Entertainment Local

BVJ: The good, the bad, the ugly

By Josh Aldrich, Camrose Canadian

Dallas Smith plays the main stage at Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose on Saturday. Josh Aldrich/Camrose Canadian

Dallas Smith plays the main stage at Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose on Saturday. Josh Aldrich/Camrose Canadian

Josh Aldrich and Leah Simonot

Camrose Canadian


After 18 main stage acts and 10 more in the Coors Banquet Saloon, it is time to break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of BVJ. 



Alabama: A+ — They showed why they are the greatest country band of all time, and lead singer Randy Owen took full advantage of the stage thrust at almost 70 years old. — JA 

Brett Kissel: A+ — Energy was beaming from the stage and the audience at Kissel’s surprise performance, not to mention his contagious smile! — LS 

Paul Brandt: A+ — Hit all the notes and more with guest appearances from Jess Moskaluke and paying tribute to the Humboldt Broncos in a big return to the BVJ main stage. — JA 

Leaving Thomas: A+ — Country is not usually my thing, but I felt right at home with Leaving Thomas. Annika Odegard is a dancing queen and it is impossible not to have fun with someone who is having so much fun! — LS 

Dallas Smith: A — Smith gave a show with next-level audience interaction. The expression of each person he shook hands with says it all: he is a performer who makes you feel important as a fan. — LS 

Emerson Drive: A — Before Saturday, I had no idea “Fall Into Me” could possibly sound any better than it did in my grandparents living room. So much energy from this band! — LS 

Danny Hooper: A — The man, the myth, the legend. He was all that as he was honoured for 25 years as emcee with a presentation and a shot back on the main stage. — JA 

Small Town Pistols: B+ — Hotter than a $2 pistol. The standout performance for me on Sunday. — JA 

Aaron Goodvin: B — Goodvin was a ray of sunshine on the main stage after a soggy morning. — LS 

Andrew Hyatt: B — Hyatt is so at home on the stage his show had the feel of a get-together among friends, especially with his high-level interaction with the audience. — LS 

Carolyn Dawn Johnson: B — Dialed back the clock to the 90s and delivered on her biggest hits. — JA 

George Canyon: B — The stoic Maritime-to-Alberta transplant was as advertised, with his deep country voice, wry smile, and traditional sound. — JA 

Nice Horse: B — Nice Horse’s camaraderie makes me wish I had a band. Perhaps I could join theirs? — LS 

The Abrams: B — Country music is not my go-to, but the Abrams’s brilliant brother harmonies are a very welcome exception on my playlists. — LS 

Thomas Rhett: B — Cannot knock his enthusiasm or work ethic on the stage, for his fans it was a big night. — JA 

Jess Moskaluke: B- — Spirits were lifted as Moskaluke’s strong vocals kept the rain away. — LS 

Kalsey Kulyk: B- — If ever a song should be written about my life, I want Kulyk to write it. She is a fantastic storyteller: admittedly, I teared up when she sang “More Time.” — LS 

Derek Jones (via Billy Ray Cyrus): B- — Did well to fill in on the fly for Billy Ray Cyrus who’s plane had mechanical issues. — JA 

Ken Stead: B- — Great vocals and songs, but needs to step out from behind the mic and work the audience. — JA 

Patricia Conroy: C — This should be almost more of an incomplete, brought the fire of her prime but had her performance cut short due to the rain. — JA 

Florida Georgia Line: C — Maybe Florida Georgia Line has some catchy tunes, but they were hard to appreciate through the spectacle of flames and smoke and lights. — LS 

Sykamore: D — This was the Big Valley Jamboree main stage, not a Starbucks lineup. Maybe she was sick, maybe it was nerves, but her performance needs a lot of work. — JA 


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