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Is It Me And You - Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop

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

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

Lisa Brokop Is It Me And You

In Lisa’s own words she says:

“I love what I do. Every note I sing, whether in studio or on stage, is true. It hasn’t always been an easy road. There has been many curves, bumps and detours. But really, it is the love of the music that motivates each step I take in the business. It keeps me moving forward.” Lisa Brokop

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

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop – Country Music Singer & Songwriter is featured on the walls of  the Merritt BC Murals. Born June 6, 1973 in Surrey, British Columbia, Lisa made her presence known in the entertainment world by the age of seven. It was then she started performing with her mother, who was a seasoned accordion player.

At age twelve, Lisa started sitting in on jam sessions with various country music bands throughout Vancouver, BC. By age fifteen she joined a touring band and was off to the races. It was obvious she was destined to be featured on the walls of our Merritt BC Murals located in the Nicola Valley in the community of Merritt BC Canada.

Sweet 16 And Beyond For Lisa Brokop

1990 at seventeen, Lisa released her debut single, “Daddy Sing To Me”. The song reached the top ten on The Canadian Country RPM Charts. In addition, “My Love”, her debut album, followed in June of 1991.

After graduation Lisa moved to Nashville, Tennessee to further her country music career. While performing at local clubs, Brokop caught the attention of The Nashville Network. The network began to play the video for Brokop’s single “Time To Come Back Home”. As a result they had Lisa make a guest appearance on The Ralph Emery Show. This appearance and a thirty minute showcase resulted in Lisa Brokop getting a record deal with Patriot Records.

Merritt BC Murals Is It Me And You

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

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

Before Brokop began recording her second album, she starred in the 1994 film Harmony Cats, where she played a country singer who leaves home in search of a big break in Nashville. Lisa Brokop contributed to the movie’s soundtrack and her cover of Tammy Wynette’s 1968 number one hit “Stand By Your Man” was issued as a single.

Back On And Off The Winding Road Of Recording

Lisa Brokop’s second album released the single “Give Me A Ring Sometime”, in June 1994. The single made the top 20 in Canada, but unfortunately it only reached No. 52 on the US Billboard Chart. Nevertheless, her first major label album. “Every Little Girl’s Dream”, was released in September of 1994. 

In the meantime ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ was charting. However, many Canadian radio stations refused to play Lisa’s music because the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication ruled that ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ did not have enough Canadian Content in the song. Nevertheless, Brokop’s album went on to produce two more top 40 singles in Canada with ‘Take That’ and ‘One Of Those Nights’

1995 And Lots Of Change

By 1995, the album was certified Gold by the CRIA, for sales peaking 50,000 copies. Included in 1995 was a nomination for Top New Female Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Also in 1995, Patriot Records closed its doors and Brokop transferred to Capital Nashville.

Lisa released her third album ‘Lisa Brokop’ the following year. The album did not do so well. As a result none of the album singles reached the top 40 in Canada or The United States. The failure of the album ended her relationship with Capital Nashville.

Consequently she decided to take some time off and focus on song writing. As a result, some country music stars took notice and started recording tracks she penned, including Reba McEntire, Terri Clark, and Pam Tillis.

Change Brings Opportunity

 Brokop signed with the Nashville division of Columbia Records, in 1998, where she released the single ‘How Do I Let Go’. The song reached the top 20 of The Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart and received a nomination for “Socan Song of the Year” at the 1998 Canadian Country Music Awards Show. 

In July of 1998, Lisa released in Canada the album, ‘When You Get To Be You’. It produced five more singles, including ‘What’s Not To Love’ that peaked at No 21. And, soon later, ‘Better Off Broken’ peaked at No. 8 becoming Brokop’s highest charting single on The Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart in 1999. The album was not released in the US and as a result Lisa Brokop left Columbia Records at the end of 1999.

Undeniable Change

In 2000, Brokop ventured on her own and launched Cosmo Records. It was under this label she released her fifth album, ‘Undeniable’.  Lisa Brokop received in 2001 two Canadian Country Music Association awards for Independent Song of The Year for ‘Something Undeniable’ as well as independent Female Artist of The Year.

The album’s third single, ‘I’d Like To See You Try’, won Brokop Independent Song of The Year as well as Independent Female Artist of the Year in 2002, from The Canadian Country Music Association. 2003 saw her receive another Independent Female Artist of The Year award.

Country Music In The Merritt Mountains

Lisa’s hand print was taken in July 1995 at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin River Music Festival). Followed soon after by the unveiling of the hand print in Merritt, BC.

Again Lisa returned back to Merritt BC on Sunday, July 8, 2001 for her performance at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival. Followed, soon later, by the 10th Anniversary of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2002. Then again she returned to Merritt at the launch of the Walk of Stars in 2003. Lisa was the main attraction for the gala which was a huge success.

Merritt BC Murals Downtown Walking Tour

Because of her desire, talent, passion, perseverance, and dedication to her music Lisa has definitely earned her place on the Merritt BC Murals. Lisa’s mural is located on the side of the Home Hardware building. There was a special ceremony for Lisa to unveil, and sign her Mural in 2006.

Her mural rests on the side of the Home Hardware building located at 1701 Voght Street. Her hand print is located at 2076 Coutlee Avenue.  

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

Back On The Road And Going Strong

Brokop’s seventh album ‘Beautiful Tragedy’, was released in August of 2008. As a result, it featured a top 20 hit ‘Break It’.

In 2013, Lisa returned to commercial country radio and had success with songs ‘Let It Burn’ and ‘Love Me If You Can’ both of which were produced by fellow Canadian superstar Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

Lisa put together the new musical venture, ‘Lisa Brokop: The Patsy Cline Project’ where Lisa pays homage to one of country music’s greatest ladies. The project features some of Cline’s classic hits like ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Walkin after Midnight’ as well as some of her own material written specifically for the project. 

“I’ve come full circle with this project,” Brokop says. “When I first started singing, I would sing some of Patsy’s songs because I didn’t have any of my own. They are still among some of my favorites today and I am so excited to have the opportunity to honor this amazing lady and the incredible music she gave us!” Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop 

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

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

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

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright – Merritt Mural

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

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

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright

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

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright Country Music Artist

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

Michelle’s Education In Country Music   

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

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

Time To Go Solo For Michelle Wright

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

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

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

A Canadian Super Star Was Born

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

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

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

 

Take It Like A Man

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

The Whirlwind Success Continues For Michelle Wright

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

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

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

Michelle Wright On A Roll

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

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

The Winding Down Of A Decade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Successes Of The Next Decade 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt Murals of Canada

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

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

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

Merritt Murals and Music 2.0

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

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

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

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

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

Country Music Artist Michelle Wright – Merritt BC Murals

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Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett 

Downtown Merritt Mural Walking Tour

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

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

Merritt BC Canada Murals

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

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

Merritt BC Murals

Aaron Pritchett – Featured artists of Merritt BC Murals

Embarking On The Touring Scene

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

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett’s Big Break

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

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

Aaron Pritchett on the wall

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

Country Music Charts Recognizes Aaron Pritchett

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

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

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett Merritt BC Murals Connection

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

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

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett Winning Single

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

Signed To The Record Label 

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

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

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

The Country Music Team

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

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

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Recognition as a Canadian Country Music Artist

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

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

Merritt Walk Of Stars

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

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

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

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

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals is part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery. These beautiful works of art can be seen all over downtown Merritt BC.

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Capital of Canada

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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

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

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

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

Hold My Beer by Aaron Pritchett

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merritt muralRandy Travis – American Country Music Superstar

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

The First Chapter Of An Extraordinary Life

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

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

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

Randy Travis and Brother Rick

Randy Travis and Rick

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

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

Randy Travis Early Years

Randy Travis

Troubles In The First Chapter

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

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

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

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

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

The Start Of A Slow Turnaround

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy and Elizabeth Travis

Randy and Elizabeth

Chapter Two The Complete Beginning To The Rise Of Fame

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

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

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

Martha Sharp with Faith Hill

Martha Sharp and Faith Hill (An Older Picture)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy Travis

Randy Travis

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

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

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

The Hits and Awards Keep Coming

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

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

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

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

Closing Off The Decade Of The 1980’s

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Randy Travis’s Part In Neotraditional Country

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

Randy Travis 2003

Randy Travis

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Four Acting and Music During The 1990’s

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

Randy Travis-Million Dollar Kid

Million Dollar Kid

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

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

More Music In The 1990″s

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

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

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

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

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

Wind In Wire Randy Travis

Randy Travis

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

Music Keeps Charting In The 1990’s

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

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

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

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

You Alone Randy Travis

Randy Travis You And You Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

A Return To The Country Roots

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

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy Music Festival

Randy Travis

‘We Can’t Save Him…Pull the Plug’

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

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

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

Randy Travis and Wife Mary

Randy and Mary married

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

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

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

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

The Decision

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

Randy Travis Hall of Fame Inductee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

randy travis mural in merritt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

experiencemerritt

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

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George Jones

Country Music Legendary Icon Mural In The Nicola Valley

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

Merritt BC Canada Murals

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

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

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

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George Jones and Some Hard Times

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

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

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

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

First Step To A Journey

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

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

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

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

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

Second Step To The On Going Journey

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

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

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

George Jones – The Voice Of An Angel

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

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

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

Louisiana Hayride

George Jones and Johnny Cash

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

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

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

Travels Of The Singing Angel Continue

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

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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

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

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

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

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

Nearing The End of The 60’s Decade

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

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

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

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

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

George And Tammy The Reigning King And Queen of Country

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

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

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

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

Nearing The End With Musicor

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

Pappy Daily Manager

Pappy Daily and George Jones

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

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

Kicking Off A Successful Career At Epic

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

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

Billy Sherrill Producer

Billy Sherrill-George Jones Producer

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

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

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

Jones and Wynette’s Turbulent Years

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

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

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

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

George and Tammy Early Years

George and Tammy Early Years

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

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

 

Late 70’s Dark Times For Jones

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

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

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

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

"Waylon

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

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

The 80’s Comeback And Life Turnaround

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

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

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

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

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

Love Conquers

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Ridding The Demon

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

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

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

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

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Quotes about George Jones:

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

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

 –Burt Reynolds

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

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

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

Jones Love of Traditional Country Music

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt Murals

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

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

George Jones Merritt Mountain Music Festival 1993

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

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

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

Merritt, BC Canada Mural Walk and Attractions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Country Music Musician : George Jones

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Don Messer Country Music Legend Mural

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame

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

Don Messer Country Music Legend

Don Messer

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

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

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

Destined To Be A Merritt BC Attraction

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Merritt BC Attractions and Legends Must Start Somewhere

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

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

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

Setting The Stage 

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

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

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

This Fiddler Of Canada

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

Don Messer’s Television Era

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

Fiddler Night In Canada

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

A Show For Canadians To Meet

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Coming To An Abrupt End

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Merritt BC Murals – Brooks and Dunn

Country Music Capital Of Canada

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

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

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

Brroks and Dunn Mural

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

Brooks and Dunn in Merritt BC

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

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

Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn

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

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

 

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Impact on Country Music

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

All Things Come To An End 

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

“We’ve ended up more like brothers.”

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

Kix Brooks

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

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

Ronnie Dunn

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

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

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

Merritt BC Murals

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

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

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

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

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Featured Country Music Musician : Johnny Reid

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

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

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

Singing Career Taking Off

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

Born for Country Music

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

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

2007 – 2009

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

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

2010 – 2015

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

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

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

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

Johnny Reid Wins Awards

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Awards Keep Coming for Johnny Reid

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

The Early Years of Country Music with Johnny Reid

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

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

Marriage is Good For Johnny Reid

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

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

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

Johnny Reid Country Music

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

Merritt BC Murals and Johnny Reid

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Johnny Reid

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

Reid’s highlights of coming to Merritt

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

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

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

Featured Country Music Musician : Johnny Reid

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“George Canyon and Canada Country Music go hand and hand.”

George Canyon is a celebrated Canada country music artist and songwriter. Here in Merritt BC Canada , the “Country Music Capital of Canada”,  there is a mural celebrating George Canyon painted on the walls of the City Furniture building. The George Canyon mural is one of 20+ murals located throughout the community forming part of the Merritt Murals Art Walk

Canada country music in Merritt

Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Canada Country Music Star

George Canyon and Canada Country Music go hand and hand. George knows full well what I mean, as he rose to become one of Canada’s biggest country music stars in the early 2000’s! Still playing to live audiences, George has won countless accolades and awards over his career, including Juno Awards, CCMA Awards, and ECMA Awards and many more. 

Canada Country Music 

George has recorded 12 albums. His debut album, ‘One Good Friend’, was certified Platinum. With a career of  country hits like “Just Like You”, “I Believe in Angels”, “Drinkin’ Thinkin’”, “Daughters of the Sun”, “I Got This”, “I Want You To Live”, and “Slow Dance” it is no wonder George is a well known Canadian country music artist.

“If I won, I’d probably go unconscious, … Which would be bad, because then there would be no acceptance speech.” George Canyon

Life With George

Frederick George Lays, best known by his stage name George Canyon, was born on August 22, 1970, in Pictou Country, Nova Scotia, Canada. He was actually raised in Fox Book, Nova Scotia and then in Hopewell, Nova Scotia. Before the stage lights, awards, and movie gigs, music has always been an aspiration for George. But his love for his family, wife Jennifer and children Kale and Madison, always come first. The dream of country music had to wait. Supporting his family with a guaranteed paycheck was more important so he worked as a bylaw officer to support them.

“You’re a pleasure as a lover, you’re a treasure as a wife” George Canyon

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

A Star Was Born

In 2004, with Jennifer’s support, George set out to compete on U.S.A. Network’s “Nashville Star”. It is an American Idol-type show with a country twist. As a matter of fact, those who know George are well aware of the talent and passion he embodies. Therefore they were not surprised that he was a hit on the show. George did not win. He came very close to winning the show but, more importantly, he had won the hearts of country music fans throughout the world. 

True North Strong and Free

George Canyon is also a highly regarded humanitarian. For example, it is no secret George Canyon supports the hard working men and women of the Canadian military. Therefore, in honor of his support George was appointed Honorary Colonel for 14 Wing Greenwood Air Force Base in Nova Scotia in 2008.

Furthermore, he was also made the first ever Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets by The Honourable Peter MacKay in 2011. Moreover, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in honour of his ongoing work with the Air Cadets and other charities. Lastly, he was recognized by the Canadian Country Music Association with the Humanitarian Award in recognition for his work with the Canadian military.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

George Cares

Among his many identities, Canyon is also a proud Canadian. Like many in Canada George is a huge hockey fan. He roots for his team, the Calgary Flames by singing the national anthem during their home games. Good guy George is also a spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). A charity close to his heart starting from when he himself was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes at age of 14.

The Sky Is The Limit

George was an air cadet with ambitions on serving his country. He was told at an early age that his diabetes would make being a pilot in the Air Force impossible. However, in 2009, things changed after learning more about what it means to live with Type-1 Diabetes. George made the decision to make some adjustments to his diet and lifestyle. Consequently with the advancements in insulin pump technology, George beat the odds by passing all the medical tests and got his pilot’s license.

Merritt Murals and Music 2.0

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

Merritt BC Canada Country Music – Merritt Murals

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

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Experience Nicola Valley

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

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Merritt BC Murals in the Nicola Valley

Featured Country Music Musician – Martina McBride

“If I walk out onstage and I get a warm, excited response, it makes me feel so confident and happy, and then it’s so easy for me up there.” Martina McBride

Martina McBride – Merritt BC Murals is one of the big country music signature attractions in Merritt BC Canada. So much so the community is dubbed the “Country Music Capital of Canada”. Many of us “Merrittonians” are very proud of our country home.

Firstly, I must say that Martina McBride has to be one of my all time favorite country music artists. Secondly, her songs like “My Baby Loves Me”, “Independence Day”, “Concrete Angel” and “This One’s for the Girls” are some of her greatest hits which are on my list. 

michelle bacon selfie with martina mcbride mural

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

Martina McBride Albums – Merritt BC Murals

In 1992 McBride released her debut album. Consequently, the title track “The Time Has Come” reached #23 on the country music charts. Likewise Martina’s follow up second album ” The Way That I Am” had two singles that did very well “My Baby Loves Me” reached number 2 and “Life No. 9” reached number six. After that her third single “Independence Day” won Video of the Year and Song of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.

Martina has recorded 13 studio albums, 2 greatest hits, 1 live and 2 other albums. Eight of her studio albums have been certified Gold.

Country Music From 1995-1999

“Wild Angels” was released in 1995. This album had a top five hit “Safe in The Arms of Love.”  The title track “Wild Angels” became Martina’s first number 1 hit on the country charts in 1996.

McBride’s second number 1, “A Broken Wing”, was the second single from the album “Evolution” which was released in 1997. In the end there were four top ten hits. By the end of 1998 the album was certified Double Platinum. In 1999 she won Female Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.

1999-2002 Country Music Albums

“Emotion”, Martina’s sixth studio album was released in 1999. The song ” I Love You ” reached number 1 on the billboard country charts. Other hit songs from this album included “Love’s the Only House”, “There You Are” and “It’s My Time.”

Soon after her “Greatest Hits” album was released in 2001. It was certified three times platinum and is Martina’s highest selling album. McBride added four new songs to this album. All made the top 10 on the country charts. “Blessed” was her 5th number one hit. Carolyn Dawn Johnson sang back up vocals. Other new songs were “Concrete Angel,” “When God Fearin Women Get the Blues” and ” Where Would You Be.”

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Martina McBride 2003-2004 Albums

2003 was another great year for Martina. Releasing her self titled album “Martina.”  Her song, “This ones for the Girls” hit number 3 on the billboard charts. Her second single from this album, “In My Daughters Eyes” also became a top five country charts hit.

Martina won Country Music Association Award for Female Vocalist in 1999, 2002, 2003 and again in 2004. This tied her with Reba McEntire for most consecutive wins for this award.

Timeless 2005-2007 Albums

In 2005 Martina released “Timeless.” It was Martina’s highest grossing album selling over 250,000 copies in its first week. The ninth studio album was released in 2007 titled “Waking up Laughing.” Martina co-wrote some of the tracks on this album, a first for the country music singer.

2008-2015 Albums

By the end of 2008 Martina had wrapped up her tenth album “Shine”. In 2009 she started the “Shine All Night Tour” with friend Trace Adkins. “Eleven” was released in 2011. Marina co-wrote eight of the eleven songs. She started to write more frequently after “Anyways” became a hit. By 2014 Martina had received 17 nominations for Female Vocalist. This also ties her with Reba McEntire for most nominations in any vocalist category.

“I feel more confident in my song writing ability. ” Martina McBride.

2016 and On

“Reckless” was released in 2016. Her “Just Around the Corner” single became Band Against Cancer’s official anthem. Led by Sarah Cannon, Band Against Cancer is a community based movement which aims to raise awareness, support and resources to those battling cancer.  

Martina toured again in 2016. The tour was titled “Love Unleashed.” Then in 21017 she announced a Christmas album where she stated, ” It won’t have as many hymns on it.”

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Cooking With Martina McBride

Martina loves to cook. So much so she has written two cookbooks. Her first cookbook was released in 2014 titled “Around the Table: Recipes And Inspiration For Gatherings Throughout The Year.” The second cook book entitled “Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My recipe Playlist For Real Life” was released in 2018.

Martina’s Table – Food Network

Her cooking expertise did not end with books. It started with books. Martina, soon after, launched a cooking show which aired on the Food Network on Sunday’s at 11 am Eastern. Check out some cooking episodes from Martina’s Table.

Here is a link: https://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/martinas-table

The Life Of Martina McBride

Martina McBride was born on July 29, 1966 in Sharon, Kansas. Her parents owned a dairy farm. Martina would spend hours after school singing to different artists like Reba McEntire, Juice Newton, Connie Smith, Patsy Cline and Linda Ronstadt.

“Not only do I know how to milk a cow, but I know how to herd a bunch of cows, too, which is a life skill that I think may come in handy someday.” Martina McBride

At the age of eight her father fronted a band called “The Schiffters” which Martina sang for. As she grew older she also started playing keyboard for the band. She also played for a rock band called “The Penetrators”. In 1987 she created a group called “Lotus” and started looking for space to rehearse. 

Martina met and married John McBride after renting his space for her band. They moved to Nashville where her husband started working for Garth Brooks. After some time, Garth told Martina if she could get a record deal she could be his opening act.

Martina and her husband have three daughters Delaney, Emma and Ava. She toured less after her children were born. McBride made it very clear she wanted to be a part of her daughters lives.

“It’s not the size of the house. It’s how much love is inside.” Martina McBride

Merritt BC Canada Murals

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”. As a result, in 2006 this Merritt Mural was painted by Muralist Michelle Loughery. Martina McBride – Merritt BC Murals is located at 2101 Quilchena Ave on the wall around the corner from Lynda’s Cafe.

There are other Merritt BC Canada Attractions besides the Martina McBride Merritt BC Mural. One of them is the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame’s Walk of Stars. There is one foot print and over 100 hand prints in the stars around the downtown Merritt area. While your there take a wonderful trip through the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Martina McBride Walk of Stars

Martina McBride – Walk of Stars in Downtown Merritt BC

Downtown Merritt BC Canada also offers a vast array of gifts, clothing and places to eat. You are sure to find something for anyone on your list of gifts to purchase. If not then buy something for yourself. 

You can find more information on Martina McBride through her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or website.

Featured Country Music Musician – Martina McBride

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

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Experience Nicola Valley Merritt BC Murals

Travel Website

** Furthermore the information resources include Martina McBride website, Wikipedia page, fan club website and social media pages.