Summer’s Rising Stars of Country

By Piper Whelan

Alberta’s Brad and Curtis Rempel are on the road to stardom as the up-and-coming country duo High Valley. After the release of their major label debut album and a whirl-wind rise in popularity, the Rempel brothers are appearing at two major country music festivals in Canada this summer. High Valley performed this past weekend at Country Thunder Saskatchewan in Craven, Saskatchewan. Later this summer, they’ll be in Calgary for Country Thunder Alberta (August 18-20).

Originally from La Crete, Alberta, the Rempels grew up listening to Ricky Skaggs albums on repeat, and dreamed of a career in country music from an early age. Now based in Nashville, the brothers are set to make those dreams come true, particularly if the upward chart movement of their recent singles is any indication. Being at the centre of the country music industry allowed the Rempel brothers to be exposed to a vast array of musical styles.

*

“We’ve been coming to Nashville since 2001 now, but Brad moved here about seven years ago. I moved to Nashville four years ago,” says Curtis Rempel. “Being down here has definitely broadened our horizons.” These horizons go beyond the country genre, and he cites bands like The Chainsmokers and Imagine Dragons as a few of the artists that have inspired them recently. “The music that we’ve been able to get to know in the last 10 years has definitely affected the way that our music sounds.”

The particular style of country they first fell in love with, though, is never far away. “Our sound is a combination of the bluegrass that we grew up listening to … and the cool hit music that we’re hearing on the radio today, so we kind of combine those two worlds,” Rempel explains. “It’s kind of like we’re trying to bring an old-fashioned barn dance into 2017.”

For more information about the upcoming Country Thunder festivals, check out: www.countrythunder.com

Country Festival Survival Guide

Photo by McKenzie Fotos.

Summertime country music festivals always promise great fashion, fun with friends and the musician line-ups are becoming bigger and better than ever. Two festivals that should be on everyone’s bucket lists are the two Canadian Country Thunder stops. For the overnight camping experience, the ticket is Country Thunder Craven. Held July 13-16, Craven always promises a rocking good time, and this year headliners include Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Toby Keith. For more info: www.countrythunder.com/festivals/craven-sk. Meanwhile, for day concert-going, Country Thunder Calgary is back for it’s second year at Prairie Winds Park in North West Calgary, August 18-20. Headliners for the event include Blake Shelton, Braid Paisley and Thomas Rhett. For more info: www.countrythunder.com/festivals/calgary-alberta. Western Horse Review is bringing you the definitive survival guide for fashionable festival go-ers that need to beat the heat, while still looking cool and comfortable.

Necessities

Photo Credit: McKenzie Fotos. Outfit by Cody & Sioux.

1. Sunglasses, Sunscreen and a Great Hat

These aren’t just fashionable items, these items can save your skin and head from the sun on a long and hot festival day. Sun-stroke and horrible sun-burns aren’t cute, make sure to regularly apply sunscreen, and mesh current fashion-trends with necessity by picking out an adorable pair of sunnies and on-trend western hat to protect you from the rays.

2. A Water Bottle

Speaking of staying comfortable in the heat, it is so key to make sure you have a refillable water bottle on hand to stay hydrated. We recommend S’well water bottles, not only are they chic and will compliment your outfit, they stay cool long throughout the day. www.swellbottle.com


3. A Phone Charger

Long days swaying to the music and instagramming your favourite bands and outfits mean for low batteries on your phones. Make sure to pack up a back-up phone charger source, personally we are totally crushing on these unicorn battery packs, perfect for a country music festival.

4. Quick and Easy Snacks

You will be the hero of your crew if you pack some light and easy snacks to munch on during your favourite set. Bananas, apples, granola bars, nuts for protein and some candy will keep you guys rocking long into the evening while everyone else had to bail to grab dinner.

5. Travel Sized Beauty Products

Keep yourself looking polished and photo ready with travel-sized beauty products. We recommend packing a small cosmetic bag with mini-deodorant, dry-shampoo, blotting wipes, mascara, lotion, chapstick and a small brush to keep yourself feeling fresh and ready even if the temperatures sore about 25C.

Fashion Musts

Now we get into the fun stuff, this is what country festivals are all about, showing off your cool and eclectic style with your crew, while enjoying some great music!

1. Comfortable, yet Chic Footwear

This is one of the hardest things to achieve, nothing is worse than stumbling around the festival grounds with blisters on your feet because you chose the wrong footwear. Pick cute, low-heeled booties to protect your toes from the crowds, provide some support through those long days and still look on-trend while doing it.

2. A Great Light-Weight Bag

Pair your cute booties with an adorable cross body bag, unique fanny pack, or long strap bag so that you can carry your necessities, phone, and set-lists all in one place! We are majorly crushing on the long fringe cross body Vintage Boho Loves Louis bags, cute, western, and comfortable. A perfect combo – no sore shoulders here! www.vintageboholoveslouis.com

3. Flash Tattoos

Flash tattoos are a must at festivals, but be one step ahead of the crowd and take your flash tattoos to the next level. Head to a craft store and pick up a glitter marker so you can turn your tattoos into your own semi-permanent set lists. Never miss an act when you can look down on your wrist and it’s glittering right there for you!

Photo: McKenzie Fotos. Accessories by Classic Rodeo, Nanton, AB.

4. Layered Accessories

Compliment your flash tattoos with great layered bracelets, hand-cuffs and body chains to fully achieve festival-level cool.

 

Photo: Mckenzie Fotos. Outfit by Classic Rodeo, Nanton, AB.

5. Cover Up

This is both fashion must and necessity. A great light weight jacket, shawl or poncho that is light enough to tie to your cross-body, or tuck in your bag, is a perfect accessory to any chic boho outfit that can double as a blanket to sit on, or to wrap around yourself, if the temperature gets a little chilly at night.

6. Your Tribe Effects Your Vibe

The saying is true, who you surround yourself will make or break your day. Grab your best friends, show off your own personal unique style and enjoy your favourite music together. As festival style has been ramping up the last few summers, it’s important to remember the outfit doesn’t make the event. It’s key to have fun out there and dance like no one’s watching – if you have your best crew with you, it will make it even better!

Summer of Thunder

By Piper Whelan

Medicine Hat’s Terri Clark has produced myriad hits over her two decades in Nashville, and she’ll return to the prairies this summer for two noteworthy country music festivals. In July, fans can enjoy Clark’s upbeat set at Country Thunder Saskatchewan in Craven (July 13-16). She performs on Sunday, July 16, and is looking forward to going on before fellow country star Keith Urban. “He’s, to me, just the most legitimate talent we have in our format,” she says a day after a show at the Grand Ole Opry where both she and Urban performed. “We haven’t worked together on the stage in a long, long time, so it’s going to be fun.”

In August, Clark will be back in her home province for Country Thunder Alberta in Calgary (August 18-20). After the success of last year’s inaugural Country Thunder Alberta, Clark is excited to play to an audience in the province she grew up in, and fans can look forward to an energetic show when Clark hits the stage on Saturday, August 19.

These are just two of Clark’s tour stops in a jam-packed summer that will take her from Tacoma, Washington to Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. In addition to a busy tour schedule, she has many projects on the go, including collaborations with some friends in the industry. “I just want to start doing some things that are a bit different, and keep things fresh for me, too, as an artist, as well as the audience,” she says. You can also hear Clark interview country artists on her weekly radio show Country Gold, which now airs on 120 stations. As well, she has plans for new music in the works. “I’m doing a bunch of work this summer on the road, and I’m writing songs and I’m going to start recording new music this summer … so I’m going to be busy for a while,” she laughs. “No slowing down.”

 

For more information about the upcoming Country Thunder concerts, check out: www.countrythunder.com