It’s been far too long since we did an update for y’all here and so much has happened, we’ve decided to give you the full story by way of a journal of sorts, so here goes…first of all, we want you to know that our 2015 was, as we say in Newfoundland, “wicked altogether”! For the uninitiated, that’s a good thing! It was pretty sweet for The Secrets to be kicking off the year with the MusicNL “Country Recording of the Year Award” for our debut album Break Even in our front pocket…then to be recognized soon thereafter with an East Coast Music Award nomination in the same category – Country Album of the Year – was the proverbial “icing on the cake”. A big shout out to our fans, friends, music industry family, and the good folks at radio, for helping to make this happen!
February brought the donning of our favorite team jerseys for The Secrets shows at Hometown Hockey festivities in St. John’s, NL, then a click of the heels and we were off to Kansas City and the Folk Alliance International Conference, where we enjoyed four days and nights of non-stop networking and showcasing for delegates from around the world. On our arrival home to Newfoundland, we released “Big Time” (our second single from Break Even) to enthusiastic response from country radio, and launched our “Big Time” video:
The month of March in NL was rather chilly, snowy, windy or to be more precise, what some might call “snowmageddon”, so you can imagine how delighted we were to have The Secrets selected for an international exchange program that saw us jet off to sunny Barbados for a week of collaboration with Barbadian musicians and the filming of a TV special for Club One New Releases – International Edition. We had a blast working with Barbadian pop artist Tye Blue, and loved having Tye and all the crew from Barbados join us back home in April when the East Coast Music Awards and Conference took over the host city of St. John’s, NL. The Secrets were blessed with having performances on seven different showcase stages during the ECMA festivities, including a live CBC radio broadcast from the legendary LSPU Hall, and had a grand time with it all!
The annual fundraiser for our local children’s hospital took place in early June and The Secrets were thrilled to perform on the Janeway Telethon in St. John’s, which raised over $3M for the Janeway! The very next morning we boarded a flight to Nova Scotia ‘cause The Secrets were selected as one of the six finalists in the Canadian Country Music Association – Discovery Atlantic program, which took us to Halifax (host city for the 2015 CCMA Awards) for a week-long “boot camp”. We participated in several excellent training seminars with coaching from international music industry professionals in the field of performance, vocal training, media, etc., and wrapped up with a showcase for a room full of music industry pros, media and judges from CCMA. While in Halifax, we were also fortunate to do several interviews with regional media outlets including CTV News at 5 and the Chronicle Herald, then hopped a plane back home for a few days rest before headlining the opening night of Festival at Ochre Pit Cove – a fabulous annual weekend event celebrating Newfoundland music, books and art!
July 2015 marked The Secrets return to the Maritimes for a string of festival appearances including PEI’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival (the largest country music festival in eastern Canada) for our performance on the CCMA Discovery Atlantic stage. We then made the mad dash to Nova Scotia for performances at Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women & Song, and a Sunday matinee at the Economy Hall Sessions – hosted by guitar wizard Bill Elliott and his lovely wife Natalie. Renee did some bass fishing while there on the Bay of Fundy, so she was a very happy camper, literally, as we enjoyed a few days stay in the Elliott’s RV in Economy before we all headed to Kempt Shore, NS for the annual Acoustic Maritime Music Festival. The Secrets did three main stage shows in as many days, along with a bit of jammin’ and hangin’ with friends and fans, before hittin’ the road back to Halifax to headline East Coast Country Night at Casino Nova Scotia! In the midst of all of the festival hopping, we took time out to visit country radio host Russell MacKenzie at FX 101.9 and recorded an interview segment for his Maritime Broadcasting syndicated program, Maritime Centre Stage, and earned our “morning people” stripes from host Heidi Petracek by doing an interview and live performance for CTV Morning Live.
We headed home to NL for August, where it was all about the outdoor shows for The Secrets. We played Clarenville’s Arts Under The Stars (what’s not to love about a concert series with a name like that?), which proved to be a perfect lead up to The Secrets’ main stage debut at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival! Now that was “a time”! We definitely love touring, performing for and meeting new people, making new fans and all that comes with being “on the road”, but truly nothing compares to celebrating with and “feeling the love” from the hometown crowd! Thankfully we then had a couple of weeks to catch up on laundry, family time and sleep, before traveling across the island for more wild and crazy times at Shaun Majumder’s The Gathering in Burlington, NL, and shortly thereafter, a fabulous evening at The Garrick Theatre in picturesque Bonavista, NL…all leading to the excitement and joy of attending the CCMA Awards in Halifax (Sept 10 – 13). While there we filmed a live performance and interview for George Canyon’s Down East Country TV and Radio series and played several showcase stages including Artists On Deck at the infamous Lower Deck, and the Music Industry Associations’ CCMA showcase at Casino Nova Scotia. We had an absolute blast hangin’ with our Canadian country music peeps and heroes throughout the weekend, and especially enjoyed the CCMA Gala Dinner and Awards show…all of the above provided great inspiration for us when we showcased a few days later at Contact East in PEI.
It was back home to NL for the Fall and preparations began for what was one of the most exciting and rewarding events of our career to date… performing songs from our Break Even album with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra at the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre for the sold out NSO Hibernia Gala – 25th Anniversary Celebration! We loved every second of this experience and felt completely blessed to have the amazing symphony players adding their exquisite, magical touch to the work. (Thanks to fan Tracy Jackson Chafe for this wee video clip of The Secrets with the NSO). How cool it would be if The Secrets could have a symphony with us all the time…maybe someday.
Meanwhile, loving what we do, we comfortably switched gears back to our cozy acoustic trio and set to work right away on conjuring up an early Christmas spirit by hunkering down at NewManiac Music studios with producer Peter Daniel Newman, to record The Secrets first full-length Christmas album, Country Christmas with The Secrets. The collection includes our previously released single “Kentucky Homemade Christmas”, along with a carefully chosen mix of traditional and popular seasonal favorites. With the finished product in hand, we hit the road from November 29 through December 13, doing a Country Christmas With The Secrets concert tour which saw us performing nightly in the beautiful churches and community halls throughout rural Newfoundland. It was, without question, a brilliant wrap up to our “wicked altogether” 2015!
Thanks again to the fans, our families and friends, and all the good folks at CBC and country radio, for your support! We hope you’ll stay tuned in the coming months as we are writing songs and preparing to record and release new music from The Secrets in 2016.