Warm temperatures brought massive crowds to the festival grounds in Sainte Aga-Pit, Quebec for closing night of Festival Country de Lotbinière featuring James Barker Band and Tim Hicks.
Although I interviewed and featured James Barker Band while they were part of the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist competition a few years ago this would be my first time actually catching a full performance, and boy they would not disappoint.
Currently touring across Canada from festival to festival in a giant tour bus, that is unmistakable seeing as it has the bands name in giant letters written on its side, these guys are riding a wave of success that has followed them since winning the 2015 Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist showcase which landed them a deal with Universal Music Canada.
They arrived in Quebec hot on the heals of the release their debut EP Game On and boasting a #1 single on Canadian country radio “Chills”. But when they took to the stage they performed like a seasoned group of performers with years of performances under their belt.
The boys kicked off the show with “Throwback” and with that a fuse was lit, the guys rolled through each some on their EP and even dished out Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” which whipped the crowd into even more of a frenzy.
Luckily James slowed things down a tad with a solo ballad performance of Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine”, that gave fans a chance to cool down a bit before they turned things up again with “Chills” and their first single “Lawnchair Lazy”.
Its an exciting time in Canadian country music when it comes to emerging country bands. We’ve got James Barker Band, River Town Saints and Cold Creek County all going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.
The headliner for the evening needs little introduction, what haven’t we already said about Tim Hicks? He’s a class act, one of the finest in Canadian country music.
When Tim Hicks is on the bill you’re guaranteed an amazing show and the crowd in St. Aga-Pit got just that.
From “Shake These Walls” all the way through each of his hits including “Here Comes the Thunder”, “Dust and Bone”, “She Don’t Drink Whiskey”. “Slide Over”, “Get By” all the way to, crowd favourite “Stronger Beer”. The show didn’t end before Tim gave the crowd of some new music he wrote with, fellow Canadian, Deric Rutan while in Nashville recently.
As should be expected both Tim Hicks and James Barker Band have busy summers ahead playing festivals all across Canada. Tim Hicks will be returning to Ottawa Bluesfest this July to open for Tom Petty and James Barker Band will visit Montreal in August joining Keith Urban at the Bell Centre.
That’s a wrap for the third annual Festival Country de Lotbinière, do yourself a favour and add this event to your festival bucket list. It’s got an incredible small town feel and has every bit of potential to become one of the top country music festivals in Canada joining events like Cavendish Beach Country Music Festival, Havelock, Boots and Hearts and Dauphin’s Country Music Fest to name a few.
Special thanks to the organizers for inviting us out to cover the event this year and special thanks to the communities of St Aga-Pit and St Apollinaire for their warm hospitality and for putting up with our horrible French all weekend, we’re already looking forward to next summer.
We’ll have full details on the 2018 edition of the event as they come available, also be sure to bookmark www.countrylotbiniere.com