A Chat With Adam Johnson

Photo by Jayden Krieger

Today I chatted with Adam Johnson. He is an indie artist out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, who just recently charted as number 1 on the Canadian Indie Country Countdown. Quite an accomplishment as you will read.Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada who just recently charted as number 1 on the Canadian Indie Country Countdown.  Quite an accomplishment as you will read.

The song is “Come On Let’s Go” and is available at all the regular streaming sites. Kat Country Radio will also be playing it, so tune in on Live365 or www.thedonpearsestudios.com

Adam’s music roots stemmed from an interesting combination of a CoVid break from playing, and using it to write some tunes. Although he primarily played in rock bands, once the pandemic hit, he turned to songwriting while awaiting the return of live music. After completing a few tunes, he realized that they sounded country, sending him into that direction. It definitely seems to be working for him based on his first ever single reaching number 1.

While having only released the one single, his intent is to generate more buzz through the release of a series of songs, culminating in an EP package at a future time. This is not new to our industry as streaming has effectively changed everything, especially for new artists or non-chart topping superstars.

I asked who is influences are and he broke them into 2 categories. His music is molded somewhat by Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney. These influences are apparent in the single. He also enjoys older country artists such Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. All in all, not a bad group of peers to follow.

He is mainly playing in the Saskatoon area at this time, and only recently started playing with a band again. During the lock-downs, he mainly played well spaced acoustic sets. My normal question on whether there was a gig coming up in the Kootenays was, unfortunately, a no.

Adam has some music in his pedigree. His grandmother sang and an uncle who sang and played guitar. His uncle also had an EP recorded. Adam is considering recording one of those tracks for himself.

As an independent artist, I asked him for some tips, based on his experiences, that he would pass on to others. He responded with, put in the work, polish your song writing, and practice on your instrument. Then save some money before you get in to deep. And he’s right. Recording, even a demo is not cheap.

He finished up with some comments on the CoVid impact on his career. He used the time to buy some recording software, which he used to record a demo. He worked hard at it and it paid off with some recording time with a local producer. This resulted in “Come On Let’s Go”. The period in time was weird as he says. No concerts, no gigs, but time to make contacts and to use alternative methods to build an audience. He used TikTok, Instagram etc. to generate interest and is generally happy with the results.

I see the difficulty in generating some interest without being actually live and in front of audiences. The alternatives work out to some degree, but nothing replaces live music. If you get a chance, check him out. In the meantime, grab his single on your favourite streaming service.

La Ronge, Saskatchewan

Back in the day, we used to make a yearly trip to Lac La Ronge in Northern Saskatchewan.  The purpose of the trip was to spend some great times with great friends aboard a houseboat that one of them owned.  La Ronge is wonderful in that it is a big lake with hundreds of islands and is secluded enough that chances are good that you will not see another person for the time you are out there.  And the fishing is terrific.

The Houseboat
The Houseboat

The boat couldn’t sleep everyone, so we would find a spot on Bear Island (our favourite) and pitch a bunch of tents.  We would use the spot as a base of operations for the time we were up there.  Speaking of bears, there are definitely bears on Bear Island.  If you squint real hard, you can see the bear that destroyed our tent as it runs off into the forest.  Needless to say, we did not spend the night on the island this time.  The tents were struck and we moved on.  Unfortunately we had to rename the next island Mosquito Island.  A pretty miserable night, thank heaven for beer.

La Ronge - The Bear
La Ronge – The Bear

The next shot is Rapid River. This very short river connects Lac La Ronge to Hale Lake.  The significance is that the people who owned the boat are Hale’s.  The back story is that lakes in Northern Saskatchewan are named in the memory of soldiers who died in Canada’s wars.  All of them have a plaque noting who the lake is named for. This lake is named after their uncle, who was an airman in WW2.  He died in the Netherlands.

Rapid River
Rapid River

All in all, a beautiful place to go, full of memories, none bad.



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Road Trip – Saskatchewan

One of my favourite places is also an unlikely choice,  We lived in Saskatchewan for many years and only left with trepidation and regrets.  Having said that we made many life friends there, and a joyous occasion caused us to make the trek to our old home.  The daughter of some very close friends was married in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and most of our old group of friends were in attendance.

The first part of our journey was a 7 hour drive to Martensville, Saskatchewan, guided by my son’s intrepid guide dog, Vader.

Vader shows us the way
Vader shows us the way

He led us to Kindersley, Saskatchewan, where we stopped for lunch.

Kindersley, Saskatchewan
Kindersley, Saskatchewan

Garden spot isn’t it.  Actually a very nice town, with a typical highway frontage.  Nothing to see here.

Vader did eventually lead us to the wedding in Prince Albert, where we had a great time, catching up with many old friends.

Prince Albert with Friends
Prince Albert with Friends

The next morning, Vader took us to Candle Lake, and the lakefront cottage of some friends.  Great time, and I’ll let some pictures do the talking.

cropped-pa-and-candle-lake-aug-2013-010.jpgSunset At Candle Lake

More Sunset
More Sunset

We ran into a local trapper.

PA and Candle Lake Aug 2013 003

Vader even got his opportunity to get in some beach time with his new buddy, Mowgli.


My Favourite Travel Blogs Talks About Saskatoon

Saskatoon Skyline in Winter
Saskatoon Skyline in Winter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favourite travel blog returns home to Saskatoon in a post called the Saskatchewanian.  Pretty much says it all about a place we spent some very good years in, and sharing some time with Dean and Laynni.

The Saskatchewanian

My Reasons to Travel….As Often As Possible – Number 5 – The Sights

You wake up in the morning, open the shutters and look out on this……

Mt Vesuvius Across The Bay Of Naples

or you roll over and think to yourself, what shall I do today, maybe this..

Eiffel Tower in Paris

or maybe this…

The Rockies in Montana, USA

These are pictures, which, if you never go, is as close as you will get.  You can only get so much out of a picture, but, you can’t smell the Mediterranean Sea from your window, you can’t see an 800 ft steel structure twinkle like a Christmas tree as the Eiffel Tower does at night and the picture of Montana above is absolutely nothing compared to actually standing there, impressed enough to take a picture that you know won’t be even close to the real thing.  Yes, you say, but who can afford it (I will speak to that in my next post).  To that statement I say, look out your back door.  I don’t care where you live, you are only a few hours away from a whole bunch of amazing things to see and do.

When we first moved to Saskatchewan, we had an involuntary shudder.  What on earth is there to do there.  Surprise, within hours of our front door, we golfed some amazing golf courses, house-boating on Lac La Ronge, boating and hiking to Grey Owl‘s cabin in Prince Albert National Park, super-sliding down sand hills near Sceptre, Saskatchewan and lots of other things to numerous to mention.  All in all, it was you make of what you have.  The biggest issue most of us have is to stop watching The Travel Network, getting up off the couch, and doing it.  Be a travel show instead of watching a travel show.

What Was Once Home Is Now A Destination – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Saskatoon skyline at night
Saskatoon at Night

We spent 15 absolutely brilliant years in Saskatoon and Martensville, Saskatchewan. We made many, many friends in our time, including a whole bunch of the lifetime variety.  We love heading back to “the scene of the crime” at every opportunity.  Saskatchewan, and Saskatoon are among the best kept secrets in North America.  I can, with startling accuracy, tell if a person is from Saskatchewan  as they have a certain way about them, and I hope some of it rubbed off on us.

The tale I am telling here is a visit we made with our young cousin Lauren, from merry old Englandland.  She was here for a 6 week visit and one of things we did with her was take a trip to Saskatoon to both show her where we had spent some time living and to visit the Sasktel Jazz Festival.

First treat for Lauren was the drive, 6 and a half hours from Calgary to Saskatoon.  They just don’t understand these distances in England, or sitting in a car for that long.  It turned out she enjoyed the drive and was surprised at how not boring it was.

Arriving in Saskatchewan

Once arrived we did some touring around.  After all, I own this town.

I Own This Town

We took a walk up 21st St towards the Midtown Mall area.  They take the Jazz Festival very seriously in Saskatoon.  The downtown turns into one giant stage with music everywhere.  The streets are even renamed for the duration.  It was one of the best things about living in downtown Saskatoon when we lived there.

Jazz Street, Saskatoon, Sk

As we continue down 21st, we turn and look at one of the coolest hotels I have ever stayed in, or seen, the Bessborough Hotel.  An old railroad hotel, it was built in the 1930’s and has a palatial air about it.  The Jazz Festival main stage is in the Garden at the rear along the South Saskatchewan River.  One of the best places I have ever been to listen to great live music.  We have seen Divine Brown, Jacksoul, Little Richard, Carlos Del Junca, Colin James, Jack Semple, Kool and the Gang amongst others at this venue and loved every one of them.

Bessborough Hotel

We used to sit across the street from the hotel at the Spadina Free House, on their deck, on Saturday afternoons and count brides. Our record was 7.  The hotel, the river park and the bandstand are favourite locations for wedding pictures.  Nothing better that a cold brew on a hot day with that building as a backdrop.  Its architecture is so unique that it actually cause a hazard at times during the year.

Heads Up

By this time in the day, the girls were getting kind of bored of shopping and found something interesting that they could do while doing that female bonding thing.

Lori and Lauren Look To Bond

And finally, the music.  Not a great video, but hey it’s just a post. Kool and the gang performing live.

We completely enjoyed this trip and especially liked being tourists in our old home town.  Great place, great summers, great music.  If you have a chance, see Saskatoon during the Jazz Festival.

Listening to Sara Bareilles

Cover of "Little Voice"
Cover of Little Voice

Another artist that kind of snuck up on me.  I bought her CD based on an appearance on Letterman.  She seemed to be a very talented singer, player, songwriter, and we were in the mood for something like this in our collection.  “Little Voice” is the name of this particular CD and the song we heard was “Love Song“.  We listened to it a few times and put it away.  Then, through the miracle of iPod, I uploaded the disc and her songs began to play oon a random basis.  I kept thinking, who is this, and was rewarded each time with the name Sara Bareilles.  This CD and her new one “Kaleidoscope Heart” are now staples in any mix we develop.  I am thinking she is for real and look forward to more of her material.

Listening to Jordan Cook

Saskatoon skyline at night
Image via Wikipedia

This week is the week for The Saskatchewan Jazz Festival in Saskatoon.  Not only does it bring in the name acts, it also showcases Saskatchewan talent.  One of these talents is Jordan Cook.  For some reason, the province has been blessed with many talented musicians who continue to impress.  The list is long, but some of these are, Northern Pikes, Colin James, Jack Semple, Deep Dark Woods, Kyle Riabko the list is endless.  There was a show last night in Saskatoon that I would have loved to have been at.  It featured Jordan Cook and The Sheepdogs.  I have already done a post on The Sheepdogs, which I have linked to below.  The video attached is Jordan Cook playing live.



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