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Merritt BC Canada Murals

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Michelle Wright Country Music Artist

Merritt BC Murals and Downtown Walking Tour

“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.”

The Merritt BC Murals feature country music artist and songbird Michelle Wright. Michelle was born on July 1, 1961 in Chatham, Ontario but grew up in a nearby small town named Merlin. Her childhood was heavily influenced by the music scene as both her parents were local musicians. 

“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

Michelle Wright Mural courtesy of ehCanadaTravel.com / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

Michelle’s Education In Country Music   

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.

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.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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”, which reached No. 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.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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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** Information resources include Michelle Wright website, Wikipedia and any social media pages.

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Merle Haggard Country Music Artist & Musician 

“I’m just writin’ about my little ol’ love affair,” Merle Haggard.

Merritt Mural Digital Walking Tour with the Legendary Merle Haggard. Merle was well known for his rough edge sound. It was a new sound which caught the attention of the executives in Nashville. Complimented by the unique sound of his steel guitar his vocal style of music more than words got plenty of attention from the country music industry. This was apparent when Merle Haggard rocked the stage at the Merritt Country Music Fest in Merritt BC Canada in 2003 (now the Rockin’ River Country Music Festival).

Merle Haggard

Tania Stewart (Experience Nicola Valley) / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

A Country Music Merritt Mural Icon

Lets be clear here… Merle Haggard remains, to this day, one of the best-known and most covered artists in country music history. Secondly, his influence on country music has earned him a spot on a Merritt Mural located in Merritt BC Canada, the Canadian Country Music Capital of Canada.

Most importantly it is a pleasure to meet you! And thank you for the QR download. Pretty cool right! As a result of your download we should really get back to Merle’s story. 

Merle Haggard Comes Out Flying

“Momma Tried”  written and recorded by American country music artist Merle Haggard and The Strangers. Released in July 1968 as the first single and title track from the album “Mama Tried”. The song became one of the cornerstone songs of his career in which Merle won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.

Interesting Facts about Merle Haggard

  • Firstly Merle Haggard holds the record for most #1 country singles after Conway Twitty.
  • Between 1963 and the mid 80’s,  hardly a year went by that Merle didn’t produce a single hit.
  • 38 No 1 hits, 250 original songs, nearly 70 albums.
  • Known to be called the “Poet Laureate” of the hard hats. Merle was made for cowboy hats!

Most Recognized Merle Haggard Country Music Songs 

In short Merle Haggard was widely known for these songs…  

  • “Okie from Muskogee”
  • “Mama Tried”
  • “Today I Started Loving You Again”
  • “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive”
  • “The Frighten Side of  Me”
  • “Someday We’ll Look Back” (1971)
  • “If We Make It Through December” (1974)
  • “A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today” (1977)

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Interesting Facts About Merle Haggard

  • “The Hag” was his nickname.
  • Johnny Cash made his legendary 1959 performance at San Quentin Prison resulting in Merle having front row seats.
  • A duet with Clint Eastwood “Bar Room Buddies” released April 1980.
  • Ronald Reagan governor of California 1972 officially pardoned Merle.
  • Four out of 6 of children are gifted country singers who inherited their fathers natural talent. Ben Haggard being one of the most recognized.
  • Older brother Lowell gave Merle his first used guitar. Merle taught himself to play.
  • In the beginning Merle worked during the day and played  guitar at the local bars at night.
  • Merle Haggard [Platinum Disc] (2007).
  • Haggard’s signature song and his most controversial recording, “Okie from Muskogee”.
  • Elected into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 1977.
  • In 1994,  an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

To see all his awards you can go to “Academy of Country Music” and “Country Music Association

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Merle Ronald Haggard –  April 6,1937 – April 6,2016

Merle’s Early Life Of Crime

Born during the great depression, the youngest son of three, Merle grew up in a converted railroad box as a home.  With the death of his father in 1945,  Merle developed into a rebellious child committing a number of minor offenses as a teen. Truancy and passing phony checks  subsequently landed him in a juvenile detention centre. Life started on the wrong foot. 

Then came married life. Suffering from financial issues, Merle attempted to rob a roadhouse bar resulting in a jail sentence in San Quentin prison in 1958 at the age of 20. There is a story that Merle, at one time,  was conspiring with a fellow inmate named “Rabbit” to stage a prison break. Fortunately Merle backed out. He soon found out later that Rabbit was sentenced to death after killing a police officer during his escape. Rabbit inspired Merle to make changes in his life. 

“We need to have music that contributes to the well-being of the spirit. Music that cradles people’s lives and makes things a little easier. That’s what I try to do, and what I want to do. You don’t want to close the door on hope,” Merle Haggard.

Later In Life – Times Are A Changing For Merle

After his release from San Quentin State Prison in 1960, Merle returned to Bakersfield, where he sang and played guitar in the honky-tonks of “Beer Can Hill,”  the city’s country music scene.  In 1962, he signed with a small label called Tally Records, for whom he recorded five songs, including his debut single “Sing a Sad Song,” which rose to No. 19 on the country charts.

Motivation Behind Country Music Lyrics

Resulting from his life experiences Merle told his story with song and music. Often described as an intense dedicated artist who wrote and performed traditional country songs. 

“I’ve never been a guy that can do what people told me…. It’s always been my nature to fight the system.” Merle Haggard.

Merritt BC Canada Murals

The Merritt Mural Project started 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”. Muralist Michelle Loughery painted this Merritt Mural.

In Conclusion

After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 1998, Merle underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Reflecting on the situation, he referred to it as “the greatest test of my fortitude.” However,  following a speedy recovery, Haggard returned to touring and writing songs.

Sadly on April 6,2016 Haggard passed away at his Northern California Ranch. It is reported by family and friends Merle had stated that he would  die on his 79th birthday. 

Get more Merle on his website.

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Tanya Tucker – Merritt BC Murals

Find Tanya Tucker in Spirit Square in the Center of Our Town!

 “I know I’ve found…A place in space where I belong” Tanya Tucker

 

Merritt BC Canada Murals – Tanya Tucker made it center stage not only in major music venues around the world for decades, but right here in outdoor small town BC. Tanya Tucker’s visage is on display right in the middle of our town in Spirit Square, a place often filled with live music. Tanya’s flowing hair and engaging smile attracts a lot of attention, from locals and visitors alike. 

Merritt BC is the Country Music Capital of Canada, and besides the incredible live music we get here, our town is alive with large and colorful murals of both Canadian and American musicians and performers. As a result people come from far and wide to our see our murals and visit our music festival community.

Merritt BC Canada Murals - Tanya Tucker

Jano Howard (Experience Nicola Valley) / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

“I’m the Singer, You’re the Song…”

That song was on the playlist of my early adult years, I listened to it at the beach, driving down country roads, and at dances. I probably still have that vinyl album. In short, I loved her moody country/rock voice!

Consequently, Tanya has released almost 30 albums since 1972. It was during that year she released her first album “Delta Dawn”.

And promises of more to come…

Tanya is considered a country singer, first and foremost, but crossed into the pop/rock genre and gathered more fans along the way. Her music was influenced by some major talents, including Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn, the Eagles, and Glen Campbell. She was nominated several times for awards from the Country Music Association.

Her lifelong success has been marked with many Top 10 hits and Top 40 hits. In 2002, Tanya Tucker was ranked #20 on CMT’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music.

Merritt BC Murals - Tanya Tucker Selfie

Edgy, Classic, Country

These three words head up Tanya Tucker’s website. And they suit Tanya for sure.

Tanya Denise Tucker, was born in Seminole, Texas.  At the age of six she began taking saxophone lessons, then started singing. She knew from the time she was a child, that she wanted to be a country singer when she grew up. Tanya and her family lived in Arizona, then Utah, and then the family moved to Las Vegas, where Tanya performed regularly.

In 1972, Tanya had her first hit, “Delta Dawn” at the age of 13! Two more hits followed quickly, “Love’s the Answer” and “What’s Your Mam’s Name”. And soon Tanya was established as a major star.

Merritt BC Canada Murals - Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker – Spirit Square – Downtown Merritt / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

MCA Records

In 1975, MCA Records snapped her up and a string of country hits followed.

Her music and image changed in the late 70’s, widening into the pop/rock genre. The move was surprising to her fans, but was a successful career move over all. However things did slow down for Tanya and her life took several turns until the late 80’s when she returned to country, but pop-styled, and this brought Tanya back to popularity.

“…I just reconnected with my fans, and gathered a few more — now I want to gather a bunch more! I’m not satisfied.”

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

In 1989, Tanya Tucker released a “Greatest Hits” album, and she has continued to release albums and perform.

Her last album with new material was “Tanya” released in 2002. She more recently, in 2009, made a classic covers album, “My Turn”.”You’re gonna hear from me.”

From news I read recently, after several years without an album release, Tanya has one in the works along with a documentary. It’s a long time coming according to her fans.

According to my sources, like Country Daily, Tucker is very engaged when talking her upcoming projects. She says, “If I could do every album I wanted to do, it’d take me 50 years…I want to do a duet album, a classic album with classic songs, of course a Christmas album…And maybe a spiritual album.”

“Hell,” she adds, “I’m busier than a one-legged man in an (butt)-kicking contest, I’m telling you! I need about three or four more hands and about six more pair of feet. But I’m doing what I can do.”

And here’s a project Tanya seems very happy with…

“I used to be a wild thing…”

Country legend Tanya Tucker is launching her own tequila brand, Cosa Salvaje. The singer partnered with Elle France, the founder of Cosa Salvaje, which translates to “wild thing” in Spanish.

“I used to be a wild thing, now I just drink a wild thing!” Tanya Tucker said in a press release. “I truly love the taste of Cosa Salvaje and certainly wouldn’t be partnering with it if it didn’t pass my taste test… the agave and distilling process is environmentally conscious, so we’re taking care of our planet too.”

Each bottle of Cosa Salvaje tequila is made from recycled glass.

From Cision, and other sources…

Will Tanya come to Merritt?

She has been here already! More than once.

Tanya Tucker performed at our infamous “Merritt Mountain Music Festival” in the late 90’s.  And she was in town in 2006 to unveil her stunning mural!

I would love her to visit again… Hey Tanya!

I checked her upcoming events list and although six out of thirteen are here in Canada, none are close enough to head to for an evening’s drive…

So, we’ll download some Tanya Tucker oldies, and listen while we cruise our town, checking out the mural tour with other country superstars- like Carol Dawn Johnson, Paul Brandt, Dolly Parton, and Elvis!

And when we stop for near the Spirit Square, we’ ll check out the Walk of Stars too. But that’s another story.

Merritt BC Canada Murals – Tanya Tucker

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.

  • To visit Tanya’s site, where you can listen to some of her music, click here.
  • For a list of songs by Tanya Tucker go to Songs Tube.
  • The Tanya Tucker Facebook 
  • Tanya Tucker on Twitter (27.600 Followers)
  • Other sources about Tanya: The Most Coveted, Wikipedia, All Music, and our own locals: Susan Roline and Melvina White.
  • For more info on our Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, read Melvina White’s blog. Melvina has been bringing live music to town for decades.
  • For more blogs on the many murals/artists scattered around our community, stay tuned to our Experience Nicola Valley site!

Come and visit!

Take in the Rockin River MusicFest, our country music festival, around the beginning of August every year.

Tickets sold out? Pop in to our weekly Open Mic at the Kekuli Cafe. Have a bannock while you are there….

Keep an eye on my Facebook page, Creative Community, to see what creativity is up in town.

And definitely tour the town of Merritt, to visit all our Country and Western murals featuring stars like Tanya Tucker!

As the Arts and Culture Blogger for Experience Nicola Valley. I am thrilled to talk about our live music history, our community public art-like the murals, and the participation of our locals and visitors to bring the Arts alive in the Nicola Valley!

Yours in creativity, Jano

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Country Music Band – Lonestar

“I’m already there,” Lonestar Country Music Lyrics

The Merritt BC Murals is proud to feature the country music band Lonestar. It is a result of the band having one of the country music murals in Merritt BC Canada. First, before we move on, I would like to thank you for the QR download.  Secondly, I am excited to share their story. 

Tania Stewart (Experience Nicola Valley) / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

Whats In A Name – Lonestar

Lonestar hails from Texas, USA. Hence why the country music band first decided to name their band “Texassee”, after their home state. But, soon later, they quickly changed the name to Lonestar. 

The Early Years Of Lonestar

Early on in the band’s career, their sound was a mixture of honky-tonk and neo-traditional country influences. Consequently, Lonestar has compared their own debut album to the sounds of Merle Haggard and George Jones. However, soon later, their country music shifted towards a country pop sound with strong melodies and rich vocals. 

Music Awards Before The Merritt Murals

As a result of their sound, they released their self-titled debut album in 1995. After that their first single from the album, “Tequila Talkin'” reached No. 8 on the Billboard Charts. Above all, their proudest moment,  the album produced the group’s first No. 1 song, “No News”. 

Likewise 1999 Keeps Bringing Success

In 1999 they won the ACM Single of The Year for “Amazed”.  That was quickly followed up in 2001 with the CMA “Vocal Group of the Year”. Then came the 2017 Peoples Choice Award for “Favourite Country Group”. After that, and most impressively, they amassed sales in excess of ten million albums. 

Most Recognized Country Music Songs

For instance Lonestars most recognized songs include Amazed, Tequila Talkin’ , No News, I’m Already There, My Front Porch Looking In, What About Now, Walking In Memphis, Mr. Mom, Lets Be Us Again, as well as Every Little Thing She Does.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo Too

In Short  – The Band Rocks It

The original 5 band members first began touring and playing together in Nashville in 1993. And by 1994 they were signed by BNA Records. Certainly a big moment for them.  The band included members Richie McDonald, John Rich, Dean Sams, Michael Britt, as well as, Keech Rainwater.

Richie Vance McDonald

Feb 6, 1962 · Lubbock, TX, USA.  Country music singer/songwriter, as well as, the lead singer from 1998 until his departure in 2007. Also co-wrote several of the band’s singles, and sang lead on all but one of them. Richie rejoined the band in 2011.  

John Rich

Jan 7, 1974, Amarillo, TX.  From 1992 to 1998 John was a member of the band. He played bass guitar and on some songs he was the lead vocalist. After departing from the band, Rich embarked on a solo career with BNA Records.  

Dean Sams

Aug 3,1966. Garland, TX, USA .  Keyboards & backing vocals. Also an actor and composer, known for “Maybe Someday”,” Cedar Cove” and “Static”.

Michael Wayne Britt

June 15, 1966. Fort Worth, Texas, USA. Lead guitar & backing vocals. Michael, the actor, also shared his talents on the television hit daytime series,” Days of Our Lives”,  as well as,  a stint as a comedian (2002).  

Keech Rainwater

January 24, 1963. Plano, Texas, USA. Randy Keech Rainwater plays the drums. Also, did a stint as an actor on “Days of Our Lives” and performed, ” The Song that Changed My Life”(2012).

Cody Collins

Further more Cody Collins joined the group in September 2007.  

As A Matter Of Fact

  • First, both McDonald and Britt  appeared on ” Wheel of Fortune”  recorded at the Grand Ole Opry house in Nashville, incidentally  both winning the bonus round.
  • In addition they respectively donated $61,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and $59,350 for Adopt-a-Platoon.

Lonestar Is More Than Country Music

  • Third, the group also appeared on The Price Is Right, June 17, 2010. They performed the show’s theme song, along with a sample of songs from” Party Heard Around the World”.
  • After that Richie, Britt and Rainwater were guest stars on “Honkey Tonk Central” 2014. 

Merritt Country Music Fest 

Because Lonestar performed at the Merritt Country Music Fest in 2005 (now called the Rockin’ River Music Fest) we know them well. Not to mention that the band’s amazing harmony, beautiful lyrics, and upbeat sound attracted country music fans from around the world to our community of Merritt.

Lonestar sums it up best ” True country music isn’t about music that the fans like, it’s about playing what’s in your heart and soul.” 

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Capital of Canada

As of  January of 2009, the CCMA signed an agreement with the Merritt Walk of Stars to establish a physical venue in Merritt BC celebrating Canadian country music. What we see today, as a result of this agreement, is a beautiful venue with a culmination of plaques, artifacts and exhibits from inductees of the past, present and future.

Downtown Merritt Murals

Downtown Merritt provides visitors a unique experience when exploring our community. Certainly, there are the murals. 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. 

Then follow up your sightseeing experience by browsing some of our local shops, cafes, historical pubs, as well as, Merritt’s Signature Attraction, the Country Music Hall of Fame

In Short Come and Visit Merritt BC

Further more we encourage you to check out some of other murals in town too. Go ahead and download your favorite country music stars using the QR codes. Not to mention this also includes the Walk of Stars. Why? Because they too have QR codes. 

Moreover There Is More … 

Moreover feel free to learn more about Lonestar online at any of the other great pages including their website,  and Facebook page

Merritt BC Canada Mural Digital Walking Tour

 

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Featured Country Music Musician : Reba McEntire

“It’s very important to surround yourself with people you can learn from.” Reba McEntire

Merritt Murals – Reba McEntire is one of the more than 25 murals in the community of Merritt, BC, Canada in the Nicola Valley. Furthermore, Merritt is the “Country Music Capital of Canada” and enjoys one of the largest outdoor country music art walks in Canada. The community mural walking tour is complimented by Merritt’s Signature Attraction, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Reba McEntire is an American singer songwriter, actress and record producer. Her career began in high school with band, at rodeo’s and on local radio shows with her siblings.

Reba McEntire Mural in Merritt BC Canada

Michelle Bacon (Experience Nicola Valley) / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

Pre Merritt Mural – Reba McEntire

It started out slow for this country music icon. For example Reba’s first single ” I Don’t Want to Be a One Night Stand” was released on January 22 1976. After that came her second single “There’s Nothing Like Love Between a Women and a Man.” and her third single “Glad I Waited Just for You”. To sum it up, none of the songs broke the Top 80 on the billboard charts. After that Reba’s self titled album released in March 1977 didn’t even make the billboard charts. 

“Out of a Dream” Reba’s second album did much, much better. It was released in 1979. The album cover of Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams” became Reba’s first top twenty hit. 

Reba McEntire’s Year Of Country Music Awards

Her first certified Gold Album was “Just a Little Love.” As a result this album earned Reba her first Country Music Association Award for Female Vocalist of the Year.

“You’ve got to stay current and up with the competition. The main thing, though, is finding the greatest songs you can possibly find.” Reba McEntire

Reba’s 9th studio album got rave reviews. For instance her title track “Whoever is New England” became number one on the Billboard Country Music Chart. Consequently it earned Reba a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance the following year.

Reba has had hit after hit over the years. Most selling in the millions. She received a CMA Award for Best Female Vocalist four years in a row from 1984 to 1987. She followed this up with the 1990 “Rumor Has It” release and by 1999 it was certified Triple Platinum. 

“Be different, stand out, and work your butt off.” Reba McEntire

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Reba McEntire is referred to as “The Queen of Country”. She has released 29 studio albums, 42 number one singles, as well as, 16 number one albums. In short, a sure sign of her success, is when the Recording Industry Association of America certified 28 of her 29 albums as either Gold, Platinum or Multi Platinum status. 

Tragedy Strikes Reba And Her Band

Reba, her family and her band had a tragic blow on March 16, 1991. A plane carrying half of their band crashed into the side of a mountain just after take off.  McEntire was devastated but continued on. Her music helped her deal with the grief with the release of “For My Broken Heart”. Reba dedicated this album to the deceased band members.

“For me, singing sad songs often has a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open into the light, out of the darkness.” Reba McEntire

Reba’s Life In Television

In 2001 Reba stared in a half hour television sitcom “Reba”. She played a divorced mother of a teenager. In the show Reba is learning how to handle the divorce, her ex-husbands new and pregnant wife as well as her teenager whom also becomes pregnant. If you have ever watched it you will agree Reba is quite the comedian.  “Reba” ran for six seasons finally being cancelled in February 2007.  The season finale had 8.7 million viewers.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Merritt Murals – Reba McEntire

In 2007 Country Music Artist, Reba McEntire made the trip to Merritt BC Canada. Reba performed on the main stage at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin’ River Music Fest).

Merritt Murals – Reba McEntire was painted by Master Muralist Michelle Loughery in 2006. These beautiful works of art can be seen all over downtown Merritt BC. While you’re out and about visit the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame also located in Downtown Merritt.

Each mural has a QR code which links you to this and other blog stories from Experience Nicola Valley. Each mural provides more information on different country music singers featured throughout Downtown Merritt BC Canada.

The Reba McEntire Merritt BC Canada Mural can be found at 2101 Quilchena Avenue on the side of Copper Valley Mechanical building. The Merritt Murals in the Nicola Valley have become such a wonderful part of our community. We are always on the lookout for new ones and excited to find out who will be next.

Another great attraction to see while your walking the Merritt BC Murals is the Walk of Stars. The stars include over 100 hand prints and even one foot print of country music artists and industry insiders. Downtown Merritt has many great shops to find that amazing and special gift too. Our main local artisans are featured throughout the downtown stores.

Early Years Of Reba

Reba McEntire was born in McAlester, Oklahoma on March 28, 1955. Reba and her siblings grew up on their parents 8000 acre ranch. Her mother Jacqueline spent many years helping teach the to sing and harmonize. Her father was engaged in a rodeo career. 

While in grade 9 Reba and two of her siblings created their first group and performed at Rodeos. Although the group didn’t last. Reba continued her solo career through her college years.

Connect with Reba McEntire

You can find Reba McEntire on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and her website.

Merritt Murals and Downtown Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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Canadian Country Music

Country Music Hall of Fame is a Merritt Tradition

“Canadian Country music continues to grow in Canada and a number of US artists have recorded and made hits of songs written by Canadian Song writers.”

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum collects,  preserves and displays the history and tradition of Country music.  The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame honours Canadian country music artists, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a national attraction and a must see Nicola Valley Experience in Merritt, BC Canada’s downtown.
 
Merritt and the Nicola Valley country atmosphere, outdoor adventures, traditional ranches, heritage and the unique
desolate landscape has been the inspiration for the biggest Country Music Festivals in Canada.  In addition it has earned Merritt the title, Country Music Capital of Canada. It has also set the stage for the Country Music Hall of Fame to showcase our national artist inductees, song writers and  their contributions  to country music.

Canadian Country Music Roots

Canadian Country Music

Photo Source CCMA: Hank Snow

The Maritimes, parts of Ontario and BC shared a strong folk tradition similar to that of the Appalachian region of the US. Because of this country music has found ready acceptance in Canada. It was first popularized by fiddlers such as Don Messer and George Wade. They started their careers on radio in the late 1920s. The Canadian Victor Record Co signed Wilf Carter in 1932, and his success prompted Victor to sign Wade (1933). Hank Snow (1936) and Hank LaRivière (1941) were signed as well. Carter, Snow, and later Earl Heywood introduced a unique style of country music to the scene using a lower, less nasal-sounding voice with clearer enunciation and fewer of the blues like slurs and high whining sounds that dominate much American country music.

Canadian Singers

However, Canadian singers depend more on the traditional ballad and story songs than on the “cheatin'” and barroom songs often preferred in the US. The Great Depression, WWII,  a more mobile population, the success of the “singing cowboy” movies, the number of US radio stations with access to Canada, the increasing number of pop adaptations in country music, national radio shows and tours all increased the popularity of country  music throughout the 1930s, 1940s and into the 1950s.

Movement to the United States

Canadian artists have struggled with low population of the country. Until the mid-1950s country artists relied on live radio shows,  regional touring in clubs, barn dances and local television appearances to earn a living. With a shortage of places to perform and the lack of good recording studios, numerous artists, including Ray Griff, Stu Phillips, Lucille Starr and Ronnie Prophet, followed the lead of Hank Snow and moved to the US.  In the 1960s country records became more pop-oriented. Artists such as Anne Murray, R. Harlan Smith and Shirley Eikhardt received airplay on commercial radio.

Country Music and Rock

Rock-oriented music, of the Good Brothers, Prairie Oyster and Colleen Peterson, gained a wider audience. The urban folk boom of the 1960s consisted of artists such as Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan and Bob Ruzicka. These musicians have both a strong urban and country appeal. The folk-music boom  introduced bluegrass, the jazz of country music, and traditional Canadian fiddle music to a much larger audience. In the 1990s there continued to be a strong crossover feeling to Canadian country music. The addition of new music artists Rita MacNeil, Quartette, Colleen Peterson, Ashley MacIsaac, The Rankins and The Barra MacNeils appeal to Canadian music audiences in general.

Growth of Western and Canadian Country Music

Canadian-content regulations for commercial radio in 1970 gave valuable airplay to artists such as Dick Damron,
“Stompin’ Tom” Connors, Carroll Baker, Gary Buck and the Family Brown. More radio stations were licensed and
more began to program for specialized markets. In 1960 there was one radio station, CFCW in Alberta, featuring
country music entirely. By 1987 there were 85 originating stations programming some country music during their
broadcast day, and by 1998 there were 110 full-time country stations and 36 part-time stations broadcasting country music in Canada. Because of this the 1980s saw a revival of interest in the older styles of country music of Ian Tyson, k.d. lang and groups such as Blue Rodeo and Spirit of the West. The more mainstream music of Eddie Eastman, Terry Sumsion and Terry Carisee, etc, remained popular.

Nashville Calling

Up until the 1990s primary television exposure for country artists came through such network shows as the Tommy
Hunter Show and syndicated broadcasts such as Sun Country and the Family Brown Show. More importantly, with the advent of country music specialty television channels, such as the Nashville Network and Canada’s Country Music Television (established in 1994 as New Country Network), new exposure possibilities for country music artists became possible. A new genre of country music, often referred to as new country, arose to take advantage of these opportunities. Borrowing promotional and production techniques along with a dose of attitude from rock music, this new music challenged accepted ideas of country music. This resulted in giving country musicians a much wider and more urban audience.

Making It Big

Country Music in Merritt

Photo Source CCMA: Michelle Wright-Patricia Conroy

Canadian artists who emerged in the 1990s include Michelle Wright, k.d. lang, George Fox, Charlie Major, Blue Shadows, Prescott/Brown, Paul Brandt, Cassandra Vassik, Patricia Conroy, Lori Yates, Terry Clark, the Wilkinsons and multi-award winner Shania Twain. There is still the notion that to make it big you must move to Nashville. However, television now offers Canadian artists a chance for much wider exposure. A 3-hour 1992 CBC-TV special brought new country and old country together in a program devoted to the history of Canadian country music called Country Gold. This program featured interviews and performances by Canadian artists from Hank Snow to k.d. Lang.

Birth of Canadian Country Music Association

The Canadian Country Music Association, formed in 1975 as the Academy of Country Music Entertainment, has sponsored an annual country music week in different cities across Canada. Country Music Week, as well as, Big Country Awards have brought artists and industry people together and have become major events in the promotion and development of country music. Therefore, the annual broadcast of the Country Music Awards has for many years been the top-rated Canadian music show on television. The Country Music Association is also responsible for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour, with a permanent home in Edmonton. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame however, is situated in Merritt, British Columbia.

Then and Now

Country Music hall of Fame

Photo Source: CCMH of Fame

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame has released a Then and Now Album Volume 1.  On September 7th, 2018 the first-ever Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame album was released. During the Canadian Country Music Awards in Hamilton, Ontario the ‘Then and Now – Volume 1’ compilation album was released. The album features Hall of Fame inductees Ian Tyson, Murray McLauchlan and Michelle Wright. They performed their biggest hits, in duets with some of today’s top names in Canadian country music. Some of the top artists performing are Brett Kissel, Aaron Pritchett and Jess Moskaluke. They were proud to participate.

Country Music Hall of Fame

There is an artifact collection of plaques, vintage turn table with 100’s of records (collection growing), national artist memorabilia, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. Secondly, the country Music Hall of Fame includes extensive biographical information on the inductees. It is located in downtown Merritt, British Columbia at 2025 Quilchena Avenue. The facility is open year-round for custom tours, and is open to the public on seasonally adjusted hours. The initiative is governed by a not-for-profit society (the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society).

For more information contact:

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
2025 Quilchena Avenue
Merritt, BC Canada
Phone: 1-250-315-5508
Email: info@ccmhalloffame.com

Canadian Country Music in Merritt BC Canada

​Experience Nicola Valley arts and culture!

Our artistic and cultural style is full of variety, against a background of pine trees and golden grasses.

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

Jean Kiegerl

Of course, we experience arts and culture wherever we are…

And Nicola Valley arts and culture is worth planning an experience around!

Arts and culture feeds our soul…
And our geography informs our culture and our art.

The Nicola Valley, in southern interior BC, Canada, with its sage hills, clear creeks, and warm sun encourages the kind of slow pace that inspires art in all its forms.

And the rich history and culture of the valley elicits respect for what has gone before, and invites a sense of possibility for what is coming.

Our 

Nicola Valley arts and culture: country music, graffiti art, rock paintings, children’s books, local blogs, plays performed by theater students, dance lessons…

 

What is Culture?

Let’s define the terms we will be writing about…

Live Science: Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, Nicola Valley Arts and Cultureencompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.

So, culture is the big concept, …

A definition and opinion from Study.com: …Think about what makes you and your family special. What language do you speak? What traditions and beliefs do you have? Do you enjoy special foods and wear clothing to represent your family or history? The culture of a group of people is the traditions and beliefs that they practice in their daily lives. 

This gives us a wide range of topics to write about! Social habits! Language! Benefits of cultural diversity!

But a second meaning of culture suggests the direct interaction with social and artistic expressions, as the following quote suggests…

Huffington Post: If you can count on one hand the number of times you’ve gone to a museum in your city, a theater performance and a concert, you’re missing out on the enriching world of culture that is there to be enjoyed. Why should you turn off the TV for once and get out there to take in some culture?

“Take in some culture” like a museum tour, a concert, a theater performance, or art exhibit. It helps us absorb or comprehend our lives and experiences. And it’s fun!

What is Art?

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

Joel Reid

What is Art? Always a lively discussion!

There are lots of quotes on this question. Lots of answers.

So art is one of our earliest expressions of culture. It helped early humans to organize their lives, to understand the world around them, and to communicate those understandings. And that is what art does for us. It helps us to understand how we feel about things and helps us to organize our world. SVCC

(I am definitely adding a reason to engage with art…get more organized! How about you?)

“Art is an expression that transcends religion, culture, country, people and time.” Amit Ray

And discussions on this question are endless, everywhere.

We often have these discussions ourselves during afternoon teas at the Courthouse Arts Gallery on Nicola Avenue. “Is this art?”

“No? How come?”

“Yes? Why? What makes it art?”

Pour another cup of tea and we’ll figure it out.

Where is the Nicola Valley?

Nicola Valley is in the southern interior of BC, near the west coast of Canada.

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

Bev Veale

The town of Merritt, in the Nicola Valley, is the center of the Coquihalla highway system, with easy four lane access to large and small communities, a regional airport, and two international airports.

In this central location we have quick access to many cultural experiences not only in our own valley, but also over the mountains to other communities with engaging arts experiences.

The Nicola Valley is sunny and dry ranch country, surrounded by rolling hills, lakes, and creeks. You’ll see Ponderosa pines, sagebrush or rabbit bush, and bunch grass as you come in to our valley.

We are…

  • on the Gold Country Tour
  • part of the Route Blue (music and art) Tour
  • close to the Shuswap valley
  • and just a short and breathtaking drive to the internationally-known Okanagan Valley, with its famous wine tours and art galleries.

The Nicola Valley is a hub of BC highways, and a growing hub of musicians, artists, and performers…

And What Is Nicola Valley Arts and Culture?

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

janohphoto

Our valley inspires original country music, landscape paintings, and sculptures made from natural stones and branches.

Street benches that look like wagon wheels…

We are the home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Walk of Stars, and the country music and western themed murals of artist Michelle Loughery. First Nations pictographs and stone structures are overlooking our lakes and creeks.

We also host the Bass Coast electronic music and art festival, Home Routes concerts, and put on school wide SD58 Arts Festivals.

The Nicola Valley arts and culture style is full of variety, against a background of pine trees and golden grasses. From stilettos to cowboy boots, chainsaw carvings and beaded earrings, to flute concertos and banjos, the Nicola Valley is a center of creative expression….

Come and See For Yourself!

Experience Arts and Culture in the Nicola Valley!

Stop downtown Merritt and get oriented. Follow the Walk of Stars route, check out the murals, visit theNicola Valley Arts and Culture museum. Spend time in the Courthouse Arts Gallery and gift shop, with goods like local tea and honey, guitar string bracelets, hand weavings, art on the wall.

If you come in July, tour our Art Walk with artists displayed in twenty downtown businesses and civic centers. or attend our country music “Rockin River Fest”.

Here in late November? Join us for Country Christmas and our Festival of Trees.

And if you are here on a Friday, drop into our Open Mic Night at the Kekuli Cafe. Bring your instrument, or favorite poetry.

Get in touch with us to discover dates for our Coffee Houses with featured musicians at the Country Music Hall of Fame or in our outdoor Spirit Square.

Maybe we can set you up with an arts tour!

Complete with local refreshments, of course…

  • Want to see the newly opened Nlakapmux Creations Gallery at the corner of Nicola Avenue and Voght Street?
  • And next see the Michelle Loughery murals? And hear the community story of their origin?
  • Want to get a taste of our local music scene, with the likes of Bobby Garcia and Al & Denise?

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture awaits!

Visit the Nicola Valley Arts Council website for the lowdown on all things art in the valley.

Or contact me at experiencenicolavalley.jano@gmail.com.

We’ll see what we can do…

Love the arts!

Jano

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

                                                                                                                                                                                            (All media here by permission)

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Our tribute to Legends of Yesterday

“Merritt is where the stars come to play.”

Inside one of the oldest heritage buildings in the heart of downtown Merritt is the home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. This national museum showcases

Ian Tyson’s plaque.

plaques for over 100 Canadian Country Music inductees.

Some of the inductees featured at the hall are:

  • Ian Tyson
  • Hank Snow
  • Ronnie Prophet
  • Gary Buck
  • Anne Murray
  • Gordon Lightfoot
  • Wilf Carter …………and many more!

 

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame – Downtown Merritt BC, Canada

What’s inside – Sites and Sounds

Tour a building over 100 years old .  Vinyl records play on a vintage turntable and echo through the hall.  Hundreds of records in a growing collection are available for viewing and listening..

Plaques of Inductees

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame hosts a display of plaques honouring inductees of the Canadian Country Music Association.  They are recognized for their involvement and contribution to country music: singers, songwriters, actors/actresses, managers, sponsors, funders, talent scouts, promoters, musicians, radio and television personnel, yodelers and more.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Memorabilia on display from the National Music Centre.

National Music Centre Memorabilia!

View a rotating collection of Canadian Country Music memorabilia that is currently displayed at the hall.

  • Ian Tyson’s hat and cowboy boots
  • Gary Buck’s suit  
  • Wilf Carter’s white performance suit.

These displays are courtesy of the National Music Centre.

The Walk of Stars begins!

Dozens of  “Walk of Stars” handprints are displayed in the centre of the Hall.   Photo albums and framed pictures  capture the visits of past Country Stars who graced our community. 

Going Digital! – More things to see!

Paul Brandt, the Hall’s newest inductee, will be on display digitally with new inductees. Touch the screen and view a plaque, song and bio of some of our greatest country stars! he Canadian Country Music Association recognize all the inductees.

About our Community!

As the Canadian Country Music Capital of Canada, the City of Merritt is a great fit for the Canadian country Music Hall of Fame.  Located in British Columbia’s southern interior. Merritt celebrates country music with a number of events and activities like our week-long Country Christmas and famous light-up parade, Music in the Park & Square and the Rockin’ River Country Music Festival.  Merritt and the Nicola Valley are the perfect showcase for the gritty western heritage and traditional ranching culture which was shaped by our unique landscape.  

Things to do – Walk among the stars!

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Handprints on display throughout Merritt.

 The stars come to play in Merritt. Hunt down the handprints of over 60 country music stars  throughout the city – from old time, best loved singers like Johnny Cash and Tanya Tucker to modern icons like Tim McGraw, Aaron Pritchett and Terri Clark. Find them all!  Place your hand where your favourite country performers have left their mark. Try them and find your match.

Things to see – Murals!

Walk of Stars Mural Project

This project transformed Merritt into the largest country music art gallery you will ever visit. See over 30 country artists murals painted on our downtown buildings including:

  • CMT mural
  • Men of Canadian Country Mural with Paul Brandt, George Canyon and Aaron Pritchett
  • Alan Jackson
  • Women of Canadian Country with Michelle Wright, Caroline Dawn Johnson and Lisa Brokop… and many more.

Have fun posing with your favourite performers. World renowned muralist, Michelle Loughery has brought our community and country music stars to life.

Things to look forward to – 10 Hall of Famers team up with 10 up and coming Canadian artists.

The first ever Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame album was recently recorded. Some of the artists that recorded are:

  • Ian Tyson
  • Michelle Wright,
  • The Good Brothers
  • Washboard Union and many more ……..

Canadian Country Music Heritage Society director Ron Sanders says the collaborative album, produced in partnership with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, sees 10 hall of famers team up team with 10 up and coming Canadian artists.

“We’re trying to get some more recognition for the Hall of Fame and the people that are inducted into it. We are planning to release the “Then and Now” album at the  CCMA’s event in September.”

Recording sessions were videoed at Arc House Studio in Kelowna and will be released as part of a behind-the-scenes series.

The Hall of Fame celebrates the best of Canadian country music!  Learn who the inductees are, their contributions to the genre, and how the roots of country music continue to influence musical styles and move our souls.   

Canada’s rich fabric of country music songwriters and performers influence far beyond our national borders.

Music is a universal language and yes Canadian country music in particular is a story worth telling and hearing. Join us in the discovery and check out Merritt BC!

Who would you nominate as the Country Music Hall of Fame’s next inductee?

http://www.ccmhalloffame.com/