Country music is all about telling stories. There’s a song for every occasion, for every emotion, and for every milestone. And when it comes to stories, there are no better storytellers than those who are part of the Indigenous community.
We put together a list of 10 artists that you should know about. So in no particular order, here’s who you need to be listening to.
Don is also the first Chair of the CCMA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
“Let ‘Em Lie”, written with fellow singer-songwriter, Kyle McKearney, is written from the perspective of a residential school survivor and highlights the intergenerational trauma and hardships many are still living with.
You can check out Don Amero’s new podcast “Through the Fire”, which highlights overcoming adversity, re-framing misfortune, and celebrating courage.
2022 Project Wild winner, 2022 Top of the Country semi-finalist, and Inaugural Henry Armstrong Award recipient, Kyle McKearney weaves meaningful stories into his Americana-folk country sound.
Kyle received a nomination at the 2022 CCMA’s for Alternative Country Album of the Year for his album “Down Home”.
McKearney also partnered with Jason McCoy for a fundraiser in support of Food Banks Canada and their cover of Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike”.
Catch Kyle McKearney on stage with George Canyon in Saskatoon on September 30th for a free concert in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, presented by the Saskatoon Tribal Council.
Desiree is also a mother, a working lawyer, and a trusted voice within the Indigenous community.
As a proud member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, she represents an often-overlooked side of music, and is frequently invited to speak on important issues within the Indigenous community in Canada.
She recently partnered with the Canadian Country Music Association to host the Achimotak Series, a conversation between Indigenous artists about their experience in the industry, and is an artist ambassador with the Downie Wenjack Foundation.
CCMA winner, 2021 MusicNL Indigenous Artist of the Year and Spotify Canada’s Indigenous Artist of the Month in April 2002, Jason Benoit solidified his space in country music with hits like “Crazy Kinda Love”, ‘Cold Day Coming”, and “Gone Long Gone”.
Jason Joined Us On The Porch For A Great Conversation About His Career
Time Traveller – Side A is the latest release from Jason which features the smash track, “Devil in a Bottle”. Time Traveler – Side B in the works for release soon!
Teigen Gayse is a Métis country singer-songwriter with a recognizable voice, and a knack for writing catchy songs. Since 2016, Gayse has written about a range of deep and relatable experiences, like her love life, in a way that takes listeners on a journey with her.
Listen To Our Conversation With Teigen Gayse On The Porch
She first fell in love with music at 13 when she picked up the guitar. Soon after, she got the urge to tell her own stories and began writing her own music. The desire to create music and share stories resulted in Teigen going to school to become an audio engineer before becoming a full-time musician.
Brandi Vezina is a talented artist with authentic country roots. She credits her musical Métis family with her love of the art, and credits Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones, and Miranda Lambert among her biggest influences.
Vezina has also been nominated for five Manitoba Country Music Association awards this year: Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Fans Choice, Emerging Artist, and NCI FM Indigenous Country Music.
She was also recognized as the Manitoba winner in the 2021 Jim Beam’s National Virtual Search, and was nominated for a Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Award in the Métis Artist of the Year Category and Manitoba Country Music Association NCI FM Indigenous Country Music Award in 2021.
Jade Turner has already established a diverse audience who are attracted to her energetic stage presence.
Turner and her family are from Misipawistik Cree Nation, known in English as “Grand Rapids,” but she was raised in the northern communities of Manitoba.
Jade has a voice that commands your attention, but her songwriting is where she really showcases her musical talent. “I can only have my own stories, so if I want the music to be true to me, it all has to be coming from my point of view. The stories I tell will be different but I feel we’re all the same in different ways,” she says. “In the communities where I grew up, we’re storytellers and we’ve always been storytellers. Country has been a huge part of my life because it’s a storytelling genre.”
From Canada’s East Coast, Carolina East is making a splash in the country industry for her sound, which blends influences from soul, country and pop.
In 2020, Carolina received a nomination for ECMA’s Indigenous Artist of the Year. She also won Music NL’s Country Artist of the Year 2020, and recently competed in the Sirius XM Top of the Country competition as one of eight semi-finalists.
Brothers Wilde, hailing from Kettle & Stony Point First Nation, are an emerging Indigenous country duo with a unique blend of country, roots, and rock sounds.
In 2019, they earned the NACMAI Country Duo of the Year award and were nominated for the 2022 Forest City London World Music Group of the Year.
They’ve played some prestigious shows and festivals, sharing original songs like “Roots” and “Good Day” that reflect their deep roots and unique identity.
The brothers work to make their mark in the music industry while also volunteering in their community, mentoring youth in songwriting, and entertaining seniors.
Influenced by artists like Chris Stapleton and Brothers Osborne, Brothers Wilde promise a bright future in country music.
Shane, a Cree-Canadian from Hobbema, Alberta, first commanded the Canadian Country scene in 2006 with the release of his debut album Life is Calling My Name. This album was an immediate success, leading him to win many awards including the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Award for Single of the Year for his song “Beautiful Concept”, as well as the 2007 CCMA Award for Rising Star.
The album was also nominated for a JUNO Award for Country Recording of the Year in 2008.
In 2007, Shane was chosen to represent Canada on the international stage by performing at the Fourth Annual Global Artist Party at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville.
@frontporchmusic wth happened to Shane and this song? it was everywhere in 2007! remember it? #canadianmusic #countrymusic #greenscreen ♬ Pickup Truck – Shane Yellowbird
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In country music, the Front Porch has long been a place of reflection. A place where you can look at the life you have inside that front door. A place where time almost seems to stand still, where you can get away. It’s also a place where you can go to observe the world as it passes by you. To think about your place out there beyond the driveway.