From Awards to the Outdoors: Ontario country music kicks off summer!
by Stephanie Brooks
It was a busy few months of preparation, soundchecks, press conferences, RSVPs, hype and hoopla, and glitz and glam.
The inaugural 2013 CMAO Awards held on May 27 in Markham were just as flawless as the winners they crowned. The awards were a celebration and showcase of the best Ontario has to offer in country music and provide both artists and budding artists with a tangible and exciting goal to work toward.
And along with awards shows like The Grammy’s, The Juno’s, CMT Awards, CMA’s and ACM’s (hey, we’re right up there, aren’t we?), the eventful ride that was the first CMAO Awards is coming to a bittersweet close… for a year.
After all, it’s the start of a new season – one dear to country music, as live outdoor festivals, jamborees, tailgates and campouts pop up throughout the province.
It’s the time of year for artists to sweat under the hot sun and fans to don their cowboy hats for some tunes, tans and… wine?
That’s what one Ontario winery is promising when it brings country music star Chad Brownlee to its vineyard for a live outdoor show overlooking Lake Ontario. Fielding Estate Winery in the Niagara region’s Beamsville Bench is hosting Live in the Vines, sponsored by KX94.7, on July 6 – a unique way to see one of Canada’s rising country artists perform while sipping on wine and enjoying local food truck favourites amongst rows of grape vines.
Chad Brownlee has made a name for himself Canada-wide since his debut single in 2009, The Best That I Can Do. The former NCAA hockey player and NHL draft pick won the Rising Star Award at the CCMA Awards in 2011, was nominated for Male Artist of the Year in 2012 and this year, received a Juno Award nomination for his most recent album, Love Me or Leave Me.
Amidst the high accolades, Brownlee keeps his humble outlook and stays true to his roots – sound advice for any of us. On this sincerity, he has been quoted as saying, “I think it’s just being who you are, being genuine and not hiding behind any facade. We’re just regular people who love to sing songs, entertain and just write. I guess being a down-to-earth, honest person is possibly the best attribute that I try to have.”
This attitude keeps him grounded and committed to the important aspects in his career – one of which is playing small-town venues and continuing to return to the places and faces that support him.
Live in the Vines presents one such opportunity for Brownlee, amidst a lineup of summer shows on big stages like the Calgary Stampede, Craven Country Jamboree and Boots & Hearts. This show is a way for fans and artists alike to experience a new concert style, network, and expand their horizons while witnessing the sounds of acoustic guitar and smooth vocals in a different type of country venue.
So until the next awards season, you’ll find me amongst the vines holding on tight as I can, wishing that summer wasn’t gonna end…