Recently re-named country group Renegade Station will head out to Red Deer in January for the Alberta Country Music Awards.
If they win, this will be the Stettler-based group’s third win for the Group of the Year award.
“We are really excited about that,” said Kent Nixon (lead guitar and vocals).
In 2015, the group won Fans’ Choice and are nominated for that again, too.
Nixon said the whole band are lifelong musicians, with Nixon starting guitar at age five.
“I still play like the best five-year-old in the business,” he said with a laugh.
The group started out as a back-up band for a variety show they had out in Stettler, and things went so well that they decided to enter the music route full-time.
“One of the things that really brought us together at the beginning was we sang harmonies together very well, so with that in mind, when we started out picking songs and deciding what our repertoire would be and what kind of music we were wanting to play, it’s always been really strong with harmonies.”
And from their humble beginnings, the group has seen lots of success, including their usual two-week long stint at the Calgary Stampede, something Nixon looks back on with fond memories.
“We got to open up a couple of shows for some major artists and we got to meet David Lee Murphy, and he’s been around for a long time,” said Nixon.
Other memories he cherishes include hanging out with other artists, who are like family to the band.
“That’s the one beautiful thing about the Alberta music community is that we’re all pretty good friends. There’s healthy competition, but we just want everybody to do well.”
Going into the New Year, Renegade Station will be putting the finishing touches on their new album, which Nixon said is safe to call Along for the Ride.
“It will be a bold and different sound compared to what we’ve done before. We’re still strong on harmonies, but it’s taken a new direction since we’ve become Renegade Station,” he said.
The group used to be under the name Domino for nearly 13 years, but Nixon said it was a name they simply grew out of.
“It wasn’t who we were anymore and it was one of those things that was holding us back. We were trying to come up with a name that was representative of who we are now.”
And on the way back from the St. Paul rodeo, the name Renegade Station came out of the woodwork.
They thought, “That’s good; that’s us.”
“Most musicians are a little on the ‘renegade’ side when it comes right down to it and we’re no exception, but at the same time, the station part is kind of a centering point,” he said, adding that it ties into Stettler being famous for their steam trains.
The group’s first gig as Renegade Station was at this past year’s Canadian Country Music Association Awards in Saskatoon. “It was pretty epic,” said Nixon.
When it comes to their songwriting, he said they aren’t much different than a lot of songwriters.
“A lot of it is based on personal experiences and emotions and relationships. We’ve all got fairly varied backgrounds, but at the same time a lot of our songwriting comes from having strong families as we were growing up.”
Nixon said they are looking forward to performing in Red Deer at the ACMA Awards, as well as a CD release show sometime in the spring.