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Is It Me And You - Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop Country Music Singer & Songwriter has released a soulful recording of a hot new love song. It is pretty much guaranteed that Lisa will certainly draw some attention and without a doubt capture the audience where ever and when ever she performs this song.

It is said that Lisa has put out one of the most soulful recordings of her career. Lisa’s career has certainly been a journey and an adventure for her. She credits her life and career  to the music as her motivator.

Lisa Brokop Is It Me And You

In Lisa’s own words she says:

“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

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop – Country Music Singer & Songwriter on The Journey to The Merritt Murals

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop – Country Music Singer & Songwriter is 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.

Merritt BC Murals Is It Me And You

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

Is It Me And You – Singing and Acting in Harmony Cats

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.

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.

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!” Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop 

Is it Me And You or is it just just me or is just you that thinks this new song will be the start of a new chapter in Lisa Brokop’s life and career. Let’s follow her and see where she leads us as her musical journey continues.

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

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

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright – Merritt Mural

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“My earliest memories of music are singing in the car. Or spending the weekend with my father watching him put on a rhinestone-studded suit to perform in.” Nobody’s Girl –  Michelle Wright

Nobody’s Girl –  Michelle Wright Country Music Artist was born on July 1, 1961 in Chatham, Ontario but grew up in a nearby small town named Merlin, Ontario. The music scene was a heavy influenced throughout her childhood as both her parents were local musicians. 

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright

“We were never a family band, but I got a lot of inspiration and encouragement from my mother. That’s where my love of country music really began.” Michelle Wright

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright Country Music Artist

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

Michelle’s Education In Country Music   

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright Country Music Artist was on her way. In 1980 this love of music grew while in college when Michelle joined a local band where she performed with them until 1983. Then in 1983 Wright started her own band.

But… in 1985,  a solo record deal with Savannah Records came calling. She released her debut single in 1986, “I Want to Count on You”, which peaked at No. 48 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks Chart. At this time she still was performing with her own band until 1988.  

Time To Go Solo For Michelle Wright

Michelle Wright’s debut album, “Do Right by Me”, was released in 1988. Not only did it produce seven hit singles, including Wright’s cover of the 1974 Andy Kim hit – “Rock Me Gently” – but, more importantly, the album’s Canadian success led to a record contract with Arista Nashville.  Michelle Wright became one of the label’s flagship artists.

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright – Queen Of Canadian Country Music Of The 90’s

The years during the 90’s was a whirlwind of success for Michelle Wright. It started in April 1990 with the release of Wright’s first American single, “New Kind Of Love”… then quickly followed up with a second album “Michelle Wright” in July of 1990. Consequently, Wright became the opening act for Kenny Rogers 1991 tour. The country music album became a huge success in Canada.

A Canadian Super Star Was Born

Michelle Wright immediately became one of Canada’s most widely recognized country music artists and most awarded female country singers. The 1990’s saw a string of awards and accolades for Michelle. 

In 1990 Michelle was awarded Female Artist of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association.

In 1991 her awards included Album of the Year for “Michelle Wright”,  Single of the Year for her song “New Kind Of Love”, as well as, Female Artist Of The Year by The Canadian Country Music Association. The success of the album and the single encouraged Michelle to move to Nashville Tennessee to advance her career. This move inspired the start of the third album of her career.

 

Take It Like A Man

1992 witnessed the release of Michelle Wright’s third album, “Now and Then”. The album’s first single “Take It Like A Man”, became an instant hit reaching #1 in Canada and #10 in the United States. The song crossed over to the contemporary charts, reaching Number #18 in Canada. The song was awarded Single Of The Year from The Canadian Country Music Association.

The Whirlwind Success Continues For Michelle Wright

1993 recognized Wright as the Top New Female Vocalist of The Year, for the album “Now and Then”, from the Academy of Country Music. In addition CBS featured her on a television special, Women of Country, where she performed “Take It Like a Man”.

The “Now and Then” album went on to produce six more singles including the Canadian number one hits “One Time Around” and “Guitar Talk”. The album also included “He Would Be Sixteen”, which reached #31 in the US and #3 on the charts in Canada. Winning Single of the Year for “He Would Be Sixteen” and The Fans Choice Award completed 1993 nicely for Michelle Wright.

1994 Wright, released the first single from her upcoming album “One Good Man”. Although it didn’t reach the top 40 in the US it became her fourth number one hit in Canada. Wright’s fourth album, “The Reason Why” was released in Canada in September. Cancellation of the release of the album in the US, resulted in the album’s release in Europe after a successful European tour. 

Michelle Wright On A Roll

1995 was a busy year for Michelle. She completed a 40 – city tour throughout Canada. Which at that time was the most extensive tour in the history of Canadian Country Music in Canada.

In August 1996, Wright released her fifth album, “For Me It’s You”, following the release of the first single. “Nobody’s Girl”,  reached Number 1 on the Canadian  Country Tracks and No. 57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles . The album went on to be successful in Canada, producing three Top Five singles  “Crank My Tractor”, “The Answer Is Yes”, and “What Love Looks Like”.  

The Winding Down Of A Decade

In 1997 Wright keeps busy behind the scenes focusing on her humanitarian accomplishments such as her international work with the Special Olympics, her successful fundraising efforts for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chatham, Ontario, as well as, her support for the Manitoba flood relief fund.

Because of her humanitarian efforts Michelle was awarded the C.F. Martin Humanitarian Award by the Canadian Country Music Association. The year came to a close for Michelle at The Canadian Country Music Awards, where she delivered a show-stopping gospel-tinged rendition of the Curtis Mayfield hit, “People Get Ready”, accompanied by a fifty-voice choir. A personal highlight for her career. She reflects:

“I still get goose bumps whenever I hear that version”

1998 saw a collaboration effort with pianist Jim Brickman producing the song “Your Love”.  The song was awarded the Vocal/Instrumental Collaboration Of The Year. In addition the video topped the CMT Canada charts.

“It felt great to be at that point in my career.”

1999 saw the “Greatest Hits Collection”. Michelle provided her listeners a look back at her ten magical years punctuated by hit after memorable hit.  Wright’s “The Greatest Hits Collection”, was released in Canada in October 1999. “I Surrender” and “When I Found You” two new songs, both became Top Ten hits. 

US radio welcomed Wright back after the “Greatest Hits Collection” due to the 1997 duet with pianist Jim Brickman. The song, “Your Love” gave Wright her only American adult contemporary hit reaching #19 on the Adult Contemporary Tracks. Despite the song’s success at AC radio, it would be Wright’s last charting single in the United States.

Successes Of The Next Decade 

The next decade adds to Michelle Wright’s incredible career and keeps her on the move.

The beginning of 2000, Michelle Wright: The Greatest Hits Collection was released. The album contained eleven of her hit songs that helped shape her career and celebrate her ten year anniversary with Arista/Nashville Records. This album was an overview of ten cherished years.

In 2002 Wright released five more CDs, generating more sales and more hits. “Shut Up and Kiss Me” was released in 2002.

Her first Christmas album, “A Wright Christmas”, released in Canada in 2005 and internationally on Savannah Music at Christmas time, 2008.

Savannah Music released the Album, “Everything And More”, in Canada in July, 2006, as well as internationally in late 2008. Savannah Music reissued, the remastered and repackaged edition of “Do Right By Me”, across North America in August, 2010, as well as internationally the following October. 

During 2009 and 2010 Michelle hit the road in Alberta and recorded live, “The Wright’s Songs” featuring a 17 song collection of her many hits on acoustic instruments. Savannah Music released this Album to Canada in 2011 as well as internationally in 2012

Merritt Murals of Canada

As a Country Music performer at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, and returning to Merritt BC Canada to perform and support the Walk Of Stars as well as the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Galas. Michelle Wright earned her place on the wall. 

July of 2004 seen Michelle Wright grace The Main Stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, as well as making her hand print that year for The Merritt Walk of Stars.

In 2006, Michelle again graced The Main Stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival. That same year, Michelle became a part of the walls known as Merritt BC Murals. This same year she signed her mural. You can find the Michelle Wright Mural at 1701 Voght Street, among the walking tour of Merritt BC Murals.

Merritt Murals and Music 2.0

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.

June of 2009, the sixth annual Walk of Stars Gala set the stage again for Michelle Wright to wow the Country Music fans of Merritt. Michelle delivered a show stopping performance,  once again in June of 2012, for the eighth annual Walk of Stars Gala. 

Michelle recruited a new team in 2016. She continues to record and write songs as well as perform across the Country and around the world. She is still proving to her fans that she won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and that the feisty girl from rural, Merlin, Ontario will be sticking around. There is no doubt that this 2011 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee continues to make Canada proud.

Or as she says, “What a way to make a living! I plan on making and playing music for a long time to come.”

Keep up to date and follow Michelle http://www.michelle-wright.com 

Country Music Artist Michelle Wright – Merritt BC Murals

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Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett 

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“I Grew To Love Country Music Because Of The lyrics,” Aaron Pritchett

Hold My Beer –Aaron Pritchett country music artist  who was born on August 2, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. By the same token, Aaron grew up and was raised in Kitimat, BC, Canada – a coastal community in the northwestern region of British Columbia.

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Aaron’s love of music didn’t start with country music. Growing up he would listen to the rock ‘n’ roll legends of his parents like Elvis, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, The Miracles, Van Morrison, and James Brown. Correspondingly, as Aaron grew older, Canadian acts from the 1980’s, especially Bryan Adams, were a major influence as well. Consequently Pritchett’s single ‘DRIVE’ was co-written by Bryan Adams and British writer Phil Thornalley.

“Def Lepperd, AC/DC, bands like that; they are all a big part of the rockier licks I use in my songs today. I grew to love country music because of the lyrics . The songs are all about true life experiences.” Aaron Pritchett

Merritt BC Murals

Aaron Pritchett – Featured artists of Merritt BC Murals

Embarking On The Touring Scene

Aaron Pritchett started his career as a DJ at Rooster’s Country Cabaret in Pitt Meadows, BC. As a result of his DJ career, he also played in a house band throughout BC and Alberta playing cover tunes.

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett’s Big Break

In 2001 everything changed for Aaron.  In short he entered a singing contest called “Project Discovery” sponsored by CMT (Country Music Television). Most importantly Aaron won $10,000 in cash, and a professional music video directed by internationally acclaimed director, Steven Goldmann.

Aaron put his winnings towards recording his first album “Consider This”. The title track from the album was co-written by Pritchett and BC country music legend Rick Tippe. Soon after, he got to record three songs with one of Canada’s top producers, Tom McKillip. In short, it was then, when Aaron Pritchett won the Project Discovery Talent Contest, at the Canadian Country Music Awards, he started receiving national recognition and attention.

Aaron Pritchett on the wall

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

Country Music Charts Recognizes Aaron Pritchett

Pritchett was now on a roll with some of his songs climbing to the top of the charts. Songs like Hold My Beer. As a result his success continued to grow with the release of his next albums – “Something Going On Here” in 2003 and “Big Wheel” in 2006. During this period of Aaron’s country music career he toured promoting his albums to his growing fan base.

“Combine humble, driven, talented, great songwriter and a focused artist together and you have Aaron Pritchett.”

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett Merritt BC Murals Connection

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada has played a big roll in Aaron’s career. Not to mention Aaron has played a big roll in building Merritt’s country music brand. For instance, Aaron Pritchett was a regular attraction over the 17 years of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin’ River Country Music Fest). His debut performance at the festival was on the “The Little Big Stage” in 1993.

Pritchett said, “the times I performed in Merritt were quite an experience”.

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett Winning Single

Winning Independent Male Artist of the Year at the CCMA’s in 2004 and then Songwriter of the Year in 2007 put Aaron on the country music map. His winning single ‘Hold My Beer’ was not the song Aaron and his co-writers thought would ever make it big. Were they surprised.

Signed To The Record Label 

604 Records, the production company of Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, signed Aaron Pritchett to a label in 2008. Soon after, the “Thankful” album was released on September 9, 2008. Aaron promoted this album on a tour of Western Canada with Toby Keith and Jessie Farrel.

Aaron released his next album “In the Driver’s Seat” on November 9, 2010, under his own record label Decibel Music. Pritchett’s first greatest hits album, “Body of Work: A Collection of Hits”, was released on May 12, 2015 under Big Star Recordings.

In June 2016, Pritchett released the album “The Score”.  Moreover, the title commemorated his 20th year recording and the anniversary of his first album . The lead off single “Dirt Road In Em” went on to become #6 on the country music charts and was earmarked as a comeback single in Pritchett’s career. The second release from the album, “Out Of The Blue” followed suit reaching #9 on the charts. The release of “When A Momma’s Boy Meets A Daddy’s Girl”, climbed the charts and sat at #10 on the Canada Country Billboard for 8 weeks. Because of the results of Aaron’s efforts he was nominated in 2017 for Country Album of the Year at the Juno Awards.

The Country Music Team

Aaron is often heard praising his team for all his success. In addition Aaron credits his success, in the early part of his career, to Country Music Television and radio airplay. In addition, Aaron credits each and every fan that has supported him along the way. An early highlight of his career, was playing for an audience of 20,000 people in Ontario, Canada and listening to them singing along with his songs. 

“Without a team it is impossible to reach your goals.” Aaron Pritchett

Above all Aaron credits industry icon Heather Ostertag for much of his success. Heather is the Past President of FACTOR, Past President of the CMAO and owner of Heather Ostertag and Associates.

“Without Heather, many aspects of my career would never have happened. She has been a major supporter, a strong mentor and one of my best friends to this day. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for believing in me.” Aaron Pritchett

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Recognition as a Canadian Country Music Artist

To sum it up nicely, Aaron is considered, one of Canada’s favorite entertainers and all around good guy. Firstly, he has been honored with multiple Canadian Country Music Association, Juno and British Columbia Music Association nominations and awards. Secondly, some of the hardware he has taken home include Independent Male Artist, Independent Song, Entertainer, Male Artist, Album and Group of the Year Awards.

Aaron Pritchett has earned his title as one of Canada’s most energetic and electrifying entertainers in the industry. Most importantly, to all of us here in Merritt BC, Aaron has been a staunch supporter of The Merritt Walk of Stars, The Merritt Mural Project and The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Merritt Walk Of Stars

Hundred’s of International and National Country Music Artists have performed at the annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival over the 17 years of the festival. As a result, those stars left their mark permanently in Merritt BC by creating hand prints (or, in one case, footprints) accompanied by signatures. Therefore, each  artist print is encased in concrete stars.

In 2003, those hand prints became the motivation behind the Merritt Walk of Stars – a self guided walking tour throughout the community . More importantly, the project helped solidify Merritt BC, Canada, as the Country Music Capital of Canada. Today, more than 100 bronze stars are located in plaques throughout the community. Aaron Pritchett created his star in 2004.

“It is huge to get a star,” he said. “It a real honour to be among the artists who have made stars in Merritt. As well as be recognized among some of the names that are included, in The Walk of Stars.”

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett On The Merritt Mural Walking Tour

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals is 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. These beautiful works of art can be seen all over downtown Merritt BC.

Therefore, as a result, not only did the program serve to enrich our society, but it helped to transform Merritt BC, Canada into the largest outdoor country music art gallery you’ll ever visit. Subsequently, Aaron had his mural painted and sits on the wall of City Furniture on Voght street in Downtown Merritt, BC.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Capital of Canada

Merritt, BC Canada has its own history of cowboys, cattle ranches and country experiences. Country music is a part of the heritage and country lifestyle of Merritt, BC, Canada. Because Merritt has hosted an annual Country Music Festival for many years, it consequently became branded as the Country Music Capital of Canada. There was a short festival hiatus from 2012 to 2014. As a result Rockin River Music Festival took over the festival in 2015 and, since then, every August long weekend people come to Merritt for some top quality country music.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

The Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame opened in Merritt, BC Canada in 2009. However, in 2012, it became an arm of the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society in order to create a venue to display artifacts related to the inductees of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. As a result, in 2018, there is a total of 139 inductees in the Merritt Hall of Fame.

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame is located in Downtown Merritt, BC, Canada on 2025 Quilchena Avenue. Moreover, make the effort to visit the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame and enjoy their  displays of your favorite artist inductees.

In conclusion make the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame your starting point for your visit to Merritt, British Columbia, Canada. In addition please visit our downtown coffee shops, restaurants and local shops for a unique shopping experience.

Moreover, say hi to Aaron on social media and let him know you met him here on Experience Nicola Valley. Further more, Aaron can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to send us a selfie of you with his mural too.

Hold My Beer by Aaron Pritchett

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“Santa Claus” and Christmas in Merritt BC

A Nicola Valley Christmas with Santa from the North Pole

“Twas the Night Before Christmas and all through Merritt …”

Christmas in Merritt BC Canada is coming up and Santa Claus is busy looking over his naughty & nice list in preparation for the big night. It has truly proven to be a very difficult year for keeping off the Naughty List too. Therefore Santa is checking it twice to find out who has been naughty or nice. In doing so, Santa was very pleased with the children of the Nicola Valley, as well as, the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers in their efforts of bringing good cheer into the homes of Merrittonians throughout the year.  

Christmas in Merritt BC

Santa checking the Naughty and Nice List twice from Santa’s Village in the North Pole

Mrs. Claus started Christmas in Merritt BC 

Christmas in Merritt BC started with Mrs. Claus accompanied by some poking and prodding from the Elves. One night talking with Santa, Mrs Claus was sharing some of the things she was reading about in the letters from Nicola Valley children. Meanwhile, the snickering Elves nearby hanging the Reindeer stockings were encouraging Mrs. Claus to take a Nicola Valley vacation. So she looked it up on ExperienceMerritt.com to learn more. She was hooked. 

Mrs. Claus Pays It Forward 

Mrs. Claus wanted to get a positive feel for Christmas in Merritt BC Canada. So she visited  the “Walk of Stars”, the Downtown Shops and some of the children, who are now adults, operating small businesses in Merritt during Covid 19. On her list was Blacks’ Pharmacy, Miss Vicki’s Petal and Plants, Planet Hair and Spa, Community Futures Nicola Valley and the City of Merritt Mayor, Linda Brown. 

Christmas in Merritt BC Must Go On

The Elves, the reindeer, Santa and Mrs. Claus all realize first hand how the children miss meeting with Santa Claus due to Covid19. Because of the pandemic Santa could not do his annual rounds visiting all the children throughout the world. Santa decided, based on the feedback from Mrs. Claus’ visit to the Nicola Valley, that Christmas in Merritt BC must go on!

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Santa and Mrs. Claus discussing Christmas in Merritt BC

Interview with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Santa and Mrs. Claus agreed to provide Experience Nicola Valley a 1/2 hour interview on our community talk show called Nicola Valley Talk. Lucky me! I, Tania Stewart, was the host of that episode on Nicola Valley Talk which had Santa and Mrs. Claus as a special guest! They shared so many things during our interview about Santa’s Village, the North Pole, the reindeer, the mischievous Elves and Xmas Eve. Watch the interview below. 

Letters from Nicola Valley Children

After much consideration Mrs. Claus and Santa, along with their 90 thousand elves, decided to grant the Nicola Valley Talk Show an additional episode so they could answer the letters from Nicola Valley children live online. In addition, they would invite a few children online to talk and chat with Santa on a video call live from the North Pole in Northern Canada. We received letters and some video submissions too, making for great stories and answers.

We all know that  Mrs.. Claus runs the show in the North Pole. Without her,  Santa would truly be lost. Of course Mrs. Claus did all her research on the ExperienceNicolaValley.com and ExperienceMerritt.com websites! Notably she searched Merritt BC  Things To Do on Google and the Experience Nicola Valley and Experience Merritt websites came up 3 times on the first page! 

“They must be the community experts Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers. And I was right!” Mrs. Claus.

Meanwhile back at the North Pole 

Then there are the Elves who are dedicated and work tirelessly to make sure Christmas is special. In our discussions, we met the two head Elves, Alex and Daniel.  These two had it all together. Therefore they were in charge of feeding the Reindeer, building toys, and assisting Mrs. Claus with the banking so to provide Santa with his cookies.  

christmas in merritt bc elves

The Head Elves, Alex and Daniel, helping out at the North Pole.

“In the light of  all the work that Santa’s Elves do throughout the year. They are just so jolly and full of spunk.” Melvina White

To point out these are the 5 most asked questions from children as well as adult’s to Santa Claus. 

  1.  -“Do you remember when Santa and you got me a XXXXX when I was 6?”
  2. – “Is Xmas cancelled because of COVID?”
  3. – “Can the reindeer really fly?”
  4. – “How does Santa get down the chimney?”
  5. – “Are there really such things as Elves?”

Santa in 2021

We sure do hope to have Santa back next year on the show to answer and chat live with Nicola Valley children. 

Christmas in Merritt BC Canada

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Remembering Merritt BC Summer Music Events 

Nicola Valley Summer Time Fun Will Be Back

COVID19 may have postponed our Merritt BC summer music events but it will never take away our memories. 

 

The COVID 19 pandemic has cancelled our Merritt BC summer music events. And, boy, do we have some music classics here in the Nicola Valley like Bass Coast, Rockin’ River Music Festival, Open Mic Night and Gary Copper at the Adelphi Hotel to mention a few. However, it would not feel right to write a blog about remembering summer music events without mentioning Spirit Square, music in the park, and the Old Time Fiddlers playing at our local street market. As a result, no country music event blog would be complete without mentioning our very own cowboy crooner Bobbie Garcia,  who may just pop up at any of our music events at anytime.

merritt bc summer events

Bobbie Garcia – Photo courtesy of Bobbie Garcia

Take the time to check out “Cooper Country” post COVID 19 

Merritt BC’s oldest heritage Hotel, the Adelphi Hotel, is home to one of Canada’s and Merritt’s country icons, Gary Cooper. The group plays weekly to a growing collection of avid fans while welcoming their friends from all over the world to get up on stage and jam along with them. Therefore, it will especially be nice to witness some good ole’ country music again sometime in the future.  

merritt bc summer music events

Gary Copper – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

To say nothing of Gary Cooper’s amazing talent to make that guitar dance with such mind blowing movements. Albeit I may be a little biased, but I can honestly say Gary Cooper is one of the best performers I have ever witnessed.” Tania Stewart

 

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Cooper Country invites all friends to join on stage – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Cooper Country” Gary Cooper with his 2 son’s Cory & Jason, along with friends at the Adelphi Bar in Merritt BC

 

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Millie playing with her favourite band! – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

When we get pass this pandemic, be sure to attend “Open Mic” at Kekuli Café and support local artists

Whether you live in Merritt or stopping for gas at the Seven-Eleven across the street from the Kekuli Café, there is nothing that connects more with locals than locals sharing their love for music. We hope, soon, weekends at the Kekuli Cafe will open up again and fill the air with music.  Furthermore, the many Open Mic Music fans like Doug, Donna and Mary Dickie (who is in her 90s) cannot wait to pick this up again.  

Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Nights Audience – Photo courtesy of Jano Howarth

“As with all events like Open Mic Nights, our audience is what makes it ongoing.” Jano Howarth

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Remember when we could take a stroll in the evening in Downtown Merritt BC 

Merritt’s Spirit Square was built for sound. Located in the heart of Downtown Merritt in the Nicola Valley, it is the sight of many open-air performances during the summer months. Because of the abundance of talent in the Nicola Valley there is never a lack of talent to grace the stage. The Nicola Valley is blessed to have so many talented musicians. 

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Coquihalla Coyotes  – Photo courtesy of Coquihalla Coyotes

One such local band which has played venues throughout the Nicola Valley are the Coquihalla Coyotes. The boys are a 3 piece rock and blues band for hire living in Merritt BC
Band Members: John-Henry Ramsey- Lead guitar/ Vocals, Paul Thompson- Bass guitar/ Vocals, Mark Schuitema- Drums/ Backup vocals

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The J.S Garcia Band. – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

 

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Summer music in Spirit Square – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

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Merritt’s own Old Time Fiddlers – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Bass Coast” 

They sure made an impression. How it has grown. Then Covid 19 hit and it too paid a big price with cancellation. What was going to be July 10 – 13th, 2020 is now ?? ??.   Bass Coast is a collective that showcases both local and international talent in a safe, supportive space. It is a place where artists are encouraged to display and share their hard work without fear of judgment. 

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Andrea Graham with Liz Thompson Bass Coast co-founders – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Bass Coast is built on the dreams and visions of a huge collection of people that will lead us to things Andrea and I would never have imagined. It’s not just us anymore, it’s everyone.” Liz Thompson

 

Merritt BC Summer Electronic Music

Bass Coast 2019 – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Post COVID 19 , this is one festival I cannot wait to attend again

Co-founders Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson are the architects of the event. The Librarian, Andrea, is a celebrated Canadian DJ, producer, and curator. She is the co-founder and music director of Bass Coast Music Festival. The festival is known internationally for its innovative music programming and installation art.  Andrea’s reputation as an inclusive community-builder in the electronic world has brought her a legion of fans and industry followers across the globe.

“I feel like in our community we have people who listen to different music, dress differently and are into different things, but that duality is also what creates a bond—our differences unite us.” Liz Thomson

Bass Coast 2019  - Merritt BC Summer Music

Country Music will be back in full force post COVID – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Remembering Merritt BC Summer Country Music Events

Due to your love of Country, the Rockin River Fest was scheduled again for Jul 30 – Aug 2 this year of 2020. The headliner this year was Keith Urban. However, things have changed since COVID 19 arrived in full force. Now there is a pent up energy for country music again and so we believe next year it is going to be epic. The Rockin’ River Music Fest is a B.C. family-owned and operated country music festival that takes place annually, on the BC Day long weekend, in Merritt, BC. See you in 2021!

Merritt BC Summer Country Music

Enjoying Rockin at the River – Photo courtesy of ehCanadaTravel.com

Kenny Hess 

Kenny Hess is the architect behind the Rockin River Music Festival.  From the age of 4, he knew he was going to be a country music singer. Therefore, by the time Kenny was a teenager he had already set in motion his musical journey that he is still on today. Lastly, Kenny Hess has now been a part of the music industry since the 80’s.  He has come a long way since standing on the kitchen table singing at the top of his lungs hoping someone would listen.

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With this in mind be sure to check out this amazing fun event in 2021.

 

Merritt BC Summer Music

Rockin River Music Festival – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

In a word

Obviously Merritt in the Summer offers an abundance of music events year after year, except for this year.  Regardless which event you choose to partake in the future the value is always there. Count yourself lucky! In conclusion, it is obvious that summer music events in Merritt BC are bountiful and will be back again. 

Merritt Summer Music Events

Follow Experience Nicola Valley for the latest in event listings coming back online. 

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt Event – Awards Gala – Best of the Nicola Valley 

2020 Blogging Awards Gala – “The Bloggies”

“The Merritt event will be a fun filled night of awards, prime rib dinner, live entertainment and a featured keynote speaker. Our guest speaker is Canadian Influencer and Social Media Personality Matthew Bailey of Must Do Canada.”

This Merritt event is a semi-formal gala celebrating the best 2019 positive stories and experiences in the Nicola Valley. All the ticket and activity details are listed below. 

Come join us at the first annual 2020 Blogging Awards Gala in Merritt BC Canada.

Merritt Event Celebrates the Nicola Valley

The semi-formal gala celebrates the many positive stories and experiences of 2019. Each one shared by our Experience Nicola Valley bloggers! There are 7 trophies to be awarded at the gala. The award categories are as follows: 3 “People’s Choice Award” categories (business , individual/event and non-profit), as well as, 4 blogger categories (Best Picture, Top Guest Blogger, Top Story of the Year and Top Story Teller). 

The Bloggies

The 2020 Blogging Awards is to be held at the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame on March 6th. Doors open at 5:30. Event starts at 6 PM. Do not be late, as the prime rib dinner is served prior to the award ceremony starting. However, there will also be a cash bar on site for the entire night. Besides the 7 trophies to hand out, and the prime rib dinner… there is more. We are fortunate to have Matthew Bailey, of Must Do Canada, as our guest keynote speaker. Matthew is a Canadian Influencer and Social Media You Tube Personality based out of Calgary , Alberta

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2020 Blogging Awards also known as “The Bloggies”

 

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Matthew Bailey – 2020 Blogging Awards Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker Matthew Bailey

Matthew is the creator of “Must Do Canada“. He has been featured in Our Canada Magazine (front cover photo and six-page spread), the Calgary Herald, and the Toronto Star to name a few. Matthew will be sharing his story and experiences about blogging, and social media. Matthew has traveled to 42 countries and 6 continents. We look forward to the many insights Matthew will be sharing with the community at this Merritt event about travel and content marketing. 

 

 

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Story telling songs and covers provided by Stu and Tammy

Merritt Live Entertainment

Since Experience Nicola Valley is a story telling platform, we invited a local musical duo to the 2020 Blogging Awards to entertain us with story telling songs.  We are happy to present as our featured artist for the evening, Stu and Tammy. Stu will be telling stories through songs (written by himself). And along with Tammy, they will play some of our favorite cover songs. Come and join us for a night of music, stories and dance. 

 

2020 Blogging Award Categories and Nominees

merritt event blogging awardsPeople’s Choice Nominees
(Individual/Event)

(Ellen Miller) Nicola Valley Women’s Fair
Don Loewen Saddlery
Open Mic Night

People’s Choice Nominees
(Business)

Game On Sports
Boston Pizza
Mary’s Corner Cafe

People’s Choice Nominees
(Non Profit)

Seniors Centre 
Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame 
Nicola Valley Food Bank 

Top Guest Blogger Nominees

Amber Papou
Meagan Preston
Manuel Olguin

Best Picture Nominees (Blogger)

Julie Pollard (Fall in the Nicola Valley)
Diane Lavoie (Boston Pizza)
Tania Stewart (Nicola Valley Rodeo)

Top Story Nominees (Blog)

Melvina White (George Jones)
Diane Lavoie (Things To Do In Merritt)
Tania Stewart (A-P Ranch)

Story Teller of the Year Nominees (Blogger)

Tania Stewart
Tom Reynolds
Melvina White
***

 

Bloggies Food Bank Drive

Just telling stories makes us hungry. So, just imagine how hungry some of our fellow Merrittonnians are when times get tough. We here at ExperienceNicolaValley.com and ExperienceMerritt.com like to help where we can so…. when you come to the 2020 Blogging Awards Gala please bring 1 food item. There will be a box at the entrance which you can place your item in. All donations will then be delivered to the Nicola Valley Food Bank

Location of Merritt Event

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
2025B Quilchena Ave
Merritt BC Canada

Date: March 6th, 2020
Time: 6PM to 9PM and beyond
Doors Open at 5:30

Where to Buy Tickets ($20 per person)

(limited quantity available) 

D & D Emporium
2070 Quilchena Ave
Downtown Merritt in between Fields and Creative Comfort
Tuesday – Friday  10 AM to 5 PM
Saturday 11 Am – 4 PM
250-378-9223

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame
2025B Quilchena Ave
Downtown Merritt
Wed – Fri 12 Noon to 4 PM 
250.378.9569

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

merritt muralRandy Travis – American Country Music Superstar

Grand Ole Opry Inductee Randy Travis Featured On The Walls Of The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

The First Chapter Of An Extraordinary Life

Randy Travis, is an American country music superstar and Christian country music singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor.

Travis was born on May 4, 1959 in Marshville, North Carolina, USA as Randy Bruce Traywick. The second of six children  of Harold Traywick (the owner of a construction company and farmer, as well as a substitute teacher) and Bobbie Traywick (a textile factory worker).

 “My dad was always a big country music fan, so we grew up listening to a lot of the old stuff. Hank Williams and Patsy Cline were probably his favorites.”(Ricky Traywick)

Randy Travis and Brother Rick

Randy Travis and Rick

Randy Travis grew up with the family name of Traywick and was the younger brother of Ricky Traywick by two years. Growing up in the Traywick home there were no shortage of musical influences and encouragement. Listening to music wasn’t the only influence he and his brother had. “Actually, their dad took them to guitar lessons together. Afterwards, they would go home and “jam” in the den, learning from each other. They would take turns playing lead and rhythm, always trying to out play each other.“

Learning to play the guitar at the age of 8, he started singing in the Church of Christ choir. For the next 2 years he and his brother Ricky performed as the Traywick Brothers at local clubs as well as entering talent contests. He would become a solo entertainer in 1969.

Randy Travis Early Years

Randy Travis

Troubles In The First Chapter

The next few years would be troublesome for Travis. Although his father encouraged his pursuit of music. The two often quarreled, which in part was a contributing factor in Randy dropping out of school.

Now as a solo singer he would continue to perform. Performing in tough venues where acts would be protected from the audience by chain link fence.

As a teenager Randy’s love of country music was matched only, by his increasing experimentation of alcohol and drugs. Soon Travis was drinking excessively and using drugs. He has been open about his troubled teen years, telling Newsweek that he began drinking at 12 and using drugs at 14.

“Sometimes a lot harder drugs, but at least marijuana every day,” he admitted. “I think all that was part of why I got into so much trouble. Because I drank so much and did so many drugs that it was like it wasn’t me. It was like another person was in control. Nobody can handle that kind of abuse. You go crazy, you’re not mentally in control. I’m just thankful that cocaine wasn’t around when I was going through my bad time. I’d have probably died. I’d have probably killed myself with it.” (Randy Travis to Newsweek)

By this time he had dropped out of school and briefly held a job as a construction worker. Over the next few years. Randy was in and out of trouble. Arrested for assault, breaking and entering as well as other misdemeanor charges.

The Start Of A Slow Turnaround

Randy Travis was a kid with a golden voice and a habit of making trouble when he was discovered in his home state of North Carolina in the late 1970s.

In 1975, Randy won a talent contest in Country City USA a nightclub in, Charlotte, North Carolina. The club owner, Elizabeth “Lib Hatcher” took an interest in the young singer. She hired him as a cook and gave him regular singing gigs at the club.

Still in his late teens, Randy had one more run in with the law. At his hearing, Hatcher seeing promise in his music convinced the judge to let her become Randy’s legal guardian. Hatcher spent the next few years grooming Randy. The two began to focus on his career full time.

In 1978, he recorded a self-titled album, Randy Traywick, for Paula Records. One single from the album, “She’s My Woman”, spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

Travis moved in with Hatcher, which put further strain on her already fragile marriage. She eventually left her husband and, in 1982, she and Travis moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Hatcher became manager of the Nashville Palace, a tourist-oriented club near the Grand Ole Opry. Randy performed as “Randy Ray” in the club as well as worked as their short order cook.

During this time an unlikely romance began to form between Travis and Hatcher. Travis and Hatcher eventually came forward with their relationship. They married in a private ceremony in 1991.

Travis would later comment, “I think we discovered how much we needed each other.” (Randy Travis)

Randy and Elizabeth Travis

Randy and Elizabeth

Chapter Two The Complete Beginning To The Rise Of Fame

Travis was rejected by every major record label in Nashville in the early 1980’s. Labelled and criticized by record executives, he was passed over by Warner Brothers twice as being “too country”. He would become a pivotal figure in the history of country music, including positioning as a major force in the neo traditional country movement.

 Warner Bros. senior vice president Martha Sharp went to the Palace to hear “Randy Ray” perform in 1985 and offered him a contract on the spot.

“I loved his voice,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “But I knew I was going to get a lot of guff. The prevailing opinion at that time was that he was too country, nothing that country would work. Still, my gut told me to go ahead.” (Martha Sharp)

Martha Sharp with Faith Hill

Martha Sharp and Faith Hill (An Older Picture)

The first thing Sharp did was change Randy Traywick’s stage name to Randy Travis. Then she encouraged him to focus on his strengths—especially his robust but edgy voice and the vein of irony that helped temper his more sentimental songs.

After being told he was too traditional, “On the Other Hand” released in 1985 only reached number 67 on the charts. Despite the disappointing review of “On The Other Hand”, Warner released “1982” which became a top ten the same year.  Randy Travis quickly became the hottest young country artist in America. He was adored by fans of contemporary and traditional country.

In 1986, both songs appeared on Travis’s album Storms Of Life, which secured a place at No. 1 for eight weeks and sold over five million copies.

Randy Travis was well on his way of marking a generational shift in country music.

Chapter Three Continuing To The Rise Of Fame Throughout The “1980’s”

In 1986, Warner Bros. re-released “On the Other Hand”, and the re-release became Travis’s first No. 1 single on the chart.

Travis’s first album, Storms of Life, was released by Warner Bros. in June of 1986 with anticipated sales of 20,000 units. By the end of the year it had sold more than a million copies and yielded four hit singles: “1982,” “On the Other Hand,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” and “Reasons I Cheat. “On the Other Hand”, “Diggin’ Up Bones”, and “No Place Like Home” were all co-written by Paul Overstreet.

Randy Travis

Randy Travis

Storms helped the world recognize, Randy Travis was no longer a secret.  The Album earned him The Country Music Association’s  Horizon Award now known as (New Artist Of The Year Award).

“Diggin’ Up Bones” also won Travis his first Grammy Award in 1986, for Best Male Vocal Country Performance. “Storms of Life” received its highest Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sales certification in 1992, when it was certified triple-platinum for shipments of 3 million copies.  The album’s producer was Kyle Lehning, who would also produce nearly all of Travis’s subsequent albums. In December 1986, Travis became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was the youngest inductee at the age of 28 to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

When his Storms of Life came out in 1986, country music was still wallowing in the post-urban cowboy recession, chasing elusive crossover dreams. Travis brought the music back to its basics, sounding like a perfect blend of George Jones and Merle Haggard.

The Hits and Awards Keep Coming

He became the dominant male voice in country until the rise of “hat acts” like Garth Brooks and Clint Black, releasing seven consecutive number one singles during one stretch. He won the CMA’s Horizon Award in 1986 and was the association’s Male Vocalist of the Year in 1987 and 1988.

During the early years Travis and his band travelled to concerts in a converted bread truck, equipment was hauled in a van and horse trailer. By the beginning of 1987, the Travis entourage, still managed by Hatcher—traveled in the comfort of a $500,000 bus. Hatcher also found Travis a publicist, who signed the engaging young singer to some unlikely television appearances, including one on the rock-oriented Saturday Night Live.

His second album, Always and Forever, sold well over three million copies and remained at the Number One position on the country charts for a record 43 weeks. The release’s most popular hit single, “Forever and Ever, Amen” was named favorite country single of 1987 by both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. Always & Forever won Travis his second Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1987.

Randy’s third album, “I Told You So” was issued in July 1988. Its first three singles, “Honky Tonk Moon”, “Deeper Than the Holler”, and “Is It Still Over?”, all reached No. 1 as well, while “Promises” was less successful at No. 17. The album achieved its highest RIAA certification of double-platinum in 1996. This was followed by Travis’s first Christmas album, “An Old Time Christmas”, late in 1989.

Closing Off The Decade Of The 1980’s

In 1989, Travis recorded a cover of “It’s Just a Matter of Time”, which was originally recorded by Brook Benton thirty years prior. Travis cut the song for a multi-artist tribute album titled Rock, Rhythm & Blues which was also released by Warner Brothers, and persuaded the label to include it on what would become his fourth Warner album, No Holdin’ Back.

Travis’s version of the song, produced by Richard Perry (who also provided bass vocals on it), was the lead single to that album, and charted at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs in December 1989.  Two more singles were released from No Holdin’ Back: “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart”, which became Travis’s longest-lasting No. 1 single at four weeks in 1990, and “He Walked on Water”, which peaked at No. 3. The album included one other cover song, “Singing the Blues”, along with the track “Somewhere in My Broken Heart”, co-written and later recorded by Billy Dean.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Randy Travis’s Part In Neotraditional Country

Classic Travis material and carefully crafted vocal delivery, helped bring neotraditionalism to the forefront of country music. New (or “neo-“) traditionalism looked to the elders of country music like Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells and George Jones for inspiration, and was a precursor to the more general categorization known as new country.

Randy Travis 2003

Randy Travis

The 1980s and ’90s were the time for a new, yet old, take on country music, neotraditional country. Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Patty Loveless, and Marty Stuart, among others, were all ambassadors of the down-to-earth brand of music. Which drew on traditional bluegrass sounds and down-home themes.

Neotraditional country, also known as new traditional country, is a country music style that emphasizes the instrumental background and a “traditional” country vocal style. Typical instruments – Guitar · Steel Guitar · Dobro · Harmonica · Bass · Fiddle · Drums · Banjo  and the Mandolin.

Travis came from the same neotraditional background as George Straight, especially on his album “Storms Of Life”. The album marked a milestone as the first debut album to sell one million albums.

Like Straight, Travis removed the undesirable elements attributed to the drinking, honky-tonk approach found with the outlaw artists. He was still able to personify a traditional country style.

Along with country pop and country rock, neotraditional country remains one of the veins of country music that holds mainstream popularity in the mid-2010s.

Chapter Four Acting and Music During The 1990’s

In the 1990s, Travis took on an acting career. He won roles in the made-for-TV movies Dead Man’s Revenge (1994) and Steel Chariots (1997). He made appearances on some of TV’s most popular series, including Touched By an Angel, Frasier and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.  Travis landed supporting roles in the feature films The Rainmaker (1997), T.N.T. (1998) and The Million Dollar Kid (1999).

Randy Travis-Million Dollar Kid

Million Dollar Kid

In addition to his acting efforts, Travis’s music career continued to thrive with the release of Full Circle (1996), You And You Alone (1998) and A Man Ain’t Made Out Of Stone (1999).

Travis’s sixth studio album, Heroes & Friends, consisted almost entirely of duets. It produced two singles: “A Few Ole Country Boys” (featuring George Jones) and the title track, also the only solo cut on the album. Both made top 10 on the country music charts in 1991. Other featured artists included B. B. King and Clint Eastwood. “We’re Strangers Again”, a duet with Tammy Wynette. Written by Merle Haggard and Leona Williams. The rendition by Travis and Wynette later appeared on the latter’s Best Loved Hits compilation for Epic Records, who issued it as a single in August 1991.

More Music In The 1990″s

In 1991, Travis took part in “Voices That Care”, a multi-artist project that featured other top names in music for a one-off single to raise money for the allied troops in the Gulf War.

The project included fellow singers Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, and Kathy Mattea. In addition, Travis recorded the patriotic song “Point of Light” in response to the Thousand points of light program initiated by George H. W. Bush.

This song was also the lead single to his seventh Warner album, High Lonesome. This album produced three more singles, all of which Travis co-wrote with fellow country singer Alan Jackson. “Forever Together”, “Better Class of Losers”, and “I’d Surrender All”.

Warner Bros. released two volumes of a Greatest Hits package in September 1992: Greatest Hits, Volume 1 and Greatest Hits, Volume 2. One single from each compilation made No. 1 that year: “If I Didn’t Have You” from Volume 1, and “Look Heart, No Hands” from Volume 2.

Also released from Volume 1 was “An Old Pair of Shoes”, which charted at No. 21. Later in 1992, Travis cut the album Wind in the Wire, a disc of cowboy-inspired Western music intended to accompany a television movie of the same name in which Travis appeared.

Wind In Wire Randy Travis

Randy Travis

This disc was his first not to produce any Top 40 country singles. Due to Wind in the Wire and other TV movies in which he starred, Travis took a hiatus from recording and touring for most of 1993. He later told Billboard magazine that “There seems to be this perception that I’ve completely quit”.

Music Keeps Charting In The 1990’s

Lehning remarked of Travis’s ninth album, This Is Me, that the singer seemed “reinvigorated”, while Travis himself said that the songs on it seemed more “rowdy” than those on previous albums.

Four singles from this album made the charts: “Before You Kill Us All”, “Whisper My Name” (which peaked at No. 1 in 1994), the title track, and “The Box”. His last album for Warner was 1996’s Full Circle. Which featured the singles “Are We in Trouble Now”, “Would I”, and “Price to Pay”. The last of which failed to reach the country top 40.

Also in 1996, Travis covered Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” for the soundtrack to Traveler. This rendition, issued by Asylum Records, spent 15 weeks on the country charts despite only peaking at No. 51.

Travis signed to Dream Works Records in 1998, where he issued “You and You Alone”. For this album, Travis co-produced with Byron Gallimore (best known for his work with Tim McGraw) and James Stroud.

You Alone Randy Travis

Randy Travis You And You Alone

Featured artists on the disc included Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, and Melba Montgomery. Actor Patrick Swayze also contributed backing vocals on the track “I Did My Part”. Its singles were “Out of My Bones”, “The Hole”, “Spirit of a Boy, “Wisdom of a Man” and “Stranger in My Mirror”.

His only other DreamWorks album, A Man Ain’t Made of Stone, followed in 1999. Also co-produced by Stroud and Gallimore, it produced a Top 20 hit in its title track. Three other singles all failed to make top 40.

Balance – The Silver Lining And Inspirational Journey in The 2000″s

Travis’s career from 2000 onward was dominated by Christian country music. His first full album in the genre, 2000’s Inspirational Journey, was issued via Word Records.

One cut from this album, “Baptism”, was originally recorded by Kenny Chesney as a duet with Travis on Chesney’s 1999 album Everywhere We Go. The version appearing on Inspirational Journey, a solo rendition by Travis, charted at No. 75 on the country charts in late 2000. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Travis recorded the patriotic song “America Will Always Stand”, which charted via distribution from Relentless Records.

Travis’s most successful venture in Christian country music was “Three Wooden Crosses”. Released in December 2002 as the lead single to his album Rise and Shine, that song became his sixteenth and final No. 1 single in early 2003. It was followed by Worship & Faith, consisting mostly of gospel standards, in 2003. This album earned an RIAA gold certification three years after its release.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

“Passing Through”, came next which accounted for his last solo chart entries in “Four Walls” and “Angels”. “Glory Train”, Songs of Faith, Worship, and Praise in 2005 also consisted largely of gospel covers. While his second Christmas album, Songs of the Season, followed in 2007.

“A lot of people don’t pay attention to the fact that his first album sold three million copies,” Ray marvels about Travis. “He’s the first solo male artist to ever sell three million copies in the history of the genre. He single-handedly turned this genre around and he has legends like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, George Strait, going, ‘If it wasn’t for Randy Travis I don’t know if I’d be where I am right now.” (Michael Ray)

A Return To The Country Roots

Around the Bend in 2008 returned Travis to a traditional country style, coinciding with a return to Warner Bros. Nashville. Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted of Travis’s career in the preceding years that his turn to Christian music “was fruitful, producing a series of good, heartfelt records. They also included a nice side effect of putting commercialism way on the back burner. The gospel albums were made without the charts in mind. While adding that “Around the Bend “stands apart from trends, not defiantly but comfortably.” In 2009, Carrie Underwood covered “I Told You So” with Travis on duet vocals, and this collaborative version charted at No. 2 on the country charts. Travis released two more cover albums in 2013 and 2014. Influence Vol. 1, “The Man I Am”, and Influence Vol. 2, “The Man I Am”.

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

Merritt Mountain Music Festival Performance July 2006 And The Randy Travis Mural Featured On The Wall Of The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

The crowd is at capacity with high expectations. Randy Travis is one of the most influential voices in country music. When Travis was introduced and walked on stage the entire crowd stood up.

“I am just a good ol’ country boy at heart and down right human”!(Randy Travis)

There just is no other voice quite like Randy’s and as soon as he began to make a sound you knew who it was! Randy is at his most creative, energetic and exuberant. His performance was warm, funny and engaging. He was at home with his audience and performing at his best.

The audience was lively, responsive and engaged in his every move. There was a feeling of genuineness and love that he has for his music and his fans. For Randy, it is not being a star or a performer. It is the flood of love outpouring from his fans and the enjoyment of being able to be with them and entertain them that is the inspiration for him to keep going.

The crowd was attentive and mesmerized throughout the show. However, broke into a roar when he started singing his closing song “Forever And Ever Amen”.

It was a an overall performance delivered in fine fashion. Capturing his wonderful talented voice as well as his boyish charm and appeal. It was definitely a show to remember. (Claude Lelievre-Merritt Mountain Music Festival)

Randy Music Festival

Randy Travis

‘We Can’t Save Him…Pull the Plug’

Randy Travis has sold more than 25 million albums, earned seven Grammy Awards, and toured the world. In 2013 he suffered a massive stroke that left him paralyzed on one side, limiting his speech and ability to do what he loves most: sing and perform.

As a result of the stroke, Travis had lost his ability to speak and had difficulty walking, but in the years since, has been making progress on both counts as well as relearning how to play the guitar and sing.

Earlier in 2013, Travis became engaged to Mary Davis. The couple married in 2015. Six years on from Randy’s massive stroke, Mary says the experience has taught the couple a lot about love, perseverance, and patience.

Randy Travis and Wife Mary

Randy and Mary married

“You learn to love each other and adore each other in a way that was far beyond what you thought was possible. So we learned a lot about love. There wasn’t anything that I feel like was going to tear us apart.” (Mary Travis)

With Randy unable to speak much, Mary does most of the talking for her husband.

He’s highly septic, with a staph infection we can’t get in control and it’s replicating. As well as other hospital born bacteria, collapsed lungs, chest tubes, he was intubated. He had a tracheostomy, and his skull was still off. 

“There was just so many things working against him but there was a couple things working for him and that was God Almighty and that was His will.” (Mary Travis)

The Decision

Mary asked Randy if he wanted to keep fighting in a partial comatose state. “That’s when that tear fell. And he squeezed my hand and we hadn’t got that much out of him in weeks. So I knew then that he knew what was going on. I also know that he wanted to fight,” she adds.

Randy Travis Hall of Fame Inductee

Randy Travis at induction in to Country Music Hall Of Fame.

During his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016, Randy surprised the audience and fans by performing “Amazing Grace” — his first public performance since his stroke three years earlier.

“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. I still get emotional when I think about it.” (Mary says, tearing up)

It was noted in 2017, that Travis had suffered permanent damage. It disabled his right hand and has limited much of his speech and singing ability. Travis continues to make public appearances but no longer sings. Mainly because of his apprehension about his ability to do it as well as he used to.

Randy appeared on-stage with Michael Ray during a cover performance of “Forever and Ever Amen” in June 2017, to which Travis contributed the final “Amen.”

He did the same during his 60th birthday party, thrown by the Grand Ole Opry on May 4, 2019.

Randy Travis A Must See Attraction On The Walls Of The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

Visit downtown Merritt in the beautiful Nicola Valley, Merritt, BC and take part in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Merritt, BC Mural Walk. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame includes Hall of Fame Inductees as well as CCMA Award Winning Artists.

randy travis mural in merritt

Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Melvina White – Mural painted by Michelle Loughery

True country music fans will want to 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, BC Mural Project created in 2005, became a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. The project, designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

Randy Travis mural can be found on the wall of The Adelphi Hotel at 2101 Quilchena Avenue.

Travis Forges Ahead, Seeking New Ways to Sustain His Career After Stroke

Randy Travis‘ new memoir, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith and Braving the Storms of Life, takes readers on a journey through some of the singer’s darkest moments and most difficult challenges.

While Travis admits that parts of the book were difficult to relive, there were also aspects of his past that he loved going back to and revisiting.

“Mary’s commitment to me has been truly astounding,” Travis writes in his memoir. “I was healthy, in fantastic physical condition, and a highly successful country star when we fell in love. But she married me after I had been incapacitated by a stroke, knowing full well what she was getting herself into. That was a major commitment — a commitment of love.”

Travis has enjoyed many “pinch me” moments over the course of his career, earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to his induction into the Grand Ole Opry. He  has never stopped feeling humble and grateful regarding his accolades, and that humility continues to help his fans relate to him.

“There’s lots of joy,” says Mary. “There’s lots of silver linings, even in the clouds.”

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The information for this article was obtained from Wikipedia and Randy Travis-Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter-Biography

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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

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

"Waylon

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.

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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.

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“Me and my band and crew have always lived by the code: ‘Work hard, play harder.”

Kenny Chesney, Country Music Superstar

Merritt BC Canada Murals

A Country Music Association Inductee Featured On The Mural Walk in Merritt, BC

Kenny Chesney –  Bonafide Country Music Superstar Deemed “The King of the Road” by The Wall Street Journal

Kenny Chesney is one of the most successful country singers in the world. Although it turns out there’s a lot more hiding underneath that cowboy hat than one would think.

Blessed with a voice that sounds older than his years, Chesney has become known as the country singer with a hard-core country style. Influenced by such artists as Merle Haggard and George “the Possum” Jones, he also draws on the country-rock style of Charlie Daniels and his band.

Chesney was born on March 26, 1968, in Knoxville, Tennessee, at St. Mary’s Medical Center. He grew up in Luttrell, Tennessee.

He is the son of David Chesney, a former elementary school teacher, and Karen Chandler, a hair stylist in the Knoxville area. Chesney has one sibling, a younger sister named Jennifer Chandler. Raised on humble values he spent his childhood beside his beloved little sister.

Lutrell, Tennessee, is a really great place to grow up. You couldn’t help but be consumed by country music. It’s everywhere … but I never dreamed of being a singer as a kid. (Kenny Chesney)

Prelude To Popularity and Fame – Kenny Chesney

Although he is a country music superstar. There are plenty out there that think they know a lot about the singer  and they probably do. But let it be known there’s still a few things they don’t know about him.

Kenny’s childhood dream was to become a professional athlete. His heart was set on possibly being either a baseball or football star. Unfortunately that couldn’t happen because the rules were you had to be taller than 5’8″.

Kenny attended and graduated from Gibbs High School in Corryton, Tennessee in 1986. After high school, Chesney enrolled in East Tennessee State University in Johnson City where he studied for a business and advertising and marketing degree.

His mother gave him his first guitar “The Terminor” for Christmas that same year. He taught himself how to play it and at the same time started entertaining his friends and writing his own songs. He had the bug.

Kenny Chesney (the boot)

The Beginning Of A Superstar

Entertaining for his room mates and friends led to a gig in a small restaurant close to campus. The lack of response he received from the Saturday night student crowds did not discourage him. He stood up, shook it off and continued to play at small restaurants and clubs.

In 1989, Chesney recorded a demo album at Classic Recording in Bristol, Virginia, of original songs written by himself. Selling a 1000 copies of the album as well as performing, he was able to buy himself a new guitar. 

Hooking up with a college band Kenny’s fan base expanded as he ventured away from campus and started playing venues in Virginia and throghout the Carolinas. He had the bug bad, it took everything he had not to quit university and head to Nashville.

After graduating from East Tennessee State University in December, 1991, with degree in hand. Kenny wasted no time in packing up and heading to Nashville, Tennessee, to hopefully become a songwriter.

Kenny Chesney

Goals and Grit Plus The Drive To Make Great Things Happen

Chesney secured a house gig at a honky tonk called  “The Turf” in Nashville’s historic district. On top of that he got a job as a valet parking cars during the day. While paying the bills, he read every book he could get his hands on about the music business. He did his research on the country music industry.

One day in 1992 he picked up the phone and called BMI publishing executive Clay Bradley. Clay referred Kenny to Troy Tomlinson, of Opryland Music Group .

“First of all I was attracted to the songs, because I thought that he painted great pictures in his lyrics, particularly for someone who had not been around the typical Music Row co-writes.” (Troy Tomlinson)

“I thought that he sang very well too. But more than anything there was a kind of this ‘I-will-do-it’ look in his eyes – I was really drawn in by the fact that he was so set on being successful in this business.” (Troy Tomlinson) (Wikipedia)

Kenny performed five songs at the audition which impressed Tomlinson and left him enthusiastic. When Kenny left the addition, he left with a songwriter’s contract in hand.

Kenny Chesney

The Beginning Of A Country Music Staple – Kenny Chesney

A year later in 1993, Kenny made an appearance at a local songwriter’s showcase. This showcase led to him landing a recording deal with Capricorn records. The album recorded with Capricorn Records, new country division, released in 1994 featured, Chesney’s first recording of “The Tin Man” and “In My Wildest Dreams”. Both of them reaching the lower regions of the US Billboard Hot Country Singles and Track Charts.

The Album sold 10,000 copies before Capricorn records decided to ban their country division of the label in 1994. Chesney was left with a record but no promotional help. Luckily for him however, his talents as a songwriter and singer left a mark in the industry and BNA was waiting in the wings.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

The BNA label, which signed Chesney in 1995, also purchased the master disks to In My Wildest Dreams. Chesney’s first album with BNA, All I Need To Know, would feature a reprise of “The Tin Man” as its first single.

Releasing his second album in 1995, All I Need to Know  produced the single “Fall in Love“. It reached the Top 10, while “Grandpa Told Me So” peaked at number 23. This album seemed to capture the traditional spirit that made country music popular as well as set the stage for a string of platinum releases throughout the rest of the 1990s and 2000s.

 

Small Steps, Spirit, Energy And Passion Continue Towards Becoming A Country Music Staple

Chesney’s  first Gold Album “Me and You” was released in 1996. This was his first album released by BNA and the third of his career as well as his second major label album.

The album’s first single, “Back in My Arms Again” climbed the charts to reach just outside the top 40. The title track “When I Close My Eyes” which Chesney recorded on his previous album from Capricorn Records reached number 1.

Kenny opened and toured with Alabama to crowds of 15,000 fans a night, since the release of his second album with Capricorn Records in 1994.  With that kind of exposure, as well as continuing to tour with Alabama, did nothing but help the sales of his third album as it continued to climb.

“As a songwriter and an artist, I want to try to make somebody laugh, I want to try to make somebody cry, I want to try to make somebody remember their first girlfriend or their first kiss. You want to try to make them miss somebody or want something.” (Kenny Chesney to Dixie Weathersby)

“I Will Stand’ followed in 1997. The first single from this album ‘She’s Got It All’ remained at top of Billboard Country Chart for three weeks. (Biography)

Chesney wanted a tune or two that was hard-core country as well as being able to pull emotions from his listeners. Regardless of whether country radio played it or not. “Hillbilly Heaven with Their Honky Tonk Hell” was that song. It featured backup vocals by fellow Young Country artist Tracy Lawrence and George Jones “The Possum” himself, who Chesney maintained is “the best country singer there ever was”. (Biography)

Kenny Chesney

Continuing With Small Steps to Big Things

“I am glad I have taken really small steps. “I have learned something in every step that helped me get to the next one.… Shoot, if I get to do this for 20 more years, and I am still taking these small steps, then that is what I’m going to do because I love country music.” (Kenny Chesney-Dixie Weathersby)

Chesney’s plans along with his conservative approach to the industry changed with the release of “Every Where We Go”  in 1999.

The album sold over 2 million copies. Two of the singles “You Had Me From Hello” and “How Forever Feels,” reached number one, another single “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”,  reached number 2.

Releasing his first “Greatest Hits” collection in 2000 which included two new songs reached number one on the album chart and like “Everywhere We Go”, was awarded platinum status. (Encyclopedia)

Kenny’s chart success and album sales were just warm-ups for what was yet to come. The release of the album “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem” in 2002, reached number one as well as included four top ten singles. “The Good Stuff” spent seven weeks at number 1 and became the number one country song of 2002.

Kenny Chesney

Riding The Wave To Becoming A Super Star Country Music Staple

Chesney released his first holiday album, “All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan” in 2003. The ‘Margaritas N’ Senorita’s Tour also took place in 2003.

The next major release in 2004, “When The Sun Goes Down” continued the country wave. The album included Calypso rhythms, influenced by his love of the Caribbean as well as a duet with Uncle Kracker, a rap rocker.

Its first single “There Goes My Life” spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard country charts. A duet, the Album’s title track with Uncle Kracker went number one. “I Go Back” along with the album’s fourth single “The Woman With You” both peaked at number two. The fifth single “Anything But Mine” reached number one, and the final single “Keg In The Closet” peaked at number 6.

The album sold 550,000 copies in the first week and a over three million copies all totalled. “When The Sun Goes Down” was honored with the 2004 CMA award for Album Of The Year while Chesney was honored with Entertainer Of The Year. He was also presented with the 2004 AMA’s Artist Of The year Award.

Kenny finished off the year with “Guitars, Tiki Bars And A Whole Lotta Love Tour” (Wikipedia)

Kenny Chesney

Continuing The Road To Shattering Records

Chesney received his first career GRAMMY nomination in 2004 for Best Country Collaboration With Vocal for “Hey Good Lookin'” with Clint Black, Jimmy Buffett, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, and George Strait. He made his GRAMMY stage debut performing “Better As A Memory” at the 51st GRAMMY Awards in 2009. (Grammy Newsletter)

Chesney released two albums in 2005, ‘Be As You Are’ and “The Road And The Radio”. He also went on a ‘Somewhere in the Sun Tour’.

In 2006, he released his first live album called. “Live Those Songs Again”. It includes a live rendition of 15 of his songs. This was also the year when he went on ‘The Road and The Radio Tour’.

Chesney’s next album, “Just Who Am I”, “Poets & Pirates” was released on September 11, 2007. On November 15, 2007, he released another compilation album titled “Super Hits”. ‘The Flip Flop Summer Tour’ was also organized this year.

Kenny released his next album, “Lucky Old Sun” on October 14, 2008. “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” and “Down the Road” are two most popular singles from this album. This is also the year when he went on ‘The Poets and Pirates Tour’.

April 2009, he began his ‘Sun City Carnival Tour’ starting at Uncasville, Connecticut. He ended it in Indianapolis in September 2009. This is also the year when he released his third compilation album “Super Hits II”.

Kenny Chesney

A Whirlwind Of Albums And Tours

2010, Chesney released a new album titled “Hemmingway Whiskey”. This is also the year when he produced a biographical film on his favorite football star Condredge Holloway Jr. The film was titled ‘The Color Orange’ and was premiered on February 20, 2011 on ESPN. ‘With a Two Tour’ was also organized that year.

Chesney next undertook his eleventh concert tour titled ‘Going Coastal Tour’. It began on March 17, 2011 at West Palm Beach and ended on August 27, 2011 in Boxborough.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

2012, Chesney released his thirteenth studio album titled “Welcome to Fish Bowl”. One of its singles “Feel Like a Rock Star” received four and half stars out of five.

June 2012, Chesney embarked on “Brothers of Sun Tour” with Tim McGraw. They performed in 22 different cities starting at Tampa and ending at Foxboro in the end of August 2012. The tour drew over one million audiences and grossed $96 million in ticket sales.

March 2013, Chesney went on his thirteenth tour ‘No Shoes Nation Tour’. It was organized to promote his newest album, “Life on Rock”, which was released on February 5, 2013.

On what inspires him to write a song: “My inspiration comes from life in general. I keep my ears open, as well as overhear conversations in restaurants and on the street. I watch a lot of movies and TV, and love to read. There are so many things that can be taken and made into songs, everything that has an emotion to it. I just look for things that people can hang on to.”

Kenny Chesney

The Albums and Tours Continue

On September 23, 2014 Chesney released his latest album, “The Big Revival”. It was a big hit and many of its singles topped the Country Airplay Chart. The next year, he undertook ‘The Big Revival Tour’. It began on March 26, 2015 at Nashville and ended at Foxboro on August 29, 2015. On October 27, he and Jason Aldean announced that they would perform 10 joint stadium shows in the summer of that year.

Chesney announced that he was in the studio working on new music on March 7, 2016, . On March 24, 2016 the lead single to the album titled “Noise”,  was released to country radio .  The album, Cosmic Hallelujah, was released on October 28 The second song in the album, “Setting the World on Fire”, featuring singer PINK was released to country radio on July 28, 2016.

The Birth Of No Shoes Nation

On August 25, 2012, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, Kenny Chesney announced to his fans that he would call his fan following No Shoes Nation. The term No Shoes Nation originated from Chesney’s hit song “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem”. The symbol of No Shoes Nation is a black flag with a white skull and crossbones. Live in No Shoes Nation was accompanied by a live album, which topped the Billboard 200 after its release in late 2017.  No Shoes Nation inspired the name of Chesney’s Sirius XM channel, No Shoes Radio.

It was announced, in January 2018, that Chesney had ended his contract with Sony Music Nashville and signed to Warner Bros. Records Nashville. Chesney released his first album with Warner, entitled Songs for the Saints, on July 27, 2018. In November 2018, he announced plans to tour the U.S. in 2019, hitting smaller-sized venues and arenas rather than massive stadiums.

Kenny Chesney

One Of The Most Famous Superstars of All Time

Kenny Chesney is the 90th most popular classic music artist and the 59th most famous in the world. Kenny Chesney is described by fans as: A great performer, entertaining, talented, easy to listen to and awesome.

“The more people I get to see in front of me – whether it’s at a football stadium or a funky little bar like the Hog’s Breath in Key West – the more I realize how much we all have in common. There are a lot of people punching a clock or having too much on their plate, a buncha people on their first date, with that nervousness and excitement that they’re really there…we all want the same things, all hope for the same stuff and I feel like pretty much worry about the same stuff, too. (Kenny Chesney)

Kenny has recorded 20 albums, 20 of which have been certified Gold or higher by the RIAA. He has also produced more than 40 Top 10 singles on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, 30 of which have reached number one. Many of these have also charted within the Top 40 of the US Billboard Hot 100, making him one of the most successful crossover country artists of all time.. He has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.

Kenny Chesney

Recognition And Awards

Chesney has received six Academy of Country Music awards, including four consecutive Entertainer of the Year awards, as well as nine awards from the Country Music Association. Other notable awards he received include the Academy of Country Music’s  New Male Vocalist of the Year,  Top Male Vocalist of the Year, and the Triple Crown Award in 2005.

Bonafide Country Music Superstar – Kenny Chesney Plays The Last Merritt Mountain Music Festival

Kenny Chesney could have caused a few of the festival organizers minor heart attacks when, near the end of his show, he jumped down into the photographer’s pit in front of the stage to start shaking hands with fans. Chesney closed out seventeen years of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2009. (Merritt Herald)

Kenny Chesney Country Music Staple Featured On The Merritt, BC Canada Walk Of Fame

A bonafide Country Music Superstar as well as a Country Music Staple and the last critically acclaimed star to headline The Merritt Mountain Music Festival. Chesney earned his spot on the wall. Even though Kenny is not a Canadian and is not in the Country Music Hall Of Fame. It was an honor to have him perform in Merritt, BC, Canada and become a part of the Country Music Hall of Fame Mural Walk

The Kenny Chesney Mural, painted by Michelle Loughery can be found in Spirit Square on the corner of Granite Avenue and Voght Street, in a row of murals near the stage. 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”.

Explore Our Beautiful Downtown And All The Nicola Valley Has to Offer.

Visit our Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame located at 2025 Quilchena Avenue, downtown Merritt, BC. The Hall of Fame includes Canadian Hall Of Fame Inductees as well as CCMA Award Winning Artists. Start you Downtown Mural walk from this point.

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. 

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!

Kenny Chesney has covered a lot of ground – and he believes he’s got a lot more ground to go. You can follow Kenny on:

Website: www.kennychesney.com

Facebook

Merritt BC Canada Downtown Mural Digital Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

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Experience Nicola Valley

Travel Website

(Information for this blog was obtained from Wikipedia and Encyclopedia. Other sites recognized individually)

Canadian Country Music Singer – Ian Tyson

Merritt BC Canada Murals

A Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame
Inductee

Ian Tyson Canadian Country Music Singer Pioneer – Five Decades Plus

Canadian Country Music Singer Pioneer Ian Tyson walks with a stiff-legged cowboy gait to the centre of the stage. A preamble to his performance. The walk is an illustration, of what being a cowboy is all about. Falls off horses, bruises, broken bones as well as a reminder that, the cowboy life is not the glamour of the old western movies. Just listen to some of the great recordings performed by Ian Tyson.  An artist who has become a pioneer icon — a timeless singer with a bruised voice who tells stories with the unvarnished luster of truth.

For one thing, Ian Tyson is  an Internationally acclaimed Canadian Country SingerSongwriter Pioneer. He has created some of Alberta’s and Canada’s most enduring standards, not to mention a career spanning over five decades. His music has inspired such renowned artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot. Consequently, over the years, Tyson has continued to create music that captures life in the west through vivid descriptions of Alberta and cowboy culture. Not to mention, a leading spokesman for western pride including helping establish a unique soundtrack to capture the Alberta experience.

Victoria British Columbia – 1933

Born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1933, the second child of George and Margaret Tyson, Ian grew up in Duncan, BC. His Father, who immigrated from England in 1906 owned a small farm. Ian learned how to ride horses on this farm.

Ian Tyson - Experience Nicola valley

Cowboy Ian Tyson Four Strong Winds

Beginning And End of Rodeo Career

He left home as a teenager,  for southern Alberta where he followed and competed in the Rodeo Circuit. A foot injury put him in the Calgary hospital. It was while recovering that he learned how to play the guitar.

The Musical Journey Begins Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

He made his singing debut at the Heidelberg Café in Vancouver in 1956 as well as  played with a rock and roll band, The Sensational Stripes. After graduating from the Vancouver School of Art in 1958, Tyson made his way to Toronto to pursue a music Career.

It was during the 60’s folk boom that he met singer/songwriter Sylvia Fricker. As a result, they formed the duo “Ian and Sylvia. On the positive side, as Ian & Sylvia, they were the Canadian stars of the early ’60s folk boom. “Ian and Sylvia” enjoyed great success. They were playing all over the country receiving rave reviews and playing to sold-out crowds. One of their high lights was playing New York’s Carnegie Hall.

The duo married in 1964. Forming what was to become one of the most influential country acts in the industry, both in Canada and abroad. They recorded over a dozen timeless albums as well as wrote some of Canada’s best-loved songs, including Ian’s “Four Strong Winds” as well as “Someday Soon”  including Sylvia’s “You Were on My Mind”. All things considered, some of the most famous artists of our times have covered these songs countless times.

Ian Tyson - Alberta Canada

Ian Tyson

Four Strong Winds

It was during this time that Four Strong Winds was released. The title track became an instant hit. Over 50 versions were recorded in the first five years after its release. It has remained a folk standard. Neil Young recorded Four Strong Winds in 1979.  “It is the most beautiful song, I have ever heard in my life.” Johnny Cash recorded the song, shortly before his death. He included the song on his posthumous album released in 2006. The song has also become an Alberta standard. A 2005 radio listener’s poll named Four Strong Winds the greatest Canadian song of the 20th century. (Alberta Order Of Excellence)

During the British Invasion

Ian and Sylvia evolved into pioneers of country-rock during the British Invasion.. Their band, Great Speckled Bird, rivaled the Byrds and other groups which helped create modern country, a decade before the Urban Cowboy phase of contemporary “new traditionalists”.

Ian Tyson Singer and Songwriter

Ian Tyson Show

Television Years

Ian and Sylvia formed the iconic country rock band “Great Speckled Bird”. At the same time, Tyson hosted the national Canadian television music show, “Nashville North.” The show was later renamed “The Ian Tyson Show” from 1970 to 1975. Sylvia Tyson and the Great Speckled Bird appeared often on the series.

Back To Ranching

After hosting television music show from 1970 to 1975, the music and marriage of Ian and Sylvia had ended. It was now or never. Disillusioned with the Canadian country music scene. Tyson realized the time had come to return to his first love – training horses in the ranch country of southern Alberta. He once again made Alberta his home, settling in Pincher Creek where he began ranching and living the life about which he was so proud to write and sing.

Cowboy Ian Tyson from Alberta Canada

Ian Tyson Esplanade

The Time Of Country And Cowboy Music

“It was a kind of a musical Christmas card for my friends” he recalls. “We weren’t looking for a ‘hit’ or radio play or anything like that.”

In 1980, Tyson met Calgary music manager and producer Neil MacGonigill. In  1983. After three years, in spite of working his ranch, Tyson decided to concentrate on music. To begin with, the album Old Corrals & Sagebrush, a mixture of traditional cowboy songs and new western music, was well received.

On the other hand he found it a challenge to combine his two separate lives in new songs that explained the reality of “western culture” and the mindset of a cowboy in a sometimes-alien world. His breakthrough album, 1986′s Cowboyography, earned platinum status in Canada, as well as earned him his first JUNO Award.

All of a sudden, the cowboy renaissance was about to find expression at the inaugural Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1983. To put it another way a small coterie of saddle makers, rawhide braiders, cowboy poets and pickers came together in a small cow town in northern Nevada. Not only was he invited to perform his “new western music” at the gathering, as well as,  Tyson has missed only one or two gatherings in the 30-plus years since.

The 1987 album Cowboyography contained two songs that were later chosen by the Western Writers of America as among the Top 100 Western Songs of all time: “Navajo Rug” and “Summer Wages”.[36]

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

On The Road

As soon as Tyson’s music became popular, he began traveling and performing at concerts across North America. At the same time a busy Tyson stayed true to his roots. Maintaining Alberta as his home as well as working on his ranch in Pincher Creek. As a matter of fact the gravel road that runs from his present ranch in the foothills of the Rockies is the inspiration for Tyson’s 2005 album, “Songs from the Gravel Road”. As a result, by releasing this album at the age of 71, Tyson has shown that an active cowboy life keeps his creative pulse beating. Not to mention, his discography remains an enduring collection of Canadian classics.

Ian Tyson Country Music Legend

Ian Tyson Celebrating 50 Years Of Music

Inductions And Awards Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

Canadian Country Music Association 
Male Vocalist of the Year 1987
Single of the Year – Navajo Rug  1987
Album of the Year – Cowboyography 1987
Vocalist of the Year (Male) 1988
Induction into Canadian Country Music Hall of Honor 1989
Video of the Year – Springtime in Alberta 1991

Juno Awards  
Country Male Vocalist of the Year 1987
Inducted into Juno Hall of Fame (with Sylvia Tyson) 1992

 Big Country Awards

 Outstanding Performance (male) 1975
Best Country Album – Ol’Eon/A&M Records 1975
Top Country TV Show – The Ian Tyson Show 1975
Artist of the Year 1988
Top Male Vocalist1988
Album (Best)- Cowboyography 1988

Country Music Association of Calgary

Male Vocalist of the Year 1989
Alberta Song of the Year – Fifty Years Ago 1989
Top Alberta Single of the Year – Fifty Years Ago 1989
Favorite Calgary and Area Country Entertainer 1989

Miscellaneous

Four Strong Winds named All Time Favorite Canadian Country Songs 1988

Readers Poll – COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS
Finalist, World Championship Cutting Horse Futurity, Fort Worth, TX 1989
INDUCTION Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame 1989

Country Music Association of Calgary 1989

     – Alberta Male Vocalist of the Year
     – Top Alberta Single of the Year (Fifty Years Ago)
    –  Song of the Year (Fifty Years Ago)
    – Harcourt, Calgary and Area Country Entertainer

More Awards

 Song of the West Reader’s Poll for Best Album of the Year: “And Stood There Amazed” 1991
First Male Country Vocalist to Achieve Two Gold Albums in Canada 1992
ASCAP Country Award (Someday Soon) 1992
Honorary Dr. of Athabasca University 1993
RECIPIENT- Order of Canada 1995
Prairie Music Awards – Outstanding Country Recording (Lost Herd) 1999
American Cowboy Culture Awards – Western Music Award 2000
Strong Winds voted Canada’s No. 1 song of the 20th Century 2000
Prairie Music Hall of Fame 2001
Honorary Dr. of Law – University of Calgary 2001
Western Heritage Wrangler Award – Outstanding Original Western Composition for “Bob Fudge” 2002

Governor General’s Performance Arts Award 2003

BCCMA Hall of Fame 2006
Alberta Order of Excellence 2006
Mariposa Folk Festival Hall of Fame 2006
CBC Radio Listeners’ Poll declares Four Strong Winds the Number One Canadian song of the 20th Century 2006
Honorary Dr. of Letters – Thompson Rivers University 2007
ASCAP Citation of Excellence 2008
Western Music Hall of Fame 2008
Western Horseman Magazine’s Horseman of the Year Award 2009
Resonance Award – presented by Canadian Museum of Civilization for a lifetime’s contribution to Canadian music. 2009
First Recipient of the Charles Russell Heritage Award (C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, MT) 2010
The Diamond Jubilee Medal from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in honour of the 60th anniversary of her reign.  2012
Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) – University of Lethbridge  2015
Fellowship, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB  2015
Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA) – Hall Of Fame 2017

Songs from the Gravel Road TV Documentary

• 2011 – Bronze Medal – 54th New York Festival’s International Television & Film Awards 2011
• 2011 – Gold Remi Award – Best TV Documentary – 44th Houston Independent Film 2011
 
Alberta Recording Industry Association

Male Performer of the Year 1987
Country Artist of the Year 1987
Song of the Year – Navajo Rug 1987
Album of the Year – Cowboyography 1987
Single of the Year 1988
Best Country Artist on Record 1988
Male Recording Artist of the Year 1988
Composer of the Year 1989
Performer of the Year 1989

Some Top Honors

Ian was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Association Hall of Honor and Hall of Fame in 1989. To the Juno Hall of Fame in 1992, the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2000, as well as the Prairie Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Ian Tyson was inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame in 2006.

Tyson  holds honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Calgary and Athabasca University. He became a member of the Order of Canada in 1994.

Tyson became a recipient of the Order of Canada in October 1994. In 2005 CBC Radio One listeners chose his song, ‘Four Strong Winds’ as the greatest Canadian song of all time, during a radio series titled “50 Tracks: The Canadian Version”. (Biography)

He was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2006 as well as 2003 including receiving a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.

Connecting With People

“Tyson said, “I made it a point to reach as many people as possible through my music, including people not directly from the ranch culture.” (Ian Tyson)

As a matter of fact, Ian’s goal has been to write songs to which different people could all relate. Not only but also the popularity and longevity of his many albums, along with the awards and recognition that followed, are proof that Tyson has been able to achieve that goal.

Ian Tyson tells the story of rural Alberta and today’s West, above all through his music. He reveals the challenges of a rancher’s life, the beauty of the Rockies as well as the cowboy’s strong work ethic.

Passion, Talent and Inspiration Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

As has been noted the path of Tyson’s career serves as a model for Canadian musicians starting out in the industry today. In short, his dedication to music and his style is firmly recognized. By always focusing on his home as well as his passions. Tyson serves as a mentor for new artists, such as Albertan Corb Lund.

In addition Tyson has used his skill and passion for music to benefit the community. To emphasize, performing at fundraising concerts across Alberta, Canada and internationally to raise awareness of and support for many causes. In particular, including child safety and education. As a compassionate rancher and environmentalist, Tyson has also joined his fellow Southern Albertans in work to preserve the natural landscape of rural Alberta.

 Corb Lund and his idle Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson and Corb Lund

Life Challenges

“I fought the sound system and I lost” (Ian Tyson)

Life has not been without its difficulties, however. In 2006, he seriously damaged his voice after a particularly tough performance at an outdoor country music festival.  As a result,  a virus that took months to pass, his smooth voice now hoarse, grainy, had lost much of its resonant bottom end. Generally speaking, after briefly entertaining thoughts that he would never sing again, he began relearning and reworking his songs to accommodate his “new voice.” To his surprise, audiences now paid attention as he half-spoke, half-sung familiar words, which seemed to reveal new depths for his listeners. (Biography)

Songs with Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson

Summary of a 63 year Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

Ian Tyson is now 84 years old. He’s still going strong. Still touring, recording, as well as running the Tyson ranch in Pincher Creek, Alberta Canada. At the same time continuing to writing about love, horses, and the landscape he loves. He released his most recent single “You Should Have Known” in September 2017 on Stony Plain Records, the label that Tyson’s released fifteen albums with since the ‘80s. The song unapologetically celebrates the hard living, hard drinking, hard loving cowboy life and joins his favorites hits such as “Four Strong Winds,” “Someday Soon,” “Summer Wages” and more. (Biography)

“Your Eighties Is Not A Time For Sissies” (Ian Tyson)

Tyson doesn’t look backwards at six decades plus of a career that’s earned him countless awards, the Order of Canada, and a devoted following. He faces the audience, as he faces the future, with a mixture of optimism and resignation. Your eighties, Tyson tells people, is not a time for sissies.

An announcement in July 2019 stated that Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson would be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They will be inducted individually, not as a duo. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation article stated that “the duo’s 1964’s hit, Four Strong Winds, has been deemed one of the most influential songs in Canadian history”.

Canadian Country Singer Pioneer – Ian Tyson A Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee On The Downtown Merritt BC, Canada Mural Walk

Performing at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2005, and returning to Merritt BC Canada in 2010, to perform and support the Walk Of Stars as well as the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Galas. Ian Tyson earned his spot on the wall. The mural of Ian Tyson can be found on the back of the stage in Spirit Square on the corner of Granite and Voght Street.

Ian Tyson – Canadian Country Singer Pioneer Plays The Infamous Merritt Mountain Music Festival

The crowd was gathered in the white lawn chairs in the VIP section right in front of the stage. They were waiting in anticipation for the “One of A Kind – Authentic and Durable Headliner for the night Ian Tyson.”

Backstage. Tyson runs through the vocal warm up routine he’s done numerous times throughout his five-decade career. He stretches his arms and legs. And then his vocal cords. He tunes his guitar and then saunters to the stage.

Taking the stage, he starts singing his songs about the west. His voice picks out just the right notes as his fingers pick out the chords. This isn’t honky-tonk over-produced country and western twang. We were getting real ballads about places and legends, and a world that is slowly vanishing.

Like most Ian Tyson shows the evening was closed out to a roaring crowd with “Four Strong Winds.” For a true Ian Tyson Fan this is the song to wait for.

                                      

 

Ian Tyson Canadian Country Singer Pioneer Headlines The 7th Annual Walk Of Stars Gala

The seventh annual Merritt Walk of Stars (MWOS) gala, a fundraiser for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, kicked off with a free show in Spirit Square, from some top names in the industry.  It was followed by a world-class concert that night at the Civic Centre where Ian Tyson was The Headliner.

When Tyson finally raised his white cowboy hat and waved to fans, it was to an enthusiastic, well-earned standing ovation.

Tyson performed in the afternoon as well as signed his mural painted by Michelle Loughery during the day at Spirit Square. The public were invited to meet him as well as the rest of the performers. Fans were able to see the artists on stage, get autographs, and get right up close with them.

“These murals are a great way for visitors to walk the downtown area. We enjoyed our visit, stopped at a few shops, and bought a souvenir too… Nice small town touch”. (Don H Kirkland Washington)

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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

Visit downtown Merritt in the beautiful Nicola Valley, Merritt, BC and take part in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Merritt, BC Mural Walk. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame includes Hall of Fame Inductees as well as CCMA Award Winning Artists.

True country music fans will want to 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.

“It is important for Merritt to continue to grow as the Country Music Capital of Canada.” (Ron Sanders President: Country Music Hall Of Fame)

Walk Of Stars Hand Prints

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.

“If you love Country Music…. All over the downtown area are painted murals of Country Music Stars. Also on the sidewalks are plaques of Country Music stars who have apparently visited and played in Merritt. A worthwhile walk around the town to see.” (Melody K. Montana USA)

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

Follow Canadian Country Music Singer – Ian Tyson

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