It goes like this: millions of records, a couple dozen hits, a Juno Award (Canada's Grammy) for Band of the Year and ongoing sold-out shows across Canada. Universal Music acknowledges them as "one of Canada's top five selling bands of all time" and the Vancouver Sun has called them "Canadian rock heroes of the first order ... the best performing band in Canada".
In 2009, Peter Assaff of The Northern Light hailed Trooper's Ra McGuire and Brian Smith as "the Canadian version of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards" and Joel Rubinoff of The Record wrote, " ... this frolicking, rollicking showcase for McGuire's soaring pop melodies and whimsical wordplay is arguably one of the biggest Canadian bands of all time."
Then, as now, what makes Trooper what they are is great performances and great pop songwriting.
Trooper's ten studio albums have earned multiple gold and platinum awards and their 6 X Platinum greatest hits, Hot Shots, continues to be one of Universal Music Canada's best selling catalog CDs and one of the country's most enduring party soundtracks. In celebration of the band's 35th anniversary, a totally updated and re-mastered collection - "Hits From 10 Albums" - was released, featuring songs spanning the entirety of their recording career. John Kereiff, writing in Gonzo Magazine, dubbed the collection "THE summer album of 2010."
In 2012 Trooper songwriters Ra McGuire and Brian Smith were awarded SOCAN's prestigious 'National Achievement Award' to acknowledge their significant and lasting contribution to Canada's songwriting legacy.
"We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)", "Raise a Little Hell", "The Boys in the Bright White Sportscar", "Two For the Show", "Pretty Lady" "Good Ol' General Hand Grenade", "Round, Round We Go", "Santa Maria", "Janine" - just a few of the Trooper hits that, according to writer Ryan Sparks, "have woven their way into the fabric of this country like no other bands have been able to do. Tune into any radio station from Vancouver to St John's and you're bound to encounter one of their dozen hit radio anthems that are still featured in heavy rotation to this day."
Dan Brisbois of canadianbands.com writes, "They've won practically every Canadian music award possible and they've been dubbed 'Canada's Greatest Party Band' ... and rightfully so." Bob Mersereau, author of The Top 100 Canadian Albums wrote, "Trooper's Hot Shots has been one of the biggest-selling albums in Canadian music history. It has gone six times platinum, and sells consistently, as do tickets to Trooper gigs. There are clubs and festivals across the country where the annual Trooper show is practically an official holiday." Indeed, Trooper continues to consistently sell out shows across the country - often performing for three generations of fans - demonstrating that the band and its music remain borderless, timeless, and ageless.
It's no exaggeration to say that Trooper has become a Canadian legend. They continue to perform their huge collection of hits with the vitality and sense of humour that has served them well on their steady march through the hills and valleys of Canadian Rock and Roll.
Canadian rock icon Kim Mitchell sings those lines on his personal mission statement, “Rock N Roll Duty” and he’s still doing exactly that, energy and enthusiasm intact. For Mitchell, that’s what it’s all about, not the money, the fame or the trophy case.
Singer-songwriter and guitarist, Kim Mitchell, has achieved gold and multiplatinum sales status over a long and storied career, starting early on as leader of the musically eclectic Max Webster, a band who in the late 70’s defined “alternative” and “independent” long before the words became clichés. Mitchell has sold over 1.5 million recordings and toured regularly over a lengthy solo career that remains creatively vibrant to this day. Of note, 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of “Akimbo Alogo” (Alert Records), Kim’s first full length solo recording post Max Webster, a record which introduced us to Kim’s big, bold and endemic guitar driven sounds in songs like “Go For Soda” and the anthemic “All We Are”.
Along the way he won three Juno Awards for “Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year”, “Album of the Year” and “Male Vocalist of the Year”. In the late 70’s and through all of the 80’s Kim toured the largest arenas in the country and today continues to perform at festivals, casinos and Performing Arts Theatres nationally. He is a gifted and peer-respected guitar player as well as an acclaimed songwriter, having penned (in partnership with Pye Dubois) and recorded classic hits like “Go For Soda”, “Rock N Roll Duty”, “Patio Lanterns”, “I am a Wild Party”, “Easy To Tame” and “All We Are”, to name just a few – all songs that have become part of the Canadian musical landscape.
Add several new songs from his most recent solo recording “Ain’t Life Amazing” (including the national rock radio hit of the title track), and audiences are thrilled to find that participating in a Kim Mitchell concert is like being at the live recording of a greatest hits box set which includes his solo hits and often Max Webster gems like “Diamonds Diamonds”, “Oh War”, and “Battlescar”, a hard rock anthem as poignant today as it was three decades ago when it was recorded with his friends Alex, Geddy and Neil of RUSH.
In 2004, while maintaining a busy touring schedule, Mitchell was invited to join the on-air staff at the CORUS flagship station Q107 in Toronto, giving Kim his first ever day-job and one that he has excelled at. During his tenure as host of their afternoon drive show, quickly becoming one of the most popular DJs in the GTA, and the country. July 31, 2015 marks the end of an 11 year journey hosting The Kim Mitchell Show.
Mitchell has the respect of peers, fans, and industry types alike. Just what does he consider his greatest achievement? “Shoot, that’s easy,” says Kim, “it’s in the couple of hours the band is onstage, being able to take people to a special place through our performance and music. When that happens, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.” Legions of Canadian fans agree!
He’s more Mellencamp then Merle. His lyrics champion the ‘Blue Collar Hero’ in a manner that resonates of Springsteen and other roots rock legends, but it is in the country music format that Charlie Major finds his home.
Rising to the forefront of the Canadian Music scene in the early to mid-nineties, Charlie had a heyday at radio as he became the first Canadian artist in history to score six BDS #1 hits off of his debut album. Nine more chart topping hits would follow, and Charlie would crisscross the world headlining tours and connecting with his fans at fairs and festivals.
But as the old saying goes “fame comes with a cost” and it wasn’t long before a major US label signed Charlie, moved him and his family to Nashville. The head of the label told Charlie his sound needed to change and become “more country.” The marketing department thought his records might sell better in the US if he appeared on the album cover in a Stetson, and added more fiddles and steel guitars to his edgy songs. What the label did not know was that even though Major might sell out concerts, he was not the type of guy who ‘sells out’ his career. Charlie’s integrity to remain true to his fans, himself and his music was immovable and so he relinquished the dream of the big US record deal and returned to his homeland where he continues to be embraced.
Over a decade later Charlie is as successful as ever, he headlines his own tours and pairs up with the likes of ZZ Top to rock arenas full of fans from coast to coast. He has sold nearly half a million records in Canada alone and won 3 Juno Awards and 7 CCMA’s, but you wouldn’t know it to meet him, and he would not tell you. He wears the cloak of humility, just like the hardworking folks that he represents in his music.
Truly a Canadian legend and one of the accomplished ‘nice guys’ in the game, Charlie would not have it any other way.
With the release of her first brand new music in five years, Michelle Wright once again shows why her expressive voice and her distinctive style has earned her twenty‐five Top Ten radio hits, more than forty major awards (including her 2011 induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame) and sold millions of records.
Growing up in Merlin, Ontario, a small Canadian farming community near Chatham, Michelle heard the rhythm & blues and Motown hits coming out of Detroit, just forty‐five minutes away. But especially she heard the strains of country music since her parents were both country performers. “My earliest memories of music are singing in the car, or spending the weekend with my father after my parents separated and watching him put on a rhinestone‐studded suit to perform in.” As a young girl, she tagged along to countless shows. “We were never a family band, but I got a lot of inspiration and encouragement from my mother. That’s where my love of country music really began.”
In 1988, she teamed with Savannah Records President Brian Ferriman to release her first CD, Do Right By Me,in Canada and set off to tour North America. Do Right By Me was a major hit in her homeland, with seven chart singles and sales well over 40,000 copies, and it opened many doors in the United States. The American country music world was impressed, and the new Arista/Nashville label made Michelle one of its flagship artists.
The following year she signed with Arista/Nashville and in 1990, Michelle released her first U.S. album, Michelle Wright. American audiences responded immediately and enthusiastically to “that girl singer from up north with the snow in her videos,” and her first single, “New Kind Of Love,” became her first Top Thirty American hit.
In 1992, Arista released Now & Then, which included the song “Take It Like A Man,” “Take It Like A Man” was released in February of 1992, the first of seven singles from the project, and in less than a year Michelle became the first Canadian‐born artist in the modern era of country music to have a Top Ten hit in America, a Number One video on CMT‐USA (also for “Take It Like A Man”) and to win a major U.S. music industry award (the Academy of Country Music Top New Female Vocalist award in 1992). The song also catapulted Michelle to superstardom in Canada, receiving a total of twelve music industry awards, including the 1993 Canadian Country Music Association’s Fans’ Choice Entertainer Of The Year award and double platinum honors for Now & Then the same year.
The Reasons Why followed in 1994. After co‐hosting the TNN/Music City News Awards the same year and hosting the CCMA Awards in 1995, her ease in front of the camera led to her guest appearance on the syndicated series “Due South.” For Me It’s You (1996) marked the first time one of Michelle’s own songs, the stirring “What Love Looks Like,” was made available to her American fans. At the 1997 CCMA Awards, she delivered a show‐stopping, gospel‐tinged rendition of the Curtis Mayfield hit, “People Get Ready,” accompanied by a fifty‐voice choir. A personal career highlight for Michelle, she reflects, “I still get goose bumps whenever I hear that version.”
“Your Love,” Michelle’s 1998 collaboration with pianist Jim Brickman, was named the CCMA Vocal/Instrumental Collaboration of the Year and the video for “Your Love” topped the CMT Canada charts. The success of “Your Love” did not go unnoticed by Brickman’s label; New York based Windham Hill Records. The collaboration was included on Brickman’s CD Destiny and released to U.S. Adult Contemporary radio in October 1999. The song became a Top 20 AC hit in early 2000.
At the dawn of the new millennium, Michelle marked her ten‐year association with Arista/ Nashville with the international release of her latest American album, Michelle Wright: The Greatest Hits Collection. The album contained eleven of the songs that shaped Michelle’s career since she signed with the label. They appeared in near‐chronological order, rolling out the soundtrack of Michelle’s life: “New Kind Of Love,” “All You Really Wanna Do,” “Take It Like a Man,” “He Would Be Sixteen,” “Guitar Talk,” “Now & Then,” “One Good Man,” “Safe In The Arms Of Love,” “Nobody’s Girl,” “What Love Looks Like,” and “The Answer Is Yes.” The album also contained five songs never before found on a Michelle Wright album: two new songs co‐written by Michelle, “When I Found You” and “I Surrender,” plus “Your Love,” her gospel version of “People Get Ready,” and her “Walkin’ After Midnight” duet with Patsy Cline.
Michelle Wright: The Greatest Hits Collection offered listeners a sonic overview of ten magical years punctuated by highlight after memorable highlight. Michelle is proud of the achievement her Greatest Hits Collection represents. “It felt great to be at that point in my career. Very early on, when I first hit the road with a bunch of guys, crisscrossing North America in an old van, sleeping in the back on top of a couple of Peavey guitar amps, I could only dream about having enough hits to make a greatest hits package. And then there we were.”
The twenty‐first century saw five more CDs from Michelle generating more sales and more hits: Shut Up and Kiss Me (Sony/BMG 2002); her first Christmas album, A Wright Christmas, released in Canada in 2005 and internationally on Savannah Music at Christmas time, 2008; her first full album of country material in ten years, Everything And More, released in Canada in July, 2006, and internationally on Savannah Music in late 2008; the Savannah Music reissue of a remastered and repackaged edition of Do Right By Me across North America in August, 2010 and internationally the following October; The Wright Songs: An Acoustic Evening with Michelle Wright, a 17‐song collection of many of her hits performed on acoustic instruments and recorded live in Alberta at select venues during 2009 and 2010, released in Canada in late 2011 and internationally in early 2012 on Savannah Music.
Strong (2013) highlighted Michelle’s remarkable growth as a singer and songwriter ‐ inspired by the perseverance and strength that she has witnessed in friends, family, and strangers over the years. The album was produced by Jason Barry, Eric Silver, and Danick Dupelle and contained 11 songs,10 of which she co‐wrote.
Michelle continued to divide her time between touring and songwriting, but in late 2016, with a new team behind her, Michelle knew that it was time to head back into the studio. “My music is always an extension of me,” says Wright, “And each new song is a chance to push a little harder, to dig a little deeper.” In 2017, she enlisted the help of producer, friend and fellow Canadian Bob Funk to sort through the mountain of songs she had written, co-written and received from other writers. The results are an intoxicating mix of contemporary country and the R&B roots that have been the foundation of her musical journey since the very beginning.
She will continue to write and record songs but has released the groovin’ “Attitude Is Everything” (Daryl Burgess/Joanna Cotton) and the gospel-tinged ballad, “Lovin’ This Day” (Daryl Burgess, Joanna Cotton/Angie Russell) in single form. Michelle feels that this is a more “immediate” method to get her music out and is in tune with what music fans are seeking. “Out on the concert trail, we see the changing way that people are consuming music. I will always make CDs, but the new technology lets us put new songs in our show right along with the hits and make them available to people.”
More than any other recording in her career, Michelle has been involved in every element of the project. As a new approach to the project’s visuals, she consulted with local artist, and brother-in-law, Pat Millius (patmillius.com) to create an original piece of artwork. Millius works like the Renaissance painters who labored long before him, beginning each painting using a “canvas” of layered plaster on wooden panels. He used the same classic process to turn Michelle’s musical ideas into a montage of images to reflect the new music.
Michelle Wright is poised for the next phase of what has already been a stellar international musical career, one that has seen her grace concert stages across North America, Europe, Africa, South America, Australia and Asia. Michelle continues to show her fans that the feisty girl from rural Merlin, Ontario is here to stay. Or as she says, “What a way to make a living! I plan on making and playing music for a long time to come.”
Kira Isabella has a decade of experience under her belt performing her brand of up-tempo country music across Canada - an impressive feat since she is just barely 19. She has been unstoppable since her first recital at the age of seven when a fervent passion for belting out any song led her to enter every singing competition within driving distance from her hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. Her charming stage presence, bubbly personality and natural talents led her to win nearly every competition.
Kira was always looking for an expressive outlet and eventually the effervescent girl began dabbling in guitar, and writing poetry and lyrics about love, life and boys. She has since penned several tracks herself and performed hundreds of time. An immersed student of her craft, Kira delved into a variety of music, but it was when she discovered the likes of powerhouse country vocalists Shania Twain and Faith Hill, that she knew she was hooked on country.
Continually perfecting her craft set Kira Isabella apart from the crowd and she developed her stage presence skills anywhere she could. This hard work eventually led to her performing with the likes of Canadian country stars Jessie Farrell, Aaron Pritchett and Gord Bamford. By 2009 the buzz surrounding Kira's powerful pipes and dynamic sound couldn't be ignored any longer, and she was signed to Sony Music Entertainment Canada.
In 2011, Kira released her first single "Love Me Like That," and it was a runaway hit crossing over into the Canadian Hot 100 Chart, while also earning a 2012 Canadian Radio Music Award in the Country category at Canadian Music Week. The debut single is a perfect example of Kira's desire to tell a story with music. It's a story of a girl in young love with all its innocence, and talking on the phone all night, being told you're beautiful and wanting that perfect boy.
Kira continued her rise all through 2012 performing at various summer festivals around Canada such as Boots and Hearts Festival and Big Valley Jamboree, and releasing another single "A Little More Work." The track quickly climbed up the charts with its catchy melody and infectious hooks and was another hit for the young artist.
Her hard work was rewarded in the fall of 2012 with a Canadian Country Music Award for Rising Star - a highlight for the young songstress, and solidified Kira's arrival on the country music scene. If the accolades of awards weren't enough, Kira was added as support for select dates on Carrie Underwood's Blown Away Tour in October of 2012 just in time for her debut album release Love Me Like That, on October 2, 2012.
Beach Body originated as a solo basement recording project of vocalist/guitarist Rory Copithorn. Long time pals Ian Patterson (bass) and Gaelan Malloy (drums) joined in the summer of 2017 after the trio ran into each other whilst working on their fitness at the local gym. https://beachbodyband.bandcamp.com/album/plain-life-ep
BADLAND COUNTRY BAND - Badland Country Band covers top 40 country hits, classics of country and some classic rock’n roll hits. Badland Country’s current musicians have been entertaining Southern Saskatchewan for the past 10 years – playing local pubs, weddings, rodeo dances, music festivals in and around South West Saskatchewan.