Country From the Hart – Bill Hart

Behind The Board – Craig Parks
February 15, 2013
What country music means to Ontarians
February 15, 2013

Country From the Hart – Bill Hart

If you’re a Country Music Association of Ontario member, then by now you have heard about the upcoming CMAO Awards.
Cool, right?

Oh hell yeah! After years of hard work, it’s due time for our provinces’ finest to be honoured and no doubt, this will be a great show.

Better than other shows? We’ll probably have a smaller budget than the Grammys had, but there are reasons that Country Awards shows at any level will indeed bring people to their feet.

7 reasons why?

1. At Country Music Award Shows, nobody would ever dream of crashing the stage during a presentation.
2. At Country Music Award Shows, a clean shirt & jeans meet all wardrobe requirements.
3. At Country Music Award Shows, nobody lip synchs nor knows how to.
4. At Country Music Award Shows, a live performance can ‘wow’ you without blowing something up.
5. At Country Music Award Shows, a diva is someone who complains about only being able to bring 2 beers to their seat.
6. At Country Music Award Shows, legends are not retired and they play for the love of it.
7. At Country Music Award Shows, meat is meant for eating not wearing.

Submissions for nominations are being taken now at

It’s probably the saddest thing to say when an artist gets the OK to have their song played on the radio: ‘It doesn’t sound Canadian!’ Kind of bittersweet, but songs can’t be recorded in the garage anymore. I’m really happy to see many performers are going all out and making music that reaches the levels of their neighbours to the south. I’m not saying they’re better; just that they have more disposable income.

One such moment happened recently.

My co-host Jennifer Campbell and I were sitting in the control room, doing our show a few weeks back when a new song came through the speakers. Nothing new, but this tune hit us smack in the face and we loved it!

We cranked the monitors, ignored the phones, and shut our yaps as we embraced this kick butt, in your face, big country attitude song!

Saw the name, sounded familiar and figured we read it on some piece of Nashville-based show prep. It can’t possibly be a Can-Con tune right?


The song was ‘Get By’ and was performed by Tim Hicks, a Niagara native who was recently on tour with Chad Brownlee, and Dallas Smith. Needless to say, he made the most of his opportunity because we freaked when we clued in to who he was!
He also opened the Boots and Hearts Music Festival in Bowmanville last year.

‘Oh, THAT Tim Hicks!’

We weren’t the only ones impressed, apparently!

His debut single, as of this writing, is holding the #1 sales position of all Canadian Country singles and currently top #30 on Billboard. Does a start like this get any better?

He has some dates coming up at Grace O’Malley’s in Toronto, and if this sales trend of his continues on iTunes, larger venues this summer!

I was a little saddened to hear London based duo ‘Sarah & Jeff’ have closed the curtain on what I thought was an act that was ready to make that leap in 2013!

It turns out, I wasn’t totally correct.

Sarah Beth and Jefferson Sheppard are still together, but the duo is now a trio with the addition of well-known Carl Welch on drums and backing them up vocally.

Don’t know if he’s going to stand on his instrument like his bandmates, but be assured you’re in for a visual treat as well as a listening one.

Plus, a little name change to ‘Doghouse Rose’.

So far, two shows in March in London and Kingston – check them out if you can.