”along to.

Tyson told stories about his early days with Sylvia Fricker and played a couple songs he originally performed with her including “Someday Soon,” and his best known hit “ Four Strong Winds.”
Unfortunately I couldn’t stick around to see Gord Bamford and George Canyon. Hopefully next time.

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 August 2011 11:20 )  
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