Staff

Laurie Brown
Executive Director - Laurie Brown (she/her)

Laurie Brown is the Executive Director of Country Music Alberta, stepping into the position in 2019 after serving on the Board of Directors for 3 years. In addition to her Country Music Alberta duties, Laurie is also the owner of Porch Swing Entertainment, an Alberta based artist management and consulting company, where she handles day-to-day career management responsibilities for multi-award-winning, triple JUNO nominated singer-songwriter Don Amero, much acclaimed singer-songwriter-pianist Jeffery Straker, charming folk duo Flint & Feather, and Celtic Americana duo The Doll Sisters.  Laurie also currently holds a position on the Board of Directors for Music Managers Forum (MMF) Canada and is often called upon as a speaker on music industry panels, as a workshop facilitator and as a juror/judge for music industry and grant funding organizations.

Laurie is an alumni of the Berklee College of Music "Music Business - Artist Management" Program and Canada's Music Incubator's Artist Manager Program.  She brings a wealth of industry knowledge, funding and showcasing experience, and organizational skills to Country Music Alberta.

Board of Directors

Bill Hanson 2
President - Bill Hanson (he/him)

Bill Hanson has been a member of Country Music Alberta since its inception and has been a board member for the past 2 years. He has been in the music industry for 38 years. Bill began as a lead vocalist/bass player for numerous touring bands including 15 years with the band Kidd Country. He has continued in the industry as a manager, tour manager, sound tech, merch salesman, and almost everything in between. He is currently the Owner/CEO of H Factor Productions (formally known as Hanson Productions) and has been running the company full time for the last 16 years. He is also a proud father of 4 fabulous children, Jesse, Billie, Brett and Camryn. Bill continues to play with 3 of his children in The Hanson Jeans.

Megan McKay crop
Vice-President - Megan McKay (she/her)

A life-long music lover, Megan McKay found her place at OCL Studios as the Studio Manager. After joining the team, Megan's new-found passion for the Canadian music industry led her to Toronto and the Canada's Music Incubator Manager program, which she completed in 2017. Always keen to learn, Megan can often be found at industry events around town and is a big supporter of the Alberta music industry. Megan is very proud to be part of the incredible team of creatives at OCL.

Chard Morrison
Treasurer & Secretary - Chard Morrison (he/him)

Creative, committed, focused, and passionate are a few words to summarize Chard’s dedication to the country music industry over his career as a professional songwriter.  Being a songwriter, he has developed unique talents in being able to orchestrate the process details from song idea to marketing strategy, and also collaborate with and learn from all levels of music the industry from established Icons to the newest independent artists. Chard’s range of creative and business experience has qualified him to become one of Western Canada’s most sought after consultants for numerous boards both in the music industry and private sector in governance and strategy. He prides himself on being accountable and serving as a translator between all sectors and experience levels involved in a project or initiative all while on the lookout for the next perfect rhyme.

Dan Clapson head shot 2021
Director - Dan Clapson (he/him)

Dan Clapson is the founder of Blue Jay Sessions and creative director of Eat North, a Prairie-based food media and events company. Through both of those avenues, Clapson aims to uplift diverse voices and celebrate inclusivity and all things Canadian. He is also The Globe and Mail restaurant critic/columnist for the Canadian Prairies and has contributed to many notable online and print publications over the years including Air Canada enRoute, Vice, Ricardo Magazine, Food Network Canada, Avenue, and more.

In addition to a successful career in writing and event planning, he has over 10 years of extensive experience in media and public relations. Clapson is a guest expert on tv shows like Global Calgary, Global Edmonton, CTV Morning Live (Calgary and Saskatoon) and Cityline as well as radio stations like 660 News and 770 CHQR.

When Clapson is not writing, running an event or traveling across Canada, he’s probably relaxing at a pub with some friends or watching reruns of Dawson’s Creek.

Ed Harris_17
Director - Ed Harris (he/him)

Ed Harris is a 40-year veteran of the music industry. He has worked for both major and independent labels, including thirteen years as Country Music Marketing Manager for Universal Music. During that tenure, he was responsible for marketing the albums and tours of several of Nashville’s biggest stars including Reba, Vince Gill, George Strait, and The Mavericks. He signed and helped develop the careers of Jason McCoy, Farmers Daughter, and Joel Feeney. Ed worked for thirteen years with several prominent Canadian artists in his marketing role at Royalty Records, including Gil Grand, Gord Bamford, Lisa Brokop, and Aaron Pritchett. 

 Ed is a past-Director of the CCMA, where he served for six years and is past-President of Alberta Recording Industry Association. He is currently the President of High Note Marketing, offering entertainment consulting to artists, event organizers, and Canadian record labels. He served as Entertainment Consultant to the Calgary Stampede, and is Producer of the Chinook Stampede Breakfast. 

In 2013 he was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, receiving the Stan Klees Builder Award at Country Music Week in Edmonton. Mr. Harris was recognized for his ongoing 35-year career as an industry champion.

Luca - Pic
Director - Luca James (he/him)

I’ve been in radio for 8 years, specifically in Red Deer for over 3 years now, working with the music side of things for CKGY (Real Country 95.5, Red Deer) and the 9 other Real Country stations across Alberta. 

In that time, I've not only gained a few promotions, but I've also built strong relationships with two groups:

  • Our listeners; organic fans of country music plus their likes and dislikes

  • Label reps, trackers and artists, on a national level but with emphasis on our emerging Albertan talent.

Aside from my work with the radio stations, I single-handedly run my own podcast (Lounging With Luca) that gives a platform for emerging Canadian country artists to get their name out. Within that, I give special priority to our Albertan artists. 

I also volunteer my time with charity events as I can, like the MS Bike Tour, Rope For Hope (Make-A-Wish) and the Special Olympics Alberta Polar Plunge. 

Joel Jelinski
Director - Joel Jeliniski (he/him)

From an early age, Joel Jelinski started thinking like an entrepreneur. After graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia, Joel discovered a passion for business development and networking. Using the disciplines he acquired in university, Joel decided to start his own business in Calgary and grew his company to 18 full time employees within 3 years.  After securing a multi-million dollar licensing partnership with a major US whiskey brand and closing a successful deal on CBC’s Dragons Den, Joel sold his shares to his partners. Fueled by a passion to help other entrepreneurs, Joel set his sights on the music industry. Drawing on his past experience building an international brand & business, Joel started working with artists & organizations to develop a clear brand vision, to diversify & grow new revenue streams, to collaborate with like-minded brands & corporate sponsors, and to create an agile execution strategy that can be adjusted to new industry trends. By leveraging sponsorship deals, creating brand alignments and collaborating on a co-branded product line, Joel has positioned these artists and organizations to be uniquely introduced to a new fan demographic.

Chris Melnychuk
Director - Chris Melnychuk (he/him)

Chris Melnychuk is the Director of Festival Operations & Marketing at Trixstar Productions and has been involved in the events industry for almost 20 years with a large part of that time having been spent in the music festival side of things primarily at the Big Valley Jamboree.

"In working with the Country Music Alberta board, I hope to continue on the work to create more opportunities for all members while furthering the development of country music in  Alberta, and Canada for that matter, and showcasing it to the world, while bringing a unique perspective from a music festival background, along with other events.

"It is my belief that the the work of this organization provides tools and opportunities for all generations of Alberta artists that produce and promote music. This will, in turn, nurture the drive, determination, and undeniable talent that is present and demanded by the industry to continue to create a solid foundation to build a world class association with world class artists and talent."

Sarah Scott 2020 -13
Director - Sarah Scott (she/her)

I’m Sarah Scott and it's a privilege to contribute to Country Music Alberta on the Board of Directors. Over the last 3.5 years, you’ve known me from 99.7 Sun Country/AM1140 and 104.5 More Country, Made in Alberta and One to Watch Wednesday. I currently host and produce Studio B Podcast. 

 In a time where in most cases, radio play feels like a luxury, I want to help artists (and industry) break down that barrier, help them find their fit and take advantage of the radio stations that will take notice of their work at the different levels or singles of their career, help them with the communication and presentation, EPKs and press kits, talk about radio trackers and give them resources, so they feel confident and comfortable approaching PDs, MDs or on-air personalities.

Many of us view the future with some fear and concern, but look at us – we have faced challenge, after challenge, but we adapted and helped each other overcome. It may not feel like it, but we’ve grown exponentially. We continue to promote CMAB members to people and companies positively, and continue to learn, share and use the unique strengths of each member and others.  It would be a pleasure to continue to nurture this and grow networks, tighten relationships and build new ones. I will work with you as a liaison for creative collaboration between industry and artists to learn from each other; listen to each other and do cool things together.

Krista Wodelet - credit Christina Woerns SQUARE
Director - Krista Wodelet (she/her)

Krista Wodelet is the drummer for CCMA-nominated all-female country band Nice Horse. A multi-instrumentalist/vocalist, Krista got her start in classical music, with degrees in orchestral wind playing from the University of Toronto (B.Mus.) and the University of Southern California (M.Mus.). Alongside a busy freelance career playing in orchestras such as the Calgary Philharmonic and the Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara, Santa Monica, and Okanagan Symphonies, she formed one half of electro-pop duo Sidney York, lending keys, bassoon, and vocals to the project. Krista’s diverse musical path has taken her to perform at major festivals around the world, including SXSW (Austin, TX), AmericanaFest (Nashville, TN), BIGSOUND (Australia), Music Matters (Singapore), Reeperbahn (Germany), and plenty at home in Canada - Boots & Hearts, the Calgary Stampede, Big Valley Jamboree, and more. She currently drums full-time as a core member of Nice Horse, who first made their mark in early 2017 touring as direct support for Canadian icon Tom Cochrane, and more recently for the iconic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.