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Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses

Earthwalker, one of our Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses with a twist

I have the best customers! They range in age from 4 to 75 years old.” Renee Henry, Earthwalker

When you are checking out our Merritt BC businesses, you will wonder what sort of business Earthwalker might be. Not only is Earthwalker a spiritual store, the owner, Renee, tells me it is also a gathering place where politics, religion and spiritual discussion takes place.  There is a twist. In the winter there is always a pot of hot tea waiting too. The seating is comfy, the atmosphere welcoming and respectful of everyone’s beliefs.

An inspired start

Several years ago, before Renee even thought of starting one of our Merritt BC businesses, she was laid off from her job. Unsure of what to do next, she went to a peaceful beach in Kamloops to meditate and get some clarity on what her next step should be. At the time a friend of hers had a spiritual shop and needed some help, so Renee volunteered. Since she had been interested in crystals from the age of twelve, Renee already had some background. Slowly she gathered together what she needed to open her own shop. A while later when her friend had more help, Renee launched Earthwalker, one of our Merritt BC businesses.

Why Merritt?

Renee tells me that from the first time she came to Merritt it felt like home. She loves the Merritt outdoors and we sure have plenty of that! Lots of fun stuff to do year round too. Hiking, mountain biking, cross-county skiing, fishing and swimming. For a nature enthusiast, wildcrafter, herb and food gatherer, this is paradise. “And once I saw the Hoodoos, I was hooked”, she says.

Merritt B.C. Unique Businesses, clothes and books

Some unique goodies at Earthwalker, a Merritt, B.C. Unique Business

Why a spiritual store?

Many people want to know why Renee chose this type of business. It’s simple. She wants to help people with their spiritual growth. One way she is doing this is by helping customers connect with the crystal that is right for them. In addition to being beautiful, each crystal is a tool with its own healing properties. Renee knows them well! Not only has she been learning about them since she was only 12 years old, Renee has also been a rock hound for as long as she can remember. She matches each crystal’s properties and healing elements to her client’s needs. This is truly a Merritt, B.C. Unique Business! Where else can you get this kind of attention?

Inside Earthwalker

Plan to spend some time checking out Earthwalker. Renee carries many different types and colours of stones, crystals and jewelry. It doesn’t stop here either. Best known for her knowledge, her crystals, her singing bowl and her own unique self, she also sells clothing, statues, tarot cards, books, healing items and one-of-a-kind goodies you just won’t find anywhere else! And why would you? After all, Earthwalker is one of our Merritt BC businesses.

Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses, display case

Earthwalker. Some unique goodies beautifully displayed

Gypsy, everyone’s friend

All Merritt BC businesses have a surprise and uniqueness to themselves. Earthwalker is no exception. Meet Gypsy, a quiet, relaxing dog who is very gentle. Even if you are not a dog person, Gypsy will soon have you petting and talking to her. If you need a hug, you can be sure she knows and will wander over to offer canine comfort and support

Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses, Earthwalker

Renee and Gypsy at Earthwalker

Before we finished the interview, I just had to ask Renee a few questions I thought potential entrepreneurs might want answers to.

Questions and answers:

Q: If you could speak to your younger self when you were just starting out, what advice would you give?

A: Do some accounting courses first! That would be a huge help. Also, the importance of social media and technology awareness is crucial! It is invaluable in promoting and marketing your business. Also, in today’s tough business climate  you need to be known on social media.  Your business will increase as your social media exposure increases.

Q: What are your favorite things about being an owner?

A: I dictate how my day goes. How I treat people or how much time I give them is not mandated by someone else.

Q: What future plans do you have for Earthwalker?

A: I would like to take more courses in the healing arts, holistic healing and women in business. In the autumn, I want to do more connecting with businesses. Lots of men are starting to get involved as well as women. More community connections. I would like to be able to hire more staff and offer more services.

Q: Speaking of community connection, is there another person or business you would recommend?

A: Angela Kerr. She is a Reiki master and reflexologist.

Q: What one book would you recommend every small business owner read?

A: Small Business For Dummies (Canadian version).

Q: Can you describe your customers?

A: I have the best customers! They range in age from 4 to 75 years old. There are a mixture of men, women and families.  My customers come from all walks of life.  Some need help and others come for information or to socialize. As I said, I have the best customers. (BIG GRIN)

Q: As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?

A: Community connections, people feeling that this is a safe, open place to come and be happy, satisfied customers.

Fall classes at Earthwalker

This fall Renee will be offering classes in:
– wire wrapping
– crystals
– reiki, level 1 and 2

If you are interested , please contact Renee at:
phone: 250-315-5350
email: earthwalkerspirit@hotmail.com
facebook: earthwalkerspiritualshop

Not only is Earthwalker one of our Merritt BC businesses, you can see from this interview that the owner, Renee Henry, is as unique as her business. Be sure to treat yourself to a visit soon. 

Merritt, B.C. unique business 

Earthwalker in Merritt BC Canada

Merritt BC Canada Businesses

Winter Hiking in Merritt, Experience  Nicola Valley

Hiking in the winter around Merritt BC.

Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s healthy for you.

 

Winter Hiking in Merritt BC, is truly a beautiful experience. Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s healthy for you.  People of all ages and abilities can enjoy higher levels of health and wellness when they have access to nature in Canada. As a result there are health benefits including lowering risk of heart disease, obesity, stress, depression and strokes. Hiking in the winter with or without snow is my true pleasure while living in Merritt BC Canada.

Hiking in Merritt BC

Hiking in Merritt is a “Winter Wonderland”.

Because of what “Mother Nature” can provide us. Winter Hiking in Merritt BC.

Accordingly “Nature” inspires a lifestyle of personal well-being while respecting and learning to live in harmony with as little impact or damage to your surroundings. Being encouraged to practice habits that will promote a healthy environment in the “now” as well as in the future. Respecting all living things, animals, trees, vegetation, local biodiversity, water, while we enjoy and Experience  Nicola Valley. 

 

Hiking in Merritt BC

Backyard Trails. Great for hiking in Merritt BC.

Getting the “blues” during winter in Merritt BC?

In addition to lowering levels of  winter depression. Getting out and enjoying nature can reduce stress providing better coping skills for every-day life events. Physical activities which involve nature will promote personal healthy connections that benefits both your health while respecting our ecological environment and the impact we have on it.

 

Hiking in Merritt

Hiking Trails.

Never Fear Trails are Near.

Behind the Bench in Merritt BC you will find a network of trails. Just starting? No worries, there are many low impact trails that allow you to choose how far and how long you go. As you progress you can climb higher with trails based on your ability. Hiking these trails in the winter are extraordinary. You feel that your out in the middle of no-where, but literally still within distance of the City.

 

Nicola Valley winter hiking.

Hiking trails near you.

As demonstrated I myself love to “Hike” the trails behind my house on the Bench in the Winter. Winter Hiking in Merritt BC.

Outward bound in the wilderness. Silence with nature.

I live to hike in the “WinterTania Stewart.

One with nature.

 

Amid the Beauty of the Forest.

Experience winter hiking in Merritt

Merritt BC. outdoors.

Alongside I also have my family join me.

Ricky Mervyn.

Taniaphotos

Jordan.

At the same time your family’s trusted “Friend” will love it.

Merritt has many outdoor parks, a dog park, numerous walking trails, and skate board/ bike park. Participating in outdoor activities provides a personal health wellness that has numerous health benefits. It provides energy, vitality and a greater respect for our natural resources’ and how we can ensure its protection for our children and generations to access and enjoy its splendor. Additionally taking your dog out can be a safety measure.

 

The one and only “Tank”

Windy Canyon Merritt BC.

Across from old Tolko site there is a narrow canyon ascending to the south from the old Middlesbourgh town site at Merritt.  Merrittonian Kevin Griffiths states that this is a historical site that once was home to an industrial coal operation before the 1st World War. Within 15min of hiking you will be transformed into a secret place. True to its name, you will feel and hear the wind as you explore this unique hidden Canyon. Ideally a great place to hike in to during winter months.

 

Windy Canyon. Merritt BC.

Photo by Kevin Griffiths.

Turn technology off for a day. Have one on hand for emergencies. Get out doors with your family. Exercise take a 20min walk around the block or a 2hr hike in the hills.

 

Walk the trails.

Have a seat.

In the woods.

 

 

Furthermore Hiking In the Nicola Valley.

Experiencing The Nicola Valley and all it has to offer including breathtaking beauty, and numerous outdoor activities is why we are lucky to live here. As well as all of the public parks which are easily accessible. Not to mention the mountain trails which are literally in our back yard. But being aware of the limits to our natural resources still has a place. Think of yourself as an Ambassador of Merritt, you are representing your community

 

Outdoor tracks.

Tracking in the snow is easier while hiking in Merritt.

In proximity to Merritt BC is Monck Park.

Hiking in the Nicola Valley

Winter hiking in the Nicola Valley.

Monck Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located at Nicola Lake. There is a 5 km self-guided interpretive hiking trail that loops around the park. There is a  1.3 km trail to the east of the existing upper trails best accessed from the upper end. Sections of this trail are steep and require caution. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. No short-cutting! Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit.

 

In the distance there is Kentucky Lake.

A 4 km hiking trail navigates the outer perimeter of Kentucky Lake, and it takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. The trail has minimal elevation and provides different vantage points of the beautiful lake as you walk around it. The hike is kid-friendly and is a great hike for families. Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit.

40 min from Merritt BC. Canada.

As indicated “Nature” inspires a lifestyle of personal well-being.

Altogether winter hiking in Merritt BC, is truly a beautiful experience. Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s healthy for you. Physical activities which involve nature will promote personal healthy connections that benefits both your health while you and your kids will have a good sleep! Experience Nicola Valley.

 

Walking in the snow.

Take a night walk.

Winter Hiking in Merritt BC.

Experience Nicola Valley hiking our winter trails in Merritt BC Canada

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC, Nicola Valley

Remembrance Day in Canada

Canadians observe a minute of silence and visit Canadian memorials around the world to honor the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country.

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC and throughout Canada has been observed since the end of the First World War in 1931.  Therefore, on November 11th, in Merritt BC Canada it is important to remember the members of our army, navy and air force who died in the line of duty.  Together, since I can remember, communities gather in memorial parks, community halls, workplaces, schools and homes to stand in honour of all who have fallen.  Accordingly, we Canadians mark the occasion every year with a “moment of silence” at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Firstly, and most importantly, it is an opportunity to say thank you to the soldiers who have protected our way-of-life, our freedoms and our system of democracy. Make an effort and come and Experience Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. 

Remembrance Day Merritt BC.

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada.The Act of

Thus on Remembrance Day in Merritt BC.

On this day, when we honour those who have fought for our country and our freedom, it’s hard to find the words to express just what they have given each and every one of us.

Nov 11th Vet day.

“We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.” Francis A. Walker

In Addition

Remembrance Day is also called “poppy day” on November 11th in Canada. Many other countries of the world celebrate this day on the same date. Around the world people give homage and decorate the graves of their heroes who sacrificed themselves for their country. Many Canadians spend Remembrance Day with their family and friends. There are many of us who attend the local Remembrance Day  ceremony in our home towns as a family.

 “We only need to look at what we are really doing in the world and at home and we’ll know what it is to be Canadian.” Adrienne Clarkson

 

Civic Centre Merritt

“The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.” —Aaron Kilbourn

For the Purpose of Nov 11th

Remembrance Day is a day for all Canadians to remember the men and women who served and sacrificed for our country. It is a day we encourage every individual, young and old, to pause, to give thanks and to remember. Legion.

 

Merritt BC Remembrance

Members of the Masonic and appendant body Oder of the Eastern  Star.  Brian Stewart along with his wife Lily Stewart laying a wreath.

 

But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, is their monument today, and for aye.” Thomas Dunn English

Importantly.

Remembrance Day isn’t just about war and those we’ve lost, but about ideals and what we stand for. It’s about respecting our past and looking forward, and more than anything, thanking those who have served our country.

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Experience the Nicola Valley.

History of service.

Canadian Veterans have served throughout history in a broad range of conflicts and situations – from world wars to peacekeeping missions to crises on the home-front.  The Royal Canadian Legion, including the Merritt BC Chapter, is committed to honouring and remembering all Veterans, whether they served in theatre or on Canadian soil, whether they kept the peace or fought for peace, whether they found themselves in combat or in support of operations.

Respecting our past and welcoming our future.

“And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.”Joseph Drake

 “Whether we live together in confidence and cohesion; with more faith and pride in ourselves and less self-doubt and hesitation; strong in the conviction that the destiny of Canada is to unite, not divide; sharing in cooperation, not in separation or in conflict; respecting our past and welcoming our future.” Lester Pearson

“Patriotism is not dying for one’s country, it is living for one’s country. And for humanity. Perhaps that is not as romantic, but it’s better.” —Agnes Macphail

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” Benjamin Disraeli

The Poppy Campaign.

A great Canadian tradition is wearing a “red poppy” on your lapel between the last Friday of October to November 11. Tens of millions of Canadians put on a Poppy as a visual pledge to honour Canada’s Veterans.  And did you know the first poppy is presented each year to the Governor General of Canada. Furthermore, in local areas the Royal Canadian Legion presents their first Poppy to either a veteran, member of the military or dignitary. This year in Merritt the honor went to Maj. Thor Toms. Remember those who sacrificed the freedoms we enjoy today. The Legion gratefully accepts donations to the Poppy Fund.

 

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC.

Moreover Maj. Thor Toms.

Beginning as a cadet himself, Major Thor Toms, joined the Navy League at the age of 10.  Later joining the air cadets,  followed by the Canadian Army. “Our youth are faced with so many influences in their lives and many of those influences don’t offer them the best choices for positive decisions.” Furthermore “The cadet program helps to guide our youth.” Maj. Thor Toms

Additionally my Grandfather Charles Stewart.

My Grandfather. L/CPL Charles M Stewart.

Honouring and Remembering Canada’s Veterans.

It is important to know that the Legion acknowledges the end of conflicts and does not commemorate the start of conflicts.  The most sacred day is Remembrance Day. Every year, on November 11, the Legion recognizes all of Canada’s Veterans, serving and retired, commemorates our Fallen, men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, Peace Officers, Merchant Navy, and Reserves. Honouring families and their losses. Legion.

“Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life.” Jean Paul

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” —John Diefenbaker

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.” Laurence Binyon

The National Remembrance Day Ceremony.

On Remembrance Day, at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, tens of thousands of people assemble to honour and remember those who have fallen to protect our freedoms. Contact your local legion. Merritt Royal Canadian Legion Branch 96.

“I cry all the time. Remembrance Day in particular. In fact, anything to do with veterans makes me sob.” Diana Rigg

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others. ~ Aristotle.

 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning “And each man stands with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can.”

Remembrance Ceremonies across Canada.

Royal Canadian Legion members take pride in organizing Remembrance Day Ceremonies in over 1,400 Branches across Canada and abroad. Through each Branch, the Legion continues the traditions of Remembrance so that Canada ‘never forgets.’

Lest We Forget.

Never Forget.

Veteran 35yr Legion

Norman Phillips 1951. On his way to the Korean war. Proudly Served in the Korean War. Melvina White‘s father.

The Act of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

 

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” Jose Narosky

How We Advocate.

Veterans served to protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy today, and The Royal Canadian Legion is committed to ensuring they receive the care and support they deserve. The Legion advocates for Veterans’ benefits and for the well-being of Veterans and their families. To find out more about this process, contact your Branch or Provincial Command.

 

In Flanders Field

LT,-Col. John McCae (1872-1918)

“In Flanders Fields” written by John McCrae .

Canadian soldier John McCrae penned the famous poem, “In Flanders Field”. He served in the Second Battle of Ypres in Flanders, Belgium. The poem was written in remembrance of a fallen comrade who’d died in battle and was buried with a simple wooden cross as a marker.  He observed how throughout the fields of Flanders, once alive with red poppies, was now filled with the bodies of dead soldiers.

Comparatively it highlights one of the ironies of war—that soldiers must die so that a nation of people might live. Remembrance Day in the Nicola Valley November 11th. In Flanders Fields poem. John McCrae .

In Remembrance on November 11th.

On Remembrance Day, take a moment to salute those patriotic men and women who served their nation. On this day, when we honour those who have fought for our country and our freedoms, it’s hard to find the words to express just what they have given each and every one of us.

Contact Information

Royal Canadian Legion Merritt Branch 096
1940 Quilchena Ave
Merritt, British Columbia
(250) 378-5631

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Remembrance Day in Merritt BC, Nicola Valley

Remembrance Day in Canada

Pacific Forest Rally Championship 2019 Merritt Nicola Valley

Merritt Nicola Valley Off Road Car Racing Event

“Therefore Merritt’s Spirit Square fans of the Pacific Forest Rally can get up close with the drivers, co-drivers and service crew.”

Welcome Pacific Forest Rally fans to Merritt BC Canada in the Nicola Valley for round 4 of the Canadian Rally Championship. Moreover, event organizer Paul Westwick welcomes rally teams and fans from across Canada and North-west USA alike as they celebrate 43 years of off road car racing with 19 years being in Merritt.

&quot;<yoastmark

Firstly, lets acknowledge the skills and hard work that the service crew do to ensure that their team driver & co-driver can perform, and do their magic driving like they can!

&quot;Nicola&quot;Welcome

Secondly, because of their dedication and love of the Pacific Forest Rally, service crews go far and beyond to ensure their cars are up to speed.

Dave Wallingford Columbus Ohio–Leanne Junnila Calgary,AB- Savage Rallysport. –

Rally Race Merritt. BC.

Mark Jenings-Bates BC-Jackie Jennings-Bates BC 1998 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4 O4WD.

As well as there is Subaru Fiesta!

Rally sponsors “Best Western

Service crew Danny Mirabel.

Eco-challenge Pacific Forest Rally.

In recognition of the need to promote conservation, we have a new award, given to the team that gets the best time from the least fuel. As a result the award is based on their total scores from Saturday’s stages, multiplied by the amount of fuel they consume. Therefore teams who manage their resources the most responsibly will be rewarded while still having great fun behind the wheel. Eco-challenge.

Philipe Benoit driver

Philipe Benoit driver

Eric Pehota BC- Jennifer Daly BC- 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon P4WD.

Karel Carré QC- Samuel Joyal QC- 2007 Subaru TR STI O4WD. Team- Les gestions Oré Inc,

Additionally at Merritt’s Spirit Square fans of the Pacific Forest Rally can get up close with the drivers, co-drivers and service crew.

Sponsors of PFR Subaru.

Furthermore hat’s off to all the volunteers who make it look easy.

By all means get involved and join a Rally Club. Without all the volunteers, the show wouldn’t go on. How do I volunteer? – You want to work a performance rally? Fill out our worker registration.

Safety Car Guys. Sponsor Dirt Fish.

Even though there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground, the Pacific Forest Rally race lived up to their name.

As a result of having the wrong camera, I was unable to capture pictures of the rally cars at the Spius venue.  Standing in the cold I was fortunate to meet Alec Preissler. Due to circumstances I was unable to gather pictures of the rally cars. Consequently Alec Preissler provided me with these awesome pictures.

Alec Preissler

Alec@preissler.ca Photo curtesy of Alec Preissler.

Alec@preissler.ca Thanks to Alec Preissler for these awesome pic’s.

Furthermore the “Weather!”

Incidentally Pacific Rally Racer’s drive in every weather condition.

As a result the rally cars persevere.

&quot;<yoastmark

mailto:Alec@preissler.ca

We love our hardy spectators. The unpredictable winter-like weather provided challenges for everyone this weekend. We’re glad to see everyone making the best of it. 👍🏻 forest Rally

merritt bc canada

Views of the Nicola Valley

Albeit rally fans are number 1!

Fans are resilient

Not only do they race in the day, night time brings out the best in them.

merritt bc rally race

Night time rally racing

Furthermore rallying is one of  the most challenging motor sports in the world. Not only challenging the drivers, but also challenging the spectators and volunteers.

Team Stillin

Team Stillin – Updated Results: 4th place in production 4 wheel drive class & 13th overall regional out of 29 cars.

Taking on the challenge of one of the most challenging sports.

merritt bc canada

Rally driving is a day and night sport

As a result of their quick action, hard driving, they made it to the end!

pacific forest rally

The life of a rally driver

Moreover it is totally great to see the rally cars make it home!

Proud sponsors “Rallysport

Sponsor “Abilitas“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally the work that goes into high performance.

Pacific Forest Rally.

CONTACT INFO

Firstly, check out our website : Pacific Forest Rally

After that read my previous article on the Pacific Forest Rally

Pacific Forest Rally

Rally Championship 2019 Merritt Nicola Valley

Merritt And Nicola Valley Art Shows

A review of a summer of Art and Culture Shows in what has been a great display of community artistic talents

“Get-in-the-mood for fall art!”

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Artist Cassandra Dolen

Nicola Valley Art Shows in Merritt BC attract locals and visitors to the region! The Courthouse Art Gallery puts on a new show almost every month. We often choose themes for our shows that compliment what is happening in our community. Our locals enjoy the mirroring of our themes. This strategy helps visitors get to know our local interests and history.

More Nicola Valley Art Shows

Merritt Arts and Culture, and lots of it, has been happening in the Nicola Valley since I last wrote a Gallery blog! In February, we had a fun community show called The Art of Sound. We really enjoyed drumming with Raven Ritcey at our Open Mic night at Kekuli Cafe. And experiencing Singing Bowls with Gale Simpson, right in the Gallery.

In addition to that, in March, we honoured four long time artists in our Nicola Valley. One of our young artists, when he heard who was coming, gave the show its title….

Living Legend Contribute To Nicola Valley Art Shows

Living Legends

Pius Chong Sculpture

Evelyn Armstrong, Pius Chong, Doug Strand and Jackie Stibbards have been contributing to the art and culture scene in the valley for decades. Moreover, all of them are still creating art in their own way. The community had an opportunity to catch up with these artists at an Artists Talk at the Courthouse Art Gallery.

Personal History Of Art In Merritt

As a result we heard stories about their artistic beginnings, their journeys in the art world, and then the inspirations for the work they are each doing now.  Firstly, Pius Chong created a wood sculpture with bright blocks of colour. Secondly, Doug Strand brought human figure sketches.  Evelyn Armstrong displayed a series of photos of water in different states with ecological commentary. And lastly Jackie Stibbards exhibited a variety of work, from photos, to mixed media scrapbooks.

For April, we switched it up, bringing in one of the valley’s younger artists, Michelle Lonsdale…

Wondernatural

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Artist Michelle Lonsdale

Michelle Lonsdale has taken part is several of our Nicola Valley Art Shows at the Courthouse Gallery!

She brought a touch of whimsy to the Art Gallery. For example Michelle offered up thoughtful twists in much of her work, like her black buggy in a meadow. Moreover Michelle was on hand when her past art teacher, Shannon Dunn, brought a high school class to see her exhibition.

We also had an Artist Talk with Michelle and really enjoyed her discussions about art, and her process.

From this young artist, we segued to even younger aspiring students from our local high school, participating in the School District 58 Arts Festival….

Create-Communicate-Connect

Nicola Valley Arts gallery

Artist Taiki Yamaguchi

School District 58 once again held their Arts Festival mid spring. They brought the artistic expression of our youth in the public schools to our community. Performance art, music, and visual art made their way into our Civic Centre, the Kekuli Cafe Open Mic, the Secret Door Gallery and to the Courthouse Arts Gallery.

The Merritt Senior Secondary School art students had the opportunity to display their varied work at our Nicola Valley Arts Gallery in the old courthouse. The theme Create-Communicate-Connect showed up in the drawings, paintings, and 3D art for the short show.

Certainly a lot of work by the students and teachers, a lot of reward for the community!

Following the exhibition showcasing our young local talent was an inspiring show by an artist who has made her way in the art world her whole life! And her art style is perfect for our Nicola Valley….

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Faye Gustafson Art

Forever West

Artist Faye Gustafson moved to our Merritt BC Canada community, with husband Ian Brooker, after several years of  participating in our local arts programs, like past Art Walks. Faye’s work in sketches and oils is made for our western community!

“The cowboy way of life has always appealed to my soul” says Gustafson.

“I love the endless stories of the people who lived way back when, and the excitement the modern cowgirls and cowboys still enjoy!”

Consequently Gustafson has exhibited her work in Canada and United States, Japan and Australia. Additionally she holds several awards for her artwork. We were very happy to exhibit her work in a single-artist show in our Gallery.

After that, the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery pulled together a show with other community groups to remember a heritage building in the valley….

Murray Church In The Nicola Valley

Murray Church

Murray Church Show Poster, by Kim LeClair

A well attended show by the Nicola Valley Community! This exhibition of art and artifacts honoured the place the historic Murray Church played in our valley. When the Murray Church was destroyed in a fire so many people felt the loss. The loss elicited so many memories. As a  result this show elicited stories going back decades, from far and wide.

We appreciated the artists and photographers who came forward with newly created depictions of the church. The past paintings drawings, and photographs touched many people. We especially loved the inspired presence of the original organ from Morva Murray.

Also we were very grateful for the participation of the Trinity United Church members, like Linda Baird, who contributed story boards, artifacts, art and memories. In short, a big kudos goes out to Amrit Samra for his dedicated work with us, and over the past years with the Murray Church.

After sharing memories of a much-missed historical building, we spun off a fun art activity in town. We put on a show creatively reusing items and making them better, more useful, and more beautiful than they were before….

Nicola valley Arts Gallery

Jano Howarth Photo, Kim Leclair Poster

Upcycle

During the summer, artist Shirley Reynolds organized an art event for the whole business community, the Chair Walk. Fifteen local artists were invited to upcycle a chair each. They were matched with downtown businesses, and displayed over the month of July. The chairs were put on auction to fundraise for the Downtown Theatre project and the Nicola Valley Arts Council. They were great! Very creative! Shirley’s chair project was a great success.

We invited the artists to bring their chairs to the Arts Gallery for our August show. And a call-out brought a wide variety of upcycled items from other artists and artisans. From paint sprayed garden pots to a 1st Nations art decorated corner shelf by artist Leonard George. Also there were blinged lamps and Cindy Trent’s golf club coat hooks. The locals outdid themselves! As a result of the displays, some visitors to the gallery were motivated to get into upcycling themselves!

Next, inspired by both the Fall Fair at the beginning of September, and the “Mayor’s Gala of the Arts” at the end, the Gallery’s September show combined the themes….

Swing Into Fall

Robert Moretti Art

Get-in-the-mood for fall art! On display at the Courthouse Gallery were many of the Photography winners of our celebrated Fall Fair. The photos were displayed on free standing dividers flanking fall paintings by local artists Robert Moretti. All the paintings nearby were depictions of fall themes and colours. Art by beloved local artist Bev Veale, young Wyatt Collins, and almost new-to-town Dave and Sue Barber.

And to enhance the swing dancing event coming, we created a 40’s themed boudoir with swing dance art on the wall and big band music playing. In short, thanks to all our contributors like Diane Wandler and Barb Sayles, and artists Judy Young and Jen Artibise! Fun!

And for the Arts and Culture scene in the Nicola Valley….

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Pop Up Art Gallery

End of September 2019… Swing Dance in Merritt BC!

Nicola Valley Community Arts Council and its community partner put on a fabulous “Mayor’s Gala of the Arts”! It took a year of planning to pull it off, with NVCAC Execs, Jane Bartle and Mischelle Pierce leading lots of volunteers. Consequently, over 200 people enjoyed the lively music of an 18 piece swing band. There was dancing, socializing, beverages and beef.

A highlight of the evening for me was the pop up Art Gallery at the Gala event. While I looked after the show at our Courthouse Arts Gallery, the President of the NVCAC Jean Kiegerl, and artist extraordinaire, Cassandra Dolen, put together a beautiful display of art by several of our local artists.

As a result of the Gala’s fun and success, there have been lots of requests for a repeat next year!

Lots of Nicola Valley Art Shows at the Old Courthouse on Nicola Avenue!

On the other hand we haven’t even talked about Art in the Park and the community art installations. Or Open Mic night, and other programs we have run at the Gallery and other community venues over the past months!

As a result I am happy to play catch up a little, here on our fab Experience Nicola Valley blogging website!

So I am very happy to have directed and curated these Nicola Valley Arts Gallery shows…fun, interesting, informative, and inspiring! And so many artists, photographers, artisans, and talented community members!

Therefore, I am looking forward to my next blog! Already in the middle of a new show, “Fractured Reflections”, with fine woodworking and mirrors by Fred Tomlin. A must see! Show dates Oct 11 to Nov 9, hours Thursday to Saturday, 12-6pm.

Join the NVCAC Arts Council! Annual General Meeting, Wednesday 7pm, Oct 23rd, at the old Courthouse.

Contact nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Jano Howarth

Arts Gallery Director and community supporter!

Art and Culture Things To Do:

Firstly,  visit our Website Nicola Valley Arts Council

Secondly, like our Facebook Page Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Lastly, check out the Creative Community

 

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Joel Reid, Artist and NVAG Show Set Up

Merritt and Nicola Valley Art Shows

Nicola Valley Art Gallery and Culture Shows is what has been happening in and around Merritt BC Canada

 

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

Kenny Chesney, Country Music Superstar

Merritt BC Canada Murals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prelude To Popularity and Fame – Kenny Chesney

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney (the boot)

The Beginning Of A Superstar

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Goals and Grit Plus The Drive To Make Great Things Happen

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

The Beginning Of A Country Music Staple – Kenny Chesney

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Continuing With Small Steps to Big Things

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Riding The Wave To Becoming A Super Star Country Music Staple

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Continuing The Road To Shattering Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

A Whirlwind Of Albums And Tours

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

The Albums and Tours Continue

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

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

The Birth Of No Shoes Nation

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

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

Kenny Chesney

One Of The Most Famous Superstars of All Time

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Recognition And Awards

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

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

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

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

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

The Kenny Chesney Mural, painted by Michelle Loughery can be found in Spirit Square on the corner of Granite Avenue and Voght Street, in a row of murals near the stage. The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”.

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

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

Walk of Stars Handprints

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

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

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

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

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

Website: www.kennychesney.com

Facebook

Merritt BC Canada Downtown Mural Digital Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

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

Canadian Country Music Singer – Ian Tyson

Merritt BC Canada Murals

A Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame
Inductee

Ian Tyson Canadian Country Music Singer Pioneer – Five Decades Plus

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

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

Victoria British Columbia – 1933

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

Ian Tyson - Experience Nicola valley

Cowboy Ian Tyson Four Strong Winds

Beginning And End of Rodeo Career

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

The Musical Journey Begins Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

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

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

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

Ian Tyson - Alberta Canada

Ian Tyson

Four Strong Winds

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

During the British Invasion

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

Ian Tyson Singer and Songwriter

Ian Tyson Show

Television Years

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

Back To Ranching

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

Cowboy Ian Tyson from Alberta Canada

Ian Tyson Esplanade

The Time Of Country And Cowboy Music

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

On The Road

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

Ian Tyson Country Music Legend

Ian Tyson Celebrating 50 Years Of Music

Inductions And Awards Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

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

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

 Big Country Awards

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

Country Music Association of Calgary

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

Miscellaneous

Four Strong Winds named All Time Favorite Canadian Country Songs 1988

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

Country Music Association of Calgary 1989

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

More Awards

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

Governor General’s Performance Arts Award 2003

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

Songs from the Gravel Road TV Documentary

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

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

Some Top Honors

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

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

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

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

Connecting With People

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

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

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

Ranching with Ian Tyson

The cowboy Ian Tyson

Passion, Talent and Inspiration Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

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

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

 Corb Lund and his idle Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson and Corb Lund

Life Challenges

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

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

Songs with Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson

Summary of a 63 year Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

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

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

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

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

Country Music Legend

Ian Tyson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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

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

True country music fans will want to start the downtown mural tour at Merritt’s National Attraction. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, situated on Quilchena Avenue in The Country Music Capital of Canada.

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

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

Walk Of Stars Hand Prints

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

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

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

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

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

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Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductee On The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon – Where and How It All Began

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Academy Award winner Buffy Sainte-Marie’s audacious attitude to life on and off the stage has inspired people around the world for over five decades. Buffy Sainte-Marie is truly a Country Music Icon.

Buffy was born Beverly Sainte-Marie on Feb. 20, 1941, on the Piapot Cree First Nation reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley, Sask.

After the sudden deaths of both of her parents, Beverly was adopted by family relatives, Albert and Winifred Sainte-Marie, who were part Mi’kmaq.

Reserved as a child Sainte-Marie spent much of her childhood hiking through the woods writing poetry. She taught herself to play piano at age 3 and began setting her poems to music at the age of four.

“As a little kid when I was three, I discovered a piano and I found out it made noise and I was fascinated and taught myself how to do what I wanted to do on it.” (Buffy Sainte Marie)

Buffy Saint-Marie and Experience Nicola Valley blogger Melvina White / Painted by Michelle Loughery

The Piano and Guitar

Once she discovered a piano and found out it made noise, it fascinated her. Teaching herself how to do what she wanted to do on it. She could play fake Beethoven, as well as do other things with strange chords that other people didn’t use but she liked.

At 16, she taught herself guitar which would become her instrument of choice. Ultimately inventing 32 different ways of tuning the instrument, creating sounds and techniques completely unique to her music.

Buffy was so inquisitive that she would even take apart the vacuum cleaner and try to create her own headphones, by hooking its tubes to the broken record player.

Sainte-Marie majored in teaching as well as Oriental Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1959. Graduating in the top ten of her class in 1963.

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Music Hall of Fame

The Search For Heritage

Buffy’s teen years were difficult. Although her adoptive mother was half Mi’kmaq Indian. Buffy grew up knowing little about Indian history or about her own people. In her mid teens, she  began researching her Indigenous heritage. She took a trip to the Piapot Reserve in Saskatchewan’s Qu’Appelle River Valley, to learn more about the Cree firsthand.

“In 1964, on a return trip to the Piapot Cree reserve in Canada for a powwow, she was welcomed and (in a Cree Nation context) adopted by the youngest son of Chief Piapot, Emile Piapot and his wife, Clara Starblanket Piapot, who added to Sainte-Marie’s cultural value and place in native culture.” – Wikipedia

The warm welcome she received from her Cree relatives left her with a deep impression. She discovered a greater sense of security as well as a community better than she had ever known.

 New Music Experiences

“My teachers told me music was lines and notes and paper”

My teachers told me music was lines and notes and paper. I never disagreed with them. I just learned to keep my head down and avoid conflict. Then I’d go home and play my own fake-classical music.”

Sainte Marie started playing songs for the girls in her dorm as well as her housemother Theresa de Kerpely, who was from Europe. Theresa encouraged me to listen to singers from other countries.

So, from the start of playing for other people, I was absorbing and reflecting, on a very wide world culture. International students at the university were a big influence on me.”

New York City

Sainte-Marie’s friends encouraged her to perform publicly and eventually she found herself in New York City in the early days of the counterculture movement. She tried her hand at song writing and began singing in coffeehouses in Greenwich Village. As a result Bob Dylan heard her sing and urged her to perform at the Gaslight, a famed folkie hangout..

 It wasn’t long and she was playing around the world at folk festivals, coffee houses, concert venues and in fact Indigenous communities. Buffy Sainte – Marie was becoming a country icon

She was already performing “Universal Soldier” in these coffeehouses in 1963, but she was banned from singing it on the radio and TV. Donovan would make it a huge hit and help it crossover into the mainstream in 1965. (Andrea Warner)

Buffy developed bronchial pneumonia and almost ruined her voice. While recovering from the infection, she became addicted to codeine. On the other hand her subsequent struggle to get clean became the basis for her song, “Cod’ine.”

Sainte-Marie’s first record, It’s My Way!, was released in 1964.

The album included “Universal Soldier.” A song that is about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all.”  The song was popular becoming  a peace anthem with the anti-Vietnam War movement.

Songs Singing A Statement

“I wasn’t concentrating on myself as a singer.” “I probably should have been concentrating more.” “Later on, I learned to sing.”

Sainte-Marie doesn’t sugar coat the truth, nor does she shy away from hard realities. The songs that she was writing, she thought people should hear, but also deserved to hear. Buffy  knew she was reflecting some points of view that weren’t being verbalized. But they were being felt by fellow students.  Titles included topics about Native American stuff. As well as love songs with more feeling and depth than just ‘I’m going to die if I don’t get you in bed tonight.

At the time, she didn’t consider herself much of a singer, but audiences loved her. Billboard even named Sainte-Marie the best new artist of 1964. The songs were the source of her confidence. Buffy Sainte – Marie was a country icon.

Buffy didn’t think she was much of a singer. Although this may be true, it was  because of the songs, and their statements, she had the nerve to step out onto a stage and sing the people the songs.

Buffy Sainte-Marie Singing

Sudden Fame Overwhelming For Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon

The sudden fame was overwhelming for Buffy.  She went to Spain to spend three months alone. She didn’t tell anyone, not even her manager. He found out where she was when he got her bills for the tickets.

Since her ground-breaking debut, It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter was a trailblazer and a tireless advocate, an innovative artist, and a disrupt or of the status quo. This was a much needed get your head on straight break for Buffy. When she got back it was full steam ahead with no signs of slowing down.

The End of The 60’s Era

“I wanted to give people Indian 101 in six minutes.”

In 1965, she released her second record, Many a Mile. It featured the commercial hit, Until It’s Time for You to Go. The song became a big hit for Elvis Presley in the early 70s. As a matter of fact. More than 200 artists ultimately covered the song. (Including Cher, Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand and others) in 16 languages.

Sainte-Marie’s third album, 1966′s “Little Wheel Spin and Spin”, indicated the future direction of her music. Little Wheel made room for the electric guitar as well as some string arrangements, and it became her first album to reach the Billboard Top 100 Pop Charts, peaking at 97.(Andrea Warner)

It also features the heartbreaking song. “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying”. I wanted to give people Indian 101 in six minutes.”  It’s a long song. But Indian 101 has never been presented to the North American public, let alone anywhere else.”(Andrea Warner)

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon 1967 Features

 1967’s Fire & Fleet & Candlelight.  Sainte-Marie’s fourth record, featured a full rock band. Not only with orchestration but also  two covers of Joni Mitchell songs, including “The Circle Game.”

In fact, Sainte-Marie helped Joni Mitchell get her break: “Joni also came from Saskatchewan and was being ignored by the folk bosses who ran the record companies.

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon 1968 Hi Light’s

Later that same year, Billboard labeled Sainte-Marie the patron saint of “non-hippy hipsters,” based on her show at the Philharmonic, where she received a 10-minute standing ovation from the crowd.

“Chet told me that one time somebody asked him if he could read music and his answer was, ‘Not enough to hurt my playing.”I loved that! It always stuck with me and gave me the confidence to know that my way of playing music is okay.” (Buffy Sainte-Marie, Chet Atkins)

Sainte-Marie worked with acclaimed country musician and producer Chet Atkins. For her fifth album, in 1968 “I’m Gonna Be a Country Girl Again”. She has talked  a little about their friendship and how they bonded over playing and writing by ear rather than reading music.

Buffy Sainte-Marie and Chet Atkins – Nashville Airport 1968

That year, Sainte-Marie was asked to appear on an episode of the TV western, the Virginian. In the write-up of Sainte-Marie’s biography, It’s My Way!, she made two demands when director Leo Penn, (Sean Penn’s father) came calling:

“First, she insisted that the studio cast Native actors for all the Indian parts (‘No Indians, no Buffy’). She also advocated that the writers bring complexity to her own role. She told them, ‘[I’m] not interested in playing Pocahontas.'” (Buffy Sainte-Marie)/Leo Penn)

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon The Close of 1969

“At a certain point, I realized that I was too early with some songs. Other times, I was right on time.” (Buffy Sainte-Marie)

1969’s Illuminations was wildly experimental, electronic and a huge flop. But it was also totally ahead of its time.

 “It wasn’t until many years later that [1969’s synth-heavy] Illuminations was named ‘one of the albums that set the world on fire’ [by The Wire magazine].

The album also featured her beautiful collaboration with fellow Canadian, Leonard Cohen, in which she set his poem, “God is Alive Magic is Afoot,” to music.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon 1970’s Era Of Movies and TV Soundtracks

Sainte-Marie started getting more involved with movie and TV soundtracks. 1970’s Performance is a super weird little film starring Mick Jagger, with music by Jack Nitzche (Sainte-Marie’s future collaborator and husband). This  tune from Performance features Sainte-Marie and Ry Cooder.

“The Circle Game”, Joni Mitchell’s cover was in the opening credits, of the 1970 film. “The Strawberry Statement”, about the counterculture and student protests of the ’60s.

Buffy wrote the title song in 1970 for the film Soldier Blue, which depicted the brutal slaughter of the Cheyenne village by Colorado State Militia.

Sesame Street

In late 1975, Sainte-Marie was asked to guest star on Sesame Street. At first she said, she had no interest in doing a children’s TV show, but reconsidered after asking “Have you done any Native American programming?” She ended up, appearing regularly on Sesame Street from 1976 to 1981.

“Indians still exist”. “We are not all dead and stuffed in museums like the dinosaurs. With the help of Big Bird and Oscar and friends, we put out this simple message of reality three times a day to the children of 73 countries of the world, providing them with positive realities, before racism and stereotyping ever had a chance to set in.” (Buffy Sainte Marie”)

Dulcey Singer, the producer wanted her to count and recite the alphabet. Of course Buffy had her own idea and  wanted to teach the show’s young viewers that, “Indians Still Exist”.  She regularly appeared on Sesame Street over a five-year period, breastfeeding her first son, Dakota “Cody” Starblanket Wolfchild, during a 1977 episode. As a matter of fact, it was the first representation of breastfeeding, ever aired on television. Sesame Street even aired a week of shows from her home in Hawaii in January 1978.

Buffy Sesame Street Breast Feeding

The Albums Continue Throughout the 1970’s

Sainte-Marie’s record label put significant pressure on her to do something more commercially viable for her seventh album. Because Illuminations tanked so bad financially. She released “She Used to Wanna Be a Ballerina”, in 1971.

Sainte-Marie released enough records between 1964 and 1969 that  she had enough material for her first “Best of” compilation album. And there was enough left over that she was able to release a “Best of” volume two in 1971.

In 1979, Spirit of the Wind, featuring Sainte-Marie’s original musical score including the song “Spirit of the Wind”, was one of three entries that year at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is a docudrama about George Attla, the ‘winningest dog musher of all time,’ as the film presents him, with all parts played by Native Americans except one by Slim Pickens. The film showed on cable TV, in the early 1980s.  It released in France in 2003.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon The Decade Of The 1980’s

Sainte-Marie was using Apple and Macintosh computers as early as 1981 to record her music. Buffy co-wrote the song “Up Where We Belong”. With Will Jennings and musician Jack Nitzsche. Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes performed it for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. It received the Academy Award for Best Song in 1982. Cliff Richard and Anne Murray later covered the song on Cliff’s album of duets, Two’s Company.

In the early 1980s one of her native songs was the theme song for the CBC’s native series Spirit Bay. She appeared in the TNT 1993 telefilm The Broken Chain. It took place entirely in Virginia. In 1989 she wrote as well as performed, the music for Where the Spirit Lives. A film about native children being abducted and forced into residential schools.

The Decade Of The 1990’s

Sainte-Marie voiced the Cheyenne character, Kate Bighead, in the 1991 made-for-TV movie Son of the Morning Star, telling the Indian side of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Lt. Col. George Custer was killed.

In 1992, after a sixteen-year recording hiatus. Sainte-Marie released the album Coincidence and Likely Stories.  Recorded in 1990 at her home in Hawaii, on her computer. She sent the recording  to producer Chris Birkett in London, England. The album included the politically charged songs “The Big Ones Get Away” as well as “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”.

Also in 1992, Sainte-Marie appeared in the television film The Broken Chain. Her next album followed up in 1996 with Up Where We Belong, an album on which she re-recorded a number of her greatest hits in a more unplugged and acoustic versions, as well as including a re-release of “Universal Soldier”.

Buffy Sainte-Marie Songwriter Hall of Fame

Art In The Mix

Glenbow Museum in CalgaryWinnipeg Art GalleryEmily Carr Gallery in Vancouver as well as the American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, all display Buffy Sainte Marie’s art.

In 1995, Buffy’s Music and voice was the feature of an episode of HBO’s Happily Ever After. It is an animated cartoon series of fairy tales for children. Buffy was the feature in the episode about Snow White  also titled “White Snow”. White Snow is a young Native American Princess who is saved by a young Native American Prince. Buffy wrote the theme song and also sings the song and is the voice of the mirror on the wall.

“Every word is true,” Emily says in the introduction”

In 1995, the Indigo Girls released two versions of Sainte-Marie’s protest song “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” on their live album 1200 Curfews. Recorded at the Atwood Concert Hall in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage, Alaska. “Every word is true,” Emily says in the introduction. The studio recording is the second version, on disc two.

The Decade of The 2000’s

In 2002, a track written and performed by Sainte-Marie, titled “Lazarus”, was sampled by Hip Hop producer Kanye West.  Cam’Ron and Jim Jones of The Diplomats performed it . The track is called “Dead or Alive”.

In June 2007, she made a rare U.S. appearance at the Clearwater Festival in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.

In 2008, a two-CD set titled Buffy/Changing Woman/Sweet America: The Mid-1970s Recordings released, compiling the three studio albums that she recorded, for ABC Records and MCA Records between 1974 and 1976 (after departing her long-time label Vanguard Records). The first re-release of this material. Meanwhile making a comeback to the music scene in Canada, in September 2008.  At the same time, it resulted in the release of her studio album Running for the Drum. Produced by Chris Birkett (producer of her 1992 and 1996 best of albums).

Between 1997 and 2009, Sainte-Marie dedicated her time and money to the Cradle board Teaching Project. She traveled extensively, performing during this time in Sweden, Denmark and France.  In addition she appeared at the Ottawa Folk Festival in 2002. Universal Soldier,” her signature song,  was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

More of The 2000’s

Buffy independently released Running for the Drum (2008), a collection of 12 new songs. It featured American blues musician Taj Mahal on piano and won the 2009 Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording of the Year, as well as four Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life (2006), an hour-long documentary featuring archival footage and interviews with several well-known musicians, was also nominated for a 2009 Juno Award for Music DVD of the Year.

The Decade of The 2010’s

Sainte-Marie has lived in Hawaii for many years but continues to record and tour well into her seventies. Her album Power in the Blood (2015), recorded on her Gypsy Boy label and distributed by True North Records, won the 2015 Polaris Music Prize as well as 2016 Juno Awards for Aboriginal Album and Contemporary Roots Album of the Year. Sainte-Marie was also featured on the single re-mix of her song “Working for the Government” by fellow Polaris nominee A Tribe Called Red, and received the Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award from the Americana Music Association in 2015. (Canadian Encyclopedia)

Sainte-Marie’s 19th album, Medicine Songs (2017), features a mix of new material, such as “You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind),” a collaboration with Tanya Tagaq, and re-recorded older songs, including “Starwalker,” “Little Wheel Spin and Spin” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” The album drew positive reviews, with NOW magazine’s Michael Rancic observing, “Another artist might show signs of disappointment or uncertainty when faced with the notion that not much has changed in half a century, but on Medicine Songs, in the face of the unchanging nature of the oppression she’s expressed through her music, Buffy Sainte-Marie has chosen to be just as determined, unflinching and constant in her own art.” Medicine Songs went on to win the 2018 Juno Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year. (Canadian Encyclopedia)

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon Biography

In 2012, Blair Stonechild’s award-winning biography, Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way, was published by Fifth House.

Years of Awards of Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon

Juno Awards

•Inductee, Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1995)
•Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording (Up Where We Belong) (1997)
•Aboriginal Recording of the Year (Running for the Drum) (2009)
•Aboriginal Album of the Year (Power in the Blood) (2016)
•Contemporary Roots Album of the Year (Power in the Blood) (2016)
•Allan Waters Humanitarian Award (2017)
•Indigenous Music Album of the Year (Medicine Songs) (2018)

Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards

•Lifetime Achievement Award (2008)
•Album of the Year (Running for the Drum) (2009)
• Female Artist (2009)
• Song Single (“No No Keshagesh”) (2009)
• Songwriter (2009)

Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards

• Folk/Acoustic CD (Running for the Drum) (2009)
• Music Video (“No No Keshagesh”) (2010)

Others

 New Artist, Billboard magazine (1964)
Academy Awards Original Song, (1983)
Golden Globe Awards Original Song, (1983)
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) Award Original Song, (1984)
International Artist, Charles de Gaulle Award (1993)
Lifetime Achievement Award, Saskatchewan Recording Industry Association (1994)
Native American Philanthropist of the Year (1997)
Best Performance in a Variety Program or Series (Buffy Sainte-Marie: Up Where We Belong), Gemini Awards (1997)
Officer, Order of Canada (1997)

The Awards Keep Coming

 Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year, Dove Awards (1998)
American Indian College Fund Lifetime Achievement Award, (1998)
Lifetime Achievement Award, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (1998)
Inductee, Canada’s Walk of Fame (1999)
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, Government of Canada (2002) – (2012)
Inductee (“Universal Soldier”), Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (2005)
Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee, (2009)
Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, Government of Canada (2010)
Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award, Americana Music Association (2015)
Polaris Music Prize (Power in the Blood) (2015)
Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee,(2019)
Companion, Order of Canada (2019)

Doctor Honorary Degrees

• Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts (1983)

Laws
  • Regina University (1996)
  • Carleton University (2008)
  • Vancouver Island University (2016)
  • Lethbridge University of  (2017)
  • Dalhousie University (2018)Letters
Letters
  • Lakehead University (2000)
  • Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2007)
  • Wilfrid Laurier University (2010)
  • University of British Columbia (2012)
  • Humanities, University of Saskatchewan (2003)
  • Music, University of Western Ontario (2009)
  • Fine Arts, Ontario College of Art and Design (2010)

Canadian Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame

“I’m honoured to be recognized in the company of so many Canadian songwriters that have inspired me.” (Buffy Sainte-Marie)

Cree singer, songwriter, educator AND social activist Buffy Sainte-Marie, was an inductee into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto, on April 1, 2019

Merritt BC Murals

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon Featured on The Merritt, BC Mural Walls

“I never set out to be courageous or political, I just wanted to tell my stories as authentically as possible, and bring light to the truth.”

Buffy Sainte-Marie has earned countless awards during her 50 plus years as a singer songwriter, musician, indigenous rights activist and educator.

Although we are proud of all her awards, the award Merritt, BC Canada is most proud of is her induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

Even though Buffy has never entertained us in Merritt. Her music as well as her presence is heartfelt within the community in more ways than one. Buffy’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame is telling the story of her music and the challenges she has faced over the years.

Sainte-Marie’s career isn’t just defined by a 50-year span of making popular music. She has also been an advocate for indigenous people throughout the artistry of her songs.  The outspoken words of Sainte-Marie led to her being allegedly blacklisted from radio stations in America by Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Despite the blacklisting, Sainte-Marie continued to experiment with music and technologies, using an early synthesizer to record her 1969 album, Illuminations, and again later using Apple II and Macintosh computers in the 80s.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Visit Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Mural In Downtown Merritt, BC Canada

Buffy’s mural can be found on a row of Murals at the Corner of Granite and Voght Street in behind the stage at Spirit Square.

It is a great honor to have her in The Country Music Hall of Fame and her Mural on our Mural Walk in Downtown Merritt, BC Canada.

The 78-year-old performer also has several Junos, a Polaris Prize, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. This is a small mention of the awards she has earned. This blog is also only a portion of what she has accomplished.

Buffy is still performing and can be followed On:

Website: http://buffysainte-marie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BuffySainteMarie/

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s, Merritt, BC Canada

Classic Car Lovers 25th Cruise Through History

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s 25th Annual Show ‘n Shine

The dream cars of the past cruised back to be the show cars of today at The Nicola Valley Cruiser’s 25th annual Show n’ Shine, which was held on Sunday July 28, 2019 at Central Park in Merritt, BC . It’s a car show that continues to draw fans and a dazzling display of muscle, classic, vintage and antique vehicles. Although, this was an anniversary year, the show continues to deliver each year and be a car enthusiast’s version of paradise.

The show included entertainment, Cash Door Prizes, and Goody Bags as well as Dash Plaques.

It’s a time for classic Car Lover’s to cruise through history, bringing back the happy and glory days of cruisin’ the main. It’s about nostalgia, memory lane and a time for classic car lovers to unite with their classics and babies ready to shine.

The Club Nicola Valley Cruiser’s

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s car club was formed in 1994. Founding members, were the Roline’s, Mervyns’s, Nunn’s, James’s as well as Dave Jackson. Cars in the club consisted of the Classic – vehicles over 20 years old, Vintage – vehicles made between 1919-1930 and Antique –  vehicles over 45 years old. The group currently has 40 members.

“The Golden Rule… The height of an ordinary car’s value is when it’s new and when it is about 30 years old. That’s when it gets its title as The Collector Machine.” (An Avid Car Enthusiast)

In April 2006 the Vintage Car Club was formed and the Vintage and Antique vehicles moved over to that group. Both groups regularly work together and participate in each other’s events.

Vintage

Club Purpose

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s are a group of local classic car owners who meet regularly to “cruise” and talk vehicles.

They may not know exactly why they love cars, but there are certain aspects of that love affair that are common. For one thing, cars are never gender-neutral. Car lovers always refer to their favourite cars as a he or she.

Memories will resurface, stories will come to mind and, deep inside, the love of classic cars will take root. For the average person that gets into a car hobby, sometimes it’s something as simple as someone who likes to preserve something that reminds them of their youth.

Like many car events there is a charitable component to The Nicola Valley Cruisers Show and Shine. They raise money and awareness for the local Food Bank. Sometimes they will pick a different charity but the food bank is their choice charity.

Challenges Of Organizing a Show

Volunteers are always a challenge. Trying to encourage and recruit younger volunteers is a big challenge. It takes a whole club and then some to put the show on.

Last minute changes and no-show volunteers are always a challenge . There is lots of pre work such as raffles, dances etc… that contribute to the budget. There is insurance, venue, planning of categories and trophies, permits, restrooms…the list goes on.

Sponsors For The Nicola Valley Cruiser’s

 

Lordco Car Parts

Lordco is and has been a major supporter of this club for a number of years. In speaking with Mike Coates the manager of Lordco. Not only is his passion the cars, but his interest is also to support the Nicola Valley Cruiser Car Club and the community.

He enjoys the recognition as well as contributing  supplies for the goody bags. His biggest satisfaction is showing and communicating his appreciation to the customers.

Boyd Auto Body 

 

Boyd Auto Body

This is Boyd Auto Body’s first year in Merritt. The car show was a great opportunity to get out and support the Nicola Valley Cruisers as well as the community. They are very excited to be in Merritt and have been pleased with the warm welcome they have received. They are looking forward to being a part of the community and supporting events in line with their business.

“Merritt puts on a great show” (Uncle Fluffy)

While at the Boyd Auto Body booth I had the honor of meeting Uncle Fluffy from Krankin Vintage Restoration, Princeton, BC. His report on the Show and Shine Car Show hosted by The Nicola Valley Cruiser’s was absolutely glowing.

Bumper To Bumper

Bumper to Bumper previously known as Wescan was purchased by the Gilbert family. Trevor Gilbert owns the business with his wife Sherryl and sons Tage and Tyce. The Nicola Valley Cruisers show  is the first for Bumper to Bumper.  They are looking forward to serving the community of Merritt and participating and supporting various events that are in line with their business.

“Every Car Has a Story” (Car Enthusiast)

The Love Of Classic Cars Hard to Explain

“Mae won’t drive it. I said, how come? he said, I don’t know.” (Lawrence Ketter)  “I said, Mae why won’t you drive the car? She said, “Are you kidding! It just got a brand new paint job. I’ll drive it after he puts the first little scratch on it.” (Mae Ketter)

1978 Mustang – Lawrence and Mae Ketter

The first car I got to admire was the 78′ Mustang owned by Lawrence and Mae Ketter. Lawrence is pretty proud of this car. He told me it is not driven in the winter. He drives it about 3 months of the year. Although it just got a new paint job it is in mint condition and has no rust anywhere.

Ringo The 1969 Beetle – Owned by Brad Hagen

My next little beauty was Ringo. Absolute mint condition. Brad said he named it Ringo because it’s a beetle and a fun little bug. Brad has been attending the car show every year since it started, which would be since 1994.

Summer Is The Time For Cruising

1957 Ford Fairlane Convertible – Owned by Vic and Joyce Mossey

This 1957 Ford Fairlane with a retractable hardtop was a real gem to admire. Joyce was feeling like a teenager in that  passenger seat. Vic and Joyce drove to Merritt from Abbotsford and enjoyed the show immensely.

1955 Nomad – Owned by Cameron McLeod

The 1955 Chevrolet Nomad is a station wagon model. The Nomad is best remembered in its two-door Tri Five form and was considered a halo model. Cameron McLeod of North Delta says he drives it all summer and just loves it.

” I drive it all the time. I can just drive it, I don’t have to babysit it.” (Rae Robinson)

1952 Bel Air – Owned by Rae Robinson

The Chevrolet Bel Air was a full-size car. Initially, only the two door hardtops in the Chevrolet model were designated with the Bel Air name from 1950 to 1952. Rae Robinson says this is his 7th year attending the Nicola Valley Cruisers Show and Shine.

 

1966 Chevy 11 Nova SS – Owned by Sam and Susan Roline

Top of the line 1966 Chevy Nova SS only available in a Sports Coup. The elegantly smooth panel lines visually distinguish the Nova SS. It has bright SS emblems on the grille and on the rear panel, as well as Super Sport script on the quarter panels. The 652, Chevy models were produced, with a 283 cylinder – 195 HP-V8 engine. The Nova SS has competed and won in all types of automobile racing. Including the NHRA Pro-stock drags to SCCA Trans-am.

Lover’s Of The Classics

1981 Mercedes – Owned by Brian and Bea Cave

This 1981 Mercedes, 380 SL Roadster Convertible has never had the hard top on because it is never driven in the winter. This car has been completely redone and is in pristine condition. Brian says he’ll sell it and someone would be getting a steal.

1964 Chevy Truck – Owned by Barry Jackson

Considered a full size pick up truck, this 1964 Chevy has been completely customized and is definitely a show piece.

Real Vintage Imaginations

Electric Powered

1898 Horseless Carriage

This replica of an 1898 Hammound Runabout was made by Rick Brewer of Merritt, BC.

Rick built this car based on a picture of the Runabout that he found on the internet. He did all of the metal work and the wood work using no nails or screws in the wood body. Wheelwright Dwayne Danley of Armstrong, BC built the wheels.

It took over 6 months to complete the chassis and a further 6 months to build the body using poplar wood that Rick dried and planed. The carved dash and trim represents the wildwood flower, carved from 150 year old Oak. In addition, the oak came from a mansion in Vancouver.

Following the path of many early automobile makers of the 1800’s. Powered by an electric motor as well as an axle driving the rear wheels through a chain drive. The steering is controlled with a tiller rather than a steering wheel, which was common during that  period of time.

This 1898 Runabout is owned and enjoyed by Ted and Marguerite Lund of Merritt, BC.

Merritt’s First Fire Engine In 1927

Merritt Fire Department and its First Fire Truck in 1927

Fire Fighters of The Merritt Fire department

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Department Tender Their Resignation to Council

Resignation to Take Effect November 10, 1926
Unless Requests of Firemen Granted-Council Appoints Committee To Meet Fire Chief.

At the regular meeting of the City Council, held last night. The most important Communication to be dealt with and a mighty important one to the people of Merritt. It was one from Fire Chief N.J. Barwick. Notifying council that unless their requests for better fighting equipment, were granted. They were tendering their resignations to take effect on November 10th 1926.

Following is the communication:

His Worship The Mayor and Alderman of The City of Merritt:

Gentlemen:

We received your letter of October the 22nd, in answer to our letters of June 8th and also of October the 14th, we asked for better firefighting equipment.

At a regular Fire Dept. meeting, held in the Fire Hall on the 28th of October, we as a body did not approve of the action you have taken. If you will take into consideration we have advance 45% of the cost of the equipment.

However that is up to you gentlemen, for we feel we do not care to carry on with the very poor equipment you have at present. Therefore as a body, tender our resignation to take effect on the morning of November the 10th, 1926.

Signed on behalf of myself and Fire Boys.

N.J. Barwick (Information: Merritt Herald and Merritt Museum)

 

Handsome New Fire Truck Arrives In Merritt, BC

January 28, 1927

Shows Off At the 25th Anniversary OF The  Nicola Valley Cruisers Show and Shine 2019

The new fire truck for the City of Merritt Fire Brigade, arrived at the local Kettle Valley Railway depot on Monday evening, and its addition to the fire fighting equipment for the local fire boys should be a valuable acquisition.

The truck was supplied by the American La France Fire Engine Company, who lost no time in shipping the truck when the order was finally placed with them by the Merritt City Council. Indeed it was not expected to arrive from the works at Toronto until the first of February.

The truck is modernly equipped for the use of both hose and chemicals. It is mounted upon a General Motors Chevrolet one truck chassis by the R.F. Barrett firm of this city. The value of this fire truck to the local fire department should be excellent. This added assistance to the fire boys will be fully appreciated by all citizens. (Information: Merritt Herald and Merritt Museum)

 

Bob Wilson a paid on call fireman is pictured along side the 1926 Fire Engine.

This fire engine serviced the community up until 1960.

Maintaining a vintage vehicle in its original condition is a fine art. This engine has been well maintained as well as parts being replaced with off the shelf originals.

This particular fire engine is known as a chemical car. The plan is, to hopefully replicate the Soda Acid Tanks that were used in this era.

Soda Acid Tank

Sulphuric acid, when combined with bicarbonate of soda forms a chemical reaction which produces carbon dioxide. When mixed, the pressure created forces the mixture out of the chemical tank and propels it onto the fire.

“It was a very good show, lots of variety of vehicles and happy people” (Yvonne Tessier)

You never know what you might see at the Nicola Valley Cruisers car show. 2019 saw over 150 cars registered. So watch for details and get those engines polished and revved and ready to cruise back to Merritt, BC Canada for the Nicola  Valley Cruisers car show in 2020.

“Great Show” (Ken Bramham)

Follow The Nicola Valley Cruisers Car Club on Facebook

 

Nicola Valley Cruiser’s 25th Annual Show ‘n Shine

Merritt BC Canada Car Show

 

 

Merritt BC Canada MuralsCrystal Shawanda – Canadian Singer

“Dawn of a New Day”(Crystal’s name in Ojibwe)

“I would spin the records while she cleaned and we would both sing at the top of our lungs,” (Crystal Shawanda)

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer, grew up on the Wikwemikong Reserve on an island in Ontario. Shawanda was born in Wiikwemkoong First Nation, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, July 26, 1983. She spent her youth in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where she attended Korah Collegiate.

The Beginning Of The Road To The Dream

Shawanda learned music early on as a kid by observing her family. Crystal’s parents raised her on country music as well as taught her to sing and play guitar.

Shawanda used to go with her mother when she cleaned houses. To make the time pass, she would be the DJ.

“I would spin the records while she cleaned and we would both sing at the top of our lungs,” she said. I remember holding up a Loretta Lynn record and saying, ‘Whatever she does, that’s what I want to do.”

She started singing on stage when she was 6, and getting paid gigs when she was 10. This was the beginning of playing every stage she could, including touring with a theatre company when she was 9.

When Crystal was 12, because her dad was a truck driver, she started taking frequent trips to Nashville. As a result she would walk through downtown Nashville, by all the honky-tonks. I’d get up to sing at everyone of them and then we’d get back in the truck and leave. It always kept me wanting more.

These trips lead to her first album when she was 13. She attended  music school that same year, dropping out after 3 years. She was 16 years old.

The Crushed Dream

“I just don’t know if Native Americans make sense in country music, I don’t know if fans would be receptive, and I wouldn’t even know how to market you” (respected music executive)

After dropping out of music school, Crystal moved to Nashville. Even though, she did not know a soul, and was all alone she was determined to make something happen. She met a well respected music executive, who told her there was no room for her in country music. She tried to find a positive in the critique as well as take it with gracefulness, but the words stung too much which resulted in her moving back home, and giving up on her dream.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

A New Day

 “If I was out of tune I could take voice lessons, if my song was bad, I could write another, but I couldn’t change the color of my skin”. (Crystal Shawanda)

She started travelling down a dark road on a self destructive path. Somehow that road always had enough light to lead her back to the stage and microphone. A blessing that would help her see and come to terms with what she was dealing with.

New Days in 2008

All things considered, Crystal moved back to Nashville in 2008, with a mission, and a purpose. She played at Tootsie’s Orchid lounge 6 days a week, 3 shifts a day. She created a buzz and landed a production deal with Scott Hendricks. After hearing Crystal cover B.B.King and Janis Joplin a record deal was landed with RCA records by Joe Galante.

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer burst onto the country music scene with her hit single, “You Can Let Go,” and her debut album, “Dawn Of A New Day”. September 6th, 2008 marked the Grand Ole Opry debut of this Canadian Aboriginal beauty. Fans fell in love with this country sweetheart from across all borders.

Dawn of A New Day Album Cover

Dawn Of New Day

Shawanda’s first album, “Dawn of a New Day”, was released in Canada on June 24, 2008. It would release on Aug 19, 2008 in the United States. The album would chart at number 2 on the Top Country Albums in Canada, and number 16 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in the United States. Her album was released in stores internationally, resulting in a top 16 song on the American Billboard Chart.

Her story,  female artist who travels to Nashville with a single suitcase, is a common one. However big dreams, and even a bigger voice struck a chord and landed her a ton of success. Following the path of many females before her, Shawanda did not give up.

Award Clean Up In 2008

Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards 2008 

 Aboriginal Awards 2008

  • Artist of The year
  •  Album of The Year (Dawn of A New Day)
  •  Best Single of The Year (You Can Let Go)

Canadian Aboriginal Awards 2008

  •  Artist of The year
  •  Album of The Year (Dawn of A New Day)
  •  Country Album of The Year
  •  Music Video of The Year (You Can Let Go)
  • Best Single of The Year (You Can Let Go)

CCMA Awards

She won Female Artist of The Year at the 2008 Canadian Country Music Awards as well as Best New Country Artist at the Canadian Radio Music Awards.

The Junos

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer, was nominated for a Juno Award,  five consecutive years since 2009, winning Aboriginal Album Of the Year.

Living The Dream

“I want to inspire people to just take chances, “she said. “It’s not about being perfect, if you love something, go after it.” (Crystal Shawanda)

CMT documented Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer, rise to fame in a six-part series Crystal: Living the Dream, which started broadcasting in February 2008.

Crystal Living The Dream

“When I first heard her sing, I almost fell over. (Phyllis Elliot)

The music scene loves Crystal Shawanda. The realization of how far she’s come, manifested when her feet touched down on Nashville’s country music epicentre- the Grand Ole Opry. “It was definitely the highlight of my whole journey,” she said.

Phyllis Ellis, writer and director of Crystal Shawanda: Living the Dream, said working with Shawanda and visiting her First Nation roots was a benefit to her work and life. “When I first heard her sing, I almost fell over. She is one of the most talented artists I think I’ve ever heard.”

Ellis believes Shawanda is a role model for all young people- Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike. She said the songs provoke insight, experience and humour. “Her music is direct. It is not obscure. She addresses things.” Calling Shawanda an “old soul,” Ellis described her as having the “knowledge of a 80-year-old. She is complex, honest and has integrity.”

Realizing She Reached The Dream In The Country Music Scene

 Shawanda said, it was at the CMT Music Awards, when she shared the stage with such country stars as Martina McBride, Brooks and Dunn and Carrie Underwood, that she realized she had reached her Country goals and dream.

Shawanda toured with various artists across Canada and the northern United States in 2008. She toured Canada and the United States with Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley as a special guest on the Paisley Party 2009 Tour.

In spite of her success on the country music scene, she released one more country album “Just Like You” in 2014 that resulted in a Juno Award, and a top 20 hit in Canada. In addition the opportunity to perform for millions in New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, televised internationally.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

The Switch To Blues

“You’re too bluesy” I so wanted to be what everyone wanted me to be(Crystal Shawanda)

As the format of country music started to change Crystal found the feedback to be a resounding “your too bluesy”, and this had her chasing her sound. “I so wanted to be what everyone wanted me to be, I lost myself along the way”.

While in the studio working on her third country album, she made the decision to abandon the project and take some time off.

Crystal learned at an early age that the Blues were all about release and healing. While she was out on stage singing Patsy and Loretta.  In the background behind the scenes she was singing the blues.

It was her oldest brother who introduced her to the blues. He would hang out in the basement cranking Muddy Waters, B.B.King, and Etta James. Crystal would sit at the top of the stairs, straining to hear the soulful sounds, wondering if she could ever sing like that. In spite of her self doubt, when no one was home, Crystal would practice singing the blues. (Wikipedia)

Chasing The Blues Dream

”The songs just fell out of me and it was like setting my voice free” (Crystal Shawanda)

One day during her hiatus while watching the news and feeling overwhelmed by the headlines, she wrote “The Whole World’s Got The Blues”. This was the inspiration to her first blues album. It was a modern take on the blues, but deep rooted. It captures the resilience of the human spirit, much like the way Crystal does.

The album garnered a Juno nomination, and received mixed reviews, with moderate airplay, but it opened a whole new world to Crystal and would lead the way for her to secure her musical identity and still hold the title, Crystal Shawanda Canadian Singer.

During this time some of the feedback was that Crystal was a country music artist, and couldn’t know the blues. This had her feeling like a fish out of water, which would result in being the inspiration behind her second blues album “Fish out of water”. A mix of blues, and soulful roots, it was released in October 2016. Consequently the album was nominated for a Juno award, and  received some of the best reviews from the critics since her debut album.

The Dream Continues To Grow

The following year Shawanda had her first baby girl in February 2017. She was back on the road by April, performing at blues festivals, country music festivals, multi genre festivals, making her mark as a multi genre artist, but absolutely a bonafide blues mama.

She is claiming her identity in the music scene. “Voo Doo Woman”, produced by Crystal and her long time guitarist, and husband Dewayne Strobel, released in October, 2017. This album is a declaration, an affirmation “make no mistake, Crystal Shawanda is a true blues singer”. Fierce and fearless, her vocals powerful, she lands where she means to, always doing it her way.

Crystal Shawanda is a soulful little powerhouse, and will make you feel every word. With a voice that’s not like anyone you’ve ever heard, it’s pure and precise, yet at the same time gritty and gutsy .

“I can’t help but feel like I’m home, no longer holding back.” (Crystal Shawanda”

 Voodoo Woman is Crystal’s third blues album – and the first to be released outside of Canada.

Melvina White – Experience Nicola Valley Country Music Blogger / Painted by Michelle Loughery

 

The Road to The Mural Wall In Merritt, BC

“I was just blown away and touched.” (Crystal Shawanda)

Crystal Shawanda, referred to as the next Shania Twain at the time, topping the Canadian country music charts with “My Roots are Showing”, graced the main stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2009.

I was worried because it was starting to get cold and starting to rain right before our show. I thought, oh no, they’re all going to start heading to their campers and their motorhomes, and to my surprise I came out — at this point it was pouring rain — and everybody was just sitting in their seats.

Smiling Crystal  called out if everyone was feeling rowdy tonight? Not so much. They were getting soaked out there. The result was her biggest ovation for her “You Can Let Go Now Daddy” hit. I was blown away and touched that they sat through the storm.

It was after this performance at the 2009 Merritt Mountain Music Festival that, Crystal had her mural painted by Michelle Loughery. 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”.

The Crystal Shawanda mural is included on The Canadian Country Music Mural Walk in downtown Merritt, BC. Crystal’s mural can be found in Spirit Square on the corner of Granite Avenue and Voght Street, in a row of murals near the stage. Crystal was honored to have this mural of herself done and signed it with love.

Back To Merritt, BC For The Rodeo

Record labels are closing and people are losing record deals, but as long as someone listens to my music, I’m happy. “It could be for 10,000 people, it could be for 10 people, as long as I get to sing I’ll be good.”

 

Crystal Shawanda

Shawanda came back to play The North America’s Richest Indian Rodeo held in Merritt at the Nicola Valley Rodeo Grounds on May 22, 2010

While she was keeping busy on a North American radio tour, she said she was excited to be playing Merritt again, where she will be able to meet up with old friends and hopefully make some new ones.

She played songs from her albums as well as songs she loves to sing from what she calls her heroes. Every show is always different. “That’s why we say if even if you’ve seen our show, come out again ’cause it’ll be a different one the next time.

I’ll cover Prince, Tina Turner, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. I mean, it’s just like, what do I feel like singing tonight?”

Last Performance At The Infamous Merritt Mountain Music Festival

Crystal Shawanda’s show at the 17th annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2011 was a treat as she played Prince’s Little Red Corvette. She definitely the first female artist to do the song. She again sang some of her album songs along with her heroes songs and closed out her performance to a roaring crowd.

Crystal has left her mark in Merritt and has returned for intimate appearances at various venues in Merritt since 2011, including NVIT.

She also performed at the 2017 Rockin River Music Fest held every August long weekend in Merritt, BC.

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

Crystal is very active and still performing all over North America – Follow Her On:

Facebook

Website

You Tube

Instagram

 

Merritt BC Canada Downtown Mural Digital Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

Blog

Experience Nicola Valley

Travel Website

** Information resources includes the Crystal Shawanda’s website, Wikipedia page, and social media pages.