What Canada is Missing…
It may seem hard to believe an artist can pack a 75,000 seat stadium in the U.S., while Canadian country radio doesn’t even know who they are yet — but that’s exactly what happened this past weekend when Cody Johnson sold out NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. As an independent artist to boot!
Now, I get the whole thing where the entire population of Canada can fit into the state of California, which makes it hard to tour up here. But even so, as Americans jumped at the chance to see Johnson, here in the Great White North, people were left scratching their heads. Trust me, I asked my fair share of local country fans, and all I got back was “Cody who?”
It was kind of like when a Ontario based country radio station recently stated Aaron Watson’s current single Outta Style was his debut song. Really? He has seven albums out already and they didn’t state this once or that just 1 of the DJ’s was saying it. It was everyone.
I just don’t have faith in what most of Canadian country radio is playing these days.
Here’s the deal: There are so many amazing artists south of the border that nobody ever gets to hear up here, because of the lack of time radio has to play it. With a percentage dedicated to Canadian content (some of which is below subpar and should NOT be on the radio), we as country fans lose out on hearing a ton of amazing artists like the Josh Abbott Band, Randy Rogers Band, Faren Rachels Cody Jinks and Erik Dylan, just to name a few. Being Canadian, it’s tough not getting to see so many of these incredible artists live due to lack of opportunity.
I often wonder if a guy like Johnson would ever come up and play a place like the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, just to test the waters, but I also realize it’s likely not worth his time, to be honest. Why burn an evening on 500 fans when you could be playing to 10,000 on a nightly basis? Fact is, music is still a business.
If you’re reading this, you may or may not know the artists mentioned in the previous paragraph. I remember the first time I heard the Randy Rogers Band three or four years ago. There was something about their sound that just drew me in — great stories mixed with amazing vocals and sound. That started a whirlwind of paying attention to anyone RRB was playing with, and watching those artists on YouTube, or streaming them via Spotify.
Finding new music lately hasn’t been as hard because, thanks to The Bus, we’re sent countless demos and new music from artists right across North America. I love hearing new music, and that next big artist. I just wish stations would take a chance, or even an hour or two every week to play stuff that might not be in current rotation or on anyone else’s radar. That’s what has me tuning into country radio stations on the lookout for, and frankly what lures me in to Sirius XM’s The Highway, or picking up on one of John Mark’s playlists for Spotify Country.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still lots of amazing, talented Canadians out there that aren’t getting any part of the spotlight due to marketing, or lack of airspace for their singles, but most don’t have the following that I’m talking about south of the border.
This whole rant started off by saying an unsigned artist had sold 75,000 tickets to a show in Houston, and I don’t think Canada has an unsigned country artist that could fill the Danforth in Toronto.
Luckily, here at The Bus, we’re going to be launching a new feature in April that will focus on one of these southern artists weekly to help spread the good music to all of our readers.
If there is an artist from anywhere in the world you think we should be featuring be sure to hit us up on our socials and drop us a DM. We wanna know what our readers are listening too!
Corey Kelly / @CoreyKelly76