CMT Hitlist Tour – Casino NB – 10/19/2011

Posted: 25th October 2011 by refrainmusic in Concerts

Deric Ruttan, Aaron Lines, and Dean Brody…all in one show, playing their own music, telling storys and playing some cover songs, how could you not want to see that as a country fan!?  This night was the CMT Hitlist tour that appeared at Casino New Brunswick, a tour that began in Kelowna, BC and is travelling across 26 Canadian cities between September 22nd and October 22nd.  It’s a really interesting concept for a concert, three acts singing together and separately, touring together and performing to each others fans. Another interesting thing about this tour, is before it started fans could vote on CMT.ca from a list of ‘cover’ songs they wanted to hear in their city, of which, the guys would take the top three vote getters and perform at the show (cool concept).

CMT Hitlist Tour - Casino NB - 10/19/2011

The night started with all three acts taking the stage together to sing “Hey Good Lookin'” and work the, smaller than expected, crowd into a lather for what was to come.  After the first song the two “D’s” of the show (Dean and Deric) left the stage and Aaron Lines maintained center stage singing some of his bigger hit’s like “Turn It Up” and “Can’t Hide Beautiful” telling the story that the latter song was written for his wife and now he feels applies to both his wife and young daughter.  Aaron Lines, has been on the music scene since 2001, from Fort McMurray, Alberta, he has had success on both sides of the border with the aforementioned ‘Can’t Hide Beautiful’ rising to number four on the Billboard Country Charts in 2003 and opened that year for Martina McBride.  Lines finished his set that evening with his only ever #1 country single “Cheaper To Keep Her”, off his fourth album Moments That Matter, to much appreciation from the crowd and it turned into a ‘sing-a-long’ song.

CMT Hitlist Tour - Casino NB - Aaron Lines

Next up with no pause was hit songwriter and singer Deric Ruttan, bursting on to the stage styled more like a rock star than a country star (no cowboy hats and plaid shirts here, like the other two acts), Ruttan started his set with his hit song “Sing That Song Again”.  I found Ruttan to be the most ‘talkative/interactive’ with the crowd of the three acts on this night as I normally find the singer from Bracebridge, Ontario to be extremely personable and very in touch with his fans.   A noted songwriter Ruttan has has a score of hit songs both himself and with others, winning the Canadian Country Music Award for Songwriter of the year in 2007 (Aaron Pritchett – Hold My Beer).  He’s written hit songs for Dierks Bentley (What Was I Thinkin’), Aaron Pritchett (Hold My Beer/My Way), Eric Church (Guys Like Me), and many more artists like Paul Brandt, Doc Walker, and Jason Blaine.  An accomplished songwriter he’s also had a slew of his own hits like his next song “Feel Alright For The First Time, and as he noted his most successful single “How I Wanna Go Out”.  Telling a story to the crowd about the local ‘legion’, Ruttan then jumped into a song that most of the crowd seemed to know the words too (made me think this would have been a great ‘bar show’) in “Up All Night” and this turned into a crowd participation sing-a-long song.  He then finished up his set with another great Ruttan song “Good Time” and made way for the next part of the trio of acts.

CMT Hitlist Tour - Casino NB - Deric Ruttan

Dean Brody took to the stage playing his hit from 2010, “Roll That Barrel Out” to much appreciation from the crowd. Brody, appears, the most ‘country’ of the three acts tonight being the only one of the three that sports a cowboy hat, but somehow it fits his style and his sound (not really picturing the other two in cowboy hats).  Brody, another Canadian boy like the first two acts was born in British Columbia and grew up in the true country blue collar style of working in places like a sawmill before moving to Nashville in 2004.  Now calling Nova Scotia home after a bad accident and some extensive recovery time, he released his second album on his current label, Open Road Recordings, the album “Trail of Life”.  He went into a series of songs off that album to top out his set playing songs like “Little Yellow Blanket”, “Wildflowers”, and “People Know You By Your First Name”.

CMT Hitlist Tour - Casino NB - Dean Brody

Next up the three acts took the stage together once again, taking the opportunity to sit together on stools with acoustic guitars, tell some more stories and alternate back and forth singing their songs in turn for the crowd.  Playing songs like “What Was I Thinkin'” (Deric), “Haven’t Heard You Cry” (Aaron), and the first hit single by Brody, “Brothers”.  They each played two songs, alternating back and forth in this ‘intimate & interactive’ portion of the show before cranking it back up again for the final portion of the night, the ‘cover songs’.

CMT Hitlist Tour - Casino NB - Aaron Lines

As I referred too previously, prior to the shows the fans could vote on CMT.ca from a list of ‘cover’ songs they wanted to hear in their city, of which, the guys would take the top three vote getters and perform at the show. Of which they kicked it off with the Eagles classic “Take It Easy”, and then taking an opportunity to introduce the band which featured CCMA guitar player of the year Jason Barry from Derby Junction, New Brunswick.   They also played country favorite Keith Whitley’s, “I’m Over You, and classic crossover hit “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle.

CMT Hitlist Tour - Casino NB - Deric Ruttan (thanks for the smile Deric!)

The finished the night being pulled back for a one song encore by the crowd to complete a great show, with a variety of different paced music, some hits, some new songs, some covers, and a whole lot of fun.  The CMT Hitlist Tour is an interesting concept, three acts, different styles, all playing to each others fans separately and together and potentially increasing their own fan base a bit.  It’s a tour style that I could very much see repeated and hope there is a “Hitlist part deux”!  I want to thank CMT, Casino NB, Strut Entertainment, Sonic Entertainment, Open Road Recordings, Aaron, Dean, and Deric for a great night of entertainment!  Until next time!