Music

Canadian country star Kira Isabella teaming with Coors Banquet to help find one lucky One Horse Town

It’s a mystery wrapped in a contest and sealed in a beer can.

The Coors Banquet One Horse Town contest is back.

We know what, we know who, we just don’t know where.

This summer, one winning town or city in Canada will host a concert featuring Canadian country music stars Dallas Smith, Tim Hicks and Ottawa-born 2014 CCMA Female Artist of the Year Kira Isabella.

To enter, just take a picture or a video “of life around your parts” and tweet it or post it on Instagram with #OneHorseTown before May 28.

To raise awareness of the contest, Coors Banquet is holding smaller free shows featuring Isabella at Montana’s BBQ and Bar around the country, including in Calgary this Wednesday, May 23 at the northeast location (100, 2555 32nd Street N.E.), beginning at 7 p.m. with a meet-and-greet with her following.

It will kick off what should be a pretty busy summer for the star, with an appearance at the Boots and Hearts Festival and, of course, that unknown One Horse Town show.

“I’m really excited for that one because it’s such a mystery about where it’s going to be,” Isabella says. “It’s really exciting.”

Prior to her show in Calgary, Isabella spoke with theYYSCENE about the contest, her new single and what’s ahead for her. Following are excerpts from that interview.

Q: How is life? How are things going for you these days?

A: It is very, very good thank you. I just got back from Ottawa, I flew in from Ottawa this morning. Coors Banquet flew me home for a little while, so that was really fun. And I’m just sitting on the balcony in Toronto of my friend’s place, so it’s been a good day …

Q: Congratulations on the new single (Little Girl). It’s a wonderful tune and I’m assuming it’s doing good things for you?

A: Thank you. I’ve heard only positive feedback so far, which is what you want. I believe in this song so much, so thank you for saying that.

Q: It’s kind of in keeping with your other song Quarterback — maybe not the same thing, but it is a very powerful, very pro-female statement.

A: Thank you. (Laughs) I like those kinds of songs. I love the messaging so much. I think you’re right, it’s powerful and it’s uplifting, it’s not angry — I love that about it. Whenever I end up doing a song that I haven’t written, I like to talk to the writers and ask them where they were at during when they were writing the songs. And I asked Tebey, (he’s) a writer on it — and Sam Ellis, who’s actually a Canadian as well, but he’s been in Nashville for 10 years, and Elizabeth Elkins are the writers on the song — and Tebey said that he wouldn’t have put anything in it that he wouldn’t have said directly to his daughter, who is five or six years old. And at that point I was like, “Oh my gosh, I wish there was a song with this kind of messaging that I heard when I was that little, when I was a little girl.” It was really meaningful to me — I had to do it. I was really happy that I ended up with that song … just having been through what I’ve been through in my life and with what’s going on in the world, it was just meant to be.

Q: Does this foreshadow a larger release coming from you — whether it be an EP or an album?

A: Absolutely. I’m definitely working on it. It’s so interesting, I’m not going to say a date or anything or even if it’s going to be an EP, because the way that the music industry is now, it’s so cool you can even just release singles and the radio is so good — radio has been amazing to Little Girl. But, yeah, I am working on something — I think it might be an EP, so it’s five or six songs, four so far, and I have a couple that I still want to record. I’ll keep everyone posted for sure. There’s definitely going to be some more music during the summer.

Q: Going back to Little Girl and radio, there’s a great video of you performing that at a radio station acoustically, and even stripped down it’s a wonderful song.

A: Oh, thank you so much. That was actually one of my favourite things — like I said Coors Banquet flew me home and I also performed a really awesome stripped-down, acoustic and very intimate show at a Montana’s in Ottawa. And it was so awesome, to promote One Horse Town, which is so cool — the opportunity for these small towns to have a huge show with Dallas Smith and Tim Hicks and myself, it’s just such a cool idea, and I had such a good time. And one of my favourite parts was singing Little Girl, because there were so many little girls there. It was just incredible.

Q: And you’re coming to Calgary to perform, I’m guessing, the same set?

A: Yes, absolutely. I’ve been working on music so I haven’t been performing as much as I usually do. And it’s also a short set so I think I want to add a couple (songs) in for out there.

Q: So how long a set are you doing?

A: Last night was five songs, so I’m thinking of throwing a couple oldies in as well, to try and make it a little bit longer, a little extra.

Q: And it’s just you and the guitarist?

A: Yeah, just me and my guitar player, Nate Hall, he’s wonderful and he also sings so that is amazing to travel with and he just adds a really nice layer to all of the music. It’s so fun also  to arrange the acoustic versions of everything, to kind of, once you record everything, just sit down and do, “OK, how are we going to perform this with just a guitar?” It’s the test of whether or not it’s a good song — if you can’t do it with just a guitar, it’s like, “Ahh, I don’t know if I should do this.” … I need for it to translate well with just a guitar, because those are my favourite shows to do.

Kira Isabella performs a free show Wednesday, May 23 at the Montana’s BBQ and Bar (100, 2555 32nd Street N.E.).

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