Just over a year and a half ago, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I saw Paul Brandt take the stage at Boots & Hearts 2012. It was the first year for the country music festival just outside of Bowmanville, Ontario, and people were excited. The rain had stopped from the night before. The music was on schedule, Carrie Underwood was headlining the final day of the show. It was damn near perfect.
And on that Sunday, before Lionel Richie and Carrie Underwood, was Paul Brandt. Canadian Country Star. Owner of 13 Canadian Country Music Awards, 8 Junos, and 7 #1 singles. I’ve been listening to Paul’s music since the mid-90′s when he broke onto the scene with My Heart Has a History. And I’ve continued listening, with tracks from his live album, Small Towns and Big Dreams, living on my phone every day.
The truth is, as a Canadian country music fan, you’ve been listening to Paul Brandt just as long as I have. And if you were lucky enough to see him at Boots & Hearts in 2012, or if you’ve seen him at any other show in the last 2 decades, you know why I am excited that he’s coming back to Bowmanville for Boots & Hearts 2014.
In 2012 I was hanging out with Rannie and Sara as they were interviewing artists and fans for Ford Canada at the festival, and I was in the room, sitting quietly and listening, while they spoke with Paul. He was polite and well spoken. He gave them exactly what they were looking for. He was gracious when all of the interviewers that were lined up for him asked for photos. Really he just came across as a super genuine guy from Alberta who loves what he does for a living.
That afternoon Paul was asked a question about being at the Festival and if he was happy to be there, or something along those lines, and his answer is the one thing that I have remembered from that part of the afternoon almost 2 years later. He said that (with the kids at grandma’s house) it was a mini-vacation for he and his wife, who sings back up in the band, and a chance to see friends in the industry that they hadn’t seen in a long time. I don’t know why I love that answer so much. I think it goes back to the “he’s just a really regular dude who plays country music for a living” thing.
I’m not sure where Paul Brandt will fit into the 2014 Boots & Hearts schedule. But I would be very happy if he was there in the sunshine, on Sunday, with a crowd ready to see Blake Shelton end the festival. And if it’s anything like it was in 2012 (and I fully expect that it will be) I will be singing along and feeling the feels and loving every second of the set.
Update: Paul Brandt’s website is confirming that he will take the stage on Friday, August 1 from 7:30pm to 9pm. That spot would make him the lead-in to Toby Keith as Friday night’s headliner.
Be prepared to hear songs like Small Towns and Big Dreams, I Do, I Meant To Do That, Alberta Bound, Convoy, Together Again, Give It Away, Didn’t Even See The Dust, Canadian Man and more.
If you haven’t seen Paul Brandt in concert before, I assure you that this set will make you happy. You will not go home disappointed. And, if you’re like me, hearing Alberta Bound, live on the stage will make you want to pack a bag and head out west immediately.
There are still probably about 10 names left to add to the Boots & Hearts 2014 line up. But I can tell you right now that I’m already excited to get back out to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for 4 days of country music. Including Paul Brandt.
Stay tuned for more previews, interviews and features as we get closer and closer to the festival.
And before you go, have a look at this video of Paul singing one of my favourite songs, When You Call My Name, with Boots & Hearts 2013 performers, High Valley.
Work Hard. Play Harder. Be Awesome.
And then this morning it came.
11 new names were added to the 2014 Boots & Hearts lineup which brings us to a total of 20 acts + The Reklaws who won the 2013 Sirius XM Emerging Artist contest.
2013′s lineup had 33 artists listed, which means that we will probably get 1 more major announcement before the final list of names is available for July 31 to August 3 in Bowmanville, ON.
Here are today’s 11 new additions in alphabetical order:
The announcement was made with this video, introducing all of the acts, 1 at a time, along with the 9 previously announced acts… again in alphabetical order:
Have a look.
We’re still 5 months away from congregating out in the sticks to listen to country music for 4 days, but the excitement was started.
Stay tuned for pre-festival features on artists we’ll be seeing and other country acts that we could be seeing on the Boots & Hearts stages.
Work Hard, Play Harder, Be Awesome.
This Fall the CW will give us the next in their line of superhero television series with The Flash. Following the success of Arrow, it’s a no-brainer that they bring Barry Allen to the small screen once a week for the world to see.
Arrow fans have already met Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) in his 2 episode arc this season. And we have seen the “accident” that brings The Flash to Central City. We also know that he has a big crush on Felicity, and that she returns those same feelings for the crime scene tech and soon to be speedy hero.
But what we don’t know yet is if Felicity will jump ship to join Barry in his new pursuit of justice in the red suit and lightning bolt.
And even though they would make a cute couple, my gut feeling is no. At least not on a permanent basis. For 2 reasons:
2) Ira West.
Ira West (Candice Patton) is described as Barry’s childhood friend and lifelong crush, which gives The Flash the awkward romantic storyline that it needs to get season 1 going. If we see Felicity I imagine it will be in the first few episodes only and she’ll go home when she realizes that Barry loves Ira in a way that he doesn’t love her. The Barry/Ira relationship could take a while to play out, and I have a gut feeling that unlike Oliver/Laurel, there will be a reveal of The Flash’s real identity. Whether they get together or not, this is going to be the first relationship that needs to play out long form in the series.
We also know that Barry will have a potential ally (or enemy) on the police force in the form of Ira’s father, Detective West (Jesse L. Martin) who has been as close to a father as Barry has had since his own was accused of and convicted for murdering his mother. But because we know that secret identities can not be revealed to the police right away, there could be some weird friction between these two. We also already know that Martin is good at playing a cop from his days on Law & Order, so this casting could be the most perfect in the whole series.
My best guess for first person to know Barry Allen’s secret is Harison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), the S.T.A.R. Labs physicist responsible for creating the particle accelerator that blew up and gave Barry his speed. I am a big fan of Cavanagh as an actor, and can’t wait to see how this all plays out. It makes sense that Barry will look for someone to try to explain what has happened to him, and who better than a top notch physicist to help him figure it all out. I expect to see a lot of lab time with these 2 characters running tests and discovering just what The Flash is able to do with his new super power.
I will fully admit that I am not as excited for The Flash as I was for Arrow, but I am excited. Any new DC stories that make it to the screen and are done well are alright by me. I know that I’ll be tuning in to watch, and I hope that I am not disappointed when I start to see flashes of red across my screen as Barry Allen starts saving the day and building his rogues gallery. This show could be a whole lot of fun, so be prepared to buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Update: Today (March 11, 2014) a full body image of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) in the Flash suit has been released online. Have a look and tell us what you think!
And while the fans didn’t get most of the changes that we wanted (starting pitching, I’m looking at you), we do get a whole new season with enough reasons to be excited for the 2014 baseball season.
1) Spring Training games on SportsNet!
2) Jose Reyes is Healthy!
When Reyes was lost to that gross ankle injury in Kansas City last year we all knew it was bad, but we didn’t know that it would essentially rob us of an entire season of what Jose Reyes is really capable of. With his wheels ready to go, the top of the Blue Jays lineup just got a whole lot more effective.
2 b) So is Brett Lawrie!
I’ve ripped on Brett before, but he is a big part of what the lineup needs and with him healthy on the left side of the infield with Reyes, the pitchers are going to be in good hands. If Brett can be patient at the plate and hit the way he is capable, he’s in for a good season. And we would all like that.
3) Munenori Kawasaki Will Only be a Short Drive Away in Buffalo!
4) Adam Lind’s Beard!
5) Melky Cabrera is in Shape!
We’ve got Melky for 1 more year, and after the spinal tumor was removed, he seems healthy and in shape and ready for action. And he looks like it too. Here’s hoping those legs have some spring and his bat is ready to show us all why AA signed him in the first place?
6) RA Dickey is Pitching Opening Day!
Again, healthier than the start of last season, and with good numbers in Tampa, I like the choice of the knuckleballer to start the real season for the Toronto 9. R.A. has a great opportunity to turn things around in 2014. His 2013 2nd half was a success when you look at the numbers, and I am very much hoping that we see that guy all season long.
7) Jose Bautista’s Bats!
And what he’s going to do with them. I can not wait to see Joey Bats hit the ball hard, on a line, into the 2nd deck. Often. Jose needs to anchor this lineup with Edwin at the 3-4 spots. 43 home runs, 112 rbi and a bunch of walks from Jose Bautista would make me a happy Blue Jays fan.
So… 7 reasons down and 162 regular season games to come.
Fingers crossed that we get the season we were all hoping for in 2013.
It could happen.
Go Jays Go!