London, Ontario played host to the Country Music Association of Ontario ( CMAO ) New Artist RoadShow on Saturday March 19th. Various events took place around the city for up and coming country artists from across the province, the purpose being to gain knowledge and feedback from industry experts including Jason Blaine, Steve Wilkinson, Jason Barry and many more.
Later that evening, CMAO partnered up with Tourism London, Bull and Barrel Urban Saloon, BX93 and our friends at Country 104 to host a new artist showcase on the Bull and Barrel stage. This was my first time checking out Bull and Barrel and this is your heads up – if anything is going on there during Country Music week in September, you won’t want to miss the chance to catch some great Canadian country music. Small, intimate venue, good food and cold beer. What more can someone ask for!
The night got underway with a few words from the CMAO president, Bruce Good. Then it was time to get down to the music, as that’s what we were all there to check out.
First up, Lisa Marie, armed with her acoustic guitar and powerful vocals she ripped through her four song set like a an old veteran. Without anyone backing her, she sounded amazing. I honestly think that has to be hard for an artist to get up solo with a guitar and impress the crowd. She did an amazing job and I have a feeling we will see more of her in the future.
After a quick change of the stage, Tianna Woods, from Burlington Ontario hit the Bull and Barrel stage. Complete with a full band backing her, she rocked the stage, playing the guitar, fiddle and of course belting out some of the country hits of today. She is definitely another up and comer worth keeping an eye on. Go see more about the talented Tania at www.tiannawoods.com
Local London girl, Genevieve Fisher, was the next to take the stage. She didn’t need any introduction, judging by the crowd. Being the hometown girl, she had a large fan base there, cheering her on. Her vocals are powerful and this girl can sing. Soundcheck Entertainment’s own Hendrik replied to a tweet from the show, ” that he would listen to her sing the phone book “. Not totally sure what he means by that, but the performance of her song, ” Blame It On You”, that is catching a lot of local radio airplay on Country 104 and BX93, left everyone wanting more. For more from Genevieve, check out her website at www.genevievefisher.ca.
Another quick stage change and it was Shae Dupuy that was up next. The Cambridge Ontario artist impressed a lot of folks with her guitar skills and made sure everyone in the place knew who she was with her assortment of country songs, including her latest release, “Tin Man “. She tore up her 4 song set and you could see lots of heads bopping and a bunch of feet tapping to her performance. You can check out more of Shae on her website at www.shaedupuy.com.
The next group to hit the stage were just that, a group. So far, during the showcase, it had been all solo, female artists. Buck 20 hit the stage, and I asked myself, where have these guys been hiding? They are from the deep south of Ontario in the Windsor area and these guys knew how to rock the stage. You can catch them on the Bull and Barrel stage on occasion and I am willing to bet we will see more of them as the summer rolls on in Southern Ontario. Keep an eye on these guys at www.bucktwentyband.com.
The final performance of the night was an artist I had heard a lot of buzz about amongst the boys at Sound Check Entertainment. Dani Strong, from the Toronto Ontario area, hit the stage and she tore it up. With her gritty guitar sound and electrifying performance I wonder why this lass hasn’t been picked up by a label, yet. I had the chance to talk to her after her set and asked her what the CMAO means to her. Simply put, she said, “support “. I think Dani Strong is a name a lot of people will get to know in the local country music scene in the coming months. She has it all! She can sing and her stage presence brings it all together. Follow Dani at www.danistrong.net.
Bill Woodcock / @BillWoodcock