Nation Thunder: Up-and-comer Brayden King mixes previous and new nation and many rock 'n' roll

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Among the many many profession strikes Brayden King was contemplating this 12 months was contacting the promoters behind Nation Thunder a few attainable efficiency.

The three-day pageant at Fort Calgary, which can function headliners similar to Tim McGraw, Keith City and Jon Pardi, is definitely one of many higher-profile gigs for up-and-coming nation artists. The Nation 105 facet stage has change into a dependable spot for nation followers to find newish expertise.

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A lot to King’s delight, it appears he was already on their radar.

“It was a aim of mine to get on that stage and I hadn’t even gotten my agent to succeed in out to anyone and I simply obtained an e mail (that mentioned) ‘Hey Brayden, you have been on a listing of artists we thought nice for Nation Thunder; should you’re we’d like to have you ever,’ ” says King, who might be enjoying the Nation 105 stage at Nation Thunder on Saturday, Aug. 19. “I used to be like ‘Oh, nice, that was simple!’ It took place by means of that. I may very well be incorrect, however I really feel like that provide stemmed from the frequency and pleasure of our reside exhibits as a result of we have now been touring continually and bringing individuals out and promoting tickets.”

Whereas he at present lives in Lethbridge, the Weyburn, Sask., native plans to maneuver to Calgary together with his girlfriend by the top of the 12 months. King and his band headlined Ranchmans Calgary on the ultimate Saturday of Stampede and he reckons they’ve performed as much as 15 exhibits within the metropolis previously two years. In 2022, he launched the indie EP, Stay From the Highway, which featured live-off-the-floor acoustic performances of each originals and canopy tunes similar to Pink Floyd’s One other Brick within the Wall and Colter Wall’s The Satan Wears A Go well with and Tie.

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He was additionally one in all 160 performers, out of 120,000 hopefuls, who landed within the high 55 of American Idol and carried out in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He was minimize earlier than he obtained any airtime, however the expertise additionally appears to have given his profile a major increase as phrase unfold.

Lastly, he has launched full-band recordings of two authentic singles and a 3rd is on the best way. His second single, Livin’ The Dream, has begun receiving radio airplay. Not unhealthy for a 22-year-old, however King admits he’s nonetheless within the technique of discovering his sound. For now, he plans to stay to releasing singles reasonably than intention for an additional EP or full-length.

“I’m not planning on something too large for the time being as a result of I’m nonetheless discovering my sound in terms of recording with full manufacturing,” he says. “I’m testing a bunch of various issues sonically and seeing how individuals reply to the completely different sounds. I don’t actually like pigeonholing myself into one particular type as a result of I’m impressed by numerous older nation, some trendy nation and numerous rock ‘n’ roll as nicely.”

There may be some proof that King wouldn’t match too comfortably into the mainstream nation mould. The title of Livin’ the Dream suggests it’s a feel-good anthem about following your aspirations, however a look on the lyrics suggests the sentiment is extra related to hangover-fuelled sarcasm after a disastrous night time.

“I like doing what I do and I by no means sit down and be like ‘this can be a track I’m going to write down for radio,’” he says. “I like writing songs simply to write down songs with no matter evokes me.”

Brayden King performs the Nation 105 stage at Nation Thunder at Fort Calgary on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m.

Dallas Smith, Elle King, Jess Moskaluke scheduled for Stampede's Nashville North

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Saskatchewan singer Jess Moskaluke, Medication Hat’s MacKenzie Porter, JoJo Mason, Dallas Smith and American singer-songwriter Elle King are among the many acts scheduled for the Nashville North tent for 2023’s Calgary Stampede.

Jess Moskaluke performs Monday on the Canadian Nation Music Awards. Picture by Mike Hensen /Mike Hensen/The London Free Pres

The stampede introduced the lineup on Monday morning. Dubbed the “Authentic Stampede Get together Tent,” the Nashville North stage concentrates on fashionable nation music. Twenty-five acts have been introduced on Monday. Live shows will run from July 6 to July 16. Entry is free with park admission.

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Different headliners embody Georgia hit-maker Billy Currington, Alberta’s Excessive Valley, Jade Eagleson, Grammy nominees The Eli Younger Band, The James Barker Band and Saskatchewan’s Tenille Arts.

US singer/songwriter Elle King performs on stage during the LBJ Foundation honors at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, on May 12, 2023. U.S. country musician Willie Nelson is being honoured with the LBJ Liberty and Justice for All Award.
US singer/songwriter Elle King performs on stage throughout the LBJ Basis honors on the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, on Might 12, 2023. U.S. nation musician Willie Nelson is being honoured with the LBJ Liberty and Justice for All Award. Picture by SUZANNE CORDEIRO /AFP through Getty Photos

Sacha, Tim and the Glory Boys, Kelly Prescott, Calgary’s Devin Cooper, Drew Gregory and Mariya Stokes will even carry out.

For a full lineup go to

The Journey Life: Canada’s king of wanderlust pushed to attach with the world

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Canadian adventurer Laval St. Germain is perpetually on the transfer. He has been since he was a Nationwide Geographic magazine-loving child rising up in Morinville, Alta., and his curiosity for the planet, together with a need to push private boundaries, continues to take him to the wildest of locations.

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Whereas St. Germain, a Calgary-based pilot with Arctic specialists Canadian North Airways, could be categorized as an excessive adventurer, the 54-year-old insists that all of us stand to profit from “unzipping our tents and stepping outdoors.”

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Q: You’re many issues, Laval: a husband, a father, a pilot, an athlete. You’re additionally a traveller. What’s it about journey that you just’re so interested in?

A: I like the thought of journey. The journey life. I like the considered being absolutely engaged and even scared at instances. After I’m outdoor and I’m pushing it – no matter “it” is – I usually discover myself in a state of pure awe. In 2022, I rode my bike throughout the nation of Oman on the Arabian Peninsula. At one level, I used to be biking down a highway with a herd of camels working forward of me. All I might hear was the moccasin-like sound of their leather-bottomed hooves hitting the pavement. It was actually like driving the pages of Nationwide Geographic. These are the moments I’m after.

Calgary adventurer Laval St. Germain. Courtesy, Laval St. Germain
Calgary adventurer Laval St. Germain. Courtesy, Laval St. Germain Photograph by Sydney Morley /jpg

Q: You’ve referred to your profession in aviation as a present. Why?

A: I’m eternally indebted to my dad, Man, for nudging my profession on this course, and to my mother, Charlotte, who supported me as a fledgling pilot in my teenagers. I’ve at all times been pulled towards nature. Being a pilot has allowed me to see wild areas and fly deep into them – to land on distant lakes, fly low and quick via mountain valleys and now, as an airline captain, witness the aurora borealis from the cockpit of an airliner at 10,000-plus metres above the Arctic Circle. Very often, after touchdown, I’ll look over on the first officer and say “Are you able to imagine we simply acquired paid for this?”

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Q: How else do you wish to journey?

A: I favor human-powered modes of transport. Path working and respiratory arduous within the mountains with loam underfoot and the scent of alpine flowers throughout. Snowboarding uphill, sweat burning your eyes and the trouble burning your quads, however being rewarded with a close to religious trip again down via the chilly smoke of excellent Alberta powder. The environment friendly simplicity of a bicycle loaded with all the things that you must stay, and simply grinding alongside.

Q: What do you by no means go away residence with out?

A: I at all times carry a headlamp and a small multi-tool. The headlamp was tremendous helpful when the facility went out within the wee hours of the morning at a dodgy lodge in Cameroon, and my multi-tool mounted a damaged ski binding on a chilly day in Nunavut. It could have additionally opened a heat beer in Bolivia. Extra importantly, I at all times journey with humility and with my coronary heart on my sleeve. I imagine that my richest human connections have occurred as a result of my vulnerability is obvious to see, whether or not with a shepherd within the mountains of Iraq or a Dene elder within the Canadian Arctic. Travelling like this opens hearts and doorways.

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Laval St. Germain arrives in France after rowing across the Atlantic from Canada. Photo courtesy of Janet St. Germain
Laval St. Germain arrives in France after rowing throughout the Atlantic from Canada. Photograph courtesy of Janet St. Germain jpeg

Q: In 2010, you grew to become the primary Canadian to scale Mount Everest with out supplemental oxygen. In 2015, you fat-biked throughout the Arctic. What else is in your CV?

A: I rowed throughout the North Atlantic Ocean, alone, from Halifax to France in 2016. So many reminiscences! Considered one of which was a dialog I had through two-way radio with a fellow Canadian, a Newfoundlander, engaged on one of many off-shore Hibernia oil platforms. It was late at night time and the seas had been stormy. I used to be lonely and my nerves had been uncooked from the fixed pounding of waves and several other capsizes. Within the comfortable crimson glow of my radio panel, which lit up the cockpit of my tiny rowboat, we spoke about his work life and our summers again residence and we talked about our wives and children and the way a lot we missed them. The one factor lacking from this Canadiana second was a Tim Horton’s espresso and CBC radio enjoying within the background.

Q: Are you able to inform us in regards to the canoe journey you took together with your then 14-year-old son, Eric, beginning on Nice Bear Lake within the Northwest Territories and following the Nice Bear and MacKenzie rivers to Norman Wells?

A: This journey was one 12 months after the tragic demise of our eldest son, Richard, who was 21 on the time. On July 15, 2014, Richard, who had simply arrived in Norman Wells three weeks earlier to begin his profession as a younger bush pilot, borrowed a canoe with a buddy. To make a tragically quick life story even shorter, the canoe capsized and our loopy, proficient, adventure-loving boy was killed. This canoe journey with Eric was a method for me to satisfy my grief head-on. So sure, journey and wilderness have given me a lot and brought a lot. Everest with out oxygen finally ended. I discovered a protected harbour on land after rowing throughout the Atlantic. However there isn’t a finish and no protected harbour while you lose a baby. Shedding a baby offers you a brand new relationship with demise and sorrow. You possibly can nonetheless chortle via the rapids and hoot because the chilly water splashes over the bow, however you may simply as simply sob at night time or fold into your spouse’s arms in grief. I’ve heard it described as a type of dexterity, the flexibility to bounce between these feelings. Journey has its personal classes. You possibly can have horrifying downs and ridiculous highs. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you face, you need to hold shifting.

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Laval St. Germain posing with his bike at the Arctic Circle. Photo courtesy Laval St. Germain
Laval St. Germain posing along with his bike on the Arctic Circle. Photograph courtesy Laval St. Germain jpeg

Q: You’re a Fellow with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a member of The Explorers Membership and also you’re represented by the Audio system Bureau of Canada, forging a fame as an professional on methods to flip “goals into targets into actuality.” Why are you so dedicated to the thought of journey?

A: People are made to maneuver. Earlier than agriculture, most of our ancestors had been nomads. We advanced to have the ability to journey lengthy distances. Extra importantly, we’re seemingly the one animal that may think about what’s throughout that physique of water, over that hill or behind that mountain. Our skill to dream about locations drives our journeys. I fear that with social media and Google Earth – exhibiting us hundreds of thousands or maybe billions of detailed photographs of each nook of the planet – we could lose our wanderlust. Instagram, Twitter and Fb can’t provide the wind, the waves, the scents, the warmth or the chilly – to not point out the heat of face-to-face human connections. I at all times encourage individuals to “unzip their tents and step outdoors.” It’s a lot simpler to remain indoors. I’m an absolute child in the case of leaving my spouse, Janet, our daughter, Andrea, and our son, Eric. When you’re outdoors, although, the momentum takes over and also you’re in your method. The Norwegians have a fantastic saying for this, “dørstokkmila” – which interprets to “doorstep mile” and basically signifies that the toughest step of all is getting your footwear on and heading out the door.

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Laval St. Germain’s latest adventure was cycling across Cuba. Courtesy, Laval St. Germain
Laval St. Germain’s newest journey was biking throughout Cuba. Courtesy, Laval St. Germain jpeg

Q: All through your life, you’ve climbed the best peaks on all seven continents. You very not too long ago returned from biking the size of Cuba. Inform us about it.

A: Biking via a rustic is a sensory expertise. You virtually caress the geography of a spot as you progress via it. In Cuba, I felt the warmth, humidity and gravity and I felt the panorama’s lovely curves as I raced alongside palm groves and seashores and swaying sugar cane fields. I can nonetheless scent the poorly refined Venezuelan gasoline and diesel fumes, the flowers, the grass and the ocean. And I can nonetheless hear the ever present Cuban roosters, the honk of a passing canary yellow 1947 Plymouth and the staccato of ‘Cubano,’ spoken as I rode previous, eavesdropping on individuals I’ll by no means see or hear once more. Seeing a rustic from a motorbike saddle, second solely to strolling, is one of the simplest ways to get the texture of a rustic and its inhabitants.

Q: It appears you by no means cease, Laval. What retains you going?

A: Life is brief and understanding that motivates me to completely feast on life whereas I nonetheless have it. I like the Hunter S. Thompson quote: “Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a fairly and well-preserved physique, however somewhat to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, totally used up, completely worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a trip!’”

Author Kim Grey is the writer of award-winning Canadian journey weblog the place this text first appeared.


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Letters, Could 12: King Charles has alternative to modernize monarchy

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It appears the recognition of monarchies has bonus new member an important deal to do with the private reputation of their monarchs. On this regard, King Charles III of the U.Ok. may be taught lots from Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

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When she grew to become queen in 1972, assist for the monarchy in Denmark was at a mere 45 per cent. Underneath her reign, it has risen to 82 per cent, the world’s highest. Maybe the primary purpose for that is her perceived closeness to her individuals.

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On this vein, Charles may additionally ask why Princess Diana was so in style. Queen Margrethe II has modernized the monarchy in some ways, together with permitting her sons to marry non-royals. She has inspired immigrants to higher perceive the Danish tradition and adapt to it, thereby permitting Danes to really feel that their tradition is being protected.

To ensure that the monarchy to outlive within the U.Ok. (and Canada), the entire British elite aristocratic institution might want to pay attention very intently to what all of the individuals need, not simply what the devoted monarchists need.

Peter Mannistu, Calgary

Little to rejoice in Russia

When in the present day’s fascists placed on the masks of liberators in opposition to Nazism whereas launching each day rocket assaults aimed toward Ukrainian civilians, certainly not can we name Could 9 Russian Victory Day. The world should not rejoice the victory of 1 dictator over one other.

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As an alternative, we should always condemn these crimes and produce Vladimir Putin and all his enablers to justice earlier than a UN Worldwide Warfare Crimes Tribunal. The Russian state and its individuals who commit these atrocities should be shamed.

Borys Sydoruk, Calgary

UCP chief’s views crossed a line

My father was a Second World Warfare veteran. It’s my responsibility to proceed to face up for our veterans and what they fought for and proceed to combat for.

The ignorance and conceitedness displayed by Danielle Smith within the newest surprising revelations about her place on Albertans who have been vaccinated and her determination to refuse to put on a poppy completely disgust me.

How can the UCP-elected MLAs proceed to face by her and never vehemently condemn these egregious beliefs? Their silence speaks volumes.

Janice Reynolds, Calgary

Well being staff bore brunt of COVID rage

We, the front-line health-care employees on the hospitals, have been those being known as Nazis and communists, and absorbed insults for merely attempting to implement restrictions so the general public would neither carry COVID into the hospital nor contract it.

The antics of Donald Trump and Danielle Smith alike created such a divide and put excessive undue stress on medical employees who solely have been solely attempting to comprise the contagion. None of you understand what occurred contained in the hospitals and the various journeys to the morgue that needed to be made.

Thanks to all of the Albertans who did the suitable factor and bought vaccinated.

Liz Gibbs, Calgary

A story of two Richards: Actors incorporate disabilities into trendy and conventional takes on Shakespeare's king

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Bruce Horak has been legally blind since he was an toddler and Dylan Thomas-Bouchier has lived his life with cerebral palsy, however neither man has allowed his incapacity to maintain him from pursuing a life within the theatre.

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In a casting coup not only for the actors themselves however for Calgary audiences, each Horak and Thomas-Bouchier can be enjoying Shakespeare’s notorious villain Richard III, utilizing their disabilities to additional flesh out the character of this ruthless British monarch who himself suffered from scoliosis.

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Horak will play Richard in a manufacturing of Richard III for The Shakespeare Firm and Hit & Delusion Productions within the Vertigo Studio Theatre from April 14-29. Thomas-Bouchier will play a up to date model of the person set in an American highschool in Mike Lew’s much-praised 2018 comedy Teenage Dick, a co-production of Alberta Theatre Tasks, The Shakespeare Firm and Hit & Delusion Productions. It runs within the Martha Cohen Theatre from April 18-30. The scheduling permits audiences the possibility to see each variations of this story of a person who would cease at nothing to succeed in every new purpose he set for himself.

Horak performed a extra conventional model of Richard for Shakespeare within the Park in 1999, however when he met his new director, Vanessa Porteous, she advised him she wished him to lean into his lived experiences.

“My Richard is now visually impaired. He has just one eye, a patch on the opposite eye and makes use of a cane. It’s being virtually blind that has made Richard really feel like an outsider all his life. There have been instances I’ve felt like an outsider so I’ve taken experiences like that and dialled them up and right down to play Richard this time,” says Horak, who solely started utilizing a white cane 15 years in the past.

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“I received an audition for a film referred to as Blindness and the character wanted to make use of a cane so I went to the CNIB to get a cane and discover ways to use it. I didn’t get the half. It went to (Toronto actor) Maury Chaykin however at the least I realized tips on how to use a cane and it has come in useful many instances since. I now use one to get round, particularly in new cities.”

Horak says it’s solely in rehearsals that he “feels extremely weak. By the point we attain performances I’ve realized the choreography so I do know the place all the things and everyone seems to be so I really feel safer. I used to be a pupil of (the late) Keith Johnstone and he stated being on stage was all about taking dangers and feeling weak, so these emotions are nothing new to me.”

Porteous additionally advised Horak she “wished to see extra of my pure playfulness in Richard, which gave me the chance to discover all of the masks and personas he makes use of, all the things from the intense to the melodramatic.”

Whereas there was no onus on Alberta Theatre Tasks and companions to include a incapacity into their Richard play, that wasn’t the case when it got here to Teenage Dick.

One of many situations for any firm producing the play is that they make use of disabled actors, each King Richard and his finest pal Buck, who’s wheelchair-bound. (This function is performed by Riki Entz.)

“My CP (cerebral palsy) is my CP so it’s what Richard’s situation goes to be. Every actor who performs Richard in Teenage Dick brings his distinctive lived expertise to the character,” says Thomas-Bouchier, who recollects, as a teen, he skilled most of the emotions that Richard does as a highschool pupil.

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“I used to be a younger, Indigenous, disabled boy. I assumed everybody was making enjoyable of me and even simply gazing me behind my again. I wasn’t an outgoing particular person so I didn’t have many pals. I used to be unhappy and even suicidal at instances. That is how Richard thinks and feels and, sadly for him, he doesn’t obtain the nurturing I did.”

Each actors credit score their fathers for encouraging them within the arts which gave them a way of goal.

“My father had the identical most cancers I did. He misplaced one in all his eyes. Sharing this incapacity drew us very shut,” says Horak. “The humanities had been very prevalent in our home. There was music, portray, performing and sketching. There was no query I used to be going to have an inventive life. The humanities saved my life by giving me a life. It’s why I didn’t flip right into a bitter, vengeful particular person like Richard.”

Thomas-Bouchier says his father, Alberta artist Russell Thomas, was as soon as a neighborhood theatre actor in Fort McMurray. “After I was 14, my father satisfied me to play one of many revolutionaries in a manufacturing of Les Miserables the place he was enjoying the innkeeper Thenardier.

“By theatre, I received a correct sense of neighborhood and I discovered so many good function fashions within the adults I used to be working with. Theatre was what I wanted at that time in my life. It saved my life by giving me a goal and one thing to try for.”

When he was 19, Thomas-Bouchier auditioned and was one in all solely 14 college students accepted into the Nationwide Theatre of Canada’s prestigious performing program. He was in his second yr on the Nationwide Theatre Faculty when he obtained a name from ATP’s then-artistic director, the late Darcy Evans, who had scheduled Teenage Dick for the corporate’s 2020 season.

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“Darcy requested if I might drop out of lessons to do the play for him however I stated, as a lot as I wished that function, I needed to end my coaching. Then the pandemic cancelled theatre seasons all over the place and by the point ATP rescheduled the play, I used to be out there. Fortuitously, Jenna Rodgers, who’s now directing it, requested me to audition.

“I really feel this is usually a very particular expertise for Calgary audiences, particularly the highschool college students who can be attending the matinees. It will likely be a uncommon alternative to see two Indigenous actors in myself and Todd Houseman, and (two actors with disabilities) and we’re all from Calgary. That is one thing we are able to all brag about.”

Tickets for each Richard III and Teenage Dick can be found at or


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