"Just make it happen is a positive, energetic, uplifting song."

That's Portage resident and Country music singer Nelson Little about his new song.

Little presented no small performance last week in a Battle with the Bands competition, and that song was a part of the show.

Nelson LittleNelson Little

He says it was written by Dave Rodgers and himself, as well as some others from Portage; Dave Wasyliw, Murray Pulver, and Bart McKay.

"I haven't even met Bart McKay in person, but I know a lot of people around here know who he is. I just think it's neat how the song has gained some traction with just a bunch of local guys," says Little.

It was Friday, May 17th that Little performed in the Battle of the Bands preliminary match at McPhillips Street Station Casino. He was pitted against some other talented bands hoping for a slot in the final, and it all came together. The finals are Friday, May 24.

"We made it through the semifinals and tonight we go up against two other bands. We're in the top three and my nerves are shot," says Little.

Little adds they had a lot of fun at the contest, and notes Troy Flamand, also from Portage, is an energetic and enthusiastic guitar player, which shows when he is on stage.

"He's nicknamed one of the Heartbreak Kids with fiddle player Michael Audette. We have Bram Avery on keys out of Steinbach, Keith Dutiaume Jr. out of Richer, Manitoba, and Leroy Constant on bass who is from York Factory. He was a chief there for eight years. He's the youngest chief in Canada. All of these guys just play with energy and enthusiasm. You have no choice but to come up to their level. The nerves kind of go away when you've got guys like that to the left and right of you."

Little and the band did a personal version of Devil Went Down to Georgia, mixing in other tunes in somewhat of a mash-up.

"They're very creative when it comes to live performances. It's fun because you're not following a tracked or studio version of a song. When we go to rehearsals, I'm actually learning the stuff. For example, the Queen part; I had to learn the lyrics right on the spot there. Then they threw some Led Zeppelin in, which, if you're not a true country fan, a little spot like that in the mash-up, will get your attention." 

As for tonight's finals, he notes they got together at the MCMA venue of the year in Winnipeg at the Royal George Hotel. Little says they let them use their stage for a rehearsal this past Wednesday. They're performing an entire set of different material.

"It's a different approach to how the guys deliver. As far as 'Just Make It Happen' goes, that one's going to be in there, but we have a surprise with that one, too. I don't want to spill the beans too much. Let's just say being inspired by the 50's rock guitar and the piano, there was Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry, who were very inspirational to the track. That's all I'm going to say."

Little notes it's a free show and they know it's going to be packed out.

"These bands seem to bring their fans, friends, and family. We had a really good crowd. I have to take the time to thank Portage right now. There were tons of Portage people in the crowd; too many to name, but the support is phenomenal. Kelly Morris is filling up a bus today, bringing a crowd of people from Portage. I just couldn't be more grateful for the support."

Everything starts tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Little says the fans were dancing and two-stepping along with line-dancing last week, which does affect the performance and influences the judges.

"Portage has been huge on the following of the song, so I couldn't be more grateful."

If crowned the winner, Nelson Little and his band will be in the lineup at Dauphin's Countryfest. 

"We were there last year and I mean, new to it up there. So, this year would be a lot of fun, and a bit of a recording package through River City Records is also part of the prize. It would be nice to have some support in the financial department. Recording music is a high cost. Then there's just the creative process of writing another song for that."

The Nelson Little Band will be at the Portage Potato Festival, as well as performing Mossy River Days in Winnipegosis, and they're currently in talks with Salamander Festival in Brandon.

"I'm opening for Quinton Blair two days at the Manitoba Stampede and Exhibition in Morris."

Voting can also help push the song Just Make It Happen to a #1 spot. 

"We're on the Indigenous music countdown and we're at #2. We'll find out in the morning what happens. So, I guess we got a few more hours to vote before they close the voting. We'll find out if we're off the chart or if we move to the #1 spot. That's another thing on my mind going into the performance tonight."

Go to Indigenous Music Countdown to vote.

Little says winning tonight would be sunshine on a rainy day!




A post shared by Nelson Little Music (@nelsonlittlemusic)


A post shared by Nelson Little Music (@nelsonlittlemusic)