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Culture and Art Show for Children

Merritt artists create inspiring art for children in our new Gallery Show!

“Out of inspiration comes curiosity, motivation, desire, and the creative process.”

Art for children in Merritt BC is thriving! We asked our local artists to bring in, or create new art that would inspire children’s ideas and imaginations. And we have had a wonderful response with over 25 artists participating in our five week-long show. It’s up! It’s fun and colourful! And it’s on until 4pm, Saturday, March 14, 2020. Come on by!

Art for Children

Children in Art, Art for Children

How did we get so many artists to contribute to a show about art for children?

First, we put a call out to artists in the fall, through our membership newsletter, our local papers, and social media.

Then an email went out directly to most of the artists who have participated in our shows in the past, and a few we would love to gather into our active arts and culture community.

Lastly,  were our personal reach outs to those who popped in to see us at the Gallery, or who called in for questions, or met at events like Open Mic, and on the street! We did our best to reach out to as much of the Nicola Valley community as we could!

Art horses

Miriam Loken’s “A Moment with Max”

What’s in our Art for Children show?

Of course, we have children in the art…

  • Miriam Loken’s A Moment with Max features a child and a horse
  • Nancy Ellingsen’s grandchildren’s portraits, Ember and Logan
  • Bruce Walter’s photo A Teachable Moment, children in nature
  • Jean Kiegerl’s Reborn with a father and his baby girl
  • Judy Young’s amusing Shopping with Dad
  • Robert Moretti’s Camping Branch Swinging 
  • Joel Reid’s large graffiti 3 Candles
Art for Children

Artists Michael Behrens and Joel Reid Paintings

Art can inspire.

But a lot of the art in the show is meant to inspire children, of all ages- from babies to teens. We have paintings – watercolour, acrylic, and pastel…. depicting a variety of subjects like butterflies, undersea creatures, fanciful trees and mountains by artists Joel Reid, Fran McMurchy, Karen Otway, Michael Behrens, Shirley Reynolds, and Herta Klassen, Gale Simpson, and Diane Wandler.

Paintings, 3D pieces, mixed media…

We have 3D pieces, like Pius Chong’s monkey and Amanda Pryzner-Dunn’s folded steam engine (protected in a glass case). Kelly Reid brought in two magical fairy gardens made from a mix of materials, like a path of pennies, and a tiny tea cup.

painting in merritt

Tina Barlow’s Love, Laugh

There are mixed media pieces like Lin Butler Buchanan’s stunning dark Sunflowers at Night, and Tina Barlow’s The Laugh Love Tree. There are cloth and fibre art pieces like Cindy Trent’s Circus quilt and Vickie Strom’s bright woven wall hanging.

Amanda submitted paper cuts depicting three fairy tales. Can you guess them? Visit the show and see!

And we are displaying whimsical pieces like a Vicki’s felt mouse, Barb Sayles’ vintage dolls, and Pam Clark’s adorable knit bunnies and chicks.

And My Topsy Turvy Circus Diorama

I jumped in myself for this show and created a five foot Circus diorama, populated with several dolls and puppets from my collection. They are dressed as jesters, clowns, mimes, trapeze artists, and horse trainers for the occasion. My favourite wooden Czech Marionette hangs high up in the Topsy Turvy Circus, attracting children to see the three ring performances. All in the imagination, of course. And I tried my hand at doll faceups, including a mime face on a Berenguer doll. Fun!

Children artists in merritt

Jano Howarth’s Mime Face Up

Art for children is one way to reach out to children.

As a life long educator, with over 30 years of interaction with children of all ages, I have realized how important inspiration is to the process of creativity and life itself. Out of inspiration comes curiosity, motivation, desire, and the creative process. Art is a very effective way to reach children! There are so many forms of artistic creativity that can appeal to children’s natural interests and help them identify their own passions and life directions.

When I put the call out to artists I said:

“This show is about children and how we inspire them to take their own path- maybe art, maybe another passion. Think of Cindy Trent’s quilt depicting the layers in the earth. Inspiration for quilting? painting? sculpture? photography? geography? zoology? ecology? writing? Art that stimulates the imagination. And not necessarily kids stuff.”

children art

Art Bud’s Renee Hartwig

And that’s what we got! One gentleman was expecting art by children, or at least childlike art. And we certainly have on display some very cute art, and art that is appealing to the child in all of us! Our Art Buds teacher, Renee Hartwig, brought in her Bunny on a Hill painting that brings out the oohs and aahs in children and adults alike.

“Interesting, beautiful, quirky, or socially conscious art”

But we have some sophisticated pieces that can stimulate great ideas for parents, grandparents, etc. on how to look for and choose art for a child’s room. Or art for a living room or dining room (or waiting room, or educator’s office) where children can be exposed to interesting, beautiful, quirky, or socially conscious art.

children and art in merritt

Art to Inspire Children

 
Even some of our local artists were challenged by the idea for this show! But it didn’t take long, in this community of creative artists, to bring together over forty-five pieces of inspiring art for children. I am very excited and pleased with the wonderful responses, from the artists, and from the visitors, local and out-of-towners, who have come by the show already.

We have art that stimulates, amuses, and soothes.

Art for Children

Vicki Strom’s Felt Mouse

We had a great Reception the other night, complete with marshmallow squares, of course! But with chocolate, whipped cream and fresh orange toppings! Thanks, Diane! And thanks to Lin, Joel, and all the volunteers who helped put this show together!

Now that the show is up, the people are coming by with and without children. Thursday to Saturday, 12-6pm.

We have invited teachers to bring classes. (Just let me know! nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com or Jano 250-315-3437)

Art for Children in Merritt, BC… Alive and Well!

For more info on this show, or upcoming shows at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery at the old Courthouse on Nicola Avenue contact me at 250-315-3437 or email nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Jano Howarth, Arts Gallery Director and community supporter!

Art Things To Do in Merritt, BC

Check out some of our past Arts Gallery Shows

  •  Open Mic Weekly! Friday nights 7-9 pm at Kekuli Cafe
  • Gallery Shows every five weeks or less! At the the old Courthouse Arts Gallery, 1840 Nicola Avenue, Merritt BC. Thursday to Saturday, 12-6 pm
  • Gallery Shop all year round, and yearly popular Artisan Winter Show
  • Arts Classes, course and workshops- visit our website for info
  • Special Arts Events: Mayor’s Gala, Jazz in the Attic, Art in the Park

Join the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council! Tax receipt for Memberships and Donations! Online or pop in to the Gallery.

Jano’s

Interested in doll characters and photo stories?

  • Website: Hiya Dolly
  • Facebook and Instagram Hiya Dolly

More on the Art for Children Show…

Bev Veale contributed an in-progress piece designed for a child’s involvement… Come in and find all the animals!

Bev has been painting the flora and fauna of the Nicola Valley for decades. And she continues to contribute her support and show submissions! Anyone interested in an original Bev Veale, contact me!

NVCAC Vice President Karen Otway’s colourful painting is both our cover photo, and our show poster. Thanks Karen!

And getting ready for the Topsy Turvy Circus kept me happily busy for days!

art and culture in merritt

Topsy Turvy Circus by Jano Howarth

Get inspired with your children! Get a hold of a canvas, a fun item to paint, and get busy!

Art for Children

Inspired!

Art for Children in Merritt British Columbia Canada

Nicola Valley Arts Council

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt BC Flower Shop

Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants Flower Shop

“Opening and running a flower shop feeds my soul,” Miss Vicki.

The Merritt BC Flower Shop called Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants is located in downtown Merritt BC Canada. The flower shop serving the Nicola Valley opened on October 20, 2018. Equally as important, Vicki, calls the Nicola Valley her home. When asked, “Why open a flower shop in Merritt,” Vicki adamantly replied, “I wasn’t going anywhere, this is my home.” Thank goodness because Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants is truly a welcomed delight and is surely is an appreciated ambassador for Downtown Merritt.

“The timing was right. I used to work in the florist department at Save on Foods here in Merritt,” Miss Vicki.

Merritt flower shop

Vicki’s attention to detail makes giving flowers that much more special.

Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants in Merritt BC. being very picturesque.

The sights and smells make any visit to Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants a special experience. The colorful blooming flowers and plants covering the walls and floors of her shop is a journey of rainbow colors and fairy tale scents. Go ahead, visit this Merritt flower shop and take a deep breath. Along with all the vibrant colors you are always welcomed with a warm smile from “Miss Vicki”, the stores proprietor.

miss vickis flower shop

Colors, care and flair all part of the Miss Vicki’s experience

flower shop in merritt bc canada

That extra touch and personal service goes a long way

Further more, Miss Vicki gives back to the Nicola Valley Community. 

As a result of Miss Vicki’s passion for the Nicola Valley, she is constantly donating to many organizations, charities, non-profits, and fundraising events through-out Merritt. One such example of Miss Vicki’s fundraising efforts is her commitment to improving patient rooms at Nicola Valley’s Gillis House. Secondly, she also donates to our very own Merritt Centennials with a free give away at every game. Thirdly,  this flower shop in Merritt has donated towards many organizations in lieu of silent auctions, the Nicola Valley Food Bank, Winter Solstice Powwow, Lower Nicola Indian Band Christmas Tree, and countless others.

“I believe in Merritt and our Downtown Businesses,” Miss Vicki!

MerrittMissVicki's

The colorful bird is an added touch of passion often given to her customers

Recycling is key for this Merritt flower shop..

PetalsandPlantsVicki's

A treasured Rubber Ducky.

Vicki and Dee are very adamant about “Recycling“. They are aware of the damage and added pressures people can cause on our eco-system and environment. They are working  to decrease landfills by recycling, reusing, and continually creating beautiful works of flower-art by recycling clients favourite or personal objects. In fact, Vicki encourages her customers to bring in a personal sentimental object to be the focus of their flower arrangement.  For example, a special favourite tea pot can turn into a floral center piece.

Shopping for a Single Rose or Planning your Wedding?

In fact Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants in Merritt BC can accommodate just about every occasion the Nicola Valley offers. Along with a vast selection of smaller flower arrangements, Miss Vicki’s is able to also provide larger beautiful centerpieces for their customers.  Specializing in their customer’s needs clearly indicates that Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants will go beyond what your needs are including a last minute bouquet of flowers, a handcrafted gift or a floral arrangement for your event.

“Over the Moon with the support we have received from the community,” Dee.

merritt bc canada flower shop

Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants delivers when it comes to the finished floral arrangement

As a result of curiosity.

Dee, who works with Vicki,  joined the Merritt flower shop team two years ago. In fact, while browsing in Miss Vicki’s shop one day she turned to Vicki and asked if she was hiring part time? Dee has 35 years of experience creating and arranging beautiful flower art work. While both are talented flower-ologists (not a real word) there is no hiding the respect and unity between these two very personable ladies.

Merritt Miss Vicki's flower shop

“Over The Moon!” Dee explains how they cater to their customers.

The behind the scenes of a flower shop

Dee is often found in the back, creating beautiful flower arrangements. Her specialty, since Dee brings a lot of knowledge and talent to the floral business. Having lived in the Nicola Valley for the past 13 years her love for the community shows through her talent with outstanding floral creations. Truly exemplary!

Furthermore every Friday while listening to Q 101 radio in Merritt, contestants can win a bouquet of flowers from Miss Vicki’s. Tune into Q101 for more details.

Q 101 flower contest

Q101 contestant winner Marg.

Additionally Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants showcases a wide variety of local artists.

This Merritt flower shop is also a big supporter of the local art scene in the Nicola Valley.  The fact that Miss Vicki’s shop has numerous one of a kind hand-made artifacts is a testament to how special this shop really is. Additionally, you will be amazed at the number of local artisans within our community who’s works are on display in her shop. Consequently I found myself perusing through Miss Vicki’s shop finding an abundance of treasures.

“There is so much talent within the Nicola Valley. It is truly amazing and wonderful,” Miss Vicki.

birding in merritt bc canada

Detailed Tiny Cabin.

artisan works in merritt bc

Painted Wooden Houses.

first nation nicola valley smudge kit

Smudge Kit.

missvicki's plants

Body Haven Soaps. Made with Natural ingredients.

Furthermore schedule enough time to take in everything.

Indeed Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants in Merritt BC Canada could be your one stop shop for floral and art. You will find cards handcrafted by Denise Weisse. There are custom built wood projects from Steamer’s Junk. A wooden bowl crafted by Reece. And the list goes on and on.

Missvicki'spetalsplantsmerrittbc

Miss Vicki’s own Artisan craftsmanship.

Next you will be enchanted with an array of glass birds & gorgeous flower pots.

Betty Pockrant flower pots.

Spice up your home or garden with more color.

Kay Schlosser Butterfly’s.

 

miss vicki'spetals

Lavender is in the air at this Merritt flower shop

Understand that flowers can spark creativity.

Did you know that Van Gogh and Manet were inspired by flowers!? Miss Vicki and Dee every day create masterpieces. In fact Miss Vicki and Dee explained to me that on many occasions someone has come into the shop to help clear their anxiety or depression. Additionally it has been shown that indoor plants can help reduce stress levels. Makes sense!

Desk Buddy perfect for your office or bedside.

To clarify flowers can improve your mood.

Here is another fact for you to digest. Did you know that flowers & plants in your bedroom helps people get a better sleep because of the natural aroma and their release of oxygen.  Subsequently, the time I spent in Miss Vicki’s shop made me feel exhilarated and a calmness came over me, as if I  just had a mini vacation in a spring garden.

 

Accordingly having Plants & Flowers in your home.

Plants help purify the air reducing harmful chemicals throughout your home. Additionally, flowers help save money by having no need for air fresheners. Also flowers are environmentally friendly while purifying your air.

Merritt Miss Vicki's

An assortment of plants.

In fact the number of local artisans crafts that are displayed throughout is magnificent & numerous.

For instance you can find Twin Willows Glass Arts, Bev’s Baggage Denim, Vicky’s Whimsical Yarns, Squirrels New Chapter, Electric Art by Andy, Creations by Irene, Don Loewen, Twin Willows Glass Arts, and countless more.

Merritt Vicki's Flower Shop

Warez Du Bees. Raw & Creamy Honey.

merritt flower shop gifts

Gifts can make a flower arrangement

 

Furthermore plants & flowers improve productivity.

Without a doubt people (animals) are more productive and have a higher level of concentration if they’re near plants. It is said that having plants in your home or work space will allow you to be more focused throughout the day.

Missvicki's

“Kumma” Teddy Bear in Finish. Shop dog.

 Contact Us

MISS MISS VICKI’S PETALS & PLANTS FLOWER SHOP

Address: 2052 Quilchena B,
Merritt BC, Canada
V1K 1A4
Phone: 250-378-5575

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Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Culture and Art in Merritt, BC 

The Nicola Valley Arts Gallery Exhibition, with Fred Tomlin – “Fractured Reflections” – Was All About Wood and Mirrors!

“A lot of my ideas come from ordinary day to day things that we see in nature and all around us.” Fred Tomlin

First, a few words about Fred Tomlin…

Fine Woodworking

Fred Tomlin, Artist

Fine woodworking in Merritt BC Canada.  Fred is a retired educator who spent 34 years as a teacher and school principal in BC.

Woodworking has been an interest from early in his life although he has not been formally trained. Upon buying his first house he proceeded to do major renovations on a DIY basis which helped hone some of his woodworking skills. He then went on to build toys and play structures for his children and dabbled a bit in projects that required a finer detail. After moving to Merritt, BC Canada he undertook the construction of his home on which he did all the interior finishing. Doing finer carpentry gave Fred a sense of accomplishment which has lead to fine woodworking and has resulted in his present phase of creating “Functional Art”.

And now, in his own words...

What Inspires Fine Woodworking In Me?

It is the idea of problem solving and the challenge of making something that reflects what I’m thinking about. It is a process of looking at something and then translating my thought image into something I build.

A lot of my ideas come from ordinary day to day things that we see in nature and all around us. There are a lot of patterns, and lines that are right there in front of us if we take the time to look.

I started to use mirror to accentuate the patterns and images around us and further enhance the patterns found in the wood and the lines and angles of the project.

Art in Merritt BC

Fractured Reflections

Do I Have a Favourite Piece?

Each one of my fine woodworking pieces is my favourite while I’m in the process of creating it. Afterwards, some have a very special place in my heart as they now have sentimental attachments. It’s a fun process working through an evolving project.

I mean evolving in the way the project changes from inception to the final product. Grain, texture, color, angles, tone and just feel for the wood often changes the direction the project takes.

As a result there are several pieces that I’m not willing to part with because they have such an emotional and personal attachment.

Where Do I Work?

I have a small 10 x 16 foot workshop in the basement of my home in Merritt BC Canada but I also use the garage to make larger cuts as that is where the table saw lives. It’s small, compact, but it lets me gets the job done.

I do not have a scheduled time for work but rather when the mood strikes. When the weather is good I do not like being in the shop, so I get outdoors for a while. I also do not want the working in the shop to become WORK! It is a pleasure place where I go to relax and escape from the regular day to day things.

I take the time needed to do whatever I have in mind to get the project to the place I feel I can leave it. If it takes me several hours or just a few minutes it doesn’t matter. I’ll invest the time needed to keep it moving along. I have at times climbed out of bed and gone to the shop to complete a task that was wanting to be done. Once this is done I go back to sleep, satisfied.

experience merritt

How Much Time Do My Fine Woodworking Pieces Take?

Time spent varies on the activity and the stage the project is at. In the initial conceptual stage I may spend several hours going over the selection of wood. I think of what angles need to be created to give the desired effect I’m hoping to achieve, and the overall appearance of the project.

When I get into the project I often work in stages such as, making the major cuts and doing a rough assembly, then moving to finer assembly and looking to see what the grains and tones are doing to the piece. It is at this stage that re-imaging often happens taking the project in a totally different direction.

Once I’m satisfied with the direction I work steadily towards final completion, at all times looking to see if I’m on track with what I want to achieve. Finally, it’s sanding, sanding, and more sanding, before the final selected finish goes on. This entire process usually takes several weeks to several months per project to complete.

To help pass the time while I’m in the shop, I’m often in a somewhat ‘meditative state’. I also listen to the radio or put on “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf!

Do I Have a Favourite Wood

Fine Woodworking

Fractured Reflections

Way back I started with oak and liked it a lot as it gave good grain character and it was somewhat forgiving to work with. Oak, a hardwood, holds its shape well, doesn’t splinter, and just pops when a finish is applied to it.

Over the years I moved to cherry and black walnut with their more subtle grain patterns and patina as they age. Cherry darkens and walnut lightens.

I’ve also worked with maple, birch, ash, beech, and use exotic woods such as zebrawood, cocobolo, purple heart, ebony, etc for accent pieces.

What About the Mirror?

I do not cut my own mirror. The glass shop works from a template I make, and I just let them do what they do best. I select the tone of the mirror to help accentuate the overall appearance be it a bronzed or silver mirror.

What Are My Challenges?

The main challenge is how to make something that represents the image I have in my mind. How do I use the grain or tones in the wood to accentuate what I’m hoping to achieve. There are many times I’ll change the direction I’m going based on what I see coming together.

My original commitment to the vision has to be compromised in order to create something different. This at times creates a bit of a mind conflict.

Fine Woodworking

Other artists admire Fred Tomlin’s work

What Support Do I Have?

It’s family and friends the give me the greatest support for my fine woodworking pieces. They are very honest in their comments regarding what I’m doing. I’m very pleased that what I have made generally meets with their approval.

Besides My Work, What Do I Enjoy?

I kind of like the older music, 60’s – 90’s, though I listen to all there is playing on the radio today. Beatles, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Great Big Sea, Imagine Dragons, Serena Ryder, IZ Kamakawiwo’ole

I try and read at least one of the Booker Prize Winners every year but I’m usually reading something historical or mystery related. Some of my most recent readings have been I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I’m not much of a movie buff, but I’ll go and see a flick from time to time. 

Favourite Things About Merritt

It’s friends and acquaintances that I’ve been fortunate to make during my years here that keeps me here. The climate is ideal for what I’ve now developed as my lifestyle. I like being outdoors and being active.  I golf, cycle, hike, travel, read and spend time with family, friends, and loved one.

The weather here allows me to get outside at any time of year. Just dress for what you see outside and you’re there.

What’s Next For My Art Work?

Fine Woodworking

Fine woodworking and stones

I’ve got about 10 sketches for new projects awaiting me when the mood strikes!

Thanks Fred, for all your work…your art work, your show set up, your answers to our questions!

Fine Woodworking and Mirror, Unique Pieces of Art

As a result of his very successful Art Show, “Fractured Reflections” at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, Fred has received suggestions for getting his beautiful work out there for others to enjoy.

“Because of this local show, I am getting a little friendly encouragement to take my show on the road. I’m entertaining this idea….”

No wonder, Fred! We also want to encourage you to take the next step with your fine woodworking and mirror art!

We are looking forward to hearing what’s next for you!

If anyone is interested, contact the nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com, and we’ll pass on your contact to Fred Tomlin.

For more on Nicola Valley Arts and Culture follow these links:

More shows we’ve had lately at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Nicola Valley Arts Council website

Facebook Page Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Instagram Nicola Valley Arts Council

Fine woodworking

Fred Tomlin’s Sunset – Jano Howarth Photo

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada bee

merritt muralRandy Travis – American Country Music Superstar

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

The First Chapter Of An Extraordinary Life

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

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

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

Randy Travis and Brother Rick

Randy Travis and Rick

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

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

Randy Travis Early Years

Randy Travis

Troubles In The First Chapter

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

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

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

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

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

The Start Of A Slow Turnaround

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy and Elizabeth Travis

Randy and Elizabeth

Chapter Two The Complete Beginning To The Rise Of Fame

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

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

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

Martha Sharp with Faith Hill

Martha Sharp and Faith Hill (An Older Picture)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy Travis

Randy Travis

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

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

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

The Hits and Awards Keep Coming

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

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

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

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

Closing Off The Decade Of The 1980’s

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Randy Travis’s Part In Neotraditional Country

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

Randy Travis 2003

Randy Travis

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Four Acting and Music During The 1990’s

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

Randy Travis-Million Dollar Kid

Million Dollar Kid

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

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

More Music In The 1990″s

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

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

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

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

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

Wind In Wire Randy Travis

Randy Travis

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

Music Keeps Charting In The 1990’s

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

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

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

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

You Alone Randy Travis

Randy Travis You And You Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

A Return To The Country Roots

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

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy Music Festival

Randy Travis

‘We Can’t Save Him…Pull the Plug’

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

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

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

Randy Travis and Wife Mary

Randy and Mary married

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

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

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

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

The Decision

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

Randy Travis Hall of Fame Inductee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

randy travis mural in merritt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses

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

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

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

An inspired start

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

Why Merritt?

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

Merritt B.C. Unique Businesses, clothes and books

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

Why a spiritual store?

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

Inside Earthwalker

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

Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses, display case

Earthwalker. Some unique goodies beautifully displayed

Gypsy, everyone’s friend

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

Merritt, B.C. Unique Businesses, Earthwalker

Renee and Gypsy at Earthwalker

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

Questions and answers:

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

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

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

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

Q: What future plans do you have for Earthwalker?

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

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

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

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

A: Small Business For Dummies (Canadian version).

Q: Can you describe your customers?

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

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

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

Fall classes at Earthwalker

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

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

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

Merritt, B.C. unique business 

Earthwalker in Merritt BC Canada

Merritt BC Canada Businesses

Merritt And Nicola Valley Art Shows

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

“Get-in-the-mood for fall art!”

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Artist Cassandra Dolen

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

More Nicola Valley Art Shows

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

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

Living Legend Contribute To Nicola Valley Art Shows

Living Legends

Pius Chong Sculpture

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

Personal History Of Art In Merritt

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

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

Wondernatural

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Artist Michelle Lonsdale

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

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

experiencemerritt

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

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

Create-Communicate-Connect

Nicola Valley Arts gallery

Artist Taiki Yamaguchi

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

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

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

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

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Faye Gustafson Art

Forever West

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

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

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

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

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

Murray Church In The Nicola Valley

Murray Church

Murray Church Show Poster, by Kim LeClair

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

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

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

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

Nicola valley Arts Gallery

Jano Howarth Photo, Kim Leclair Poster

Upcycle

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

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

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

Swing Into Fall

Robert Moretti Art

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

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

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

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Pop Up Art Gallery

End of September 2019… Swing Dance in Merritt BC!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Jano Howarth

Arts Gallery Director and community supporter!

Art and Culture Things To Do:

Firstly,  visit our Website Nicola Valley Arts Council

Secondly, like our Facebook Page Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Lastly, check out the Creative Community

 

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Joel Reid, Artist and NVAG Show Set Up

Merritt and Nicola Valley Art Shows

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

 

Don Loewen Saddlery

Leathercraft Nicola Valley Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Merritt BC’s own Don Loewen Saddlery – Leathercrafter.

 Don Loewen Saddlery – Leathercraft Nicola Valley Merritt BC Canada. Experience this Nicola Valley gem. With over 30 years of experience, Don Loewen Saddlery has created over 500 horseback riding saddles. This has earned Don’s saddlery a stamp of pure “Authentic Quality Craftsmanship”. Many of us who have tasted ranch life appreciate Don’s unique skill and talent. To ride in one of his saddles is truly an experience and honour.

Don Loewen Saddlery

Introducing Don Loewen.

In order to know Don Loewen, we need to know his history.

From birth, Don grew up within a cowboy family. Growing up with an interest in horses and saddlery he made his first saddle at 14yrs old. Don realised early in life he had a unique passion and talent for shaping leather with his hands. Don began his journey at the age of 17 leaving home and attending  “Saddle School” in South Dakota. Itis here he honed his skills as a saddle maker and artisan.

Don Loewen Saddlery - Leathercraft

Notably Don does not lack leatherworking skill.

Consequently Don opened up a home-based shop.

Meanwhile after cowboying in southern Alberta and at Douglas Lake Cattle Company with some time working in the logging industry, Don returned to his true passion of saddlery. In 1995 he opened a home-based saddle shop called Don Loewen Saddlery. Eventually he opened up a storefront business in downtown Merritt B.C. in 2004.

Don Loewen Saddlery - Leathercraft in Nicola Valley

Don showing Tania Stewart the frame of saddle.

Our saddles are highly customized to your specific needs.

Lets take a look at how Don begins to make a saddle. Firstly, a frame is made of wood and fiber glass of the horse’s frame. From that frame a saddle is fitted for the horse. Comfort, durability and the ability to stay positioned throughout a full day’s ride, is what makes Don’s saddles so well known throughout Western Canada.  Ground seat design, the skirt and seat design are skills that Don teaches and owns with a sense of pride.

Don Loewen saddles

This is a newspaper clipping of an article done about a few of Don’s students.

Equally important are Don’s unique leather belts.

Every leather belt is one-of-a-kind.

Don Loewen Saddlery leather belts

Don’s one-of-kind leather belts.

Additionally Don has added other high-quality leather products.

As well as saddles, Don crafts belts and traveller’s notebooks. Furthermore, Don passes down his art of leather crafting with teaching a wide range of people. Most rememberable were the young high school students and adults from Sweden.

Don Loewen leather bags

Truly a master leathercrafter.

Don’s saddles are well known throughout Western Canada and the World.

Horseback riding leathercraft

Horse reins.

Furthermore the skill of Don Loewen continues.

Together with his beautiful wife Jody, they have six wonderful children and two precious grandchildren. Don’s eldest son has also learned the basics of the craft of saddlery.

Don Loewen Saddlery - Leathercraft

Leather artistry at it’s best. Don Loewen.

Coupled with Don’s skill and talent everything is proudly made in the beautiful Nicola Valley Merritt BC!

Artisan Don Loewen

Artisan Don Loewen.

“I am busy as I need to be,” Don Loewen.

Horseman Don Loewen

Not to mention that Don once made a saddle for “Marmaduke”

Testimonial from Alex Robinson

“Don Loewen has always had a reputation for building a good using saddle. I looked at a couple of Don’s saddles that the cowboys in the valley had ordered and had been using for every day ranch work and I was impressed with the quality of the rigs and how they were standing up. I’ve been riding my Loewen saddles for some time now and haven’t got one complaint. The saddle sits on a horses back well and I’ve never rode in a more comfortable seat. Don’s saddles are reasonably priced and you will never get a better person to deal with.”

Alex Robinson
(Cow boss)
Quilchena Cattle Co.
Quilchena B.C.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Don Loewen Website

250-525-0220

experiencemerritt

Don Loewen Saddlery

Leathercraft Nicola Valley Merritt BC

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

Kenny Chesney, Country Music Superstar

Merritt BC Canada Murals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prelude To Popularity and Fame – Kenny Chesney

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney (the boot)

The Beginning Of A Superstar

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Goals and Grit Plus The Drive To Make Great Things Happen

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

The Beginning Of A Country Music Staple – Kenny Chesney

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Continuing With Small Steps to Big Things

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Riding The Wave To Becoming A Super Star Country Music Staple

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Continuing The Road To Shattering Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

A Whirlwind Of Albums And Tours

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

The Albums and Tours Continue

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

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

The Birth Of No Shoes Nation

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

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

Kenny Chesney

One Of The Most Famous Superstars of All Time

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

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

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

Kenny Chesney

Recognition And Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walk of Stars Handprints

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

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

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

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

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

Website: www.kennychesney.com

Facebook

Merritt BC Canada Downtown Mural Digital Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

Blog

Experience Nicola Valley

Travel Website

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

Canadian Country Music Singer – Ian Tyson

Merritt BC Canada Murals

A Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame
Inductee

Ian Tyson Canadian Country Music Singer Pioneer – Five Decades Plus

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

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

Victoria British Columbia – 1933

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

Ian Tyson - Experience Nicola valley

Cowboy Ian Tyson Four Strong Winds

Beginning And End of Rodeo Career

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

The Musical Journey Begins Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

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

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

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

Ian Tyson - Alberta Canada

Ian Tyson

Four Strong Winds

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

During the British Invasion

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

Ian Tyson Singer and Songwriter

Ian Tyson Show

Television Years

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

Back To Ranching

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

Cowboy Ian Tyson from Alberta Canada

Ian Tyson Esplanade

The Time Of Country And Cowboy Music

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

On The Road

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

Ian Tyson Country Music Legend

Ian Tyson Celebrating 50 Years Of Music

Inductions And Awards Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

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

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

 Big Country Awards

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

Country Music Association of Calgary

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

Miscellaneous

Four Strong Winds named All Time Favorite Canadian Country Songs 1988

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

Country Music Association of Calgary 1989

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

More Awards

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

Governor General’s Performance Arts Award 2003

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

Songs from the Gravel Road TV Documentary

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

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

Some Top Honors

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

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

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

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

Connecting With People

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

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

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

Ranching with Ian Tyson

The cowboy Ian Tyson

Passion, Talent and Inspiration Of A Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

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

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

 Corb Lund and his idle Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson and Corb Lund

Life Challenges

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

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

Songs with Ian Tyson

Ian Tyson

Summary of a 63 year Canadian Country Singer Pioneer

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

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

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

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

Country Music Legend

Ian Tyson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

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

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

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

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

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

Walk Of Stars Hand Prints

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

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

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

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

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

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Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon

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

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

Merritt BC Canada Murals

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Piano and Guitar

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

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

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Music Hall of Fame

The Search For Heritage

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

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

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

 New Music Experiences

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

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

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

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

New York City

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

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

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

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

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

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

Songs Singing A Statement

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

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

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie Singing

Sudden Fame Overwhelming For Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon

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

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

The End of The 60’s Era

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

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

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon 1967 Features

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon 1968 Hi Light’s

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

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie and Chet Atkins – Nashville Airport 1968

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon The Close of 1969

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

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

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

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

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

Sesame Street

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

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

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

Buffy Sesame Street Breast Feeding

The Albums Continue Throughout the 1970’s

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

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie

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

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

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

The Decade Of The 1990’s

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

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie Songwriter Hall of Fame

Art In The Mix

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

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

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

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

The Decade of The 2000’s

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

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

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie

More of The 2000’s

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

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

The Decade of The 2010’s

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon Biography

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

Years of Awards of Buffy Sainte-Marie Country Icon

Juno Awards

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

Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards

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

Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards

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

Others

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

The Awards Keep Coming

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

Doctor Honorary Degrees

• Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts (1983)

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

Canadian Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame

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

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

Merritt BC Murals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buffy Sainte-Marie

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

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

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

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

Buffy is still performing and can be followed On:

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

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