Wielding a tight, accessible and thoroughly modern rock edge, the Glorious Sons plays Wild Bill’s Sept. 20th. The show takes place just a few days after the release of their latest project, The Union.
Hailing from Kingston, Ontario, the band burst onto the scene last year, winning the HTZ-FM Rocksearch and following that up with their EP, Shapeless Art.
That CD also spawned two top 10 Active Rock singles – White Noise, the third most spun Active Rock song to date in 2014 and the title track Mama. That song helped take the band to newer heights.
“Very gradually it climbed up the charts until it hit about number nine on the national rock charts. It helped take us from being a local Kingston band to a band that was kind of nationally-marketable,” said guitarist Jay Emmons.
In the past eight months, music has pretty much become the guys’ main career as well.
“We are at the point where we can just focus on music for the most part,” he said.
Rounding out the group are lead singer Brett Emmons, guitarist Andrew Young, drummer Adam Paquette and bassist Chris Huot.
“Me and Chris had been jamming together, and Andrew and Adam had been playing together – so we combined forces and right away it was a good fit.”
Brett was the last one to join the band. “At that point, Andy and I were doing the singing. Then we brought Brett on, and he started doing more and more singing each month until all of a sudden we had this full-blown frontman on our hands. It was pretty obvious that he was the guy to do most of the heavy lifting with the singing.”
The Glorious Sons have been described as an ‘everyman band,’ telling real stories from a blue-collar perspective. They’ve hit their stride with The Union – a collection touching on themes of life, love, passion, loss and redemption. After recording Shapeless Art with The Trews’ John-Angus MacDonald, they paired up once again to produce the lion’s share of The Union.
“We wanted it to be a step up from the EP – we had quite a bit of success with the singles Mama and White Noise, and we were at a point where we felt most Canadian rock listeners liked our stuff. So we wanted to make sure that when we released this album, it would be a definite step up. We took what we learned, and we leaned on John Angus and spent the better part of four or five months fine-tuning all of the songs on it.
“We must have rebuilt the songs five times each.”
Jay explained how John-Angus showed the band where to set the bar. “Right away in working with him, we realized that we had a lot to learn. He’s worked closely with us in songwriting, song structure – but the strategy is about what kind of songs to focus on too.
“He kind of opened up our eyes in general as to what a great rock band is. Right from the beginning, he was the first guy to let us into this vast wealth of knowledge which is out there.”
The results speak for themselves with an eclectic collection including the fist-pumping drivers Hard Times and The Contender, the epic Lover Under Fire, the title track and the beautifully-crafted CD closer Amigo.
“Working with John-Angus has been the honour of my life,” says Brett. “When you are able to push and pull with a hero of yours as well as listen and be heard, you get perspective on yourself and on your dreams.”
In addition to MacDonald’s contribution, the band also worked with Canadian super-producer Gavin Brown on two tracks – Heavy and the hopeful full-band ballad titled Lightning. The album also features re-mastered versions of Mama and White Noise.
“With this album, I wanted to create a feeling of nostalgia that would make people look back and wonder what they had missed,” adds Brett. “When I picked up my first guitar, I couldn’t help but sing. When I started singing, I couldn’t help but write. All I want is for people to hear this album, because I feel like we’ve been writing it our whole lives.”
There is no doubt he’s got the vocal chops to cover the demanding nature of the songs – cuts like the aforementioned Heavy are striking in their sheer intensity as is White Noise and the edgy, retro-flavoured sensibilities of Mama.
Meanwhile, the Glorious Sons are becoming known for their energetic live shows –Emmons has an uncanny ability to win over a crowd no matter what the size – small club or festival headline, this band engages their fans in a way few acts can.
“For me, and everyone else in the band, the real thrill comes from getting out and performing in front of people. The live aspect of our band is such an important thing for us because we’ve got Brett going nuts out front and all of us trying to stay out of his way and rock out as hard as we can behind him. I think that’s where we can win a lot of our fans – if they can see us ‘live’. That’s a favourite part of every night.
“Seeing people enjoy your music, all the people you get to connect with and all the old friends you see at shows – those are all great aspects of it, too. The live performances are just so much fun.”