DIGGING DEEP – Vancouver’s Hedley are set to perform on July 18 on the Centrium stage at this year’s Westerner Days.

Hedley to showcase latest tunes at Westerner Days

Newest CD reflects the band’s tighter bonds of friendship

Set to perform at Westerner Days on July 18, Vancouver-based rockers Hedley will be featuring tunes from their latest disc Storms, the band’s fourth CD.

Tickets are $45 and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.ca or at the Centrium box office.

“There was a lot going on in our own lives, some pretty serious issues, but we found ourselves drawing strength from adversity and deciding to fight on,” says Jake Hoggard, the group’s singer and principal songwriter, who also produces two tracks on the disc.

“We’re such a close band of brothers that when someone falls, you pick them back up, and what this record’s about is perseverance – storms can be absolutely wretched, but, in the end, even the worst of it comes to pass.”

After forming in 2004, the band signed a deal with Universal Music Canada and released their self-titled debut. It wasn’t long before fans and critics took note, and there’s been no looking back since.

They’ve landed three consecutive double-platinum certificates and had 10 straight videos reaching number one on the MuchMusic countdown. In 2010, Pollstar even named the act one of the 100 top touring artists in the world. Hoggard, however, says his group takes nothing for granted.

“I never want to assume that because someone’s our fan, that they’ll love whatever we’re doing. I understand that no one has any obligation to listen.

“We don’t make music because we want to. We make music because we have to, and I think that’s what the listener will take away from our (latest) album.”

After playing together for nearly a decade, the group – with Dave Rosin on guitar, Tommy Mac on bass and Chris Crippin playing drums – is tighter than ever on Storms, and more groove-based. It’s something Hoggard credits to the group’s deepening personal relationships.

“We’re brothers now and we feel far more unstoppable because we’ve been through a lot. We’ve been really angry with each other and unsure of our future together, but all of those elements make up the complexity of a family,” says Hoggard.

“You can say, ‘through thick and thin,’ but it’s hard to practice that when you’re in the muck. On Storms, we found our energy by getting through the tough times – that’s what bonds you – and it pushed our song writing and our playing to a place where I don’t think it’s ever reached before.”

Storms also features the unique and dynamic collaboration between Hoggard and Babyface, the Grammy-winning R&B superstar.

“In the end, he was such a great and inspiring guy to work with. When it was over, he actually thanked me for letting him help out on one of my very favourite new songs.

“This is a record that I think a lot of people are going to be able to live their life by – that things go up and down, but we have the strength within us to carry on,” Hoggard says. “I live and breathe every note on this album and want everyone to know that within us, we all have the constitution to endure.”

Meanwhile, other entertainment slated for the Centrium stage at this year’s Westerner Days include country music veterans Sawyer Brown on July 19, Scottish rockers Nazareth on July 20 and country star Terri Clark who performs July 21.

The Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA) and Westerner Park have also partnered together to provide some of Alberta’s aspiring country musicians with the opportunity to play at this year’s fair.

Country musicians will be given the opportunity to showcase their music on the Midway Stage over the five-day event at 7 p.m.

Admission prices for the Westerner Days Fair and Exposition are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, $8 for youth (13-17), $4 for children (six to 12) and there is no charge for kids five and under.

For complete details of everything that will be a part of this year’s event, visit www.westernerdays.ca or call 403-343-7800.

-Weber