Who else is ready for this winter to finally be over. OH. MY. GOD! I am so there people. So there.
I have had so many iterations of this blog in my head. So many ideas of what I want to do and where I want to go with it. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to keep track of it all! Today is a trial of one of those ideas. There is just so much great new music out there every week and obviously I don’t get to speak to everyone. Sometimes I come across songs that I LOVE and really want to talk about and I also envisioned using Spotify a little bit more. SO this week, you will get a playlist too! Just a few newer songs that I am really into. So here goes…
The end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 has brought with it a trend of the country troubadour’s “Ode to His Wife/Girlfriend” (e.g. Thomas Rhett, Chris Jansen, etc.). Not to be outshone, The Road Hammers released their latest single “Crazy About You” to digital and radio on March 3rd, 2017. Written by band members Jason McCoy, Chris Byrne and Clayton Bellamy and produced by McCoy and Gavin Brown, the song captures the relationship of a couple who have known each other since childhood. McCoy’s own relationship was the model for the song, as he and his wife were only teenagers when they started dating. Jason stated in a press release, “Like most couples, we’ve had our ups and downs and it’s been quite a ride , but for some reason, in my eyes, she’s forever 18 and in her eyes, I know, I’ll always be the crazy guy she married.” The song is not a typical sappy love song by any means. It has a great, strong beat and it really makes you want to tap your toe. Honestly, it REALLY makes me look forward to the release of the new album in May!
From one Canadian Jason to another, Manitoba native Jason Kirkness. Jason and I spoke a while back when I started the blog. I am so excited to say that he has released a new single. “Whiskey Kiss” was released on February 27 and with it he released a video. It was a huge endeavour, but it is proving to be a successful one. The song has been kicking around for a while and he finally decided to record it. It is a kick-ass song about a wild night out. I saw Jason perform in an MCMA showcase back in November and it was great to see him on stage again. He has a new album coming out in May and with it will be a CD release party. For more information visit: https://jasonkirkness.com In the meantime – take a look at this great video!
These songs and more can be found on my Spotify playlist for this week:
There are certain things that you can expect from country kids from the prairies. One is that, if they are boys, they more than likely do or have played hockey. Two, they can, have or do drive tractors/atv’s/quads and have gotten them stuck. Three, that your conversation will usually start with how the weather is. The Hunter Brothers delivered all three. Well, Ty did. There are five brothers (Luke, Ty, J.J., Brock and Dusty) but I got to chat with Ty about the band and the family. I am CERTAIN having all five brothers on the phone would have been a handful!
Ty just became a father for the first time in January. “It’s been a very short time and it’s been fantastic!” He said of his new title. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.” With the latest addition of Dusty’s little one earlier this month, that makes nine Hunter grandchildren! But keep in mind, this is a family that is used to crazy schedules. All five boys took music lessons and played hockey. Ty laughed, “I don’t really know how they did it!” All of this was going on while operating the family farm in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan. Not only did Mom have to deal with copious amounts of hockey equipment, “Stinky hockey equipment, to be specific” Ty added, but she also had to re-teach them all of the harmonies every time one of the boys reached that very awkward voice change stage. “I think that Mom really needs to accept any awards or any accolades that we receive.” I think Mom deserves an award just for dealing with the hockey equipment.
This family is not new to the stage at all. In fact, they have been performing for a long time. They started singing gospel and switched to Christian contemporary. So many people had approached them and asked if they were country that, according to Ty, they finally just said, “Well, maybe we should be.” The switch came very natural for them, as was the switch to playing music professionally. They had already traveled around Canada and the US performing. But at it’s core, it really was a farming and hockey playing family, with the oldest playing with the Edmonton Oilers organization for a number of years. Ty recalled, “All of us sustained some sort of injury and it kind of brought us back to the family farm and kind of gave us a chance to pursue music at more of a professional level.”
This year will be the first year that the Hunter Brothers will be attending the Saskatchewan Country Music Association Awards held in Saskatoon this weekend. They are up for four awards. Ty said, “That was an exciting email to wake up to the other day.” And of course they are really looking forward to taking part in the event. One of the awards they are nominated for is Single of the Year for “El Dorado”, a song on their latest album Getaway – released digitally on March 3 and on CD March 17.
This song is a total road trip song. I cannot wait to hit the highway, roll down the windows and turn it up a few notches. When I heard it, I instantly thought of my own dreams of one day driving across a desert in a Cadillac El Dorado. I asked Ty if someone in their family owned one. He replied, “Actually, you know what’s crazy is my Uncle, who actually passed away a few years ago, was a Cadillac man and did own an El Dorado. So the song is actually very, very sentimental, particularly to my Mom because that was her brother. And so when she actually heard the song for the first time, we usually bring our songs back to our parents and hit the play button when we get them back, and she just started crying.” I love to hear that there is such a beautiful story attached to such a great song.
The whole album has this great summer feel to it. If you notice that it also has a bit of a High Valley sound to it, that is for good reason. A number of the songs on it were co-written Brad Rempel and the duo also joined them on “Country Stuff”. There is a fantastic cross-section of sounds. As Ty put it, “We have five different guys and so there’s five different styles and influences.” “Love Lives On” appears like it would be some kind of romantic ballad but it is this up-tempo updated bluegrass tune that will certainly get your toe tapping. Expect a couple of other little surprises like this.
One song that really stood out for me was “Where I Want To Live When I Die”. It is this really beautiful gospel inspired song which obviously pays homage to their beginnings. Ty said, “That song means a tremendous amount to us. You don’t lose your roots and where you came from just because you make a genre shift.”
The brothers do tend to sing a lot of relatable music. “Born and Raised” is a great anthem song that would make any country lover proud. Ty had a fantastic anecdote, “The night my wife went into labour, we recorded “Those Were The Nights” and “Born and Raised” the night before. It was literally within hours. Like, she was upstairs having contractions as I was trying to get these songs finished. It was a very close cut to those actually making it on the album!” Born and raised, indeed!
They have already had some success with “Long Way to Love You” which is on this album and of course, their latest release, “Getaway” is the title track. This record is wall-to-wall fun!
If you are like me and have been waiting for summer, then “Getaway” is your song. It’s fun, it sounds a bit tropical, it makes you want to dance, I love it. And if you think the song is great, the video is fantastic! Filmed at Portofino Island Resort in Pensacola, Florida, it has sun, sand and brotherly banter. It is the epitome of a family vacation. It COULD be that the whole family went – with a whopping 17 of them on the bus ride home. Ty said, “It truly was a lot of fun and hopefully that was represented in the video.” I can safely say, it 100% does.
This isn’t the only video of theirs that I am a huge fan of. Last year the guys put out an impromptu video called “The Combine’s Stuck” which, of course, is a little play on Corb Lund’s “The Truck Got Stuck”. We laughed about the video and Ty said, “Here’s hoping for a better 2017 as far as weather is concerned.” Well – I can’t leave you hanging so here’s the video:
The Hunter Brothers have always come back to the family farm, whether they were playing hockey or music. So I asked Ty what he preferred about farming to the music industry. He replied, “I think one of the things that farming provides is consistency because music can be a little erratic.” and we both agreed that at some point you have to hang up the skates. But between travelling, recording, writing, and things like not knowing if a song is going to do well or not, with music there are a lot of unforeseen variables. “I guess you could say the same about crops,” he added. At the end of the day, this is who they are. Ty adds, “There is something about having your hands in the dirt at home that kind of grounds you, for one thing.” But the most important factor? “You are always at home.”
This was fun. Really fun. Like, I was talking to a kid a grew up with fun. It is almost like there is something hard-wired into prairie people to just accept each other like the person next door, even if you are from a different province. These guys are very active on social media. They love to keep up with their fans so make sure you hit them up:
Do yourself a favour and get the album. You will thank me. No really. You will thank me. Now, after all this talk about summer and what a great new album they have, please, allow me. Here is “Getaway” by Hunter Brothers. Enjoy!