Pony up to the Centrium stage Saturday during Westerner Days and you’ll have some rollicking country music moments with Nice Horse and Madeline Merlo.
Nice Horse, the all-female quartet known for the tongue-in-cheek hit Mansplainin,’ will be hitting the stage for a high-energy 8 p.m. concert with Merlo that’s free with gate admission to the fair.
The country-rock band Nice Horse has two Central Alberta connections: Airdrie native Katie Rox attended Red Deer College and Brandi Sidoryk grew up in Rocky Mountain House.
The two have partnered with Tara McLeod and Krista Wodelet to create catchy tunes in a Calgary jam space.
Their upbeat songs are making waves: In 2018, Nice Horse was nominated for a CCMA Award for interactive artist or group of the year.
The previous year, Nice Horse placed second in the Project Wild competition hosted by Calgary radio station Wild 95.3.
The band also released their first EP, A Little Unstable, and a debut album, There Goes the Neighbourhood — which featured hits Mansplainin’ and Pony Up.
The four musicians have since shared stages with Jess Moskaluke, Gord Bamford, Aaron Goodvin and Washboard Union. Nice Horse has been nominated for two Alberta Country Music Awards.
And the group has played large festivals, including the Calgary Stampede, Boots & Hearts, Dauphin Countryfest and the Big Valley Jamboree.
The women are thrilled to be performing for a (virtually) hometown crowd at Westerner Days.
“I love Westerner Days,” Rox has stated. “And Brandi grew up in Rocky, so for her, Westerner Days was a really big thing.”
Merlo from Maple Ridge, B.C., is a singer-songwriter who received the 2015 Rising Star award from the Canadian Country Music Association.
Signed to Open Road Recordings, she released her debut album, Free Soul, in 2016.
Her debut single, Sinking Like a Stone, charted for 20 weeks on the Billboard Canada Country chart.
Her follow-up tune, Honey Jack, became a national hit, landing her the opening slot on the Road Trip Tour alongside Dean Brody and Paul Brandt.
Merlo starred in the feature film Country Crush and also did the singing voice of Sonata Dusk in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks.
Merlo, a B.C. CMA female vocalist of the year, has released the subsequent top-15 hits, Whatcha Wanna Do About It, War Paint, Over and Over, Motel Flamingo and Neon Love.
Doors for the 8 p.m. show open at 7 p.m.