On Thursday January 24, 2019, I had the pleasure of attending “New Hot Nashville” presented by Universal Music Canada. I received an email Sunday night congratulating me on being selected from a contest with details to the show. The purpose of the showcase was to share some of Nashville’s newest and finest talent. The lineup consisted of Owen Barney, East Adelaide, and Nashville’s featured artist, Adam Hambrick.
Hosted in the back half of a small bar on Queen Street in Toronto, the event was open to a select crowd. I didn’t know what to expect, as the details were vague and I wasn’t familiar with the venue. When we arrived at the Jasper Dandy, we were escorted to the back half, checked off the guest list and immediately immersed in a crowd of local artists, music influencers and other contest winners of course.
Owen Barney wasn’t a name I was familiar with, but the Toronto native has made sure I won’t forget. The younger singer took the stage, and out poured a mature, rich voice. He played some covers, and a couple of his own songs, and when he closed with his first single “Letting Go“ I was able to put a face and a name to a song I’d been listening to occasionally for the last few weeks. The young artist is talented and could have a big career ahead of him. I remember thinking as he left the stage, that this is likely just the beginning for him.
A familiar face in Canadian country music, Mike Robins took the stage with East Adelaide. I knew exactly what to expect, as I’d seen him play with Autumn Hill a few years back. Passionate, gifted, and a crowd player, Robins and bandmates Randie Van Corp, and Andrew MacKay sent the crowd with their rock-country tracks. Robins has a pure effortless voice that captures the attention of many ears, and East Adelaide is certainly a band that blends talented musicians with crowd-pleasing performers; something that doesn’t always go hand-in-hand in today’s music scene. While I wasn’t familiar with their setlist, I was happy to finally hear “You Don’t Get To Love Me” live, and as expected, it was better than hearing it over the airwaves.
East Adelaide left the crowd in an excellent place for an introduction to an unfamiliar face to most of Canada’s country crowd. I first heard Adam Hambrick’s “Rockin’ All Night Long“ in late October while sitting in the office listening to some new releases. After an hour on shuffle, something caught my attention, and I had to add it to my daily playlist. I had entered the contest hoping for the opportunity to see the singer-songwriter perform. He took the stage, kindly introduced himself to the crowd, and began his setlist with “Somebody Else Will,” a song he wrote for Justin Moore. After swooning listeners with some of his music from his first EP and hits to come, he played another hit he wrote,“How Not To,”which blew up when Dan + Shay released it. He let us know that was the song that really took off for him. After humbly thanking the crowd as he did frequently throughout his set, he finally let us hear “Rockin’ All Night Long”.
The New Hot Nashville Showcase combined new, hot local talent from Canada and the United States and gave show-goers a night of good-quality live music.
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.