Review of CMT Hitlist Tour in Ottawa

The CMT Hitlist Tour made a stop in Ottawa, Ontario Tuesday night – one of  26 stops on a cross-country tour. Dean Brody, Deric Ruttan, and Aaron Lines graced the stage of Centrepoint Theatre, performing for a crowd of all different ages.

The boys, backed up by a four-piece band, came out to the stage together to first perform “Hey Good Lookin'”. Just after, the show featured a set by Dean. He started by performing his current single, “Little Yellow Blanket”, followed by his hit song “Wildflower”, a performance that captivated the audience and even brought a woman in the front row to giving a rose to the artist. He played other crowd favourites including, “People Know You By Your First Name” and “Trail In Life”. Without a doubt, his live performance definitely showcases his voice and it’s unique quality and capability.

Aaron Lines followed Dean to the stage, playing past hits that spoke to his relationship with his wife and two daughters. He started with “Moments That Matter”, a song that got cheers from the crowd when one of the lyrics mentioned hockey – obviously a staple to the Canadian identity. He went on to play “You Can’t Hide Beautiful”, a song he wrote originally for his wife but is now hoping to teach the words to his young daughters so that they may be instilled with the message that beauty is about remaining true to yourself. His set included other hits such as “Turn It Up”, “Lights of My Hometown”, and the crowd favourite “Cheaper to Keep Her”. His humble personality and love for his family was quite evident in his set, making his performance very relatable to the crowd and remarkably enjoyable to watch.

Deric Ruttan was next to hit the stage, bringing to the show a high energy that spoke more to the rowdy young fans in the audience. He started his set with his first single, “When You Come Around”, followed with his popular song , “First Time in a Long Time”. Deric made sure to note that he enjoyed being back in his home province – he is from Bracebridge, Ontario. He went on to perform “Up All Night”, a song that brought the crowd to its feet for the first time during the show. He finished off with “Good Time”, a song that sums up the energy and kind of performance he wants to bestow on his fans with his talents.

Following their individual sets, the boys came out with their acoustic guitars and highlighted their talents in a raw and emotional way. Dean started the acoustic set with a song that joked about incest, one that the audience laughed to and enjoyed. Aaron and Deric slowed things down by singing two emotional songs, “I Haven’t Even Heard You Cry” and “Main Street, 1979″; each song spoke to emotional relationships with family members. Following suit, Dean sang “Brothers”, a lyrical representation of the hardships troops and their families face when they go to war. Each of those slower numbers resonated with the crowd, slowing down time and causing the audience to reflect on the aspects of their lives that these songs spoke to. Deric raised the energy at the end of the set by singing “What Was I Thinkin'”, a song he wrote that went number one for country star Dierks Bentley.

The show concluded with a set of covers that the fans had a chance to vote for on the CMT Canada website prior to the show. Joined by the band once again, the three boys performed “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle, “Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis, and “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams, a performance that brought the crowd to their feet once again.

After the show, the artists took the time to meet each and every fan to take pictures and sign autographs, showing their humble sides. The concert definitely highlighted each artist’s lyrical and vocal capabilities, as well as their modest personalities. The Hitlist Tour is definitely a show any country fan should see if they want to marvel in the true and inspirational performance of some of the best artists in Canadian country music. Not only this, but their individual performances speak to a varied demographic of ages, simply because anyone in the crowd can find comfort in the lyrics of at least one of the meaningful songs.

The tour will make stops in London, Guelph, Belleville, and Parry Sound before wrapping up out East.

Check out this picture Lydia and I got with the boys:


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