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George Jones

Country Music Legendary Icon Mural In The Nicola Valley

George Jones Featured On The Walls of The Merritt BC Downtown Murals

Merritt BC Canada Murals

George Jones’ career began in 1954. During his six decades as a professional singer-songwriter, he achieved international fame for his long list of hit records, as well as his distinctive voice.

Jones was frequently referred to as the greatest country voice in the history of country music. He had the ability to immerses himself completely into the lyrics, and convey many emotions while drawing in the listener,  letting them feel the emotions like they were living them. He could make you cry with a single note or a simple phrasing.

“It’s never been for love of money. I thank God for it because it makes me a living. But I sing because I love it, not because of the dollar signs.” (George Jones)

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George Jones and Some Hard Times

George Jones Born on Sept 12, 1931 in a log cabin, on an oil patch settlement in a remote Texas region known as the Big Thicket and was raised in Saratoga Texas.

Jones was the eighth child of George Washington Jones, a pipe fitter and shipyard worker who played guitar and harmonica. Clara Jones his mother a church pianist, played piano in the Pentecostal Church on Sundays.

The sounds of gospel and country music dominated the modest household — and the abusive rages of George’s father, who turned to alcohol to drown his pain when his sister died from a fever.

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“We were our Daddy’s loved ones when he was sober, his prisoners when he was drunk,” the singer wrote in his 1996 autobiography, “I Lived to Tell the Tale.”

First Step To A Journey

Born in to poverty he became one of the most financially successful country music artists ever. George got his first guitar from his father at the age of nine. He learned to play it at church.

From poverty beginnings and playing on street corners to Nudie Suits and sold out shows. George never ceased to amaze those listening.

 At 11-years-old, Jones started making money as a guitar player and singer in front of a local church.

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The influence of Hank Williams’ songs, heartache as well as  joy, and the honky-tonk songs of Ernest Tubb became a major source of inspiration for George.

Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, heavily influenced George in his formative years. Jones quickly adopted the twisting and turning of syllables, words and phrases, of Lefty Frizzell.

Second Step To The On Going Journey

After his divorce to Dorothy Bonvillion whom he had a daughter with. George did a stint in the United states Marine Corp from 1951 – 1953. He was inactive 1954 –  1956 and officially discharged in 1956.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

During his Military service he was stationed in in San Jose California. He was able to satisfy his passion by singing and performing in all the local bars.

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Discovered by “Pappy Daily”, co-owner of Starday Records Jones signed with the label in 1953. A partnership that lasted for years, Daily also became Jones producer and manager.

Jones first single “No Money In This Deal” released in 1954 received no attention. Three more singles released that year failed to gain any notice.

Shirley Ann Corley became George’s second wife in 1954, with whom he had two sons. The marriage endured ups and downs until it fell apart for good in 1968.

George Jones – The Voice Of An Angel

“George Jones was an imperfect man with a perfect voice. He lived like a devil and sang like an angel.” (Ian Crouch New Yorker)

“Why Baby Why” hit the charts in 1955. This was the beginning of Jones positioning himself as one of the most influential singers in country music history. He would become the master of romantic disillusionment that would become his artistic signature.

Jones was on the road to success. Daily secured him a spot on “The Louisiana Hayride”, where he was co-billed with “Elvis Presley” and “Johnny Cash”.

Louisiana Hayride

George Jones and Johnny Cash

He would never leave the top of the country charts, even though his personal life and professional life would suffer continual turmoil.

After joining The Grand Ole Opry in 1956. He would produce a number of hits in the next decade, including “White Lightning,” “She Thinks I Still Care,” and “The Race Is On.”

George released “White Lightening” in May of  1959. It would be his first number-1 single of his career. Staying at number-one for five weeks the song remained on the charts closing out the decade.

Travels Of The Singing Angel Continue

A part of Jones career that is often overlooked is his success as a songwriter. He wrote or co-wrote many of his biggest hits. Jones most favourite song writing collaborator was his childhood friend “Darrell Edwards.”

Famed artists recorded songs written or co -written with George Jones. “Window Up Above” was a smash hit for Mickey Gilley.

“Seasons of My Heart” written by Jones and Darrell Edwards (a hit for Johnny Cash, and recorded by Willie Nelson as well as Jerry Lee Lewis.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

“You Gotta Be My Baby” and “Don’t Stop The Music” on his own and co-wrote “Color of the Blues” ( by Loretta Lynn and Elvis Costello), “Tender Years” and “Tall, Tall Trees” (co-written with Roger Miller). (Wikipedia)

Jones signed with United Artists in 1962 and scored one of the biggest hits of his career, “She Thinks I Still Care”. His voice had grown deeper during this period and carved the singing style that became uniquely his own.

George cut an album of duets with Melba Montgomery, including the hit “We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds”. Jones was also well on his way to gaining a reputation as a notorious hell-raiser. (Wikipedia)

On tour Jones was always backed by the ‘Jones Boys’. Johnny Paycheck was the ‘Jones Boys’ bass player in the 1960’s before going on to his own stardom in the 1970s.

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In 1964, Pappy Daily secured a new contract with Musicor records. For the rest of the 1960s, Jones would score only one number one (1967’s “Walk Through This World With Me”) but he practically owned the country music charts throughout the decade.  A number of significant hits include “Love Bug”, 1964’s “The Race Is On”, as well as the 1969 duet album with Gene Pitney.

Nearing The End of The 60’s Decade

Jones’ binge drinking and use of amphetamines on the road caught up to him in 1967 and he had to be admitted into a neurological hospital to seek treatment for his drinking.

Jones would go to extreme lengths for a drink. The most famous drinking story concerning Jones occurred while he was married to his second wife Shirley Corley.

Jones recalled Shirley making it physically impossible for him to travel to Beaumont, located 8 miles away, to buy liquor. Because Jones would not walk that far, she would hide the keys to each of their cars. She did not, however, hide the keys to the lawn mower. Upset, Jones walked to the window and looked out over his property. He later described his thoughts in his memoir:

“There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine and under a seat, a key glistening in the ignition. I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.” (George Jones)

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 Jones closed out the 1960’s decade with  solo efforts as well as collaborations receiving enthusiastic responses. He married Tammy Wynette and was ready for the next decade and what a decade it would be.

George And Tammy The Reigning King And Queen of Country

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Jones wrote: “I felt rage fly all over me. I jumped from my chair, put my hands under the dinner table, and flipped it over. Dishes, utensils, and glasses flew in all directions. (Auto Biography)

Jones and Wynette met because their tours were booked by the same agency and their paths sometimes crossed.  Wynette was married to songwriter Don Chapel, who was also the opening act for her shows at the time. The three became friends.

Jones went to their house for supper and while she was fixing the meal Wynette and Chapel got into a heated exchange with Chapel calling his wife “a son of a bitch”. See quote.

“After the table flip, Don and Tammy’s eyes got about as big as the flying dinner plates.” Jones professed his love for Wynette on the spot and the couple were married in February, 1969.

Nearing The End With Musicor

At about the same time George and Tammy married. George was unhappy with the sound of his Musicor records and tensions were building between Jones and producer Pappy Daily. Jones blamed Daily for his sound and left Musicor. He had to fulfill his contract with Musicor before they would let him sever all ties.

Pappy Daily Manager

Pappy Daily and George Jones

In the middle of 1971 Jones severed all ties with Musicor and Daily. He signed away all his rights to the Musicor recordings and signed with Epic in October 1971. Billy Sherrill at Epic Records became Jones producer.

Jones and Wynette became known as “Mr. & Mrs. Country Music” in the early 1970s, scoring several big hits.

Kicking Off A Successful Career At Epic

Sherrill and business partner Glenn Sutton are rumored as the defining influences of the countrypolitan sound. A smooth mix of pop and country music that was popular during the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. A far cry from George’s honky tonk roots.

Billy Sherrill was known for his string-laden productions and his precise, aggressive approach in the studio. Under his direction, musicians were there to obey his orders and that included singers. Jones was accustomed to the relaxed style of Dally, the complete opposite of Sherrill. As a result, they got off to a shaky start. The pair soon developed a fruitful working relationship. Sherrill turned Jones into a full-fledged balladeer.

Billy Sherrill Producer

Billy Sherrill-George Jones Producer

In Sherrill, Jones found the producer capable of creating the weepy arrangements his voice deserved and his torment demanded…He summoned for Jones the sighing strings that almost made the misery of albums like 1974’s The Grand Tour and 1976’s Alone Again sound better than happiness could possibly feel.

Unlike most singers, who might have been overwhelmed by the string arrangements and background vocalists. Jones’ voice, with its frightening intensity and lucid tone, could stand up to anything.

The success that Sherrill had with Jones proved to be his most longest-lasting association.

Jones and Wynette’s Turbulent Years

In October 1970, shortly after the birth of their only child Tamala Georgette, Jones was committed to The Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Florida. He was kept there to detoxify for 10 days before being released with a prescription for Librium.

Jones managed longer stretches of sobriety with Wynette than he had enjoyed in years. However, as the decade wore on the erratic behavior worsened.

One time I woke up at one o’clock in the morning to find George gone: “I got into the car and drove to the nearest bar 10 miles away. When I pulled into the parking lot there sat our rider-mower right by the entrance. He’d driven that mower right down a main highway… He looked up and saw me and said, ‘Well, fellas, here she is now. My little wife, I told you she’d come after me.”

Prior to his relationship with Tammy. Over the years, George earned his drinking and drugging reputation by living his songs. His personal life continued to spin out of control. His previous reputation as “No show Jones”, or showing up drunk would once again be his reputation until he quit drinking for good in 1999.

George and Tammy Early Years

George and Tammy Early Years

Jones and Wynette’s marriage started out with promise. They had great success with a number of their duets reaching the top ten. They both continued to do well on their own with Jones releasing several top charting singles. Tammy gave birth to their daughter at this time and by all appearances, all seemed to be well.

However behind the scenes George continued his battle with drugs and alcohol. The marriage was in trouble and would end once and for all on March 21, 1975.

Late 70’s Dark Times For Jones

In the late seventies, Jones spiraled out of control, falling apart both physically and mentally. A manager named Shug Baggot introduced him to cocaine before a show because he was too tired to perform.

Despite the severe abuse George continued to make interesting music. He began flirting with Rock and Roll, covering Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” with Johnny Paycheck as well as recording a duet with James Taylor.

By February 1979 he was homeless, deranged, and destitute, living in his car. He weighed under a hundred pounds. It took him more than two years to complete My Very Special Guests, an album on which Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Elvis Costello, and other famous fans came to his vocal aid and support.

In June 1979, he appeared with Waylon Jennings on Ralph Emery’s syndicated radio program and at one point Jennings cracked, “It’s lonely at the top.” A laughing Jones replied, “It’s lonely at the bottom, too! It’s real, real lonely, Waylon.”

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Despite his unreliability, Jones was still capable of putting on a captivating live show. On Independence Day, 1976, he appeared at Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic in Gonzales, Texas in front of 80,000 younger, country-rock oriented fans. A nervous Jones felt out of his comfort zone and nearly bolted from the festival but went on anyway. He wound up stealing the show. The Houston Post wrote, “He was the undisputed star of this year’s Willie Nelson picnic…one of the greatest.”

Jones began missing more shows than he made, including a highly publicized date at the Bottom Line club in New York City. When he finally played the Bottom Line in 1980, the New York Times called him “the finest, most riveting singer in country music.”

The 80’s Comeback And Life Turnaround

It’s no secret that Jones had a long history of alcohol and cocaine abuse, as well as broken marriages that were punctuated by episodes of violence. After an enormous run of early success, by the late ’70s he was virtually washed up, having earned the nickname “No Show Jones” for his penchant of simply not showing up for planned performances.

In 1980, a 3-minute song changed his life. His long time producer, Billy Sherrill, recommended he record “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” a ballad by Curly Putnam and Bobby Braddock.

The song took more than a year to record, partly because Jones couldn’t master the melody, which he confused with Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make it Through the Night,” and partly because he was too drunk to recite a brief, spoken interlude (“She came to see him one last time/And we all wondered if she would/And it kept running through my mind/This time he’s over her for good.”)

The last words Jones said about “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was “Nobody’ll buy that morbid son of a bitch”.

Although he had disliked “He Stopped Loving Her Today” when it was first offered to him, Jones ultimately gave the song credit for reviving his flailing career. Stating that “a four-decade career had been salvaged by a three-minute song”.

Love Conquers

His life changed after he met Nancy Sepulveda in 1981. After they married in 1983, the straight-laced Nancy Sepulvado Jones righted his messy finances, helped him address his drinking, kept his drug dealers at bay, and helped revive his ailing music career.

“I saw a lot of good in a man who was being totally destroyed.”

I’d heard the horror stories,” Nancy Jones disclosed to PEOPLE, “but I’m of the opinion you don’t believe it ’til you see it. I ended up seeing plenty of it, but we just clicked. I saw a lot of good in a man who was being totally destroyed.”

“They say love can change the world,” the country legend continued. “I’m here to testify that it changed one man. 

 

Thanks to Nancy’s love and guidance, George enjoyed career success once more with duets “Hallelujah, I Love You So” with Brenda Lee and “Size Seven Round (Made of Gold)” with Lacy J Dalton. As a solo recording artist, he enjoyed multiple popular singles from his 1985 album Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes and his last solo Top 10 country hit came with 1989’s “I’m a One Woman Man.”

Despite George’s career rebound, his still wrestled with his personal demons. “George was the sweetest man you could meet. But when George would drink, there was a devil that jumped inside of him,” Nancy admitted.

Ridding The Demon

In 1999, an impaired George Jones ran his SUV into a bridge near his home, suffering a lacerated liver and a severely bruised lung. After spending 13 days trapped in the hospital, he made a lasting deal with God.

“He said, ‘God if you let me get over this, I’ll never touch a cigarette or liquor again,’” Nancy reminisced. “I was warm all over. This time he meant it.”

That experience shook him enough to remain sober until his death from hypoxic respiratory failure on April 26, 2013. George and Nancy Jones celebrated 30 years of marriage before his passing at age 81.

“God put me with him to help him get the devil out of him,” his widow concluded. “God put me there to do a job and I did it.”

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Quotes about George Jones:

“When you look at all formats of music, George Jones is the most unique stylist, bar none” – B.B. King

“He is a true icon of country music. George Jones is to country music what Spencer Tracy is to movies. He is a true American folk-hero and we all love him.”

 –Burt Reynolds

“If we could all sing like we wanted to, we’d all sing like George Jones.” –Waylon Jennings

“Most people’s voices are a gift from God. With George Jones, I think it started out as a gift from God and then they built a body around it because anybody who has ever wanted to sing country music wants to sound like George Jones” – Garth Brooks

“I bask in the glow of having worked (read played) with George Jones. Gram Parsons must be smiling.” – Keith Richards

Jones Love of Traditional Country Music

“I sing top songs that fit the hardworking, everyday loving person. That’s what country music is about,” Jones said in a 1991 AP interview. “My fans and real true country music fans know I’m not a phony. I just sing it the way it is and put feeling in it if I can and try to live the song.” (George Jones)

Jones tirelessly defended the integrity of country music, telling Billboard in 2006. Jones also went out of his way to promote younger country singers that he felt were as passionate about the music as he was. “Everybody knows he’s a great singer,” Alan Jackson stated in 1995, “but what I like most about George is that when you meet him, he is like some old guy that works down at the gas station…even though he’s a legend!”

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Summing Up The Life Of George Glenn Jones A Country Music Legend

Battling his personal demons along the way, Jones amassed an impressive musical legacy that earned him a 2012 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, among many other honors. He died in 2013, at the age of 81.

Jones recorded over 900 songs, and charted more than any other music artist, almost exclusively on the country charts; Jones never charted a hit in the general top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 or any equivalent all-genre chart. As a solo artist, Jones had just three hits make the Billboard Hot 100, the highest-charted of which, “White Lightning”, peaked at number 73. A duet with Gene Pitney also made number 99 for one week. On the country charts, Jones (either solo or as part of duet) placed nearly 150 songs on the charts, including thirteen number 1 country hits.

Merritt Murals

George Jones – Country Music Blogger Melvina White. Painted by Michelle Loughery. Merritt Murals

There is no doubt that GEORGE JONES helped set the standard for modern country music. It is impossible to overstate his impact as one of the architects of the country music sound. 

George Jones Merritt Mountain Music Festival 1993

Thousands of country music fans were subjected to stormy, rainy conditions on the first and last day of the First Annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival in Merritt, BC.

Legendary country singer George Jones wrapped up the Merritt Mountain Music Festival on Sunday night, July 11, 1993, in front of thousands of die hard country fans who managed to stick it out through the rain.

The legend didn’t disappoint. He performed a show in Merritt, BC Canada that could have been on the stage of The Grand Ole Opry. George Jones was a real true hard core country entertainer and legend.

Merritt, BC Canada Mural Walk and Attractions

Visit downtown Merritt in the beautiful Nicola Valley, Merritt, BC Canada and take part in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Mural Walk. Although the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame includes Canadian Hall of Fame inductees as well as CCMA Award winning artists. The Hall of Fame is also the host of the Merritt, BC Mural Walk which also includes artists from Canada’s neighbours that have performed in Merritt at the infamous Merritt Mountain Music Festival.

Start the 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 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.

George Jones Mural can be found on the wall in Spirit Square, situated on the corner of Voght Street and Granite Avenue.

The Walk of Stars Murals really added to the character of the small town of Merritt, BC. Makes the town feel like country music. (

The information for George Jones was obtained through Wikipedia and George Jones Biography.

Featured Country Music Musician : George Jones

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Petit – which is pronounced “petee” Creek, Merritt, BC, Canada

“… remember the girl who grew a whole big country dream because she loved the smell of her Grandmother’s suitcase.”

Petit Creek Lavender Farm isn’t just about farming. It is about friends, it is about family, it is about fun, and it is about “following your heart”.  When I asked Judy-Sue Suzuki why she started the Lavender Farm in the Nicola Valley she said,

“ I started the Lavender Farm because I love it, and it gives me wonderful memories of my Grandmother’s luggage. When she would visit it smelled of Lavender”. 

Dreams Of Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Judy -Sue had a dream and since 2010 Judy-Sue and her entire family, her parents, her husband, her children, and her grandchildren have all played a valuable role in the production of Lavender buds, sachets, honey, creams, soaps, wreaths, and so much more. Everyone  is happy to pitch in to help with the acres of Lavender, over 300 rose bushes, gardens, rock beds, small quaint sitting areas and sweet cozy cottages. Every single inch of this property is touched by love. 

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Everyone loves the Petit Creek Lavender Farm. Through the years the flowers and family grew.

Judy-Sue offers classes to teach others how to use Lavender in many ways, the farm has provided more than one wedding couple an amazing place to share their vows and start their new life together. But it is not all about making things pretty at the Petit Creek Lavender Farm. It is about work, hard work, long days and the only reward Judy-Sue is guaranteed to get is knowing she has done her best for her family and her animals, and for her that is more than enough. There are over 3200 photos on the Petit Creek Lavender Farm Facebook Page, I chose this one to share on my blog. Why? Read on!

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Praying or Thanking?

Praying or Thanking.

Nothing To Waste

I looked at this photo and it said so much. At first I thought Judy-Sue was looking up and saying a prayer, but then I also thought she could be looking up and saying “Thank You”, for the blessings she has in her life.  24 hours a day Judy-Sue watches over her farm in Merritt, BC Canada, hundreds of animals and birds are in her care. She also raises sheep, bunnies, and goats for fibre which she hand dyes and makes wool.  Nothing is wasted on the Petit Creek Lavender Farm, no land is left bare and unused, food is grown and preserved for the long winter. Birds lay eggs and provide meat, even the tiniest of creatures are trusted in Judy-Sue’s care.

Lavender Farm in Merritt BC

Baby Birds in the Nest

Lavender And Heaven

It is so much more than Lavender, everyone shares photos of Lavender, we all know what it looks like and smells like. We love Lavender of course, but spending the day at the lavender farm in Merritt, BC, Canada is so much more. It is an experience your heart will remember forever. When you pull up to the front gate you will know you have arrived at a small piece of Heaven.

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Arriving at Heaven’s Gate

Merritt Country Dream

When you meet Judy-Sue Suzuki you will understand what I mean. You will see a beautiful women with a heart the size of her 54 acres of flowers, fruits, family, and friends. Her smile will stay with you always. When you think of the sweet Petit Creek Lavender Farm in Merritt, BC, Canada you will always remember the girl who grew a whole big country dream because she loved the smell of her Grandmother’s suitcase.

Merritt BC cottage

Cozy Cottage at Lavender Farm

CONTACT INFORMATION

Facebook Page

Sunflower Farm

Merritt BC Lavender Farm

Petit – which is pronounced “petee” Creek, Merritt, BC, Canada

Don Loewen Saddlery

Leathercraft Nicola Valley Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Merritt BC’s own Don Loewen Saddlery – Leathercrafter.

 Don Loewen Saddlery – Leathercraft Nicola Valley Merritt BC Canada. Experience this Nicola Valley gem. With over 30 years of experience, Don Loewen Saddlery has created over 500 horseback riding saddles. This has earned Don’s saddlery a stamp of pure “Authentic Quality Craftsmanship”. Many of us who have tasted ranch life appreciate Don’s unique skill and talent. To ride in one of his saddles is truly an experience and honour.

Don Loewen Saddlery

Introducing Don Loewen.

In order to know Don Loewen, we need to know his history.

From birth, Don grew up within a cowboy family. Growing up with an interest in horses and saddlery he made his first saddle at 14yrs old. Don realised early in life he had a unique passion and talent for shaping leather with his hands. Don began his journey at the age of 17 leaving home and attending  “Saddle School” in South Dakota. Itis here he honed his skills as a saddle maker and artisan.

Don Loewen Saddlery - Leathercraft

Notably Don does not lack leatherworking skill.

Consequently Don opened up a home-based shop.

Meanwhile after cowboying in southern Alberta and at Douglas Lake Cattle Company with some time working in the logging industry, Don returned to his true passion of saddlery. In 1995 he opened a home-based saddle shop called Don Loewen Saddlery. Eventually he opened up a storefront business in downtown Merritt B.C. in 2004.

Don Loewen Saddlery - Leathercraft in Nicola Valley

Don showing Tania Stewart the frame of saddle.

Our saddles are highly customized to your specific needs.

Lets take a look at how Don begins to make a saddle. Firstly, a frame is made of wood and fiber glass of the horse’s frame. From that frame a saddle is fitted for the horse. Comfort, durability and the ability to stay positioned throughout a full day’s ride, is what makes Don’s saddles so well known throughout Western Canada.  Ground seat design, the skirt and seat design are skills that Don teaches and owns with a sense of pride.

Don Loewen saddles

This is a newspaper clipping of an article done about a few of Don’s students.

Equally important are Don’s unique leather belts.

Every leather belt is one-of-a-kind.

Don Loewen Saddlery leather belts

Don’s one-of-kind leather belts.

Additionally Don has added other high-quality leather products.

As well as saddles, Don crafts belts and traveller’s notebooks. Furthermore, Don passes down his art of leather crafting with teaching a wide range of people. Most rememberable were the young high school students and adults from Sweden.

Don Loewen leather bags

Truly a master leathercrafter.

Don’s saddles are well known throughout Western Canada and the World.

Horseback riding leathercraft

Horse reins.

Furthermore the skill of Don Loewen continues.

Together with his beautiful wife Jody, they have six wonderful children and two precious grandchildren. Don’s eldest son has also learned the basics of the craft of saddlery.

Don Loewen Saddlery - Leathercraft

Leather artistry at it’s best. Don Loewen.

Coupled with Don’s skill and talent everything is proudly made in the beautiful Nicola Valley Merritt BC!

Artisan Don Loewen

Artisan Don Loewen.

“I am busy as I need to be,” Don Loewen.

Horseman Don Loewen

Not to mention that Don once made a saddle for “Marmaduke”

Testimonial from Alex Robinson

“Don Loewen has always had a reputation for building a good using saddle. I looked at a couple of Don’s saddles that the cowboys in the valley had ordered and had been using for every day ranch work and I was impressed with the quality of the rigs and how they were standing up. I’ve been riding my Loewen saddles for some time now and haven’t got one complaint. The saddle sits on a horses back well and I’ve never rode in a more comfortable seat. Don’s saddles are reasonably priced and you will never get a better person to deal with.”

Alex Robinson
(Cow boss)
Quilchena Cattle Co.
Quilchena B.C.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Don Loewen Website

250-525-0220

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Don Loewen Saddlery

Leathercraft Nicola Valley Merritt BC

Horse Back Riding Merritt BC.

A-P Ranch Horse Back Riding, Nicola Valley BC.

Outdoor adventure at A-P Ranch

Horse Back Riding at A-P Guest Ranch Nicola Valley Merritt BC.  This rustic “Western Guest Ranch” is owned and operated by Andre and his wife Susan Patry. Established in 1986, this scenic ranch is nestled in a valley setting in the heart of B.C.’s prominent ranching country. The ranch is surrounded by impressive fishing lakes and thousands of acres of rolling terrain for picturesque trail riding and winter sports. Experience Nicola Valley is proud to have had an opportunity to visit with A-P Ranch.

Horseback riding in Merritt BC

Andre and friends.

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A great way to experience Merritt Canada is from the back of a horse at A-P Guest Ranch Nicola Valley BC.

Andre Patry, owner of A-P Ranch, shared with us that he has been riding for 73 years. More impressively, 53 years of that stretch is right here in Merritt BC. The Patry’s left Quebec around 1966 and with a bit prospecting for the perfect ranch Andre found what was to become A-P Guest Ranch.

Horseback riding in the Nicola Valley

A-P Guest Ranch. Kitchen, Saloon, Dining area along with bunk rooms.

Importantly Andre and family at A-P Guest Ranch believe in providing 5 star treatment for all their guests.

For example safety is very important for their guests when embarking on a trail ride. With Andre’s years of experience dealing with horses he seems to have this magical ability to team a horse and rider up perfectly. The right temperament is required between a horse and rider for a maximum riding experience for both horse and rider.

A-P Ranch Horseback Riding

Andre making sure everything is in order.

In fact A-P Ranch is ideal for family outings, reunions, weddings, and for escaping the city for a weekend getaway!

Horseback riding with Experience Nicola Valley

Gearing up.

Together with its 5 Star Hospitality A-P  Ranch also offers other outdoor adventures.

When was the last time you enjoyed a hay-ride, or have you even tried one of these sightseeing adventures. It is a great way to spend a fall day with the family. Why not make it a weekend getaway with your children and give them the ultimate experience of “Living Country” on a horse ranch like A-P Ranch.

Merritt BC Horseback Riding Tours

A-P Ranch Corrals.

A-P Ranch’s great hospitality.

Along with great “Lodge Package’s“(including meals & lodging)… A-P Ranch also has a Bed & Breakfast. Also for those campers with tents or trailers,  there are camping facilities as well, some with with power.

Mark Patry with Melvina White.

In case you forget your “Cowboy” boots.

A-P Ranch provides more than a horse and some good times. They are ready to help you look the part as well. They have the cowboy boots to fit all sizes of feet and adventures. Riding boots are not only great for the ambiance but also for the safety of the rider.

A-P Ranch Cowboy Boots

Great selection!

Merritt BC horseback riding

Melva picking out her riding boots.

Additionally Mark Patry helps with saddling up the horses.

Horses at the ranch

Saddle up!

Horseback riding in Merritt BC

Bill’s with his horse “Lapis”

Andre believes in “safety” first.

For this reason alone A-P Guest Ranch is a great start for beginners as well as all levels of horseback riding. From families to seasoned riders the people at the ranch have the skills and equipment for a safe ride.

Nicola Valley horseback riding guides

With 73 years of experience Andre makes this look easy.

Indeed all of the horses at A-P Ranch are truly beautiful!

There is something special going on at A-P Ranch. Interestingly enough, you can see that more and more people are turning to horses for a connection with nature as well as a connection with themselves. Additionally Horses have been linked to helping people heal when dealing with PTSD, anxiety, depression, abuse, addiction, grief, and stress.

Horseback riding tours and guides

Andre leading the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was my “ride” for our open trail experience.

A-P Ranch is a hidden gem within the Nicola Valley. Hidden in the sense that it is located on the outskirts of the Nicola Valley in the wilderness backcountry of British Columbia. A great destination for company retreats, team building and motivational seminars.

Horseback riding in BC

Tania’s beautiful ride.

Calling all “horse” lovers!

Whether you love to go riding in the vast outdoors or relax and stay in for a night being treated to country cooking A-P Guest Ranch is truly the place for you.

Trail riding in the Nicola Valley

Andre leads us to the “Range”

Especially with all its scenic beauty, its hard not to feel like your riding in the Old West of yesterday.

Surprisingly from Kamloops Purity Feed Ltd to A-P ranch is 92.3 km, average driving time 58 minutes. Also from Merritt’s Best Western Plus to the ranch is 26.5 km = 20 minutes driving time. If arriving from Vancouver British Columbia Canada it is only a little over a 31/2 hour drive, Kelowna just over an hour.

Merritt BC Guest Ranch

This is what 73yrs of experience looks like.

Amazing how one can connect with nature when on horseback.

From dessert grass to lush forest.

Riding on a perfect late summer day.

For the brave and more adventurous people, A-P Ranch also provides multi-day “Pack Trips”. These horseback riding adventures range from 3 days to 7 days. All you need to do is show up, saddle up and enjoy the experience.  My son and I along with other people hope to do a 3 day one in the fall.

“Born to Ride” Melvina White.

Our host Andre.

 

 

 

Not only can you see how Andre’s horses earn their keep, you see the love shared between horse and man.

Merritt horseback riding tours

New friends.

Majestic Outdoors.

Melvina taking in the beauty.

Riding into the wild.

20 Minute Break

Half-way through our trail ride we had about a 20 minute break to stretch our legs. I found it got harder to get back on my horse. But, I guess I am a natural, as there are stumps around to help with the saddle up process.

Nicola Valley horseback riding.

The perfect place to stretch your legs.

Notably the chances of making new friends are very high.

Andre, Sarah Pasco, Joe klemionks, Bill.

Can it get any better?

My hat, if I had one, is off to our very personable and knowledgeable horseback riding guide “Andre Patry”

Andre pointing out all the different trees.

Wildlife!

Coupled with nature, good company, well adjusted horses this is truly a perfect mini holiday!

I began whistling the tune from “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly”

Of course after the trail ride” you can cool of with a drink in A-P’s Saloon.

Were everyone knows your name!

Additionally Andre is an amazing artist.

Pictures do not do Andre’s art justice. Seeing his amazing work is truly an experience to see and enjoy. And I guarantee you wont leave with just one piece.

Carving.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

A-P Ranch Box 1148-4220 Hwy 5A South Merritt BC.

Tel: 250-378-6520

Email: apguestranch@hotmail.com

Website: www.apguestranch.com

 

 

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo and Fall Fair In Merritt BC

The Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo and Fall Fair is an Annual Tradition.

Don your hat and pull your boots on.

 

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo and Fall Fair in Merritt BC Canada – The Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo will be held on Saturday, August 31st – Sunday, September 1st, 2019 in Merritt, British Columbia. Held at Nicola Valley Rodeo Association grounds here in Merritt.

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

Because pictures can tell a story, I wanted to add quotes that represented the cowboys, cowgirls, and everyone who loves to watch, admire, and cheer these amazing athletes on who truly love what they do. Enjoy the pictures along with Cowboy and Cowgirl Quotes.

 

Merritt Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo.

To Demonstrate How To Ride a Bull.

“If your not makin’ dust your eattin’ it”  Cricket,  June 3, 2008

Although It Looks Easy, She is Just That Good.

“If my boots and spurs ain’t here, I’m probably riding and drinking beer. Horses are God’s gift to cowgirls as an apology for men.” Andrea, June 3, 2009

To Be Sure You Have a Strong Grip.

“Learn this well, the last ride is never the last ride. And the end is not the end.” Richard Rowland

Furthermore This Takes Two.

“A Cowgirl is a woman with guts and horse.” TS

Subsequently The Saviours Are On Hand.

“A true cowboy knows love, pain and shame but never cares about fame.” Anonymous

Longest 8 Seconds Ever.

“The only good reason to ride a bull is to meet a nurse.” Anonymous

While Riding The Bull Is Hard, Getting Out of Danger Continues.

“Ride E’m Cowboy, don’t let them throw ya down.. You can’t make no money if ya hit the ground, Ride E’m Cowboy, don’t let them throw ya down, You’re the toughest Cowboy in town.” Juice Newton

Again, 8 Seconds.

“Pain and rodeo go hand in hand.” Snake, April 1, 2009

Granted They Make it Look Easy.

“It aint worth fussin’ about unless the bone is showin’ or you ain’t got no feelin’ in it…even then you should cowboy up and walk it off.” Mat, October 21, 2008

To Be Sure You Can Not Use Both Hands.

“If you haven’t fallen off a horse…then you haven’t been ridin long enough.” Unknown

Furthermore it Begins Early.

 

“I took to the life of a cowboy like a horse takes to oats.” Anonymous

“No man should have cowboys boots in his wardrobe. That’s fair enough, isn’t it? Unless you’re a cowboy, of course.” Paul Weller

Truly This Should Be An Olympic Sport.

“The horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you might not like what you see in the mirror.” Buck Brannaman

Truly a Joy to Watch!

“Cowgirl Up! Means to rise to the occasion, not to give up, and to do it all without whining or complaining.” Whitney, November 9, 2008

Do Not Try This At Home.

 

“Some cowboys have to much tumbleweed in their blood to settle down.” Ken Alstad

The Next Time You Want to go Trail Riding, hold on. Tight!

“If you climb in the saddle, be ready for the ride.” Ashton Jennings, April 10, 2013

Can You Say Cute?

“A cowboy is a man with guts and a horse.” William James

Time to Run!

“Bull riding is probably the most dangerous sport in the world in terms of head injuries.” Jonathan Gottschall

Furthermore Bull Riding takes Guts!

“Rodeo careers can end without warning, as quick as the next try at an eight-second ride.” John Branch

To Demonstrate how Cowgirls Cool Off.

This is pure “Relaxation”

If it was easy, everyone would do it.

“When you’re young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you’re my age, you splatter.” Roy Rogers

This time I Got Err Done.

“True cowboys are the ones who aren’t afraid to get dirty.” Lane Frost

Moreover its all About the Spectators.

“A good old rodeo never hurt anyone.” Taylor Kitsch

When it Takes a Team.

“A real cowboy doesn’t have to say they are a cowboy you know, the smell, the expression and the heart tells itself. ” cowgirlmaine, November 19, 2009

When you are in the Bull Pen.

“There never was a cowboy who couldn’t be throwed; there never was a horse who couldn’t be rode.” Shaelynne, March 8, 2008

 

In Conclusion

The Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo will be held on Saturday, August 31st – Sunday, September 1st, 2019 in Merritt, British Columbia. Held at Nicola Valley Rodeo Grounds. Attending this event is truly a Nicola Valley Experience you wont forget.

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

CONTACT INFORMATION

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association
499 Lindley Creek Road,
Merritt, British Columbia

Phone
(250)-378-5059

E-mail
nicolavalleyrodeoassociation@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Hall of Fame

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Downtown Walking Tour Merritt Murals

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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

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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

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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

Blog

Experience Nicola Valley

Travel Website

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