Western News Staff
When Toby Keith hits town next week with George Canyon, they are bringing with them two country singers that hail from a little closer to home.
Sisters Carly and Britt McKillip are One More Girl, a country pop singing duo who hail from Vancouver. And it’s not their first time to grace the stage of the South Okanagan Event Centre — they were here in December as well, opening for George Canyon at the Holiday on Ice show.
“We’ve been to Penticton lots, we have a cousin that lives there … we’ve been there many, many times,” said 21-year-old Carly, the older of the pair. Britt is two years younger, at age 19.
Nor is it their first time on a big tour — in 2009, they toured coast to coast with Johnny Reid, but working with a long-lasting mainstay of the country music scene like Toby Keith is something special.
“It’s a real honour to be part of the tour. We’re really excited to get in front of a huge audience like that and to share the stage with Toby and with George … George is just so sweet and really fun to work with. We have know him for a few years,” said Carly. “It is just going to be a real blast, we’re really excited.”
Music — especially country — has been part of the girls’ live since they were born. Both parents are songwriters, their father, Tom McKillip, is an award-winning producer and musician.
“We’ve been singing our whole lives, since we could talk basically. We always knew we wanted to grow up and be singers and make an album,” said Carly.
The duo started singing professionally when they were aged 16 and 14, landing a record deal with EMI Music Canada three years later.
“It’s been a bit of a wild ride since then,” said Carly. “Britt aways used to say she wanted to sign a record deal before she finished high school and she did.”
The choice to sing country came naturally — even though they grew up in Vancouver, a city not known for country music, their parents were a strong influence.
“We sing country music but I think there are hints of other genres like pop and rock. It’s sort of the new wave of country … there is hints of everything in there,” said Carly. “We grew up listening to Faith Hope and Martina McBride but we also now love Kings of Leon and John Mayer, so we really like all types of music.”
Their debut album, Big Sky, was released in October 2009 and they are currently laying down tracks for the second. While they hope it will be out by summertime, Carly said, it’s hard to say for sure when it will be on the shelves.
“As far as our single goes, we’re hoping to have that out to radio in the next few weeks,” she said.
One More Girl will be opening the Feb. 26 show at the SOEC, followed by Canyon, who is touring in support of his upcoming album, Better Be Home Soon.
But these guys are just starting out compared to Keith, who is now in his 18th consecutive year at the top of the charts with his recently released 14th studio album, Bullets In The Gun.
As with every concert, certain seats are held back by record companies, promoters, tour sponsors, and even the artists themselves. On Saturday morning, Toby Keith will release a very limited number of personally held front row tickets available at face value. These tickets will only be available for purchase in person at the SOEC box office at 10 a.m. Feb. 19. Purchases are limited to two tickets per person.