Brett Kissel

Brett Kissel

Brett Kissel

Brett Kissel is constantly exploring new ideas, while never forgetting what he does best. It’s an approach that has propelled him to the top of Canadian country music, with two Gold certified albums, a Platinum and eight Gold singles and 15 top-10 radio hits to his credit.
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2019 was a storybook year for Brett, winning the JUNO Award for Country Album of the Year and earning the Canadian Country Music Association’s Fans’ Choice Award, following a record-breaking 112-date tour that reached every single province and territory.

The Canadian Press crowned him “The New King of Canadian Country.” The accolades continued in 2020, when Brett was the big winner of the CCMA Awards, earning 4 trophies, including Fans’ Choice, Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year.

Although some artists might see these accomplishments as a cue to hit cruise control, for this proud husband and father of three, it’s only added fuel to his fire to give his audience more, and to expand his musical vision. That’s precisely what he’s done on Now Or Never, the first in a series of albums the pride of Flat Lake, Alberta, already has planned to release on an annual schedule. Now Or Never sets the tone of the new decade by delivering a dynamic mix of 21st Century country (“Drink About Me,” “She Drives Me Crazy”) and traditional heartstring tuggers (“I’m Not Him, I’m Not Her,” “Coffee With Her”) that are sure to find a place alongside Brett’s best-loved songs.

But listen carefully and it’s clear there’s a lot more going on. “I was in a really creative zone coming into making this record, and had written so many songs, that we decided to concentrate on the ones that showcased the diversity within my sound,” he says.

“That’s been the case with every album I’ve made to a certain extent, but now we want to take the lessons we’ve learned from those records and really focus in. There’s traditional country, pop country, and acoustic country, which really plays into the eccentric style I have as an entertainer!””

Brett credits co-producer Jacob Durrett for covering a lot of the bases on Now Or Never and channeling the creative energy in exciting directions. With experience working with artists in nearly every genre ranging from country to hip hop, Durrett’s cutting edge studio techniques gelled perfectly with Brett’s goals.

“Jacob and I are the same age and have been buddies in Nashville for about eight years,” Brett explains. “We’ve both come up through the ranks together, and as I started planning Now Or Never it felt like the right time to collaborate with Jacob. He’s been able to put more of an international spin on my music, and bring out different nuances in my voice.”

That said, Brett didn’t leave his longtime producer Bart McKay out of the process, and his steady hand maintained the album’s overall cohesion. The seamless blend of the new and the familiar is the real strength of Now Or Never, exemplified by the first single “Drink About Me,” which rocketed to the top of Billboard’s Canadian Country chart (Brett’s second career #1 single) soon after its release. It’s set the stage for the arrival of the album’s more pop-friendly tracks, particularly “She Drives Me Crazy,” which places Brett squarely at the heart of country music’s current evolution.

“My family and I are just like every other music fan. We are all over the place. With the ways people listen to music these days, I don’t think anyone pays attention to genres like they used to,” he says. “One of the tracks from my last album We Were That Song, ‘Anthem,’ had a lot of pop elements in it, and it became my fastest single to go Gold, as well as becoming an instant favourite in our live show. So with that in the back of my head, I sat down with Karen Kosowski and Emma-Lee to write one day, and we started trading lines. ‘She Drives Me Crazy’ was finished in 45 minutes, and it was an amazing experience.”

To further prove Kissel’s ability to create, one of the more acoustic-bluegrass songs “Hummingbird” was written the same day as “She Drives Me Crazy”, which to Kissel, couldn’t be “more opposite”, as he describes.

At the same time, the inclusion of a song like “That’s Country Music” on Now Or Never is a testament to Brett’s heartfelt tribute to the stars who blazed the trail for him and broke boundaries in their own ways. In fact, the album’s closing song “Coffee With Her” stems directly from the incredible experience Brett had after writing a letter to Johnny Cash expressing his condolences following the death of June Carter in 2003. A few months later, on Sept. 12 as Brett prepared to play a show marking the release of his debut album, word came that Johnny had died. But in Brett’s mail that day was a letter from The Man In Black containing a picture and a scrawled note reading, ‘To Brett, Jesus first. Johnny Cash.’

It is that personal connection country music artists have always maintained with their audiences that Brett strives to carry on, even as he aims to reach more people through ambitious plans to expand his live show. Through his friendship with Garth Brooks, Brett has learned that the sky is the limit in that regard and he is single-minded in his pursuit to give his fans an unforgettable night each time he walks out on stage.

It’s also part of the reason why giving the album the title Now Or Never made a lot sense, especially as he ushers in a new era of Brett Kissel. “You only live once,” says Brett. “Society and our culture today lives in a headspace where experiences and crossing things off a bucket list have more value than they ever did before. I too, am very much a part of this mindset. Every song leads back to that thought, whether it’s in the lyrics I chose to sing, or the way I decided to produce the song. There are songs on this project I didn’t have the confidence to record in previous years. But it’s ‘Now Or Never,’ and I’m not afraid anymore. No two songs are the same. Every song has a life.”

At its core, country music is about storytelling. Brett Kissel will always be a great country artist because he is a great storyteller. Now Or Never opens a new chapter in his personal narrative, one that shows that as country music’s boundaries continue to be pushed, Brett will be at the forefront. The young country star, not quite 30 years old, has a passion and hunger like never before.

“When people dive into the eight songs on this album, I want them to hear exactly who I am,” he says. “When you’re making music, it’s easy to get lost in thinking about what everyone expects from you. But the real magic happens when you create something they like, and you really like it too.”

“It’s make or break. It’s do or die. It’s Now Or Never.”

 

Cory Marks

Cory Marks

Cory Marks

Mixing country music with the hard hitting stomp of rock & roll, Cory Marks released his debut album ‘Who I Am’ this past August – filled with autobiographical storytelling and guitar-driven anthems, that has garnered praise globally.

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Full of autobiographical storytelling, guitar-driven anthems, drinking songs, and breakup ballads,  his songs are rooted in the influence of Cory’s hometown, where he grew up surrounded by the salt-of-the-earth residents of North Bay, Ontario.

It was there where he began playing drums at ten years old.  Whenever he wasn’t banging along to songs by Deep Purple, Ozzy Osbourne, and Rush, he was listening  to his parents’ country records, developing a deep appreciation for outlaws like Waylon Jennings and  Merle Haggard. Those two genres — classic country and amped-up rock — would eventually join forces  in Marks’ own music, earning him a string of gigs with heavyweights like Toby Keith and Brantley Gilbert  along the way. 

Before launching his songwriting career, and changing the trajectory of his life, Marks would prove  himself in the hockey rink and pursue dreams of becoming a fighter pilot. He strapped on his first pair of  skates at 3 years old, eventually earning a spot on the university hockey team at Royal Military College,  and was a dominating presence on the ice, thanks to his 6-foot 1 inch, 220-pound frame.

Prior to  attending college, he enrolled in a private pilot school where he logged in almost 100 flight hours and  eventually had the opportunity to fly one of those hours with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in the  summer of 2017. He continues working towards his private pilot license. 

While in college, he never stopped playing music but did so privately… that is, until he joined his  teammates at a local bar one night and found himself pushed onstage when the regularly scheduled musician took a break. “My friends knew I played a little music, and they were chanting for me to do  some songs,” he remembers. “It was a packed little bar. I did two originals and two covers, and  afterward, people were coming up to me and asking where I was playing next. I didn’t have an answer for them, because this was literally the first time I’d ever sung in front of anyone.” Cory began making  weekly trips to the bar, hopping onstage with each visit. As time went on, he wrote a new batch of  songs, hit the road, and hasn’t looked back since. 

A road warrior, Cory has built a strong following not only in Canada, but also in America, where he has  been recording with award-winning producer, Kevin Churko. Along with Kevin’s son Kane – the Juno  Award-winning producer and songwriter, the three of them worked together in Churko’s Las Vegas  studio, capturing the energy and electricity of Cory’s live show. It was a natural partnership. Like Cory,  Kevin had grown up playing drums, eventually expanding his career to include collaborations with  country artists like Shania Twain and rock icons like Ozzy Osbourne. “We both appreciate country music  greats like Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, but we love the heavier side of rock & roll and metal,  too,” Cory says of his producer and mentor. “We decided to mash it all together. It’s funny, because  when I was growing up, my favorite records were Ozzy records. I dreamt of having that kind of  production on one of my own records. Sure enough, seven years into my career, I’ve partnered with the  producer who worked on all those albums. What a cool circle.”

Jade Eagleson

Jade Eagleson

Jade Eagleson

At just 26 years of age, Jade Eagleson’s voice takes listeners back to the days of Johnny Cash, George Jones, and Randy Travis, in that it’s unmistakably country.
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In 2017, Jade decided to give up some of his duties on the family farm to pursue a long-time dream as a country music artist.

He signed with Universal Music and went on to record his debut and since certified gold single, “Got Your Name On It”. Shortly after the song’s music video was released, Jade was featured as YouTube Trending’s ‘Artist On The Rise’ and appeared on the website’s homepage, the first time a Canadian-signed artist in any genre has received such an honor. As a result, the music video for “Got Your Name On it” was streamed as much as half-a-million times in a 24-hour period and now has 4x more views than any other domestic country music video, ever (36 million and counting).

Jade, after only 3 singles released to radio, currently has over 85 million global streams. Since the success of his first EP, of which garnered a pair of gold-certified singles (Got Your Name On It & Count The Ways), along with a #1 at Candian Country Radio, Jade is on track to have the most streamed album globally by a Canadian Country Artist in the past 10 years.

Released on 07/24/20, Jade’s debut album can be found everywhere now and includes both previously released hits as well as three brand new tracks, including “Boom Town”, a song written by multi-Grammy award winner, Chris Stapleton. Keep an eye out for this young country superstar in the making.

Jess Moskaluke

Jess Moskaluke

Jess Moskaluke

An internationally celebrated artist, Jess Moskaluke (MDM Recordings Inc. / Universal Music Canada) continues to break barriers in the country music world with her big voice, pop-infused hooks and sonic versatility.
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The 2018 CCMA Award winner for “Album of the Year”, Moskaluke was the first Canadian  female country artist since her childhood idol Shania Twain to achieve CRIA Platinum single  status with “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes”.

Jess Moskaluke has since gone on to earn CRIA Gold certifications  for “Take Me Home” and “Kiss Me Quiet” along with a nod for her feature on Paul Brandt’s “I’m  An Open Road”. She was also the first Canadian female country artist since 2008 to have a song  in the Top 3 with the upbeat track “Drive Me Away” and has notched another SIX Top 10 hits in  addition to that with “Kiss Me Quiet”, “Take Me Home”, “Camouflage”, “Used”, “Save Some of  that Whiskey” and her first ever NUMBER ONE at Canadian country radio, “Country Girls”.  

A multiple JUNO Award nominee and the 2017 JUNO Award winner for Country Album of the  Year, Moskaluke is also a three-time consecutive Canadian Country Music Association recipient  for “Female Artist of the Year” – the first resident of Saskatchewan in the history of the awards to  achieve this title – a 2017 SOCAN Award winner, and in the summer of 2017 was presented with  five SCMA Awards including “Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year”. 

Moskaluke’s 2017 EP “Past The Past” continued to highlight her abilities as a vocalist, with new  music fueled with emotive sensibilities. Collaborating with Grammy nominated  producer/songwriter Corey Crowder (Chris Young, Cassadee Pope, Eric Paslay), the EP’s seven  tracks came alive with textured vocals and progressive storytelling. Lending themselves to  memorable live performances, the new songs saw Moskaluke earn coveted spots on the road with  Darius Rucker and Jon Pardi, a headlining performance at the 2017 Boots and Hearts music festival  in addition to high profile interviews and performances including CBC q with Tom Power (2x)  and a 60-minute home movie with CMT/Corus to name a few. In 2019 she teamed up with Paul  Brandt, High Valley and Hunter Brothers for the “Journey Tour”, travelling from coast to coast  for 22 dates across the country. 

With an ever-growing fan base, she has amassed over 32 million views on YouTube and over 40  million combined streams of her songs. Her 2018 debut holiday album “A Small Town Christmas”  went on to garner a nomination for the JUNO Award for “Country Album of the Year”, and alone  has achieved nearly 2 million combined streams. 

Last fall, she was invited to play at Australia’s C2C Music Festival, and was asked to take part in  CMC’s “Songs and Stories” series, performing six songs for a one-hour special. Moskaluke is  already taking 2020 by storm with “Country Girls” topping the charts at Canadian country radio,  and her new single “Halfway Home” is currently in the Top 20 at home and recently landed in the  Top 5 at Australian Country radio.

Josh Gallagher

Josh Gallagher

Josh Gallagher

Josh Gallagher writes songs destined to root themselves inside your brain and bring you back to the first moment you heard them, every time you listen; he’s not just making music, he’s crafting memories.
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Doggedly likeable and unashamedly himself, the Pennsylvania native has a ‘no-bullshit’ kind of charm, earning praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Billboard and CMT, along with some of country music’s greatest heroes.

“This kid,” Garth Brooks said of Gallagher, “as soon as he opens his mouth — you believe him.” 

In 2016 , Josh Gallagher forced the world to rear its head on season 11 of NBC’s The Voice, making history as the first country artist coach Adam Levine has ever led to the show’s finale. Since then, Josh Gallagher has proven he can hold his own on stage with Randy Houser, Eric Paslay, Lee Ann Womack, Cole Swindell and more. In a genre with blurred lines and pandering hits running on borrowed time, Josh Gallagher has established his own distinct voice, showing no sign of fading away quietly. 

Following the May 2019 release of his debut project Josh Gallagher EP, JG brought the country music community to its knees with the fall single and music video “Boots Like Mine.” The “Boots Like Mine” video ultimately led to Gallagher breaking his own record, spending 8 weeks at #1 on CMT Music’s 12-Pack Countdown.

Following the enormous success of “Boots Like Mine,” Josh Gallagher proudly announced the release of his sophomore EP Turn Around Town., which debuted at #10 on iTunes Country Chart. Most recently, Gallagher partnered with Realtree Camo in preparation for his single and music video “Get Lost.” 

Quite possibly the best musical representation of his personality released to date, “Get Lost” graced the homepage of CMT.com with the video’s exclusive world premiere. For more, visit www.jgmusic.net, join the Camo Crew fan club and keep up with JG —

Chris Ruediger

Chris Ruediger

Chris Ruediger

Josh Gallagher writes songs destined to root themselves inside your brain and bring you back to the first moment you heard them, every time you listen; he’s not just making music, he’s crafting memories.
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At the age of 13 Chris Ruediger fell in love with country music and began playing small shows at local restaurants and bars. It wasn’t long before his unique voice and captivating stage presence garnered a local following.

Before graduating high school, New England radio stations such as 101.7 The Bull and Country 102.5 began spinning his music. In the fall of 2017, he decided to pack his bags, leave Boston, and move to Nashville.

Over the past three years, Chris has written and recorded his own style of modern pop country music. Influenced by Sam Hunt, Brett Young, and Jordan Davis, Chris combines pop melodies with honest storytelling and relatable lyrics. In November of 2019, Chris released an emotional breakup song, “Kissing me Back,” with the help of Nashville producers Frank Legeay and Eric Torres. The single landed him on several editorial playlists. The following month he met manager Jefferson Manning who helped start piecing together a team around him. In February of 2020, Chris made his debut showcasing at Whiskey Jam, followed by a nearly sold out show at the High Watt.

Chris and his band played over 25 shows across the southeast during the 2019 fall; however, in the beginning of 2020, Chris, like other artists, was heavily impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. He started searching for avenues to continue his strides as an artist. In February, he began to see success on TikTok. It wasn’t long until he passed the 100,000 follower mark on that platform. With his Tik-Tok fanbase growing, he partnered with fellow Nashville artist, Ashley Cooke, and created something that Nashville had not yet seen. In August of 2020, they launched “The 615 House”.

“At first obviously, the pandemic shifted everything. It challenged me to dig deep and find a solution rather than dwell on the problem. We created “The 615 House” to continue the momentum we artists had going before Covid came around,” Ruediger noted. The 615 House has proven to be a success not only for Chris, but also for several other house members. Ruediger’s last two single releases, “Love Like That” and “Good for Leaving,” have received strong support due largely to his growing Tik-Tok followers.

With plans to release his next major project in 2021, Chris Ruediger continues to think of ways outside the box to have music reach as many people as possible.