Hi Dallas, what a week, you’ve got the single out with Josh Ramsey now, how did that come about?
Yeah, I’m super excited about it. I just got off 604 Records, I was on there for the last 10 years and that’s where Josh is home. I’ve been friends and worked with Jonathan Simkin for 20 plus years now, so I was very well aware of Marianas Trench, when my old band was playing festivals with them. My wife, Kristen, she loves Marianas Trench, so I got to know their music more.
He started doing this collab record and reached out to me, ultimately, I was honoured. He’s such a fantastic singer and his musical abilities are genius. He’s a weirdo genius, musical guy. That he appreciated my voice and wanted to put it on there with him is pretty cool. I’m excited about it.
You mentioned moving over from 604, can you talk about how much that transition has meant to you and what it’s enabled to do for you as an artist? I don’t think people always look behind the curtain and see how much that actually can make an impact on your career.
Yeah, I mean my journey is a little bit unique in the sense that one of the owners of Big Loud Records is Joey Moi who produces music and everything that comes out of that label. My first time in a vocal booth in 1999 was his first time recording somebody singing in a vocal booth. I’ve known him and those guys for 20-23 years now. I was doing the rock thing in my band and touring, and I just started listening to Keith Urban stuff and new age country music, with guitar driven stuff.
Country music is different from what it was before. If you grew up in a household in the prairies, and it was one radio, all you were exposed to was strictly country music. It stayed without a lot of other influences coming in, but now everybody’s grown up listening to everything starting from the Beatles and everything like that. Across all genres, a good song is a good song, it just gave country music a bit more of a palette to play with, which is very cool.
It’s cool too at the moment because there’s such a huge Canadian country voice and influence. How exciting has it been to be a part of that – obviously getting CCMA Entertainer of the Year, you’re at the top of that?
Yeah, it’s cool.We’ve always had in Canada our Shania Twain, Terry Clark… but I don’t think our collectively Canadian country music is world class as a whole. I don’t think it’s ever been stronger collectively, so I’m proud to be a part of that. I’m excited to cheerlead. The other young artists that are doing fantastic things outside of the Canadian borders, like Tenille Arts and Townes and James Barker Band. I’m proud to be part of that wave and watch that happen.
It’s one of the things, as soon as you see someone do it and actually have the success, you remove that wall, once you see people paving that way and see people outside Nashville can do this, who didn’t necessarily grow up in the South and write about trucks. Talking about ‘Hide From a Broken Heart’ that was your first single on Big Loud, can you talk about selecting that song?
Yeah, so we were doing A&R and looking for songs and obviously wanted to have the most impactful song every time. With a new deal and some new marketing money, we obviously wanted to wait for a banger and we felt pretty confident where we were, but Joey sent a message over to Ernest – one of the writers at Big Loud – and told him about the new deal and stuff. He fired this song back over and he immediately kicked every song off of the list and we went ahead. It’s a beautifully written song – there’s hooks everywhere – and there are fantastic writers on this one. It’s a very universal theme – everybody’s been through this heartbreak, we’ve all got to learn that you cannot run from heartbreak, you must face it and go through the fear in order to heal. We’ve all been through that and and also this one is also pretty vocally challenging, it’s got different styles and a lot of stylistically different things in it. I think it represents what I can bring to a song.
Even if you’re given a song, you still always want to do your own take on it.
You have to be able to stand out and make things your own. I think my background is coming from a rock band not in Nashville. I don’t necessarily talk with a Southern accent, just because I’m exposed down there, my life is in the west coast of Canada, it gives me a different perspective.
So what is next, are there going to be more singles leading out this year?
It looks like – knock on wood – that we can start touring again. I’ve got a tour ready across Canada, it’s a six week tour starting in middle of May.
It’s so exciting to finally be able to say they’ll go on tour again.
Oh, it’s been great to be home, my heart is really full with the family and the whole thing, but my bank account is so pissed off.
Well, when all of this craziness has gone, we’re excited to get you to the UK.
Yeah, it’s been a minute!