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In a musical landscape filled with track-based, beat-focused songs, CCMA Rising Star nominee Tristan Horncastle stands out by upholding the time-honored country tradition of storytelling.

The Fredericton, New Brunswick native grew up singing in church and listening to some of the finest raconteurs of the '90s. "Tracy Lawrence, Mark Chesnutt, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn – I knew every song they ever released," says Horncastle, who counts another influence much closer to home. "My uncle, Jimmy Brown, wrote songs his whole life," he says. "He'd work in the woods back in the day thinning or running the skidder. They would cut white birch trees. He used to call it cutting that old white gold because that was their bread and butter. They'd stand around the skidder at break time and he'd write a song."

Brown taught his 11-year-old nephew a few basic chords and Horncastle's path was set.

Four years after high school, Horncastle formed his first group, Southern Drive. It was a surprise to many. "When I started that band, nobody knew I played music because I was kind of shy," he says.

"I was scared of people judging me. People would come to shows and be like, 'Holy crap, you can sing?!' and I'd say, 'Well yeah, I guess so.'" .... read more

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