SMALL TOWN BOY- Country singer Drew Gregory is proud of his humble roots in Alberta and is looking forward to performing at the Innisfail Pro Rodeo June 16th. Robert Scott photo

Country singer Drew Gregory heads to the Innisfail Pro Rodeo

Rodeo takes place this weekend at the Daines Rodeo Grounds

From small town Standard, Alberta to big shows like Big Valley Jamboree, country singer Drew Gregory still respects his humble roots.

He will be performing at the Innisfail Pro Rodeo, and said he is looking forward to it, as it was after all rodeos and small town get-togethers that got his career started.

“I was in the audience for a long time, so I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on what people are looking for, and it’s just lots of good dancing music and lots of good high energy music. We like to do a little bit of everything; some of the old country, some of the new stuff, some rock n’ roll. It’s a good mix of everything,” said Gregory.

He also performs some covers and is working on an album that will feature lots of originals, but also some good songs that inspired him growing up.

“I kind of grew up during the 90s and 90s country was a big thing. Everybody loves hearing that, even the younger kids. I love seeing them sing along to it too, so I’ve got to get all that in there as well,” he said, adding his performance will include something for everybody.

His latest album I Was There came out last year, and he got to work on it with renowned producer Jason Berry in Ontario.

“That was the first album I’d done with him. I’m working on my next one with him as well. He’s an amazing producer.”

Barry has played and produced for the likes of Terri Clark, Jason Blaine, Dean Brody and more.

He said when it comes to his inspiration, he’s inspired by things that happen to him personally. He said he’s always had trouble writing story songs about other people or looking at a crazy story and making a song out of it.

“I’m always more inspired by things that happen in my life, and I grew up in a small town, and farming stuff has always played a big part in what I write. I think I’ve got a lot of good stories of my own that turn into songs,” he said.

He said if one were to go through all of the albums that he’s done, they would see the progression of where he’s been in his life, an idea of what he was doing and what he was feeling or thinking at the time he was writing for that specific album.

“I’m pretty proud to say that I try to keep just about every song real close to home and pretty true to life stuff.”

His musical career budded in Grade 9, when he went over to a girl’s place. That girl had a guitar, which Gregory always picked up, fiddling around with it. Although he didn’t know what he was doing at the time, he did know that he’s always loved music, and was finally pushed to get a guitar of his own. And so it began for the small town Alberta boy.

“It wasn’t a real early start. My folks aren’t music players, but they’re music lovers. There’s always music on around, so I think I just had a passion and love for music so much that I wasn’t even taking lessons or anything. I just got that first guitar and would get home from school and go play for a few hours, and after supper a few more hours. It’s just what I wanted to be doing all the time.”

That passion for music continued throughout high school, as he performed at small parties, bringing his guitar along and starting to learn more and more lyrics as time went on.

“I had some big binders with every song you could think of and just played for everybody,” he said.

In the last five or six years, Gregory has started to take music more seriously as a career.

It was in 2009 that he travelled down to Nashville, a country haven for up and coming artists and old time legends, for his first trip to see the sites. It was then that he realized he had a lot to learn, but it drove him forward nonetheless.

“I love that town and try to get down there as much as I can and do a lot of my songwriting and stuff down there too, but I think that first trip really inspired me to make more of a career out of it rather than just doing it for fun.”

Looking back at his musical career, Gregory said performing at Big Valley Jamboree with his band called The Hired Guns, was a good moment.

“I remember at the start we were really excited about this show and we walked out on stage and there was maybe like four or five people out there,” he said.

At the time, country star Luke Bryan had just finished his performance on the main stage, and by the second or third song, Gregory and his band started to see thousands of people flooding in to watch them perform.

And that’s not all the big venues the small town Albertan has performed at. He and his guys perform at the Calgary Stampede at Nashville North along with other big and small rodeos throughout the summer months.

Currently residing in Strathmore, Gregory gets to enjoy both of his passions; farming and of course performing country music.

Gregory and his group will be jam-packed for the summer, playing almost every weekend and working on some new music. They’re also looking at a couple more trips to Nashville, and have a few songs already recorded and ready to go. A new album is in the works, but no release date has been set just yet.

He will be performing at the Innisfail Pro Rodeo on June 16th. For tickets, visit innisfailprorodeo.com.