From Bailieboro to Nashville for Peterborough County’s Jade Eagleson
At Jade Eagleson’s Bailieboro farmhouse, the family record player would fill the halls with everything from ABBA to Black Sabbath.
But country music was always a constant.
It didn’t take long for a young Eagleson, raised by musical parents and influenced by his guitar-strumming grandfather, to fall in love with the genre’s twangy steel guitar riffs and blistering ballads about love, life and everything in between.
“I was really blessed growing up to have music all around me,” Eagleson recalled.
Johnny Cash, George Strait, Hank Williams Sr., Roger Miller — Eagleson was hooked.
He soon picked up a guitar and his passion for music grew as he did.
By the time he reached high school, Eagleson was writing his own songs.
Then, in 2017, everything changed.
Eagleson performed at the Boots and Hearts Festival, where he won the Emerging Artist Showcase after wowing audiences.
“I was kind of shocked, like ‘wow, people enjoy my voice,” the 28-year-old said, noting that the contest gave him the validation he needed to pursue his dreams.
The moment catapulted Eagleson’s music career into stratospheric heights.
In 2018, Eagleson released his debut single, “Got Your Name On It,” an initial offering from the rising star that would go on to be certified platinum.
Later that year, he put out his second single, “Count the Ways,” which went gold and peaked at No. 4 on the Canada Country chart.
Eagleson’s third single, “Lucky,” came in 2019, when he was named “Rising Star” at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards.
“Lucky” went on to become Eagleson’s first No. 1 hit on the Canada Country chart in 2020.
That same year, Eagleson put out his debut self-titled album, which featured his previously released singles, along with a fourth track titled “Close.” Eagleson’s first studio release holds the distinct honour of being the most globally streamed debut album by a Canadian-signed country music artist in history.
On the heels of his successful debut, Eagleson released a follow-up single, “All Night to Figure It Out,” in early 2021, a track that would become the chart-topper’s second No. 1 Canada Country hit. He later teamed up with fellow Canadian country artist Dean Brody on the joint track “More Drinkin’ Than Fishin’.”
Eagleson released his sophomore studio album, “Honkytonk Revival,” in the fall of 2021. Each track reached No. 1, putting Eagleson in the company of country music icon Shania Twain as the only Canadian country artist to secure chart-toppers in a row with their second studio release.
Eagleson earned the top-selling Canadian Album of the Year for “Honkytonk Revival” at the 2022 Canadian Country Music Awards.
While racking up hundreds of millions of digital streams, the Juno-nominated singer-songwriter returned to his roots last summer, performing at Kawartha Downs’ first Country Music Festival in Fraserville. Dubbed Eagleson’s “homecoming” show, he received a “Hometown Hero” award from former Cavan Monaghan Township mayor Scott McFadden.
For Eagleson, the performance was a “full circle moment.”
“You see all the people who believed in you first when no one else did and so many people from that town told me I could when I didn’t think I could make it. They all believed in me and pushed me to do it and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be in this place. They helped me believe in myself,” Eagleson said.
“Being able to come back and play and see all those people, the early believers and those who still love and support me means everything. If I could play my hometown for every show I would.”
That’s why Eagleson jumped at the chance to return to Fraserville for the second annual Kawartha Downs Country Music Festival. He will hit the stage on July 1 of the weekend-long festival.
The opening day will be headlined by Dean Brody with Eagleson, along with a surprise guest opener.
The James Barker Band and the Reklaws will co-headline the second day of the festival, with Sacha as the opener.
The concerts start at 6:30 p.m. each day with doors opening at 5 p.m.
Looking back, Eagleson points to his upbringing in small town Bailieboro as a seminal source of inspiration.
“I definitely pulled a lot from growing up in that area. It’s beautiful. It does inspire you,” he said.
Now living in Nashville, Eagleson is working on his third album, set to be released in the fall. Kawartha Downs Country Music Festival attendees can expect to hear new material from his next offering, which will feature more of a classic country sound.
“There’s going to be a lot more steel and fiddle, but it will still be the same me, just with a little more country in there. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a project ever.”
Tickets are available through Ticketweb.ca at bit.ly/3nt8jsZ
All ages weekend passes are $129.44, including fees and taxes.
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner