Local singer/songwriter Denver Daines was just nine years old when he started picking up a guitar, and knack for writing songs started surfacing as a teen.
He’s one of about 100 artists set to perform this weekend during the Ivan Daines & Friends Music Picknic Weekend. It all runs Aug. 19-22 at the Daines Ranch & Rodeo grounds located about 6 kms north of Innisfail.
Daines and his band hit the stage Aug. 20 at 9 p.m.
Other featured artists include Canadian Idol runner-up Jaydee Bixby, popular singer/songwriter Duane Steele, Michael Carey, Jessica St. Dennis, Amanda Williams, Jesse Fowler and Ty Hart.
Meanwhile, besides his music, Daines, 29, is also a professional saddle bronc rider. But rodeos are taking up less and less of his time as he focuses on developing his music via recording and performing as much as he can.
“It’s my dream and my passion. And if a person if lucky enough to do this, they’ll be thankful to do it,” he says of the musician’s life, which of course isn’t all fun and games and includes long stretches of travel.
But Daines couldn’t be happier with the path he’s on. He ventured into music as a kid and everything just seemed to creatively fall into place over the next several years.
He doesn’t call songwriting a gift exactly, but acknowledges that it’s something that comes quite naturally. “I guess I’m lucky in a sense, it’s something I can do,” he explains. Pouring out one’s thoughts and feelings into the form of a song also offers a kind of healing when things aren’t going so well in life. “It’s a form of therapy.”
Generally, his tunes tend to reflect experiences he’s garnered living and working in rural Alberta in business, family life and the rodeo circuit.
Taking it up a notch was when he landed first place in the Rising Country Superstar competition back in 2004 in Red Deer. His debut, Road to Destiny, was recorded around that time as well.
Last year, he recorded a few tunes on an EP called Big ‘Ol World, and it’s all the more clear Daines has carved out a unique place for himself in the Canadian music scene.
From the infectious, upbeat tones of Seventeen to the slowed down acoustic richness of the project’s title track and the reflective You’re my Last Ride, Daines clearly has found the best genre to explore. Not that he doesn’t have a broad taste in music. He describes his repertoire as tapping into everything from old school country to tunes by the Eagles and John Mellancamp to Keith Urban and the Tragically Hip.
Ultimately, it’s clear that a clever hybrid of edgy pop/rock and country music suits him as a singer and guitarist, and it’s clear his heart is in it every step of the way as well. But there’s plenty to explore, and Daines has every intention on not holding back when it comes to writing and performing. Sharing his tune, in the meantime, is what brings him the most joy.
“You’ve got to work with the crowd, it’s not just about singing. It’s about performing,” he explains of his efforts to engage audiences.
Meanwhile, other highlights of the Music Picknic Weekend include the Canadian Championship Horse Training Contest and Cowboy Church with John Sheilds and Company. Check out Ivan Daines on facebook for more information.
Tickets are available at the Black Knight Inn by calling 403-755-6626, 1-800-661-8793 or online at www.bkticketcentre.ca.