Well my friends, another year has come and gone and Boots and Hearts has sadly come to yet another end. Four days of endless talent, four days of insanely large crowds and four days full of fun that nobody will ever forget. And while it the end of a weekend, that doesn’t mean there was a lack of talent or lack of fans waiting hours to get a glimpse of the final acts of the day.
As with any festival weekend, it’s obvious to wrap up the day and tie all loose ends. A major part of Boots and Hearts is, and will always be, the Sirius FM’s Emerging Artists showcase. This is where some of Canada’s most talented country music artists come to compete for the chance to change their world. This year Vanessa Marie Carter took home the gold, wowing the crowd with her powerful vocals. She took home top prize, which included performing before Chase Rice yesterday, a week long trip to Nashville, a single release from Universal music, a custom designed website and a beautiful Gibson guitar. Multiple artists who have competed in the showcase have moved on to become some of Canada’s best country talent so we can all look forward to more from Vanessa Marie and her competitors!
Another full day of music started off with last year’s showcase winners, The James Barker Band. These guys are humble dudes who know how to rock. If you don’t know who they are, I suggest you follow them on facebook, listen to their music and make sure you instantly like them. They’ve come so far in only a year and kicking off Day Four of Boots on the main stage is really just a highlight.
There was a “Jason Sandwich” as country cutie Lindsay Ell called it, after The James Barker Band performed. Jason Benoit, Lindsay Ell and Jason Blaine took to the stage to sing away the afternoon to a very willing crowd. It’s always amazing to see so much love for our Canadian artists. With the focus always being international, it’s nice to see the homegrown love. Newfoundlander Jason Benoit had us enjoying his songs like “Crazy Kinda Love”, “Gone Long Gone” and “Cold Day Coming”. Lindsay Ell, is my hero. This beauty has an incredible voice, but what impressed me the most was her stellar guitar playing skills. She’s the perfect package and definitely made it clear up on the main stage. Performing hits like “Shut Me Up” and “By The Way”, she wowed everybody who came to the stage to listen. She’s such an amazing talent and easily one of my favourites of the weekend. Jason Blaine was his cute country self as well, completing the Jason sandwich. Playing all of his best hits and then some, he left the stage leaving the crowd well prepared for the two final acts of the night.
Chase Rice first came into the music scene as a songwriter, writing one of the most played songs on the radio for Florida Georgia Line. Since then he has created his own fame by releasing his own music and wowing the crowd with his rock-and-roll vibe. This country hottie definitely got the crowd amped up for Tim McGraw by mixing it up with a few covers and his own originals. Singing hits like “Gonna Wanna”, “Ready Set Roll”, “Jack Daniels and Jesus” and “50 Shades of Crazy”. He’s definitely acquired taste however. If you enjoy a more traditional country sound, Chase Rice may not appeal to your ears. I however did enjoy his tunes and his album is pretty awesome too!
First let me let you in on something. The very first concert I ever went to when I was eleven years old was Tim McGraw. He was the kickstart to my love of music and for that I will always be grateful. Well 19 years later and he was the headliner for the final night at Boots and Hearts 2016. And while his performance last night was one of the best I’ve ever seen, what impressed me the most was his humble nature and genuine love of his job. Not once but multiple times did he just crouch down and state “I love my job”. It’s those kinds of artist – which, let’s be honest, there are a lot of in the country music industry – that make the industry. Mixing it up with old and new, Tim had the crowd captivated from the moment he stepped onto the stage. Singing songs like “Shotgun Rider”, “Just to See You Smile”, “I Like It, I Love It” , “Southern Girl” and Live Like You’re Dying”, he brought new and old fans so much joy.
Happy five years Boots and Hearts. Congratulations on the successful execution of one of the largest country music festivals in North America. Mark your calendars because Boots and Hearts 2017 will be heading your way August 10th – 13th, 2017. See ya’ll next year.