Get your cowboy hats and boots ready: this year’s Northern Opry Project is fast approaching.

The concert first arrived on the Yukon scene last year, causing a stir among country music fans. This year, the Opry, which takes place on Dec. 20 and 21, promises to be bigger, showcasing the talents of more than 40 singers and songwriters from the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Texas and Oregon.

This year, much-loved Yukon country musician Hank Karr will be headlining the Opry for both nights. Other acts include Nadine Landry and Sammy Lind from Oregon, Miranda Currie from Yellowknife, Gordie Tentrees from Whitehorse, and Jerome Stueart will be back from Texas to emcee the shows.

Part of the Opry’s mandate is to shed light on emerging country music artists. Budding artists each have a pair of songwriters who will write a song tailored to their musical range. The emerging troubadours will take part in music workshops one week prior to the concert with the hope of putting the country music hopefuls on track to a career in music.

Music veteran Dave Haddock will be joining the team of mentors leading the workshops. Based in Whitehorse, Haddock has been creating music for the past 15 years, and plays regularly at the Gold Pan Saloon. In September, Haddock released his new CD Talk to Me.

“I’ve got the experience that gives me a good perspective on music and performance,” he says. “It’s a joy to play music, and if I can serve someone’s musical journey in a way that helps them find the joy in music and performance, then I’m very happy.”

Some of the up-and-coming artists attending the music camp have been singing for years, while others are just starting to discover their talents.

Haddock has some words of advice for all of them.

“Mostly I find myself concerned with honest presence,” Haddock says. “Just learning how to be yourself on stage. Present. Available. Know the music and the arrangement really well – know your part and how it relates to the other parts, other voices and instruments.”

Producing the Northern Opry is singer-songwriter Kim Beggs. She is pleased to be presenting the project again this year – the project has gained momentum since starting as just an idea.

“It started over a conversation of me and a friend just having coffee,” she says. “I am super excited to be able to do this second time around,” she says.

That conversation has led to a unique country music experience in the Yukon.

The Northern Opry takes place on Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21 at the Yukon Arts Centre. Friday night’s performance will be signed for the hearing impaired.

For more information contact, northernopryproject@gmail.com. Tickets are available at www.YukonTickets.com, the Yukon Arts Centre and Arts Underground.