ON THE ROAD – Emerson Drive is set to play the Memorial Centre on Feb. 23. The group kicked off their cross-country tour earlier this month.

Award-winning country group headed to Red Deer

An award-winning, Grammy-nominated country band is headed to Red Deer later this month.

Emerson Drive is set to play a show at the Memorial Centre on Feb. 23. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

The stop in Red Deer is one of many on their latest cross-country tour, which began Feb. 8 on the west coast and runs through until July.

“We’re really looking forward to (the tour),” said Dale Wallace, Emerson Drive’s keys and background vocalist. “Everyone is really itching to get back.”

During a chat recently from his Nashville home, Wallace said he’s looking forward to playing more intimate venues this time around.

“We’re playing venues that seat anywhere between 700 and 1,000 people,” he said. “It’s going to be a great setting.”

Along with the more intimate concerts, Emerson Drive is also heading their own production for the tour.

“We’ve taken the bull by the horns and we began self managing a couple of years ago,” said Wallace. “The production is all our own and it’s really great to have to the satisfaction of that.”

Emerson Drive’s success grew out of a dream that began in lead singer Brad Mates’ hometown of Grande Prairie.

All of the band mates stem from Canada. Wallace is from Kamloops, B.C., Danick Dupelle (guitar/background vocals) is from Montreal, David Pichette (fiddle), is from Orleans, Ontario and Mike Melancon (drums) is from Mt. Laurier, Quebec.

A selfless camaraderie has kept them united through the years, and a tireless work ethic continues to make them one of country’s busiest bands. Non-stop touring has won them fan loyalty that has been a key to their longevity.

Wallace said although Emerson Drive tours across Canada playing shows each year they all now live in Nashville.

“Nashville is where it’s at in this business – it’s music city,” said Wallace. “I just ran into Keith Urban at a car wash the other week. Everyone is in Nashville.”

On the day they launched their current tour, the band’s newest project entitled Decade of Drive was also released.

“It’s a compilation of our greatest hits,” said Wallace. “We’re really proud to have stuck it out for 10 years and you thank your lucky stars to be in this group and we really look forward to another 10 years.”

Not only has Emerson Drive been together for more than a decade, they’ve had a successful run to boot.

Their album Countrified gave them their first number one single with their hit song Moments, which earned them nominations for a dozen major awards including a Grammy.

“Being nominated for a Grammy was unbelievable,” said Wallace. “I’m just a kid from Kamloops, B.C. and I lost a Grammy to the Eagles. That’s pretty cool!”

Meanwhile, in particular, Wallace got his start in music at a young age.

“In Grade 3, I asked if I could perform at the next school assembly. After I sang my song I had a whole bunch of girlfriends,” he laughed, adding after that he was hooked on the profession. “This really is the greatest job anyone could have.”

For more information about Emerson Drive check out www.emersondrive.com.

For tickets to their show in Red Deer visit www.blackknightinn.ca or call 403-755-6626.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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