This has been quite a year for Jade Eagleson, and the recognition keeps on coming.
Last fall, he took second place in the 28th Aurora Magna Hoedown Showdown country music competition, during the winter months he took his band to Bethany’s Next Country Music Star contest at the Ranch and was a fixture on Friday evenings this spring at the Golden Wheel. In May he was in Nashville where he recorded two songs and in July, he was on stage at the Norwood Jamboree.
Last month, he participated in the Boots and Hearts Country Music Festival. In its sixth year, it is now the largest camping and country music festival in Canada, and second largest music festival in North America, bringing international country music stars to its custom-designed festival grounds located at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte. Among the performers this year were Luke Bryan and Keith Urban, but in previous years the line-up has also included Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, and Brad Paisley.
Part of the tradition of this show is the emerging artist competition which showcases new Canadian talent. Thousands of applicants are screened down to eight finalists who mount the main stage in front of a huge crowd of die-hard country music fans to show them their stuff. Jade was among the finalists, who were required to perform original songs. For Jade, this was no problem. He chose his own composition called “True to You”, and apparently it was a good choice. Jade walked away with top honours, which includes another trip to Nashville where he will record a single under the Universal Music Canada label under a one year contract that, if they like what they hear, will be extended.
The media frenzy after the win had Eagleson performing on Global Television, but the success has not gone to his head. The self-effacing musician is eager to share the credit for the win with his band members Dar Kimble, Brian Martin, Brian Kerr and Brandon Taylor.
For the moment, this self-professed country boy is happy to be spending time on the family farm on Carmel Line. He is humbled by the support from his community, which was evident last month at the Havelock Jamboree where he came across crowds bearing his name on tee shirts from the Boots and Hearts contest. He also appreciates the generosity of local musicians including Jimmy Bowskills and Clayton Yates who have been key in his development as a musician.
This fall, he will head back to Nashville, and “get back to work”, but he won’t forget where he came from. He describes his current circumstance as being in the foothills at the base of a mountain. There’s still plenty of climbing to do, and he is eager to reach higher ground. KG