Songwriters Showcase at Country Thunder
- July 14, 2023 - Showtime: 2:30pm
- July 15, 2023 - Showtime: 2:30pm
- July 16, 2023 - Showtime: 2:15pm
Country Thunder grounds
We're pleased to be partnering this year with Country Thunder Saskatchewan on the new Songwriters Showcase, with presenting sponsor Casino Regina.
On July 14, 15 and 16 from 230-4pm, find the showcase stage on the CT grounds to listen to songs and the stories behind them. Each afternoon, 5 different artists will take turns sharing their music, songwriters-in-the-round, acoustic style. (Get there early as seating is limited!)
We are pleased to present 11 Saskatchewan artists alongside Alberta's Duane Steele and Manitoba's Quinton Blair to bring local and Canadian songwriters to CT fans.
Fri July 14, 2:30-4:00pm
Forrest Eaglespeaker (of The North Sound)
Jay Semko (of The Northern Pikes)
Saturday July 15, 2:30-4:00pm
Jay Semko (of The Northern Pikes)
Sunday July 16, 2:30-4:00pm
About the Artists
Adam Johnson: From Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Adam Johnson burst onto the scene in 2021 when his debut single became the 2nd most downloaded song on Country radio and reached #1 on the Canadian Indie Country Countdown. He has since earned top 100 status on Canadian country radio with two songs, 1000 radio spins over the past year. Adam also received multiple Sask. Country Music Award nominations in 2022, including Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year. Last spring releasing his song “Craven”, this year Adam has teamed up with JUNO-award-winning producer Bart McKay for his latest single, “Drinking With The Boys”. Inspired by artists like Luke Combs and Toby Keith, it is primed to be the drinking song of the summer.
Amy Nelson: Amy Nelson has proudly waved the Canadian flag on stages all over the world. With a focus on the Australian market, she has completed ten tours Down Under and achieved two Top 10 singles on Aussie country radio. Amy’s career has been highly recognized in Canada throughout the years including 46 nominations for Saskatchewan Country Music Awards. She has released three studio albums and recently released 2022 single “Trippin’,” for top Canadian country music label Open Road Recordings. Amy has performed at the Calgary Stampede, Canadian Music Week, Country Thunder Saskatchewan, AmericanaFest, BreakOut West, JUNOFest, Australian Music Week and hundreds of other events, festivals and venues.
Berk Jodoin: Indigenous singer/songwriter Berk Jodoin hails from the Northern community of Pierceland Saskatchewan. Berk tells stories that most people would choose to ignore, but he hopes that sharing these stories with audiences through song can help to bring awareness and understanding to the difficult issues that he writes about. His carefully crafted songs captivate listeners emotionally, fusing his influences like Steve Earle and Waylon Jennings together to create soulful storytelling with just the right amount of gravel. At the 2022 Saskatchewan Music Awards, Berk took home the Indigenous Artist of the Year award and his album Half Breed was #10 in the Album of the Year category. Berk was also nominated for a 2023 Canadian Folk Music Award for Indigenous Songwriter of the Year and was an Official Showcase Artist at Folk Alliance International 2023.
Darryl Anderson: From an early age, Darryl Anderson realized how enjoyable music truly is by watching his mom dancing around their home to Elvis and always finding time to partake in his family's singalongs, whether around a fire or in the living room. Darryl’s authentic and energetic character, with a love for the classics, are what make his performances unique. He was formerly the lead vocalist/rhythm guitar player for the band Rivers Edge, but now focuses on his solo career. Darryl has been on the final ballot for the Sask. Country Music Awards in 4 categories including Male Vocalist of the Year, won the Ponoka Stampede singing contest, has been on Telemiracle 3 times and recently hit #1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown with his song “Shots At The Bar.” Originally from the small community of Big River, Darryl now calls Saskatoon home as he continues to work hard on his career.
Donny Parenteau: Donny Parenteau is a proud Métis country music artist, born and raised in Prince Albert Saskatchewan. Beginning his musical journey on the fiddle at age 14, he is a multi-instrumentalist/singer and music teacher. After spending 12 years touring the world with Neal McCoy (including performances at The Grand Ole Opry and The Tonight Show), his solo career which followed has garnered over 100 nominations at eight major award shows, including three JUNO nominations, and numerous chart placements on the Indigenous Music Countdown. His performance highlights include the 2010 Olympics, Tours France, JUNO Awards, and Canada Day on Parliament Hill. Most recently Donny released his latest single “It Will Be Alright with Me” featuring JUNO-winner Jully Black, which went to #1 on MBC, #3 on the Indigenous Music Top 40, and can be heard on SiriusXM Indigiverse.
Duane Steele: Duane Steele is among Canada’s top country recording artists and songwriters with a professional career dating back to 1984. Born and raised in the small Alberta Peace Country town of Hines Creek, music was a big part of Duane’s life growing up. His career highlights include many hit singles including the #1 “Anita Got Married,” “Two Names On An Overpass” (with Lisa Brokop), numerous albums, a JUNO nomination and multiple CCMA awards. Duane released his latest single “The Road” in August 2022 and is currently working on his 10th album of new songs. Duane’s pure voice and natural stage presence makes his live shows a must see. When he is not touring or working on his own projects he is often writing with other artists. Production has been a natural progression and he looks forward to working in this area while continuing his own solo career.
Eli Barsi: Eli Barsi is an Award-winning singer / songwriter / musician / recording artist / author & painter, originally from the Southeastern Saskatchewan prairies. Over the last 3 decades, she has written 17 studio albums, released 11 charting singles, 6 CMT videos, and received numerous awards in Canada and the USA. She was recently honoured with the Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Arts & Culture in Saskatchewan. Eli tours extensively internationally sharing her brand of Western roots, folk & country music. Her soulful voice and Carter Scratch guitar picking will be joined by the rhythmic upright bass playing and harmony vocals of husband John Cunningham.
Forrest Eaglespeaker of The North Sound: The North Sound (New Sun Music, Nashville) was formed in 2014 by lead singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Forrest Eaglespeaker, along with Nevada Eaglespeaker, who composes and provides vocal harmonies. Keeping true to the traditions of Forrest’s heritage, The North Sound was created to share stories of Forrest’s Blackfoot identity and traditions from Treaty 7 Territory. With a no holds barred approach to songwriting, Forrest’s lyrics span across haunting metaphors from everyday experiences to personal realities. The North Sound has had four singles reach #1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown and MBC Radio, won a Saskatchewan Music Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year, and three nominations from the Sask Country Music Association. The band has performed at multiple venues and festivals across Canada and the United States, with artists like Blue Rodeo, Kathleen Edwards, Eagle and Hawk, Derek Miller, Susan Aglukark, Celeigh Cardinal, Logan Staats, and many more.
Jay Semko of The Northern Pikes: Jay Semko is bassist/vocalist with multiple JUNO Award nominees and Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame members The Northern Pikes, and is an award-winning music composer for numerous film and TV productions, including the syndicated series, "Due South". He is considered one of Canada’s premiere singer/songwriters, with 10 solo albums released, is a two-time SCMA Award winner (Roots Artist of the Year 2012 & 2015) and multiple WCMA Awards nominee. He has co-written and recorded with many of the best songwriters and musicians in music, and his first book, “The Poetry & Lyrics of Jay Semko”, was published in 2021. “Time to Time”, the latest album from The Northern Pikes, is dropping June 9, 2023 and Jay is currently at work on a new solo album, “Spiritual”, slated for release in November 2023. Jay continues to tour across Canada with The Northern Pikes and as a solo artist, sharing his songs, stories and adventures from his life in music.
Jess Moskaluke: An internationally celebrated artist, Jess Moskaluke continues to break barriers in the country music world with her big voice, pop-infused hooks, and sonic versatility, as seen with her current single ‘Heartbreaker’ and previous release ‘Not What Ya Think.’ The first Canadian female country artist since Shania Twain to achieve Canadian Platinum single status with the hit ‘Cheap Wine and Cigarettes’, Moskaluke has since gone on to earn Canadian Gold certifications for ‘Take Me Home’, ‘Kiss Me Quiet’, and her first NUMBER ONE ‘Country Girls’, and was notably the first Canadian female country artist since 2008 to have a song in the Top 3 with ‘Drive Me Away’. She’s a JUNO Award winner, Western Canadian Music Award winner and multiple CCMA winner, including Album of the Year and 3x Female Artist of the Year.
Jordyn Pollard: Born in the land of the living skies and wide-open spaces of Lloydminster Saskatchewan, it’s no surprise Jordyn Pollard is becoming a bright light in the country-pop scene across Canada. Imbued with the prairie ethos of hard work, humility and independence, she’s bringing a fresh take on the ‘90s female country sound we know and love with catchy hooks and sharp vocals to match. As a 9-time Saskatchewan Country Music Association (SCMA) nominee, 2020 SCMA Emerging Artist of the Year winner, and 2-time Saskatchewan Music Awards (SMA) Country Artist of the Year nominee, Pollard is proving to be a up-and-comer with her Billboard-charting hits and upbeat live performances.
Katelyn Lehner: The 2022 North Sask Music Zine Artist of the Year, Katelyn Lehner is making waves after releasing her debut EP “10 Bucks.” This singer-songwriter, and previous Team Canada Track and Field athlete, has been called a “vocal chameleon” and is known for her dynamic live shows, with highlights including opening for Dean Brody, Lindsey Ell, Tenille Arts, George Canyon and Corb Lund. Her music has been featured on major Spotify and Amazon Music playlists. In 2022, Lehner debuted at the Calgary Stampede as direct support for Blue Rodeo and sang for a sold-out Mosaic Stadium during the Saskatchewan Roughrider Labour Day Classic Halftime Show. Her single Red became a number 1 song on SiriusXM's CBC Country and led to her first SCMA award, for Emerging Artist of the Year.
Quinton Blair: Honest as a day spent on a tractor and driven like the drifting Prairie snow, Quinton Blair is heavily influenced by the storytelling and songwriting traditions of country music. A multiple Manitoba Country Music Association award winner, Blair has released five singles to Canadian radio. His music is heavily influenced by the likes of Dwight, AJ, and Garth which reflects the fiddle-driven era of dancehall country of the 90s. From tear-jerkers to boot scooters, Blair has an incredible handle on the country music songbook, and an uncanny ability to read a crowd and bring them to the dancefloor. Quinton doesn’t just play country music, country is in his blood.
How were the artists for this stage selected?
For our first-ever collaboration with Country Thunder, CT organizers and SaskMusic each contributed artist selections for the lineup. (On SaskMusic's part, we curated artists, and opened a juried call for submissions to our membership.) The resulting lineup is a collaboration between SaskMusic and Country Thunder.