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Empty Keg Brew House your relaxed, family friendly, and socially responsible place.

Photo courtesy of EKBH.

At some point in our lives, we find ourselves in a situation when a decision is required if we want to move forward.

Empty Keg Brew House – Have you been in a situation that you prefer to delay instead of making a decision because you are not sure of the outcome? In general, it is normal to be concerned when we do not know how things will turn out.

Empty Keg Brew House – Starting your own business.

It is well known that starting a business is not easy nor is it for everyone.  In my opinion, most people have had a business idea in mind at some point in their lives. Throughout my employment as a business analyst, I have learned that every entrepreneur encounters roadblocks that slow them down or completely prevent them from starting their own business. On the other hand, I have dealt with clients that take all these roadblocks as learning opportunities along the way in their entrepreneurial path. Working with Kyle Hall of Empty Keg Brew House has taught me a way to deal with common issues in a more productive way while working on opening a business.

Build a case for Empty Keg Brew House.

Kyle and Kelly Hall are the owners and operators of our newest microbrewery in Merritt, BC, Canada called Empty Keg Brew House. While gathering more information to work on this story, I had the opportunity to learn more about the origins of Kyle’s business, and I am happy to share hoping that Kyle’s story will encourage you to take action and work on that business idea you have set aside. The fact is, there is never a bad time to launch a business if you have identified the need of your product or service.

the Rhubarb and Raspberry patch! Photo courtesy of EKBH.

Where did the idea of starting a microbrewery come from?

About 27 years ago the idea of brewing beer crossed Kyle’s mind. With only making $5.50 per hour to support his family back then, it was all about making cheap beer.  As a beer enthusiast, Kyle had never been to school for brewing, but instead he learned as he went. Kyle moved from extract to partial grain then full grain. Much to the delight of his family, that venture never took off, but his passion for beer continued to blossom. 5 years ago, Kyle remembers sitting around the table with his family and friends when someone suddenly said, “If you ever open a brewery, you will never be able to keep your kegs full”. Hence, the name Empty Keg Brew House.

Questions of a small business?

As any other entrepreneur, Kyle questioned himself: should we open a microbrewery? Could we open a microbrewery? When the opportunity came a few years later; he did not hesitate to seize it. He decided to move forward with his business idea. For that Kyle decided to further his skills in brewing, as a result, he completed the Master Beer Brewing Certificate in 2015.
Kyle envisioned creating a place where locals and visitors could enjoy various types of locally brewed beers made from as many local ingredients as possible.

Photo courtesy of EKBH.

Getting into the Craft Beer industry.

If you think the most difficult part of starting a business is taking the crucial first step, you are wrong. Just wait to learn all the different licenses and regulations you must obtain to move forward within your specific industry. I remember Kyle working hard to get his variance rezoning approved. He also had to apply for his manufacturer and lounge endorsement licenses. It was not just applying for a permit or license; it was starting over and making changes so that your application can move forward to the next phase and waiting to see if there was any other requirement at the end of the day. Many entrepreneurs ask themselves at this phase, how much longer will it take to get their licenses? They always want it to go faster to stay within their milestones.

Grand Opening July 3, 2019

What was your experience at the Grand Opening?

For most people, a grand opening can be a powerful way to launch your new business. It creates awareness and generates a buzz about your new product or service offered in your community. When I asked Kyle about his own experience after all the hurdles he had gone through, his answer was: “We were scared out of our minds.” By the end of the soft opening he recalls asking himself – “What have we gotten ourselves into? It was a whirlwind that seemed so overwhelming. We worked against a tight deadline to be ready for the big date. I was lucky to count on my wife Kelly, my daughter, my nephew and other family members and friends who helped with the renovations until the day prior to the opening.”

experience merritt

My experience during the first months in business.

Before starting your own business, you work on financial projections and cash flow based on market research. As part of this market research, you determine your target market, but it is not until you are running your business you realize how close your projections are to your actuals. While determining his target market, Kyle looked at college age and up to maybe 45-50, but they have a wide range of friends that come in. The typical attitude on presenting the idea of a local Brew House was “we don’t need another bar in town”. But Empty Keg Brew House is a place where you can go and socialize, hang out, play some games while you have a beer, glass of wine or coffee.

‘Give-Back Wednesday’ donation went to NVSSS Housing First. Photo courtesy of EKBH.

What is Empty Keg Brew House 5 year vision?

Kyle would like to continue to do what they are doing now. They have focused on a “Give back Wednesday”, which is a way for the customers and the Keg to give back to local non-profit organizations. It is very well received; it is contributing to help local organizations who are playing a key component for the betterment of our social, economic, environmental, and cultural conditions of the Nicola Valley. As mentioned by Kyle “We would like to continue helping these organizations on a monthly basis. On the first Wednesdays of the month we “Give Back” a portion of our sales to local non-profit organizations. Although, Empty Keg does not have a Kitchen, they do offer appetizers and they support other eating establishments by allowing food from those approved sources to accompany the beers they offer. For example, they have Yaki Joe’s Pizza right next door and clients often bring in food from there and have a beer when they are hanging out with their family and friends.

Photo courtesy of EKBH.

What is your favorite thing about being a business owner?

Running a small business can be very rewarding, but as I said before it’s not for everyone. There are easier ways to make a living. Are all the long hours, hard work and sacrifice worth it? It sounds like it. According to Forbes, 90 percent of survey respondents say they would do it again and 65% say they are better off financially than if they’d remained someone else’s employee.

Kyle and Kelly have worked very hard to be able to open their brew house. They have dealt with parking variance rezoning, manufacturers licensing requirements, inspections and much more. I would not be able to calculate how much sweat equity Kyle and Kelly have put into their business. For every setback they experienced while working on their business, their commitment and dedication became stronger than ever.

Merritt’s Kitchen Party.

As Kyle said “There are so many things to do, we can do whatever we wish to, the two captains (he was referring to himself and his wife Kelly) can steer the ship wherever we want. It is rewarding to see smiles on everyone’s faces when they are enjoying not only the product but the atmosphere. People say this is a great place. We’ve had a lot of visitors from out of town say that our space reminds them of a “Kitchen Party””.

Empty Keg Brew House is a small scale micro Brewery.

Empty Keg Brew House is a small scale micro Brewery located in Merritt. This Brewery has recently opened their doors in our community offering locally made craft beer. A great place where locals and visitors can enjoy various types of in-house brewed beers made from local ingredients.

If you have not visited this place, I encourage you to stop by and enjoy some of their offerings. With more than eight unique beers on tap, Empty Keg offers a variety of options that include Kilt Lifter Scottish 80, Scared the Dark Stout, Blond Ale and many more.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empty Keg Brew House
2190 Voght St, Merritt, BC V1K 1C1
(250) 315-2337

www.emptykegbrewhouse.ca

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Merritt, British Columbia, Canada bee

 Nicola Valley Foodbank

 Merritt’s Nicola Valley Food Bank

“For some people life has been too much. They are overwhelmed and just can’t cope any more. It could have been me. It could be you.”  Derlanda Hewton, manager.

Nicola Valley Foodbank ( some say Food Bank) in Merritt BC

In the 1990’s at the Crossroads Community Church, our community opened the Nicola Valley Foodbank.  From this small  beginning, it soon grew to fill the space it uses today. The Nicola Valley Foodbank planners designed it to supplement the diets of children, seniors, low income residents and the working poor.  Today, as when it first opened, the need is overwhelming.

nicola valley foodbank

Derlanda Hewton (left) of the Nicola Valley Foodbank

Why do people use foodbanks?

Derlanda, our Nicola Valley Food Bank manager, became involved with the foodbank by chance. She was struggling to find suitable work because of a disability.  When Work B.C. told her about a client advocate job at the foodbank, she applied and is now the manager. She knows why the food bank is so desperately needed and what causes that need. She sees it daily.

“For some”, she says “it is stress; for others, a job loss; some lose partners or children; still others can’t keep their housing.” For these people,” she says “life has been too much. They are overwhelmed and just can’t cope anymore. It could have been me. It could be you.”

Besides providing food, what else does the foodbank do?

Clients who use the foodbank often need other services too. Many times they are not even aware of the help that is available to them. The Nicola Valley foodbank educates them by putting them in touch with other agencies and services such as Work B.C., Merritt Youth and Families, the Cold Weather Shelter and Ask Wellness.

save on foods Nicola Valley foodbank

Save On Foods and the Nicola Valley Foodbank

Environmentally friendly changes coming

Of course food is the priority for the foodbank, but speaking with manager Derlanda Hewton really surprised me. Not only does the food bank distribute food to those in need, as you would expect, but it is also involved in a number of earth friendly programs to reduce food waste and increase local food security.

The zero waste initiative- No food to the garbage!

No food to the garbage is a big change in the way we use food- and one that is long overdue! The Food Bank Canada initiative plan involves many of our local food stores and farmers. They work with the Nicola Valley Food Bank to reduce waste in a big way. It works like this: the stores donate unsold, but still good, food to the foodbank. When it is not fit for humans, it will be sent to farmers for animal feed or to animal rescue shelters. If unfit for humans or animals, it will be composted and returned to the earth to improve the soil. Humans benefit, animals benefit and the earth benefits. A nice win, win, win situation for all.

Nicola Valley volunteers

Thank you to our Nicola Valley Foodbank volunteers

Long term plans

When I asked Derlanda what the long term plans for the Nicola Valley Foodbank were , she told me it depends on the type of facilities they will  have. Their ideal building would include walk in freezers, coolers, an air conditioned kitchen and an education centre. They want to teach clients how to cook unfamiliar food and how to preserve extra garden produce {canning, drying and freezing fruit and vegetables).  I think this would pair well with a community garden if one were started close by, don’t you?) Now there’s a project for a gardening group.

Does technology help?

When I asked Derlanda this question the answer was a definite, yes! Did you know the Nicola Valley Foodbank can accept donations through the square? And that you can find them on social media and on blogs? In addition,  they are also on the Farmers Market Site? They have their own website too. Here is the link: Nicola Valley Food Bank.

Volunteers- always needed; always appreciated

This summer saw 15 volunteers at our local foodback, including 3-13-year-olds. These ( both reliable and hardworking) young people pitched right in wherever they were needed! There were also 3 part time drivers, 1 summer student and a janitor. The foodbank found them through Open Door and Work B.C. The students are back in school now so if you have extra time, come volunteer.

Fundraising

In addition to volunteers, the Nicola Valley Foodbank always needs both food and money. A rumor made the rounds this summer that the foodbank didn’t need any more garden produce.  And that they just threw away the excess.  NOT TRUE. Our Nicola Valley Food Bank uses all the food it can get!  So gardeners, please know that any extra produce is definitely appreciated.

toy drive

Nicola Valley Toy Drive

Donations

Someone said that since the Nicola Valley Foodbank runs on donated food, they shouldn’t need money. Well, I saw volunteers stocking shelves with diapers, baby food, formula, feminine hygene products, laundry soap and other necessities. I know these things don’t grow in my garden! And in addition to food, how about  gas for that delivery van out back? Also the lights for the building? And not only the heat but also the rent? Yes, the foodbank needs money. They supply very basic needs.  The only “luxury” on the shelves?  Donated chocolate!  Could you go months without a piece of chocolate? Well, if you could, would you want to?

Yes, running our Nicola Valley Foodbank takes cash, serious cash. They are quiet about their need, and don’t talk about it much. But they worry.  As your blogger, I tell it like it is. They just want to keep those shelves filled. So I can say, they really need money! There are donation boxes wherever we have events in Merritt and we Merritonians are generous with food sharing. Let’s try shaking loose some spare cash too. Perhaps we could give up a chocolate bar or two and donate the money.  🙂

Why do they do it?

For the foodbank’s unpaid volunteers the job is often difficult, sad and (sometimes) frustrating. So why do they do it? “To give back to the community”, one says. “It’s knowing we can make a difference”, says another. What does Derlanda say? After all, she is the manager and sees it all. “It’s about food security for everyone in the Nicola Valley.” That, everyone, is the bottom line. We all need to eat.

Merritt Tourism

What did I learn?

My level of ignorance about our local foodbank and the work it does was appalling. Yes, I  am a senior. However I  still go to the store and choose from hundreds of food items. For example, look at my chosen breakfast. Freshly cooked oatmeal with milk and a big, juicy peach. For  lunch I have fresh salad and a tasty sandwich.  In addition to all this, I know I will have dinner tonight. So, I will enjoy my roast chicken, rice and veggies.  Despite a limited budget, I can have chocolate any time I want, if I want it. Most importantly, after my foodbank visit I now remember to count myself among the very lucky!

CONTACT US

Nicola Valley Foodbank
2026 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC

(250) 378-2282

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Nicola Valley Foodbank

Merritt, British Columbia

 

George Jones

Country Music Legendary Icon Mural In The Nicola Valley

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

Merritt BC Canada Murals

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

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

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

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George Jones and Some Hard Times

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

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

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

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

First Step To A Journey

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

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

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

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

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

Second Step To The On Going Journey

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

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

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

George Jones – The Voice Of An Angel

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

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

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

Louisiana Hayride

George Jones and Johnny Cash

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

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

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

Travels Of The Singing Angel Continue

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

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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

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

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

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

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

Nearing The End of The 60’s Decade

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

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

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

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

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

George And Tammy The Reigning King And Queen of Country

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

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

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

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

Nearing The End With Musicor

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

Pappy Daily Manager

Pappy Daily and George Jones

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

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

Kicking Off A Successful Career At Epic

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

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

Billy Sherrill Producer

Billy Sherrill-George Jones Producer

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

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

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

Jones and Wynette’s Turbulent Years

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

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

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

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

George and Tammy Early Years

George and Tammy Early Years

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

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

Late 70’s Dark Times For Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 80’s Comeback And Life Turnaround

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

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

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

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

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

Love Conquers

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Ridding The Demon

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

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

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

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

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Quotes about George Jones:

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

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

 –Burt Reynolds

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

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

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

Jones Love of Traditional Country Music

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt Murals

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

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

George Jones Merritt Mountain Music Festival 1993

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

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

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

Merritt, BC Canada Mural Walk and Attractions

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

Start the downtown mural tour at Merritt’s National Attraction. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, situated on Quilchena Avenue in The Country Music Capital of Canada.

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

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

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

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

Featured Country Music Musician : George Jones

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Coffee Shops in Merritt

Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse in Downtown Merritt BC

“No matter your eats and coffee needs just order and Mandolin’s will look after the quality and service.”

When it comes to coffee shops in Merritt BC Canada Mandolins Coffee Shop is a frequent stop for this coffee connoisseur. There are many coffee stops to select from too throughout the Nicola Valley. All have their pluses and unique style from the chain store coffee shops to the privately operated family owned and operated coffee shops in Merritt. But what makes a favorite coffee shop? That is a tough question? It is a question usually answered based on personal preferences.

Enjoying a “cup-of-joe” at Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse in Downtown Merritt BC

Coffee With Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse

When I talk about the types of coffee shops in Merritt I mean the taste, smells, strength and purpose of the coffee. Purpose you ask? Well yes of course. You see, in my line of work you have coffee for different purposes. There is the road coffee. “Coffee to go” for short. This is huge for me, as I travel a lot. Then there are coffees while I am staying in communities like the work coffee, morning coffee, night coffee, stay awake coffee and then there is the hide in the corner booth coffee. This last one is my work escape so I can get some projects done, spread my papers out and get some work in. Each coffee has a purpose. Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse satisfies most of my coffee urges.

Coffee Shops In Merritt

Being that I have had the opportunity to spend some quality time in the community of Merritt BC I have had a chance to enjoy many coffee shops in the Nicola Valley. Mandolin’s Coffee Shop is one of the establishments I frequent often for many different reasons including good service, “yum-yum” baking, positive conversations, friendly patrons, location and of course, the coffee.

The Patrons of Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse

Smile Included With Your Coffee

I really enjoy the conversations and connections I enjoy with the owner of Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse, Cheryl. She greets me with a hello every visit, and always has a thought to share. Bottom line she makes me smile.

She attributes her success to,

“Customer service, fast service. The hours myself and Laurie put in and a lot of hard work.”

I would like to add the upbeat environment, and positive attitude to her list of attributes. She always has something to say that makes me go “hum”.

Cheryl, owner of Mandolin’s serves her patrons with a smile.

I have traveled the country for over a decade in my work. In doing so I have sat in many coffee shops. Looking back, the good ones, my coffee shops of choice, all had good people running the show. It just goes to show that a happy demeanor and positive conversations will win over customers. Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse is one of the coffee shops in Merritt which makes my  “Coffee Shop Bucket List”.

experiencemerritt

Lastly, I have always enjoyed a good cup of coffee in the company of many good people during my visits. Add in a comfortable positive environment and I am a sucker for a coffee moment.  Therefore Mandolins is, in essence, “Greg Approved”.

Coffee shop in Merritt

Me having a coffee moment at Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse

Coffee Tri-Vecta In Merritt BC

I cannot say enough of how appreciative I am when I pop into Mandolin’s Coffee Shop in-between appointments to have a “cup-of-joe”.  Because the coffee at Mandolins jives with my palette nicely, one cup of java is usually not enough. I usually do a tri-vecta and gobble down a few more cups of coffee before I dash out the door for an appointment. As I get up to leave I say my goodbyes. Cheryl often echoes back hers.

Hockey Night In Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse

coffee shop

Hockey Night in Mandolins

The environment at Mandolin’s Coffee Shop created by Cheryl and her daughter, Laurie, is enhanced by the numerous number of NHL (National Hockey League) and local hockey jerseys hanging from the ceiling and walls. Many are autographed. All are interesting. Therefore, if you are a hockey fanatic like myself, you are captivated by the display of hockey memorabilia.

Mandolins and History

Complimenting the hockey atmosphere on the walls of Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse are photos of times gone by in the Nicola Valley. It is a cowboy story book of history told through the lens of time.

Experience Nicola Valley asked Cheryl, “What makes your coffee shop unique?”

“(Our) keto and gluten free menu. Big hockey fans so the jerseys hanging up and all the cowboy pictures (hanging) on the walls. The customers love them.”

Coffee Shop In Merritt Homemade Baked Goods

Something which is very refreshing is that all the baked goods are made from scratch. They are not pre-made, frozen, nor brought in from another source. No, this is all about homemade and always fresh. How yummy is that!

Homemade baked goods

Behind the counter is a menu board with a good selection of eats. Eat in or take out, that is your call. Go big and contact Mandolins to cater for your Nicola Valley events and functions. No matter your eats and coffee needs just order and Mandolin’s will look after the quality and service.

“Soup, sandwiches, bagels, salads (budda bowls), specialty drinks, smoothies and more… “

menu board

Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse menu board full of eats

Merritt Coffee Shop And More

When coffee is on your mind and you want to get in some additional shopping without driving from parking lot A to parking lot B then this coffee shop in Merritt is the ticket. Located in Railyard Mall in Downtown Merritt there are other services operating on the premises. There is a large grocery store (Save on Foods), liquor store (BC Liquor Store), pet store (Pet Value), adventure clothing company (Work And Play), fitness outlet, real estate office, auto parts (Lordco), Nicola Valley Museum & Archives and more.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse
1700 Garcia Street
Merritt, BC, Canada
V1K 1B8

Telephone: (250) 315-0007

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Coffee Shops in Merritt BC Canada

Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse in Downtown Merritt BC

The Three Seven Eight Skateboard Company

Skateboarding in Merritt BC in the Nicola Valley

“Jay and Tobey would like to say thank you to their amazing customers, friends, and family who have made The Three Seven Eight Skateboard Company in Merritt BC what it is today.”

 

Three Seven Eight Skateboard

A Hidden Little Gem

When skateboard shopping you will find that The Three Seven Eight Skateboard Company in downtown Merritt, BC provides an array of skateboard merchandise, knowledge and experiences. The locally owned and operated skateboard shop services all of the Nicola Valley.

Jay the owner of Three Seven Eight

Falling in love at a young age

As with most kids, Jay got hooked on skateboarding when his older brother, Dave, introduced him to the sport. Jay loves the creativity involved with skateboarding.  Both in the actual physical activity side of the sport, as well as, the product art work side of things.

When dreams become reality

For as long as Jay could remember he wanted to have a skateboard company or own a skateboard shop. He knew when the construction started on the Merritt skate park, it was now or never. That’s when Jay and his wife, Tobey,  opened up their shop in the Spring of 2005. They will be celebrating 15 years, coming up, in the Spring of 2020.

Nicely done Jay and Tobey!

Not just boards sold but so much more

The Three Seven Eight Skateboard Company offers the top brand boards in the skateboard industry and focus mostly on regular street skateboards, although they do a little bit of business in snowboards.and longboards.

The Three Seven Eight Skateboard Company in Merritt BC Merchandise

In addition to a variety of boards, the shop also sells apparel, footwear, sunglasses, hats, backpacks, and accessories. Their in-house line of “378” apparel and skateboards is always a great seller. The customers love supporting a small business these days, and their 378 line creates a sense of community and family. The amazing customers and friends are the reason that Jay and Tobey can continue to keep their doors open.

The Future is looking bright for 378!

Jay and Tobey’s future plans for the shop is to continue to make their shop the best they can. Staying true to what they have been doing.  Continuing to offer the best brands in the skateboard industry and also expanding on their own 378 line.  Check out their Facebook page. An online store possibly down the road but they’re still on the fence right now.

Skateboarding in Merritt BC

When I asked  the question of the best places to skateboard in Merritt, Jay’s response was that it was a tricky question…the BEST place to skateboard in Merritt would have to be the skateboard park.

However, the FUNNEST place to go skateboarding is anywhere in the streets where there are unique obstacles. Skateboarding has always been and always will be the best in the streets.

Heartfelt Thank You’s all around

In conclusion, Jay and Tobey would like to say thank you to their amazing customers, friends, and family who have made The Three Seven Eight Skateboard Company in Merritt BC what it is today. They’d also like to thank anyone who prefers to buy from a small business when they can, it truly makes a difference in a community. Lastly thank you to Experience Nicola Valley for asking us for this blog article.

Contact Info

The Three Seven Eight Skateboard Company
2149 Quilchena Avenue
Merritt, British Columbia
Call (250) 378-8179

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The Three Seven Eight Skateboard Company in Merritt BC

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Don Messer Country Music Legend Mural

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame

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

Don Messer Country Music Legend

Don Messer

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

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

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

Destined To Be A Merritt BC Attraction

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Merritt BC Attractions and Legends Must Start Somewhere

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

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

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

Setting The Stage 

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

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

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

This Fiddler Of Canada

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

Don Messer’s Television Era

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

Fiddler Night In Canada

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

A Show For Canadians To Meet

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Coming To An Abrupt End

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt BC Canada Country Music – Merritt Murals

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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Merritt Dry Cleaning & Coin Laundry

Merritt Laundry, Country Music and Storytelling.

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

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

Searching For A Merritt BC Laundromat

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

The Coolest Country Music Laundromat Ever

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

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

Christine and Joe

Washers and Dryers

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

Merritt BC Laundromat Washers & Dryers

Merritt Attraction and Laundry

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

Country Music Artist Portraits

Country Music List for Rockin’ River Musicfest

The List – Country Music Artists

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

Meet Christine and Joe

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

Encyclopedia Christine

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

Joe The Mechanic

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

Pride Of Ownership In The Nicola Valley

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt BC Canada Laundromat and Dry Cleaning Services

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Merritt BC Murals – Brooks and Dunn

Country Music Capital Of Canada

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

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

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

Brroks and Dunn Mural

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

Brooks and Dunn in Merritt BC

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

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

Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn

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

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

 

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Impact on Country Music

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

All Things Come To An End

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

“We’ve ended up more like brothers.”

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

Kix Brooks

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

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

Ronnie Dunn

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

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

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

Merritt BC Murals

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

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

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

Merritt BC Canada Downtown Mural Digital Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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

Downtown Walking Tour Merritt Murals

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Featured Country Music Musician : Johnny Reid

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

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

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

Singing Career Taking Off

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

Born for Country Music

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

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

2007 – 2009

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

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

2010 – 2015

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

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

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

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

Johnny Reid Wins Awards

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Awards Keep Coming for Johnny Reid

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

The Early Years of Country Music with Johnny Reid

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

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

Marriage is Good For Johnny Reid

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

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

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

Johnny Reid Country Music

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

Merritt BC Murals and Johnny Reid

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Johnny Reid

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

Reid’s highlights of coming to Merritt

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

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

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

Featured Country Music Musician : Johnny Reid

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Lifestyle Expo – Merritt BC Canada

A Merritt Country Run Event

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

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

Lifestyle Expo Booths – Merritt Country Run

Congrats Merritt

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

Lifestyle Expo

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

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers

Merritt Tourism is a Lifestyle

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

Meet Experience Nicola Valley

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

Live Health Seminar at Lifestyle Expo

Good People. Good Event.

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

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

Massage with Country Music Blogger

Lifestyle Exhibitors

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

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

Merritt Country Run and the Lifestyle Expo