The Emerging Artist Showcase presented by Chevrolet has become a staple feature of the Boots & Hearts Music Festival in Oro-Medonte, ON. The showcase features a group of artists who compete for the grand prize – this year there were 7 artists in the showcase.
The prize features a single release with Warner Music Canada, an all expenses paid trip to Nashville for a professional writing session, a photoshoot, and the opportunity to perform at Boots & Hearts sponsored events throughout the year.
It’s a big deal for these artists and goes a long way to help give their careers a boost. Previous winners of the Emerging Artist Showcase have gone on to do some really great things, and have seen amazing success. Previous winners include Tebey, James Barker Band, Jade Eagleson, and others.
The artists involved in this year’s Emerging Artist Showcase were a diverse and incredibly talented group of young artists. Brad James started it off followed by Dustin Bird, Julia Vos, Cory James Mitchell, Nate Hall, Kris Barclay, and finally Karli June. The competition was hosted by the one and only Paul McGuire, and judged by three special guests: Tebey (The OG Emerging Artist at Boots & Hearts), Steve Coady (Warner Music), and Stan Dunford (Republic Live).
They all performed exceptionally well, but the judges decided unanimously that Cory James Mitchell Band and Kris Barclay were the two finalists moving on to the final round of the competition. These two artists will be performing Sunday on the Main Stage to determine who the ultimate winner will be.
It’s a bit of a toss-up on who we think is going to win. Cory James Mitchell Band have a more classic, bluesy, stripped down sound that is very reminiscent of Chris Stapleton. But Kris Barclay’s sound fits in exceptionally well with the current Canadian country music landscape. His songs sounded radio ready. Whichever the outcome, it’s going to be interesting. These artists are so different, that it’s going to be tough for the judges.
That’s not the end of the line for the other artists. They will continue to be showcased all weekend long throughout the festival on the Silverado Stage with meet and greets, performances, and other surprises.
Highlights From the 2018 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase
All the performers were really great, and there was a good mix between original music and covers. Each artist had their own unique quality that set them all apart. No two artist had a similar sound or style.
Dustin Bird played a nice, acoustic set by himself on the stage. It was nice to see a stripped down performance. Julia Vos played the mandolin like nobody’s business, and covered some very lofty songs: Sin Wagon by the “Dixie Chick” and “Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry. Cory James Mitchell Band had everyone in awe of his voice. It’s truly mesmerizing. Nate Hall’s stage presence was incredible! He was a thrill to watch perform. The combination of Kris Barclay’s voice and stage presence is what set him apart from the others. Karli June’s set was really fun. Her voice and stage presence were really great, but perhaps some technical sound problems through her off a little – but if it did, you couldn’t tell!
Brad James Performing at the 2018 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase
Dustin Bird Performing at the 2018 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase
Julia Vos Performing at the 2018 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase
Cory James Mitchell Band Performing at the 2018 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase
Nate Hall Performing at the 2018 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase
Kris Barclay Performing at the 2018 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase
Karli June Performing at the 2018 Boots & Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase
Photos provided by Khole Photography