So there’s this new radio station in town, Ottawa’s New Country 94, and they aren’t wasting anytime, regardless of what Dallas Smith says, proving that they are here to put the party back into Ottawa.

Since debuting on the air this past fall they’ve been presenting sponsor for some of the biggest country music concerts at Canadian Tire Centre including Eric Church.  Last night their official launch party was held at the Algonquin Commons Theatre.  The event included cocktails, finger foods and some live music to keep the guests entertained….


No not that kind of cocktail party.

At this cocktail party the party was hosted by this guy, Ryan Lindsay of Ottawa’s New Country 94,

Ryan Lindsay Morning Host New Country 94

Ryan Lindsay Morning Host New Country 94

and the live music was provided by three of the top country music recording artists in Canada, two of which happen to be native to the Ottawa area: Jordan McIntosh, Kira Isabella and Dallas Smith.

First let me tell you about the theatre.  The Algonquin Commons Theatre is a new theatre that was built at Algonquin College in Ottawa, this stunning new theatre boast 700 seats and has played host to some major talent since it’s curtain opened for the first time in 2012.

Algonquin Commons Theatre

Algonquin Commons Theatre

Jordan McIntosh got first crack at the crowd performing a short set which included a few of the songs that have helped land him a place in the top 5 on TopCountry’s list of Top 10 Artists to Watch in 2015.  Ever since we met Jordan in the months leading up to the 2013 Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Competition we knew that there was potential in this kid from Carleton Place, Ontario and a year and a half later he continues to impress.

Jordan McIntosh performs at Ottawa's New Country 94 Launch Party

Jordan McIntosh performs at Ottawa’s New Country 94 Launch Party

His success hasn’t changed his character, Jordan remains a humble kid with a small town attitude and after his show sticks around until the last photo is taken and the last autograph is signed so that none of his fans miss out.  Jordan my only complaint is that you didn’t perform your wicked cover of Lil Wayne’s “How To Love”, next time ok?

Kira Isabella performs at Ottawa's New Country 94 Launch Party

Kira Isabella performs at Ottawa’s New Country 94 Launch Party

Next up was Ottawa’s country music princess, Kira Isabella.  This was my third time seeing Kira perform live, first time was at Boots and Hearts and then again a month later at the Spencerville Fair.  It’s no surprise that each time her performance gets a little bit better.

Kira Isabella greets a fan at Ottawa's New Country 94 Launch Party

Kira Isabella greets a fan at Ottawa’s New Country 94 Launch Party

When I first saw her live at Boots and Hearts I felt she was still a little raw and uncomfortable with the audience interaction, often seemingly imitating an overly surprised Taylor Swift ( you know the way she would act whenever she wins an award everyone knew she would win) only for Kira it was mock surprise at how much the audience loves her when she shouldn’t be surprised at all.  It was nice to see that her audience interaction has become more natural and effortless which makes it easier to relate to her and her music.  Kira took the audience through a journey of her music performing all of her hits and throwing in a few new tunes as well.  She capped the night off with an emotional performance of “Quarterback” which she dedicated to all of her fans in Ottawa.  Out of the three times I’ve seen Kira perform to date, this one was the best and the one that makes me look forward to seeing her again.

Dallas Smith performs at Ottawa's New Country 94 Launch Party

Dallas Smith performs at Ottawa’s New Country 94 Launch Party

Our headline artist of the night has a habit of wasting things like time and gas, but we won’t hold that against him.  By default he’s known across North America as the front man for Vancouver rockers Default but over the past few years he’s become known simply as himself, Dallas Smith.  Is he country or is he rock or something in between?  Does it really matter?  If you’ve ever seen Default perform live, I have three times (yes I get it that likely ages me a bit), you know that their show is high octane and leaves you winded by the end of the night.  Seeing Dallas Smith, country style, is no different.  This was my second experience seeing Dallas perform, my first was on a cold night in September at the Spencerville Fair.  On the first night Dallas, with a little bit of help from Tebey, managed to heat up the tent at the fair and last night in an already heated theatre Dallas raised the temperature to it’s flashpoint…or tippin’ point if you will.

Dallas Smith performs at Ottawa's New Country 94 Launch Party

Dallas Smith performs at Ottawa’s New Country 94 Launch Party

Why they bother putting a mic stand on stage for this man is beyond me, he doesn’t stand still long enough to use it.  From one side of the stage to the other back and forth making sure to engage his fans in the front rows as often as possible, Dallas Smith brought it.  Last night’s show was his first performance of 2015 and a warmup for his upcoming Tippin’ Point tour which kicks off a week from yesterday in New Brunswick with newcomers Sundy Best.  The Ottawa crowd was lucky to be the first ones to see two new songs (a cover of Lee Ann Womack’s “I  Hope You Dance” and “Heat Rises”) performed live one of which might be Dallas’ first ever attempt at a ballad which surprisingly worked.

From performances of Kings of Leons “Sex is On Fire” to Default’s “Wasting My Time” and his solo hits “Wasting Gas”, “Somebody Somewhere” and “Girl Like You” Dallas kept the crowd on their feet all night.  Only a few songs into his set I overheard someone beside me say “Oh oh, I’m already losing my voice”.  It’s for that reason that I write because I also have no voice today.  Dallas capped the night off by knocking down what was left of the walls and blowing what was left of the roof off with his performance of his biggest hit to date, “Tippin’ Point”.

Dallas Smith's band members perform at Ottawa's New Country 94 Launch Party

Dallas Smith’s band members perform at Ottawa’s New Country 94 Launch Party

Fredericton lookout Dallas is bringing the Tippin’ Point Tour your way in a week, you are not going to want to miss this tour; there are still tickets available!

Ryan Lindsay Morning Host New Country 94

Ryan Lindsay Morning Host New Country 94

I’d like to personally thank the crew at Ottawa’s New Country 94 for their support over the past few months.  We look forward to many more opportunities to work together in the coming months and years.  Welcome to Ottawa!