So I have been thinking about this one for awhile and it isn’t easy when you have 35+ artists spanning the course of 4 days of music.   But I have managed to get my The Top 10 Must See Artists at Boots & Hearts this week narrowed down.  These are artists that put on a hell of a show and usually have you begging for more.   Lets start off with

#10 – LINDSAY ELL

The reason is simple.  The girl can shred on guitar and has one killer voice to go along with that shredding.  Don’t miss her set at Sunday afternoon @ 3:45 PM on the Main Stage… #ByTheWay

Lindsay-Ell

Lindsay Ell

#9 – Jason Blaine

Jason Blaine is one of Canada’s top country acts and always seems to get the crowd singing along.   After seeing Jason a few times last year on the Three’s A Party Tour he really proved to me that he knows how to put on a show.  And you might as well hang out at the Main Stage after Lindsay’s set because Jason hits the stage at 5:15 PM.

Jason Blaine - Photo: Scott Burns Images

Jason Blaine – Photo: Scott Burns Images

#8 – Cory Marquardt

Now I personally believe they put this guy on the Main Stage at the wrong time.  BUT that being said if there was one person that could get the party started right there is no doubt in my mind that Cory Marquardt is that guy.  If you have not seen Cory live yet this is one of those sets that everyone is going to be talking about after saying how awesome of a performer he is.  Don’t miss Cory blow up the Main Stage on Friday at 1pm.

Cory Marquardt photo by Sean Sisk for Sound Check Entertainment

Cory Marquardt photo by Sean Sisk for Sound Check Entertainment

#7 – Madeline Merlo

Having seen Miss Merlo perform on a few occasions over the last 12 months I can honestly say this young lady has something special.  Playing Ukulele on one song then picking up the guitar for the next its pretty cool to see.  And for a young artist to have the audience interaction and comfort on the stage is refreshing to see.  Don’t miss Madeline on the Main Stage on Saturday at 4PM.

Madeline Merlo performs at KX Country's Bright Light Big Country concert at The Phoenix Concert Theatre - Photo: Scott Burns

Madeline Merlo performs at KX Country’s Bright Light Big Country concert at The Phoenix Concert Theatre – Photo: Scott Burns

#6 – Tebey

I remember the first time I saw Tebey live, back at Boots in 2012 when he won the Emerging Artists Showcase.  I thought to myself at the time, ya this guy might have something.   Well lets fast forward 4 years it’s 2016 and Tebey is helping kick off the big party on Thursday night at 6:35 PM on the Front Porch Stage.  He has a single climbing the charts with Lightweight and what I think might be his biggest single soon to smash the airwaves if Canadian Country has the the balls to play it.  Don’t miss his set folks he won’t disappoint.

Tebey performs on the Three's A Party Tour in Oshawa at The Regent Theatre - Photo: Scott Burns Images

Tebey performs on the Three’s A Party Tour in Oshawa at The Regent Theatre – Photo: Scott Burns Images

#5 – Jason Benoit

So the lad from out east makes the top 5.  I remember seeing Jason Benoit play for the first time on Tim Hicks Get A Little Crazy Tour and wishing he had a little longer set.  Well we get to see Mr. Benoit perform on Sunday at the Main Stage for a full 60 min at 2:15 PM.  And after hearing about his set last month in Cavendish we are super excited to catch his set at Boots and suggest you don’t miss it either.

Jason Benoit - Dallas Night Club - Kitchener - Photo: Scott Burns

Jason Benoit – Dallas Night Club – Kitchener – Photo: Scott Burns

#4 – Jake Owen

Well the next 4 could all have been #1.  And yes I am serious.  Jake Owen is UNREAL live!  The fan interaction taking selfies and gliding across the stage in his barefeet.   With a new album and a new set list it should be great to see Jake rock out on Thursday night at 9:30 when he takes to the the stage as the Headliner for the Kick Off Party that has gotten bigger and bigger each year and Jake is just the guy to make this one of the best Kick off parties ever.

Jake Owen performs at #RTP2016 in London, Ontario - Photo: Bill Woodcock

Jake Owen performs at #RTP2016 in London, Ontario – Photo: Bill Woodcock

#3 – River Town Saints

I know you are wondering how in hell did the boys of River Town Saints make into a top 3 list of must sees at Boots and Hearts.  Well then catch their set on Sunday at 3pm on the Front Poarch Stage.  When the boys hit the stage the electricity is just unreal.   Don’t miss it! ‘Nuff said.

River Town Saints Rock Boots & Bourbon Saloon during CMW 2016 - Photo: Mike Highfield

River Town Saints Rock Boots & Bourbon Saloon during CMW 2016 – Photo: Mike Highfield

#2 – Tim Hicks

Funny to see Tim Hicks sandwiched between 2 of his touring mates.   RTS Opened for Tim on a run of dates last fall opening shows on the University shows.  But Tim is set to make his 4th appearance at Boots in just the 5th year of the festival.  The last time Tim hit the stage at Boots the audience was nuts 2 years ago but I can’t wait for Tim to bring the party on Friday night at 5:30 PM on of course the Main Stage where 30,000+ screaming fans will surely be singing along to Stronger Beer.

Tim Hicks - Scotiabank Centre

Tim Hicks – Scotiabank Centre

#1 – Dierks Bentley

For those of you that have seen Dierks you know why he is at the #1 spot.  And for those of you that haven’t seen Mr. Bentley you will soon realize why he is in my #1 spot.   This guy puts it all out there EVERY show I have seen.  And I mean 100% he is in it for the fans.  You can tell he wants the audience to leave knowing that he worked his tale off up there to put smiles on faces and to give them a 2 hour vacation.   Dierks is hands down the bench mark when it comes to live performances and to have him back at Boots & Hearts on a Friday Night.. Well shine up your boots cause we gonna have a party on Friday night!

Dierks-Bentley-RiserTour-Ottawa-9

So this was my top 10 List… How about you?  Who are the top 3 artists you are most excited to see this year?  Comment below and we just might have a little something to giveaway  ** SURPRISE GIVEAWAY”

Corey Kelly / @CoreyKelly76