Last Thursday night in Toronto still feels like a distant dream that I am just trying desperately to cling to and remember!

Carley Pearce at Budweiser Stage Photo: Kayla Winkworth

Carly Pearce

Carly Pearce kicked off the night with some upbeat, bubbly songs, that suited her persona perfectly! She was amazed at the crowd size and couldn’t believe the country music fans up here in Canada! She told us that this was her first Canadian show ever and boy did the fans go wild! To be a part of this potential sensation’s first toe-dip in the Canadian market was an exciting tale to tell.

The Kentucky native is no stranger to country music, starting to perform at 11, and going on to be invited the Grand Ole Opry stage alongside many notables, including Martina McBride, this country girl is blazing her own path! On Thursday night, Pearce performed many songs off her upcoming album Every Little Thing, available in stores October 13th.

The highlight of the night was when Pearce performed her song “Every Little Thing”, which has gained a lot of traction here in Canada! Every one in attendance was singing along and swaying to the heart broken ballad. It’s soulful tune and poignant lyrics had everyone hanging on to her every word. Finishing the show with Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” was the perfect way for this Dollywood performer to close things up!

To learn more about Pearce, or pre-order her upcoming album, click here.

Tim Hicks at Budweiser Stage
Photo: Kayla Winkworth

Tim Hicks

This was not my first time seeing Hicks perform live, and I sure hope it won’t be my last! Hicks certainly does put on a Hell Raisin’ Good Time!

This Canadian native does not disappoint when he takes that stage! With a Stronger Beer flag hanging behind him, and pyrotechnics you could feel in the 200s at the Budweiser stage, Hicks doesn’t just put on a concert, it’s a performance! I don’t think there was one person in the crowd who was not singing along to every song! Tim Hicks serenaded us with hit after hit and wow, was he a treat to enjoy.

Tim Hicks at Budweiser Stage
Photo: Kayla Winkworth

I think one of draws around Tim Hick’s is that he is so dang approachable! He seems like this genuine guy, who is always up for a chat over a pint and will legitimately listen. This perceived personality, which I can confirm is very close to the truth, makes people eager to get to know this country artist, whether it be through his music, concerts, or by attending meet and greets. Tim always makes time for fans and this has helped come so far!

If you have not had the opportunity to see Tim live, I highly recommend his shows! To learn more about Hicks, or to see his concert schedule, click here!

Dean Brody at Budweiser Stage
Photo: Kayla Winkworth

Dean Brody

Carly Pearce and Tim Hicks were the perfect blend of soulful and bubbly country, and high energy, bouncy hits to open for the extremely talented and versatile Dean Brody!

Everyone around me in the crowd was adamant that Brody better get the Fan Choice Award this year. I can’t disagree with this popular opinion. He is one of those artists that has always hit home with his lyrics and produced songs that I eerily relate to.

During his performance Brody did a perfect blend of old and new hits, and everyone in the crowd knew every word to every song performed – it was almost scary! Brody never disappoints and his sound is perfectly complimented by his vocal style and he never seems to trip up… except maybe when jumping back on stage (oops!)!

The most shocking and exciting part of Brody’s show was that he did not invite just 1 special guest on stage, or 2… but 4!!! 

Dean Brody at Budweiser Stage
Photo: Kayla Winkworth

Special Guests

The first guest to hit the stage with Dean Brody was Dallas Smith! This Canadian country artist hit the stage with such energy and charisma that the crowd couldn’t help but go insane! Brody was laughing at the reaction of the crowd and quickly tossed the singing over to Dallas so that he could compose himself. Smith just announced his Side Effects Tour this fall, to see more from him, click here.

The second guest to join Brody was “War Paint” and “Motel Flamingo” singer Madeline Merlo! This one was truly a shock for all in attendance! With Dallas, there had been a bit of spoiler, but Madeline was kept hush hush indeed! Merlo hit the stage to offer her vocals during Brody’s song “Bounty” and what a duo these two made. To hear more from Madeline, click here.

The third guest was not as shocking as Smith or Merlo, but still a treat indeed. Rapper, and “Beautiful Freakshow” duet partner Shevy Price took the stage with Brody to perform her part! Although I was hopeful that this may be the case, never did I expect, especially not after having already seen Merlo and Smith take the stage, to have yet another guest join Dean Brody! To keep up with Price’s emerging career, click here!

The fourth, and final, and not so surprising special guest from Thursday night was none other than… Alan Doyle! This was perhaps the most hoped for guest to appear, but I think people in the crowd were starting to lose hope that they would get to see the former Great Big Sea front man! Doylejoined Dean on their song “It’s Friday” but also on Dean’s new song “Soggy Bottom Summer”. If you haven’t heard “It’s Friday” or if you simply want to know more about Doyle, click here!

Dean Brody at Budweiser Stage
Photo: Kayla Winkworth

Overall Thursday night was a surreal experience that I never wanted to end, and I think everyone in the crowd felt the same. Lingering after that last chord was strung and last note was sung. If you ever have the chance to catch any of these artists live I would highly recommend!!

Special thanks to Open Road Recordings and Live Nation for inviting us out to this very special night in Toronto.