Nicola Valley attraction venues located in and around the City of Merritt, BC, Canada.

Aboriginal Day In the Nicola Valley

Celebrating Aboriginal Day in Merritt BC June 21, 2019

People in the Nicola Valley Celebrate Aboriginal Day

 

We celebrated Aboriginal Day in the Nicola Valley Merritt BC on June 21, 2019. Canada’s Governor General proclaimed the first National Aboriginal Day in 1996. Every year since then June 21 is the day for all Canadians to celebrate Canada’s  First Nation’s Aboriginal Peoples.

There are three Aboriginal groups in Canada – the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

Celebrating Aboriginal Day in The Nicola Valley Merritt BC

Along with the pounding Heartbeat of Mother Earth, the Regalia worn by the dancers will surely amaze you. A great day at Merritt’s Rotary Park on June 21, 2019. In case you missed it here is my photo collage for you to enjoy.

Aboriginal Day June 21, 2019.

Aboriginal Dance Regalia

Regalia is unique and sacred to each dancer. Therefore not to be ever confused with or referred to as costumes. Regalia is adorned with various materials. Most noteworthy Regalia outfits feature intricate beadwork (often sewn by a family member or friend), while others use ribbons, shiny materials or the use of traditional materials, such as porcupine quills.  While the ceremonial dress is beautiful to look at, pow wow etiquette requests that observers not touch or take pictures of dancers’ regalia without permission.

 

Women Dancers in full Regalia.

Experiencing Aboriginal Day in The Nicola Valley.

Crystal Spahan with her children dressed in their traditional First Nation regalia.

Aboriginal Day

Crystal’s regalia hand sewn and made by her Aunt.

Aboriginal Day

Crystal Spahan with her two beautiful children in their Regalia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Handmade Regalia

Noteworthy Crystal  Spahan’s elaborate shawl is uniquely decorated with distinct flower patterns, beadwork along with flowing fringes.

 

Back on the Red Road for the last 2 years.

Pow Wow Dances are Expressions of Indigenous Spirituality, History and Culture

In addition with the festivities going on, Aboriginal Day is also a day of learning about Canada’s Indigenous culture.  In fact I was honored to meet Stuart Patrick preparing his sons Regalia along with his own. He was ensuring that their regalia was well-secured before their performance.  Furthermore, I was welcome to interview Stuart Patrick.

Stuart Patrick

(Q1)  Are you from the Nicola Valley?

(Stuart Patrick) I am from Uclue Let (U-Cloo-let) Vancouver Island. I went to 2 residential schools, Christy Residential in Tofino first, and then closed Kamloops Residential School down.

(Q2)  When did you start to dance?

(Stuart Patrick) I dance for survival. I have quit cutting my hair, I am done with mourning. We lost our Potlatch rights when I was seven. I have always chased the “Pow wow” We dance for the seven generations before us, and for the seven generations after us.
I started walking the “Red Road”. After the second year you pick what you want, like dancing, drumming. You join the circle for life.

 

Aboriginal Day

Raven Patrick. Pow wow clothing and accessories are created with great care and attention,  hold deep meaning and spiritual significance to the dancer.

(Q3)  Were did you get your Eagle feathers?

(Stuart Patrick) A Fire Fighter from Merritt found a dead Eagle and gave the feathers to me.

(Q4) Do your children also dance?

(Stuart Patrick) My son Jacob is wearing my first Regalia outfit. And my daughter Raven is wearing the blue Regalia outfit. They both perform regularly throughout BC. We go to Pow Wows and perform at University’s and College’s.

(Q5) Who makes your Regalia?

(Stuart Patrick) Janice Sheena and Abraham Sheena. The beadwork.

(Q6) What dances do you perform?

(Stuart Patrick) I do traditional potlatch mask dancing. The Humming Bird and the Chicken Dance.

 

Jacob Patrick with his father Stuart Patrick.

In Addition 

Aboriginal Day

Celebrating Indigenous Day in full Regalia. Merritt BC Rotary Park.

The Work and Detail that Goes Into These Beautiful Regalia Dress

Desiree Dick has been dancing since she was 3 yrs old. Along with her mother Adriene Johnny & sister Kirsten Dick (Hand Drummer at MSS) they all have a “Passion for the Pow Wow”.  Desiree’s Grandmother was the artist behind her Regalia.

 

Desiree Dick

With The Beating of The Drums and The Dancers Performance

While the  Dancers take great care to ensure that their regalia is well-secured before a performance. Losing a part of regalia during a dance could cost a dancer the competition. Although this day was not a competition, but the work and care is very visible.

Cliff…. Stuart Patrick and son Jacob.

Additionally More Beautiful Regalia

Nadine Jules with daughter.

Awesome attendance at Merritt Rotary Park on Aboriginal Day

Furthermore with the beating of the drums and performing dancers. Everyone in attendance had a amazing day!

Rotary Park

People enjoying the festivities.

Pounding of Your Heartbeat

Above all hearing the Drum beat along with the vocals gathers all peoples together, regardless of gender, belief, or race. The throbbing pull of the Drum connects us, one to another, with the pounding Heartbeat of Mother Earth.

The Drummers. Leanard Bear Shirt, Robin Boston, Nadine Jules, Joelee Meldrum, Nate Dawgg. Red Spotted Horse.

A Bit of Culture Education

Drumming has always played a significant role in education, healing, history and ceremonies of the Native American peoples. Oral histories and stories, accompanied by drumming, play a vital role in passing on ancestral traditions and customs to new generations.

Warming of the Drum.

The Sound of the Drums Could be Heard Through Out the Nicola Valley

Nate Dawgg. Drummer & Dancer

Additionally A Teepee Was Set Up For All To Enjoy

Getting in touch with my Aboriginal Heritage.

Celebrating Indigenous Culture

Especially seeing all the Regalia and the dancing can transform you back in time.

 

 

Full Regalia

After All

Proclaimed June 21  National Aboriginal Day in 1996. It is a day to celebrate Canada’s First Nation’s Aboriginal peoples. Make sure you mark your calendar next year, June 21.

Teepee set up at Merritt BC Rotary Park for Aboriginal Day Celebrations.

Aboriginal Day in the Nicola Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country Music Hall of Fame Artist on The Merritt BC Mural Walk – Terri Clark

Canadian Country Hall of Fame Artist – Terri Clark

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Clark says, “There’s no formula for making it – everyone has there own journey.”

Results Of A Vision

Country Music Hall of Fame Artist, Terri Clark with over 5 million albums sold, as well as critically acclaimed international tours, and a string of hit singles, has solidified her place in the history books of Canadian Country Music.

Together with being a three time Juno award winner, and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee.  Clark also holds the honor of being the only Canadian female member of the legendary Grand Ole Opry.

Terri has been named CCMA Female Vocalist of the year, five times and has taken home eight CCMA Fan’s Choice Awards. In total Clark has had the honor of receiving 19 Canadian Country Music Awards.

Country Music Arist Terri Clark

Canadian Country Hall of Fame  Artist – Terri Clark

History Of The Star

Clark was born Terri Lynn Sauson on August 5, 1968 in Montreal Quebec, Canada. Her family moved and settled in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Raised in Medicine Hat, Terri is the third of four children. She has a younger brother Peter and two older sisters Kim and Tina. Terri`s parents divorced when she was young. Her mother remarried and Terri took on her stepfather`s last name.

Terri was part of a musical family. Ray and Betty Gautier, Clark`s grandparents, were both Canadian Country Musicians. They opened for numerous artist including George Jones and Johnny Cash. Her mother was a part of the folk scene playing coffee houses.

The Beginning of a Dream

Terri moved from Medicine Hat after graduation in 1987 to Nashville, Tennessee. She was 18 years old and moved lock, stock and barrel. She didn’t have a green card and didn’t know anybody. The only thing solid thing she took with her was a dream and some faith.

Once she hit Nashville she wandered into Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and asked if she could sing. She became the club’s house singer after management heard her sing. Even though this was a big step forward she wasn’t there yet. For the next seven years, she sang the clubs and worked odd jobs to survive. She never gave up and continued to try and land a record deal.

“At one point when things weren’t going all that great. I called my mom and I said, “I wanna come home.” She said, “Terri, if you do that, I don’t want you when you are 50 years old, to be sitting there going, “What woulda happened?”

Terri’s roots was traditional country. Traditional country at the time wasn’t something of interest to Country Music executives. But record producer and singer Keith Stegall gave her advice not to give up. Then in 1994, she landed an audition for Mercury Records. After seeing Clark perform live, the label’s president signed her on the spot.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Terri Clark Came Storming Out of Canada 1995-1997

Terri Clark came  out of Canada capturing the attention of America’s Country Music Industry.

Clark stayed close to her country roots, even if those roots were closer to new country than traditional country. Clark issued her first single, “Better things to do” in early 1995. The song reached the top five in both the United States and Canada.

Clark was an immediate success upon the release of her debut album in the summer of 1995.  The album featured “Better Things To Do”, “When Boy Meets Girl”, “If I were You” and  “Suddenly Single”. Terri supported the album with a tour opening for George Strait.

As a result, “If I Were You” became Clark’s first No. 1 hit in Canada in June 1996. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in the United States on April 5, 1996 and Platinum on July 29, 1997.

In the fall of 1996, Clark’s second album “Just The Same” was released, following the album’s first single, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” a cover of the 1976 Warren Zevon song. The single as well as the second single from the album “Emotional Girl,” reached number one in Canada with both songs reaching the top ten in the United States.

Picture: terriclark.com

Clark earned a nomination, for The Country Music Association’s Horizon Award, as well as the Academy of Country Music Awards Best New Female Vocalist, in the late summer of 1996. During late 1996, Clark earned the award, Single of the Year for “Better Things To Do” including Album of The Year for Terri Clark by the Canadian Country Music Association. She was also named. The Top New Female Artist of The Year by Billboard magazine.

1998 – 2001 Singing What She Knows And Feels

Clark’s third album, “How I Feel,” was released in May 1998. The lead single from that album, “Now That I found You,” reached the top five in both Canada and the United States. The album’s second single, “You’re Easy On The Eyes,” reached number one in Canada as well as the United States. The song also became a minor Top  40 hit, peaking at No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.  To promote her new album, Terri became the opening act for Reba McIntyre as well as Brooks and Dunn on their 1998 tour.

The release of “Fearless” the fourth studio album in September of 2000, delivered songs with more of an acoustic feel than that of her previous work. The album’s first single “A Little Gasoline”, was a late addition to the album. Mercury executives, of her label felt Clark needed to balance her new material with something that had a more familiar feel to it. Consequently, the song reached the top 10 in Canada. But only placed No 13 in the United States.

In March 1998, Clark visited Calgary, Alberta, Canada to film her first television special, Terri Clark Coming Home. The show premiered March 27, 1998 on CBC in Canada. During the special, Clark was visited by Canadian Country singers, Paul Brandt and George Fox. (Wikipedia)

2002 – 2004 – Grand Ole Opry Induction and A Playboy Magazine Offer

“Pain To Kill” was Clark’s fifth album. The album was released in January 2003, following the release of the album’s first single “I Just Wanna Be Mad”. Sara Evans passed on the song, originally written for her, by Kelley Lovelace and Lee Thomas Miller. Once released as a single, the song became Clark’s highest charting single in the United States. The song charted No 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

” I think of all the young girls who come to my shows. I think of those faces, I think of my mother, and I worry about the signal (sex) sends to them…”

“If I’m sexy enough for Playboy to want me with my clothes on. Then I hope, the message can be, that sexy is about, what’s between your ears, in your heart and your smile.”

Clark who came in second behind Canadian Country singer Shania Twain in a previous year poll, turned down an offer in early 2004 by Playboy magazine to pose, clothed for the cover of the magazine’s upcoming May issue.

During an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday, May 15, 2004. Steve Warner told Clark how much the Opry loved surprises and that he had one for her. Warner extended the surprise invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry family as her mother, Linda Clark, walked on stage holding a sign that read “Grand Ole Opry, June 12.”

” This is the epitome of everything I have existed for in this business and dreamed about as a kid”.

Canadian country music star Terri Clark became a Grand Ole
Opry Member in 2004 and is known for her hits like “Girls Lie
Too,” and more. Picture: Grand Ole Opry

Greatest Hits Album 1994-2004

The future Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and the new Grand Ole Opry inductee, introduced her first greatest hits album. “Greatest hits 1994-2004”. The album’s only single. “Girls Lie Too”, became Clark’s first number one hit in the United States since 1998’s, “You’re Easy On The Eyes”. The song did not reach number one in Canada.  It hit number one country song of 2004 in Canada by Radio & Records.

A non-album single, “The World Needs a Drink” (co-written by a then-unknown Eric Church), released in 2004, but was not included on any of Clark’s studio albums.

Musical Roots of Country Continue 2005-2010

November 2005, Clark’s new album “Life Goes On” hits the airwaves. All things considered. This would be the last album, Terri would produce with Mercury Records.

June 2006, Clark signed with BNA Records, a division of Sony BMG Label Group. “Dirty Girl”, the first single for the label hit the stands in 2007. Following was “In My Next Life” the title track to the debut BNA release.

Clark’s tour of Canada with Emerson Drive  opening for Big and Rich hoping to promote her new album. “My Next Life” was delayed several times. Consequently, the album remained unreleased. She parted ways with BNA in November 2008, in order to concentrate on her career in Canada and possibly launch her own record label. (Wikipedia)

Clark released a live album, “Terri Clark Live: Road Rage”, on her own BareTrack Records label in July 2009 through digital retailers. Clark’s seventh unreleased album through BNA, “The Long Way Home“,  shipped to all retailers in Canada and to all digital retailers in the United States on September 1, 2009, distributed by BareTrack/Capitol Nashville/EMI Canada. The album’s release to non-digital retailers in the United States, took place on October 20, 2009.

The Albums Keep On Flowing Through Perseverance and Determination 2011-2013

Clark’s eighth album  “Roots and Wings” hit the market on July 26, 2011. The album includes “Smile”, a song she wrote for her mom after her death, due to a long battle with cancer. The album’s lead single, “Northern Girl,” released on April 18, 2011. There is no question that Terri Clark, will be headed for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

The ninth album released on November 13, 2012, in Canada. The album includes classic country standards. “Love Is A Rose,” is  the album’s lead single. Not only does the album duets include Jann Arden, Dierks Bentley, Tanya Tucker, but also Dean Brody as well as Reba McIntire.

Clark took home the CCMA Female Artist of The Year Award in 2011. Terri built a fan base like no other and again took home the CCMA Fan’s Choice Award for 2013.

The Rewards and Vision of a Continuing Career

“Some Songs”. The production and release of Clark’s 10th took place on September 2, 2014. Her 11th album “Raising The Bar” was released on September 4, 2018.

Clark signed on to America’s Morning  Show on Nash FM in 2013, as co host to Blair Garner and Chuck Wicks. She co hosted on America’s Morning Show for about a year, before she returned to her road roots.

“I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I started doing it again.”

Country Gold With Terri Clark

The internationally syndicated radio show “Country Gold with Terri Clark, airs on more than 145 stations across the United States as well as Canada. As of April 2016, Terri became the new hostess of the Saturday night classic country program, replacing Randy Owen. Terri earned a 2017 CMA nomination for Broadcaster Personality of The Year as well as a 2018 ACM award for National Broadcast Personality of the year.

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame Induction

“It is such an honour to be inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Being celebrated as one of Canada’s most influential country musicians is a recognition I do not take lightly, and one I will forever be proud of. I am deeply grateful to everyone, who has been on this journey with me, especially my fans who I had the opportunity to celebrate with today.”

Terri performed at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2003. Displaying the talent, that would make her the International, Canadian Super Star she is today. She controls the stage in an international fashion, as well as providing her audience with a magical show in True Country Style. She performed the same caliber, and beyond in 2014 at the Rockin River Fest in Mission, BC.

During a 2014 interview by Shawn Conner of the Vancouver Sun, he asked. “Do you miss the bad ol’ days of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival? Terri replied:

“You know what, Merritt, BC is beautiful. Any festival there, whatever you want to call it, is going to be a party. We have the best crowds out west, they like to break loose and have a good time.”

Clark’s Merritt Mountain Music performances including her support of Canadian Country Music, lead to a mural on the wall of the BC Country Murals, included in The Merritt BC downtown Mural Walk. Terri Clark’s mural painted by Michelle Loughery in 2009, is displayed in Spirit Square, on the corner of Granite Avenue and Voght Street.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Merritt Attractions – Take The Walk

To begin with, start your downtown mural tour at Merritt’s National Attraction. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Situated on Quilchena Avenue in The Country Music Capital of Canada.

The murals are impressive, I recognized the singers right away. What a clever way to make a small city interesting and fun.” (Betty W Missoula, Montana)

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

Walk of Stars Handprints

In addition, while on your mural tour, visit the many handprints of country artists situated throughout the town.

Hundred’s of International Country Music Artists have performed at the annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival. As a result, those stars  left their mark permanently, by placing their handprints (or, in one case, footprints) and signatures in concrete stars. As a result, in 2003, those stars became the basis for the Merritt Walk of Stars. In addition, by 2005 more than 100 bronzed stars, created from the concrete impressions, were displayed throughout the community. (Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame)

Above all, the handprints will continue to grow with the Rockin River Music Fest, and add to the existing legacy of the Stars that have visited and performed in Merritt, BC.

 Discover and experience the natural beauty and attractions in Merritt and the Nicola Valley!

Terri Clark is very much active at the writing of this blog. Follow her on:

https://www.terriclark.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TerriClark

https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialTerriClark

https://www.instagram.com/terriclarkmusic/

Terry Clark – Merritt, BC, Canada Mural

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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Don Messer Country Music Legend Mural

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame

“Don Messer left a celebrated legacy. He was one of the first Canadian artists to be a recording, radio and TV star, as well as, play live concerts all at the same time. “

Don Messer Country Music Legend

Don Messer

Merritt BC attractions, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Merritt Murals, both feature Country Music Legend Don Messer. The country music venue and murals are located in the community of Merritt BC Canada in the Nicola Valley.  The community is also the “Country Music Capital of Canada”.

Don was a Canadian band leader, a radio broadcaster, and a defining icon of folk music in the 1960″s. 

Born in 1909 in Tweedside, New Brunswick, Don was the youngest of 11 children. It all started at the age of five, while learning fiddle tunes with Irish and Scottish influences. Consequently, by the age of seven he was playing fiddle for square dances on a regular basis fine tuning his craft.

Destined To Be A Merritt BC Attraction

By the time Don was a teenager, he had amassed a collection of hundreds of reels, and jigs, including breakdowns and other pieces for his fiddle. Moreover he was playing endless square dances, and country dances as well as weddings and other parties. At the age of 16 he moved to Boston, Massachusetts where he received formal music lessons, where he learned to read and write music. In short Don Messer created a fiddle style to operate within a band context. As He put it,

“I play the melody and let the accompaniment fill in the details”

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Merritt BC Attractions and Legends Must Start Somewhere

Messer began his career with radio. In 1929 at the age of 20, he moved to Saint John, New Brunswick where he joined CFBO radio station. As a result Don became a bandleader recruiting musicians to play on the radio in Saint John. Early recruits Charlie Chamberlain, Duke Nielsen, and Ned Landry formed the New Brunswick Lumberjacks. These band members stayed with Don for the next 39 years.

Messer led a smaller group, the “Backwoods Breakdown” which made up of Charlie Chamberlain, Julius ‘Duke’ Nielsen and Don Messer, himself. He used this group, for personal appearances throughout the Maritimes and Northeastern USA.

“There’s something about my music that seems to upset the emotions.”

Setting The Stage 

Messer, one of the Merritt BC Mural Attractions was hired by CFCY  Charlottetown in 1939 as their Music Director. It was here he formed the band “The Islanders” and became “Don Messer and The Islanders”. CBC picked up Don Messer and the Islanders show. By 1944 it was airing three times a week.

Formed around 2 of the original members, Charlie Chamberlain and Duke Nielsen, the show established itself as the most popular on Canadian Radio and would  continue for almost 20 years.  The singer Marg Osburne joined the band in 1947 and became (with Messer and Chamberlain) the artist most identified with the Islanders.

Because of the huge success of the radio show. Messer and the Islanders began to appear outside the Maritimes. Their first tour was in Ontario in 1949. They made 18 tours by 1969, including a centennial trip in 1967 that lasted 3 months and covered 61 centers.

This Fiddler Of Canada

His credits include combining many different Canadian fiddle traditions. As a result, he played a relatively straight, and unadorned melody line, with great precision and assurance with little ornamentation, rhythmic nuance, or expressiveness.  His style influenced others, as it was clean, straight and neat. Marked by its down to earth simplicity.

Don Messer’s Television Era

In 1956 Don Messer and The Islanders began to appear regularly on CHBY-TV, Halifax. Soon followed by “The Don Messer Show’ in August 7, 1959 and continued as the “Don Messer’s Jubilee”.

Fiddler Night In Canada

The show was super popular and won over a wide audience. It was so popular it won top spot in the ratings two years in a row, beating out “Hockey night in Canada” and “The Ed Sullivan Show”. Over the next nine years it reportedly was the second most watched show in Canada next to “Hockey Night In Canada.”

A Show For Canadians To Meet

As has been noted, the show was notable because it had a regular guest performer time slot. Giving rise to many Canadian folk singers through national exposure, including Stompin’ Tom Connors, Catherine McKinnon, and fiddler Graham Townsend. There were many others including a young 10 year old fiddler named Jim Elliot.

Don Messer never took anything for granted. He had already suffered the vagaries of CBC management for 20 years in radio. CBC offered no long term security. But it did provide a platform for him to share his music with the nation.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Coming To An Abrupt End

Don was handed a telegram on April 14, 1969, saying that the Don Messer’s Jubilee was cancelled. Don was very upset, the fans were revolting. CBC received hundreds of phone calls, as well as, thousands of letters. The cancellation of the show generated many complaints including former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, who was a fan of the show. The fans organized a demonstration on Parliament Hill, even raising questions in The House of Commons. Consequently, a syndicated version of “Don Messer’s Jubilee “originated from CHCH-TV, in Hamilton Ontario in 1969, and ran until Don Messer’s death in March of 1973.

Legacy of Don Messer on the wall of Merritt BC Mural Attractions

Don Messer left a celebrated legacy. He was one of the first Canadian artists to be a recording, radio and TV star, as well as, play live concerts all at the same time.

Messer was inducted in into the Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Honor in 1985 and, with Chamberlain and Osburne, into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.

 “My music is not Western or Cowboy music. Our tunes have been around for two or three hundred years. They’re folk tunes passed from generation to generation.”

Visit Don Messer`s Mural in Merritt BC and downtown walking tour.

Merritt BC Canada Country Music – Merritt Murals

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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Merritt Dry Cleaning & Coin Laundry

Merritt Laundry, Country Music and Storytelling.

“In all my travels criss-crossing Canada I can safely say that Christine and Joe are the most fun and entertaining laundromat hosts I have had the privilege of meeting.”

Not all laundromats are created equal and the Merritt BC laundromat I visited today not only cleaned my clothes but also welcomed me to Merritt BC Canada with history, stories and life lessons. I have had a busy, busy past 10 days, living in and out of wearing shorts, jeans and dress pants. As a result my dirty clothes pile was getting out of hand, taking over the corner of my sleeping quarters. Drastic measures needed to be implemented. I was running low on the essentials like socks, pants and you know what. What to do?

Searching For A Merritt BC Laundromat

The dirty clothes pile was taking on a life of its own and 1 washer and dryer was just not going to cut it. It would take me days to get through it all. The situation called for drastic measures and the help of laundry experts! Therefore I was left with little options. I packed up my clothes and went to a Merritt BC laundromat.

The Coolest Country Music Laundromat Ever

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Christine Taylor and Joe Astleford – the owners of the coolest country music laundromat I have ever washed and dried in. It was refreshing, as friendliness sometimes is lacking when washing clothes. However, not at this laundromat. For over 30 years this couple has serviced locals and visitors alike when they have been in need of clean clothes. On this day it was my turn.

“Christine and Joe are real fun characters of the “good people” kind,” Greg Girard 

Christine and Joe

Washers and Dryers

The Merritt BC laundromat is rumored to be the 3rd largest in British Columbia, Canada. I have no idea, but from my experience it is one of the largest I have been in during my travels across Canada. There are many washers for all sizes of loads and an equally abundant number of dryers. And… they all work! That is a rarity in laundromats, right. Also, in the back of the building, there is a service counter where people can arrange for laundry pick-up and dry cleaning services.

Merritt BC Laundromat Washers & Dryers

Merritt Attraction and Laundry

What makes this laundromat a Merritt attraction is the massive collection of country music paraphernalia. On every wall there are portraits of Canadian and international country music artists. Many of them signed by the artist themselves. If you look closely, some of the portraits have a gold star. The gold stars indicate that the country music personality has played in Merritt BC Canada at one time or another. There is said to be over 280+ portraits. You got to check out this Merritt hidden attraction. It is almost worth it to have dirty clothes when visiting and exploring in the Nicola Valley.

Country Music Artist Portraits

Country Music List for Rockin’ River Musicfest

The List – Country Music Artists

For the true country music fan there are is a list, posted in the back, of all the country music stars who have played in the Nicola Valley at the Merritt Country Music Festival and the Rockin River Music Festival. It is an impressive list. And for all of you who have grown a liking to Merritt BC Canada make sure to pick up one of the Merritt t-shirts or hats sold on site.

Meet Christine and Joe

But it is not the clean facility, the country music artists nor the amount of washers and dryers that made an impression on me during this laundry day. No, it was the conversations I had with Christine and Joe that made my day whiz on by. I appreciated that they took the time to chat with me about Merritt, its history, and why they love it here – on most days. They are only human by the way.

Encyclopedia Christine

Christine was my first conversation with the Merritt BC laundromat. She was a joy to talk to right off the bat. What a pleasant and nice women. She joked that I got her on a good day. It did not take me long to like this lady and to figure out that this women is a staunch supporter of Downtown Merritt. The conversations we had took many lefts and rights covering many topics covering a 30 year community timeline. She kept my attention so much so that when it came to putting more change in the dryer there was a substantial delay on my part.

Joe The Mechanic

Then there was Joe. A great compliment to Christine. I learned that Joe has a deep passion for family, cars, motorcycles and travel. I was fortunate enough that Joe decided to share with me his many photos of his classic car collection, and motorcycle travels. Then came the stories of where and how Joe and Christine did some road tripping throughout North America. That was when my karma peaked. The mention of road tripping is my trigger. I will talk all day with people who enjoy the art of road tripping. I ate it all up. In closing Joe shared a another photo of one of his creative moments – the time Joe built an “elevator” high-riding bicycle. That is my name for it. Have to visit and ask Joe if you want the official name.

Pride Of Ownership In The Nicola Valley

Christine and Joe are a great example of small town pride and “pride of ownership” of a local business. Their customer interaction skills are top notch. As I walked out the door, I joked with them both,

“I am going to dirty this laundry really fast so I can come back soon.”

As I walked to my jeep I said to myself, “Did I really say that? I want to do laundry soon?” In hindsight that is probably the best type of compliment one could give to a laundromat. That says everything you need to know about Christine and Joe’s Merritt BC laundromat.

Contact Laundromat:
Merritt Dry Cleaning & Coin Laundry
1926 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC V1K 1B8
(250) 378-2676

Hours:
Monday to Saturday: Closes at 5 PM
Sunday: Closes at 4 PM

Merritt BC Canada Laundromat and Dry Cleaning Services

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Merritt BC Murals – Brooks and Dunn

Country Music Capital Of Canada

“Many say to this day, including this youth blogger, that the country music duo are one of the most successful contemporary country musicians to date.”

As we all know, especially those of us who are growing up in Merritt,  we live in the Country Music Capital of Canada. Therefore, as part of  to celebrating country music, there are 20 or so murals, the “Walk of Stars” (75+ handprints and 1 footprint) and the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame located in Merritt, BC, Canada.

You can see the Merritt country music attractions when walking around downtown while sightseeing and shopping. The country music stars, Brooks and Dunn, are one of the artists you can see on the side of buildings located throughout our downtown. Here I am at their mural on the side of the Work BC building.

Brroks and Dunn Mural

Jordyn Lee (Youth Blogger – Experience Nicola Valley) /Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Brooks and Dunn in Merritt BC

Brooks and Dunn first played in Merritt, BC, Canada in 2004 for the Merritt Mountain Music Festival. Like Brooks and Dunn, there have been many country music artists who have come through Merritt and have left their mark with a  mural painted on the walls of our town. The Country Music Hall of Fame is in the middle of it all. The popular attraction is another must-see when you are visiting the Merritt BC murals.

“I don’t have any hobbies. Music is my hobby” – Ronnie Dunn

Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn

If you listen to  country music, you know Brooks and Dunn. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn began their country music career together  in 1990. In the 1980s, before they formed a duo,  Kix and Ronnie recorded two solo singles each. Ronnie Brooks also released an album for Capitol Records in 1989 and, at the time, was also writing songs for other musicians.

The duo wrote 50 singles, which 20 hit #1 on the Hot Country Songs Charts and 19 made it into the Top 10.  Brooks and Dunn have won 2 Grammys, dozens of ACM’ and CMA awards. Because of some of their hit songs like “My Maria” “Believe”, “Only in America” and “Ain’t Nothing ’bout You” they have sold over 30 million albums.

 

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Impact on Country Music

One of their biggest hits, “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”, is credited to bring back to life line dancing in country bars across North America. The country music due worked with many other artists including the likes of Reba McEntire,  Sheryl Crow, Billy Gibbons, Vince Gill,  Mac Powell, and Jerry Jeff Walker among others.

All Things Come To An End

In August 2009 Brooks and Dunn retired from country music. According to Brooks, the split was on good terms. During an interview Brooks told CMT that he and Dunn are “still good friends”, while Dunn said that,

“We’ve ended up more like brothers.”

Their final live performance was in September, 2010, in Nashville, Tennessee. Both musicians moved forward and dedicated their time to solo careers. In 2015 the duo reunited for some Las Vega shows performing alongside Reba McEntire. In 2019, Brooks and Dunn were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Kix Brooks

Born May 12th, 1955  in Shreveport, Louisiana. He learned country music through his neighbour, Johnny Horton. Soon later he began preforming with his neighbour’s daughter. Growing up in high school Kix played in clubs and wrote songs on the side.

When he got older, he worked on an oil pipeline, then moved to Maine and got a job at a song writing company. His attempt at songwriting started and ended with “Baby, When your heart breaks down”. However,  because it barely made the charts in 1983, he returned to songwriting. It was then he met Ronnie Dunn and their whole world of country music changed for the better.

Ronnie Dunn

Born on June 1st, 1953 in Coleman, Texas and was raised in Tulsa Oklahoma. He originally went to school to become a Baptist Minister but was asked to leave because he was performing country music at local bars around his hometown.

After Ronnie was kicked out of college, he went on to write many songs, but none of them hit the big time. It was when Brooks and Dunn teamed up and released “Brand New Man”that both of their careers took off.  Many say to this day, including this youth blogger, that the country music duo are one of the most successful contemporary country musicians to date.

“The music has to drive you. That’s just it. You follow it. You follow the songs” – Ronnie Dunn

Merritt BC Murals

The Brooks and Dunn mural is located at 2099 Quilchena Avenue on the side of the Work BC building in Downtown Merritt in the Nicola Valley.

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

In conclusion, you can learn more about Brooks and Dunn on their FacebookInstagramTwitter pages, s well as, their website.

Merritt BC Canada Downtown Mural Digital Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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** Information resources includes the Brooks and Dunn website, Wikipedia page, and social media pages.

Downtown Walking Tour Merritt Murals

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Featured Country Music Musician : Johnny Reid

“One of the biggest lessons is to keep your feet on the floor. Just keeping grounded and not really getting above yourself and always trying your best to be yourself.” Johnny Reid

Country Music Artist – Johnny Reid came to Canada at the age of 13. Thinking that Canada would give his children more than they received from their home in Scotland, his father moved Johnny and his brothers to Ontario, Canada.  Most importantly, the move exposed Johnny Reid to the Canadian country music scene.

In short,  songs like, “Another Day Another Dime”, “Born to Roll,” “Dance with me,” “Fire it up” propelled Johnny into the spotlight in the Canadian country music industry.

Singing Career Taking Off

In 1997 Johnny Reid released his debut album “Another Day Another Dime.” However, this album produced no singles.  Consequently, in the year 2000, Reid released his second self titled album which produced three singles. Therefore “Givin’ Up on Me” was the first single to be released and reached top 45. The second single “Runnin’ Wild” charted at 50. Lastly, the third single “She Don’t Wanna Hear” hit 41 on the Country Charts.

Born for Country Music

Johnny’s third album “Born to Roll’ was released in early 2005. As a result, the single “You Still Own Me” was released in 2004.  The song hit the top 20 and the album topped out at #5 on the Canadian Top Country Albums Chart. Topping #19 was the second single from this album “Sixty to Zero”. Moreover, Reid reached the top 10 with his third single “Missing and Angel.” The fourth single “Time Flies” also hit top 10, as well as, the song “Gypsy in My Soul” made #12.  In short this album was Reid’s first certified Gold Album.

“We can’t run from our roots. You’re fifteen or sixteen and ears are pinned to radio, or, today, smartphone and a track comes on and you’re suddenly engrossed. You hear it on many levels – melody, lyrics, message; rhythm and instrumentation.” 

2007 – 2009

The new single “Love Sweet Love” was released in and around April 2007 from his new album “Kicking Stones”. In addition, a number of chart topping singles came from this album including songs like “Kicking Stones”, “Darlin”, “Thank You” and “Out of the Blue.”

“Dance with Me”, Reid’s fifth studio album was released in 2009. From this album Johnny reached #1 on the Canadian Top Country Albums chart. The first single released from this album was “A Women Like You” and it reached #4 on the country charts. “Dance with Me”, as well as, “Old Flame” also made into the top 10.

2010 – 2015

After that, in 2010, Reid’s next studio album “A Place Called Love” hit the country music airwaves. The single from this album “Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World” was released in June of that year. In addition, Reid also played at Parliament Hill on Canada Day for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip.

During the year of 2012 ” Fired Up” made its debut.  Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Serena Ryder collaborate on this album on four songs and a DVD about the making of the album.

Reid also released his second Christmas album entitled “A Christmas Gift to You” in October of 2013. The first Christmas album “Christmas” was released in November of 2009.

November 2015 Reid released “What Love Is All About” Kardinal Offishall is featured in a duet with Reid. “A Picture of You” was the first single from the album, as well as, a second single called “Honey Honey.”

Johnny Reid Wins Awards

Country Music Artist – Johnny Reid is a winner of many country music awards.

  • Firstly, in 2005, Johnny won Independent song of the Year for “You Still Own Me” at the Canadian Country Music Awards.
  • Then in 2006 and 2007 he won Chevy Trucks, Rising Star Award, Independent Male Artist of the Year, Independent single of the Year “Missing an Angel”, as well as, Independent Male Artist of the Year.
  • Soon later, in 2008 Johnny won Top Selling Canadian Album “Kicking Horse”, Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year “Dance with Me,” Video of the Year “A Woman Like You,” Male Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year “A Woman Like You”, as well as, a Top Selling Canadian Album “Dance with Me” from Canadian Country Music Awards.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Awards Keep Coming for Johnny Reid

  • As a matter of fact, soon later, the Juno Awards came calling in 2010.  Reid won Country Album of the Year for “Dance with Me.” Reid also won Songwriter of the year “Dance with Me,” Top Selling Canadian Album “Dance with Me,” as well as,  Fans Choice Award from the Canadian Country Music Association.
  • 2011 was no different with Reid winning Country Album of the Year “A Place Called Love” and Video of the Year “Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World” from the Canadian Country Music Association.
  • In 2012 he won Top Selling Canadian Album “Fire Up.” 2013 was a Juno for Country Album of the Year “Fire it Up” along with CCMA Top Selling Canadian Album “Fire it Up”.
  • Reid wins continue to pile up between 2014 – 2016 with a Juno for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year “A Christmas Gift For You,”  CCMA Fan’s Choice Awards (2014), Top Selling Canadian Album “A Christmas Gift For You” Fans Choice Award (2015), followed up with a National Achievement Award from SOCAN Awards.

The Early Years of Country Music with Johnny Reid

Johnny Reid was born John Kirkland on August 21 1974 in Lanark Scotland. After that, in July 1988 when he was 13 years old,  Johnny’s father moved him and his brothers to Canada where he thought they would have a better life.

Reid graduated from high school in Brampton Ontario in 1992. Followed up with an education at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec. It is here at university where Johnny was a kicker for the varsity football team. More importantly, he met his wife at university. Moreover, Reid and his wife moved to Nashville to pursue his country music career.

Marriage is Good For Johnny Reid

“All of that music I heard growing up came from my mother’s record collection. Stax Records, Alabama, soul music – stuff with a lot of beats and a lot of rhythms really influenced my songwriting process.” Johnny Reid (FYI Music News)

In 2015 or 2016 (dates have never been confirmed) Johnny married his college sweetheart Jennifer. Together they have 4 children, 3 boys and a girl.  Reid’s wife Jennifer is a very well known blogger. If you’d like to check out her blogs go to A Woman Like You.  Sound familiar? It is the title to one of Johnny’s hit songs written about Jennifer.

“My ma and her friends would get together on a Friday and a Saturday and the record player would be on and they’d be listening to the Supremes, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke – great singers and great songs.” Johnny Reid (FYI Music News)

Johnny Reid Country Music

Michelle Bacon (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Merritt BC Murals and Johnny Reid

Johnny came to Merritt in 2009 to play at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin River Music Festival). Soon later, in 2015 the president Kenny Hess made the decision to Move the Rockin’ River Music Festival to Merritt from Mission BC.

Soon later, the Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. They are part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

There are other Merritt BC Canada attractions besides the Johnny Reid Merritt BC Mural. One of them is the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame’s Walk of Stars. In short the stars includes one foot print and over 75+ hand prints located throughout the downtown Merritt area. Consequently, finish your touring with a visit to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Downtown Merritt BC Canada also offers a vast array of gift stores, clothing retailers and places to eat.

Merritt BC Murals Johnny Reid

Michelle Bacon (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Reid’s highlights of coming to Merritt

Furthermore, Reid was very moved by the youth he spoke with while visiting Merritt BC.  In short, the history of what the youth had been though as well as the changes they had to make resonated with Reid.

“It’s very humbling to look at yourself on a wall in a community you have only visited two times. It is a very cool thing to look back on later in life. It will be pretty great to show my boys.” Johnny Reid

** In conclusion, the information resources accessed for this article includes Johnny Reid.com, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook , as well as, FYI Music News.

Featured Country Music Musician : Johnny Reid

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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Lisa Brokop Merritt BC Canada Murals

Lisa Brokop Merritt BC Murals

Journey to Merritt Murals

“I love what I do. Every note I sing, whether in studio or on stage, is true. It hasn’t always been an easy road. There has been many curves, bumps and detours. But really, it is the love of the music that motivates each step I take in the business. It keeps me moving forward.” Lisa Brokop

Lisa Brokop is a Canadian Country Music Singer/Songwriter featured on the walls of  the Merritt BC Murals. Born June 6, 1973 in Surrey, British Columbia, Lisa made her presence known in the entertainment world by the age of seven. It was then she started performing with her mother, who was a seasoned accordion player.

At age twelve, Lisa started sitting in on jam sessions with various country music bands throughout Vancouver, BC. By age fifteen she joined a touring band and was off to the races. It was obvious she was destined to be featured on the walls of our Merritt BC Murals located in the Nicola Valley in the community of Merritt BC Canada.

Sweet 16 And Beyond For Lisa Brokop

1990 at seventeen, Lisa released her debut single, “Daddy Sing To Me”. The song reached the top ten on The Canadian Country RPM Charts. In addition, “My Love”, her debut album, followed in June of 1991.

After graduation Lisa moved to Nashville, Tennessee to further her country music career. While performing at local clubs, Brokop caught the attention of The Nashville Network. The network began to play the video for Brokop’s single “Time To Come Back Home”. As a result they had Lisa make a guest appearance on The Ralph Emery Show. This appearance and a thirty minute showcase resulted in Lisa Brokop getting a record deal with Patriot Records.

Melvina White (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Lisa Brokop Harmony

Before Brokop began recording her second album, she starred in the 1994 film Harmony Cats, where she played a country singer who leaves home in search of a big break in Nashville. Lisa Brokop contributed to the movie’s soundtrack and her cover of Tammy Wynette’s 1968 number one hit “Stand By Your Man” was issued as a single.

Back On And Off The Winding Road Of Recording

Lisa Brokop’s second album released the single “Give Me A Ring Sometime”, in June 1994. The single made the top 20 in Canada, but unfortunately it only reached No. 52 on the US Billboard Chart. Nevertheless, her first major label album. “Every Little Girl’s Dream”, was released in September of 1994.

In the meantime ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ was charting. However, many Canadian radio stations refused to play Lisa’s music because the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication ruled that ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ did not have enough Canadian Content in the song. Nevertheless, Brokop’s album went on to produce two more top 40 singles in Canada with ‘Take That’ and ‘One Of Those Nights’.

1995 And Lots Of Change

By 1995, the album was certified Gold by the CRIA, for sales peaking 50,000 copies. Included in 1995 was a nomination for Top New Female Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Also in 1995, Patriot Records closed its doors and Brokop transferred to Capital Nashville.

Lisa released her third album ‘Lisa Brokop’ the following year. The album did not do so well. As a result none of the album singles reached the top 40 in Canada or The United States. The failure of the album ended her relationship with Capital Nashville.

Consequently she decided to take some time off and focus on song writing. As a result, some country music stars took notice and started recording tracks she penned, including Reba McEntire, Terri Clark, and Pam Tillis.

Lisa Brokop Selfie Photo

Change Brings Opportunity

 Brokop signed with the Nashville division of Columbia Records, in 1998, where she released the single ‘How Do I Let Go’. The song reached the top 20 of The Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart and received a nomination for “Socan Song of the Year” at the 1998 Canadian Country Music Awards Show.

In July of 1998, Lisa released in Canada the album, ‘When You Get To Be You’. It produced five more singles, including ‘What’s Not To Love’ that peaked at No 21. And, soon later, ‘Better Off Broken’ peaked at No. 8 becoming Brokop’s highest charting single on The Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart in 1999. The album was not released in the US and as a result Lisa Brokop left Columbia Records at the end of 1999.

Undeniable Change

In 2000, Brokop ventured on her own and launched Cosmo Records. It was under this label she released her fifth album, ‘Undeniable’.  Lisa Brokop received in 2001 two Canadian Country Music Association awards for Independent Song of The Year for ‘Something Undeniable’ as well as independent Female Artist of The Year.

The album’s third single, ‘I’d Like To See You Try’, won Brokop Independent Song of The Year as well as Independent Female Artist of the Year in 2002, from The Canadian Country Music Association. 2003 saw her receive another Independent Female Artist of The Year award.

Country Music In The Merritt Mountains

Lisa’s hand print was taken in July 1995 at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin River Music Festival). Followed soon after by the unveiling of the hand print in Merritt, BC.

Again Lisa returned back to Merritt BC on Sunday, July 8, 2001 for her performance at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival. Followed, soon later, by the 10th Anniversary of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2002. Then again she returned to Merritt at the launch of the Walk of Stars in 2003. Lisa was the main attraction for the gala which was a huge success.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Merritt BC Murals Downtown Walking Tour

Because of her desire, talent, passion, perseverance, and dedication to her music Lisa has definitely earned her place on the Merritt BC Murals. Lisa’s mural is located on the side of the Home Hardware building. There was a special ceremony for Lisa to unveil, and sign her Mural in 2006.

Her mural rests on the side of the Home Hardware building located at 1701 Voght Street. Her hand print is located at 2076 Coutlee Avenue.

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

Back On The Road And Going Strong

Brokop’s seventh album ‘Beautiful Tragedy’, was released in August of 2008. As a result, it featured a top 20 hit ‘Break It’.

In 2013, Lisa returned to commercial country radio and had success with songs ‘Let It Burn’ and ‘Love Me If You Can’ both of which were produced by fellow Canadian superstar Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

Lisa put together the new musical venture, ‘Lisa Brokop: The Patsy Cline Project’ where Lisa pays homage to one of country music’s greatest ladies. The project features some of Cline’s classic hits like ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Walkin after Midnight’ as well as some of her own material written specifically for the project.

“I’ve come full circle with this project,” Brokop says. “When I first started singing, I would sing some of Patsy’s songs because I didn’t have any of my own. They are still among some of my favorites today and I am so excited to have the opportunity to honor this amazing lady and the incredible music she gave us!” 

You can visit Lisa Brokop on her website, as well as, her Facebook page.

Merritt Downtown Mural Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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** Information resources includes Lisa Brokop website, Wikipedia page, and social media page.

Lifestyle Expo – Merritt BC Canada

A Merritt Country Run Event

“I was not disappointed as I was fortunate enough to connect with some very good quality people. Some for the very first time.”

I recently attended the Lifestyle Expo in Merritt BC Canada in the Nicola Valley. The expo is a lead up event to the annual Merritt Country Run being held today Sunday June 9th, 2019. As I start writing this blog the Merritt Country Run is about to finish and the winners probably have already been decided.

Lifestyle Expo Booths – Merritt Country Run

Congrats Merritt

A congratulation is in order to the winners of the running event. Woot! Woot! And I would also like to say thank you to all the participating runners and to the volunteers who worked endless hours in preparation for the event. The Merritt Country Run features a 5 km, 10 km and Half Marathon route. Consequently, the participants arrive for the running event from all over British Columbia, Canada and beyond.

Lifestyle Expo

However, lets get back on point and discuss the recent Lifestyle Expo I attended at the Civic Centre in Merritt BC Canada. To sum it up the premise of the Lifestyle Expo is to encourage, and educate a healthy mental and physical lifestyle when living in the Nicola Valley. Secondly, the event showed the many benefits of a healthy outlook on life. Lastly, lets not forget, we all can use a healthy reminder and encouragement now and then.

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers

Merritt Tourism is a Lifestyle

Tourism Nicola Valley (TNV) and our friends at Experience Nicola Valley (ENV) were in attendance supporting the Lifestyle Expo event. The Experience Nicola Valley exhibit on site was there to promote the many tourism and adventure opportunities available in the valley as healthy activities, as well as, introduce the new TNV programs promoting participating businesses, non profits, clubs and societies.

Meet Experience Nicola Valley

At the Lifestyle Expo the community bloggers who maintained the booth and who took the time to talk with visitors were Melvina White (Country Music Blogger), Rob Lee (Outdoor Blogger), Jordyn Lee (Youth Blogger), Monique Robinson (Community Blogger), Jano Howarth (Arts Blogger) and Tania Stewart (Eco Blogger).

Live Health Seminar at Lifestyle Expo

Good People. Good Event.

However, you know what is really encouraging at any of the events I have attended here in the Nicola Valley are the good people we meet from the community. It was also positive to see that City Councillors Tony Luck, Adam Etchart, Melvina White and Mike Bhangu made an appearance at different times during the show. Each taking some time out of their busy schedules to interact with various exhibits and attendees. Good on them!

Everybody enjoys being around positive and happy people and at this event I was not disappointed as I was fortunate enough to connect with some very good quality people. Some for the very first time. Lastly I have learned from experience that it is important for local tourism leaders and city representatives to show support by making an effort to attend community initiatives like the Merritt Country Run and the Lifestyle Expo.

Massage with Country Music Blogger

Lifestyle Exhibitors

At the Lifestyle Expo in Merritt there were businesses, services and associations from the Nicola Valley and Kamloops. Some of which the crew at Experience Nicola Valley have blogged about and many are participating members on the Tourism Nicola Valley website. I was fortunate to have had a chance to meet with some very nice and professional people manning the booths for:

Crossfit Merritt
Sara Ross Massage
PFN Coaching
Q101
Canadian Tire
Runners Sole
Brambles Bakery 
Planet Women
and more…

Merritt Country Run and the Lifestyle Expo

Canada country music

Merritt BC Murals

Downtown Murals Digital Walking Tour

“George Canyon and Canada Country Music go hand and hand.”

George Canyon is a celebrated Canada country music artist and songwriter. Here in Merritt BC Canada , the “Country Music Capital of Canada”,  there is a mural celebrating George Canyon painted on the walls of the City Furniture building. The George Canyon mural is one of 20+ murals located throughout the community forming part of the Merritt Murals Art Walk.

Canada country music in Merritt

Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Canada Country Music Star

George Canyon and Canada Country Music go hand and hand. George knows full well what I mean, as he rose to become one of Canada’s biggest country music stars in the early 2000’s! Still playing to live audiences, George has won countless accolades and awards over his career, including Juno Awards, CCMA Awards, and ECMA Awards and many more.

Canada Country Music

George has recorded 12 albums. His debut album, ‘One Good Friend’, was certified Platinum. With a career of  country hits like “Just Like You”, “I Believe in Angels”, “Drinkin’ Thinkin’”, “Daughters of the Sun”, “I Got This”, “I Want You To Live”, and “Slow Dance” it is no wonder George is a well known Canadian country music artist.

“If I won, I’d probably go unconscious, … Which would be bad, because then there would be no acceptance speech.” George Canyon

Life With George

Frederick George Lays, best known by his stage name George Canyon, was born on August 22, 1970, in Pictou Country, Nova Scotia, Canada. He was actually raised in Fox Book, Nova Scotia and then in Hopewell, Nova Scotia. Before the stage lights, awards, and movie gigs, music has always been an aspiration for George. But his love for his family, wife Jennifer and children Kale and Madison, always come first. The dream of country music had to wait. Supporting his family with a guaranteed paycheck was more important so he worked as a bylaw officer to support them.

“You’re a pleasure as a lover, you’re a treasure as a wife” George Canyon

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

A Star Was Born

In 2004, with Jennifer’s support, George set out to compete on U.S.A. Network’s “Nashville Star”. It is an American Idol-type show with a country twist. As a matter of fact, those who know George are well aware of the talent and passion he embodies. Therefore they were not surprised that he was a hit on the show. George did not win. He came very close to winning the show but, more importantly, he had won the hearts of country music fans throughout the world.

True North Strong and Free

George Canyon is also a highly regarded humanitarian. For example, it is no secret George Canyon supports the hard working men and women of the Canadian military. Therefore, in honor of his support George was appointed Honorary Colonel for 14 Wing Greenwood Air Force Base in Nova Scotia in 2008.

Furthermore, he was also made the first ever Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets by The Honourable Peter MacKay in 2011. Moreover, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in honour of his ongoing work with the Air Cadets and other charities. Lastly, he was recognized by the Canadian Country Music Association with the Humanitarian Award in recognition for his work with the Canadian military.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

George Cares

Among his many identities, Canyon is also a proud Canadian. Like many in Canada George is a huge hockey fan. He roots for his team, the Calgary Flames by singing the national anthem during their home games. Good guy George is also a spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). A charity close to his heart starting from when he himself was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes at age of 14.

The Sky Is The Limit

George was an air cadet with ambitions on serving his country. He was told at an early age that his diabetes would make being a pilot in the Air Force impossible. However, in 2009, things changed after learning more about what it means to live with Type-1 Diabetes. George made the decision to make some adjustments to his diet and lifestyle. Consequently with the advancements in insulin pump technology, George beat the odds by passing all the medical tests and got his pilot’s license.

Merritt Murals and Music 2.0

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. As a result the Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

Merritt BC Canada Country Music – Merritt Murals

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

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Experience Nicola Valley

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** In conclusion, you can learn more about George Canyon on his Facebook, and Wikipedia pages, as well as, his website.

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Merritt BC Murals in the Nicola Valley

Featured Country Music Musician – Martina McBride

“If I walk out onstage and I get a warm, excited response, it makes me feel so confident and happy, and then it’s so easy for me up there.” Martina McBride

Martina McBride – Merritt BC Murals is one of the big country music signature attractions in Merritt BC Canada. So much so the community is dubbed the “Country Music Capital of Canada”. Many of us “Merrittonians” are very proud of our country home.

Firstly, I must say that Martina McBride has to be one of my all time favorite country music artists. Secondly, her songs like “My Baby Loves Me”, “Independence Day”, “Concrete Angel” and “This One’s for the Girls” are some of her greatest hits which are on my list.

michelle bacon selfie with martina mcbride mural

Michelle Bacon (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Martina McBride Albums – Merritt BC Murals

In 1992 McBride released her debut album. Consequently, the title track “The Time Has Come” reached #23 on the country music charts. Likewise Martina’s follow up second album ” The Way That I Am” had two singles that did very well “My Baby Loves Me” reached number 2 and “Life No. 9” reached number six. After that her third single “Independence Day” won Video of the Year and Song of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.

Martina has recorded 13 studio albums, 2 greatest hits, 1 live and 2 other albums. Eight of her studio albums have been certified Gold.

Country Music From 1995-1999

“Wild Angels” was released in 1995. This album had a top five hit “Safe in The Arms of Love.”  The title track “Wild Angels” became Martina’s first number 1 hit on the country charts in 1996.

McBride’s second number 1, “A Broken Wing”, was the second single from the album “Evolution” which was released in 1997. In the end there were four top ten hits. By the end of 1998 the album was certified Double Platinum. In 1999 she won Female Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.

1999-2002 Country Music Albums

“Emotion”, Martina’s sixth studio album was released in 1999. The song ” I Love You ” reached number 1 on the billboard country charts. Other hit songs from this album included “Love’s the Only House”, “There You Are” and “It’s My Time.”

Soon after her “Greatest Hits” album was released in 2001. It was certified three times platinum and is Martina’s highest selling album. McBride added four new songs to this album. All made the top 10 on the country charts. “Blessed” was her 5th number one hit. Carolyn Dawn Johnson sang back up vocals. Other new songs were “Concrete Angel,” “When God Fearin Women Get the Blues” and ” Where Would You Be.”

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Martina McBride 2003-2004 Albums

2003 was another great year for Martina. Releasing her self titled album “Martina.”  Her song, “This ones for the Girls” hit number 3 on the billboard charts. Her second single from this album, “In My Daughters Eyes” also became a top five country charts hit.

Martina won Country Music Association Award for Female Vocalist in 1999, 2002, 2003 and again in 2004. This tied her with Reba McEntire for most consecutive wins for this award.

Timeless 2005-2007 Albums

In 2005 Martina released “Timeless.” It was Martina’s highest grossing album selling over 250,000 copies in its first week. The ninth studio album was released in 2007 titled “Waking up Laughing.” Martina co-wrote some of the tracks on this album, a first for the country music singer.

2008-2015 Albums

By the end of 2008 Martina had wrapped up her tenth album “Shine”. In 2009 she started the “Shine All Night Tour” with friend Trace Adkins. “Eleven” was released in 2011. Marina co-wrote eight of the eleven songs. She started to write more frequently after “Anyways” became a hit. By 2014 Martina had received 17 nominations for Female Vocalist. This also ties her with Reba McEntire for most nominations in any vocalist category.

“I feel more confident in my song writing ability. ” Martina McBride.

2016 and On

“Reckless” was released in 2016. Her “Just Around the Corner” single became Band Against Cancer’s official anthem. Led by Sarah Cannon, Band Against Cancer is a community based movement which aims to raise awareness, support and resources to those battling cancer.

Martina toured again in 2016. The tour was titled “Love Unleashed.” Then in 21017 she announced a Christmas album where she stated, ” It won’t have as many hymns on it.”

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Cooking With Martina McBride

Martina loves to cook. So much so she has written two cookbooks. Her first cookbook was released in 2014 titled “Around the Table: Recipes And Inspiration For Gatherings Throughout The Year.” The second cook book entitled “Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My recipe Playlist For Real Life” was released in 2018.

Martina’s Table – Food Network

Her cooking expertise did not end with books. It started with books. Martina, soon after, launched a cooking show which aired on the Food Network on Sunday’s at 11 am Eastern. Check out some cooking episodes from Martina’s Table.

Here is a link: https://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/martinas-table

The Life Of Martina McBride

Martina McBride was born on July 29, 1966 in Sharon, Kansas. Her parents owned a dairy farm. Martina would spend hours after school singing to different artists like Reba McEntire, Juice Newton, Connie Smith, Patsy Cline and Linda Ronstadt.

“Not only do I know how to milk a cow, but I know how to herd a bunch of cows, too, which is a life skill that I think may come in handy someday.” Martina McBride

At the age of eight her father fronted a band called “The Schiffters” which Martina sang for. As she grew older she also started playing keyboard for the band. She also played for a rock band called “The Penetrators”. In 1987 she created a group called “Lotus” and started looking for space to rehearse.

Martina met and married John McBride after renting his space for her band. They moved to Nashville where her husband started working for Garth Brooks. After some time, Garth told Martina if she could get a record deal she could be his opening act.

Martina and her husband have three daughters Delaney, Emma and Ava. She toured less after her children were born. McBride made it very clear she wanted to be a part of her daughters lives.

“It’s not the size of the house. It’s how much love is inside.” Martina McBride

Merritt BC Canada Murals

The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. As a result, in 2006 this Merritt Mural was painted by Muralist Michelle Loughery. Martina McBride – Merritt BC Murals is located at 2101 Quilchena Ave on the wall around the corner from Lynda’s Cafe.

There are other Merritt BC Canada Attractions besides the Martina McBride Merritt BC Mural. One of them is the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame’s Walk of Stars. There is one foot print and over 100 hand prints in the stars around the downtown Merritt area. While your there take a wonderful trip through the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Martina McBride Walk of Stars

Martina McBride – Walk of Stars in Downtown Merritt BC

Downtown Merritt BC Canada also offers a vast array of gifts, clothing and places to eat. You are sure to find something for anyone on your list of gifts to purchase. If not then buy something for yourself.

You can find more information on Martina McBride through her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or website.

Featured Country Music Musician – Martina McBride

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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Experience Nicola Valley Blog

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Experience Nicola Valley Merritt BC Murals

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** Furthermore the information resources include Martina McBride website, Wikipedia page, fan club website and social media pages.