On the heels of their latest release County Line, country duo High Valley are set to play Westerner Days on July 17th at the Centrium.
Doors open at 7 p.m. with the concert beginning at 8 p.m. Performances are free with gate admission.
The band (brothers Curtis and Brad Rempel), currently based in Nashville, landed rave reviews as the lead single (the title track) off the disc, which was released last fall, shot up the charts to the Top 15 in less then a month and made it to number two SoundScan’s Top Country Singles Chart in Canada.
Following suit, the third single off the disc Make You Mine featuring Ricky Skaggs not only became another national hit, but also landed the duo with a performance at The Grand Ole Opry opening for Skaggs. High Valley has kept the momentum going with the release of their newest single She’s With Me.
Recognized as ‘Artists to Watch’ by both Billboard Magazine and Country Weekly, Brad and Curtis hail from the tiny community of La Crete in northern Alberta. Growing up on a 1,400-acre farm with music, farming and family as the basis of their entertainment, the Rempel’s musical language was formed at a very young age. When they started out, the brothers booked gigs anywhere they could, playing cover songs to audiences of about 100 to 200 people.
The guys also grew up in a musical home, so following a path in the industry seemed the natural course to take, explains Curtis during an interview from Nashville.
“We’ve got three older sisters and another brother, so there are six kids in the family. There was always a lot of singing,” he said. That included performances at festivals, lots of singing at church and at community events over the years.
“My mom played guitar, my dad played bass and they sang. Our sisters were also great with harmonies, so we were surrounded by singing and playing guitars right from birth. It was pretty natural to have a strong desire to be involved in music.
“It was the beginning of 2007 that we pretty much decided to pursue this professionally.”
Brad quit his day job, Curtis packed up his high school materials to take on the road and they pretty much never looked back. Their debut Broken Borders was named Album of the Year at the 2007 GMA Canada Covenant Awards, while the song Back to You was awarded Country Song of the Year. They met with almost instant success.
Their second album, High Valley, was released in Canada and the United States in 2010. In 2011 the band won five GMA Canada Covenant Awards, including Artist of the Year and Group of the Year. Their third CD, Love Is a Long Road, was released in June of 2012.
Throughout their career so far, High Valley has earned many accolades including 10 GMA Canada Covenant Awards, multiple CCMA Awards and Juno Award nominations and the 2013 CCMA Award for Interactive Artist of the Year.
They’ve opened up for several major acts including Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood,
Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire and Shania Twain mostly recently at the 2014 Calgary Stampede.
“We’ve been able to tour with some amazing musicians and people who have supported us through the years. We feel really blessed to have been able to share stages with those folks.”
Being joined by Skaggs for Make You Mine of the County Line CD was especially an honour, as the guys had long admired his work. In fact, the entire Rempel family were huge fans of the popular country star. “Ricky Skaggs was like the super star around our house,” he laughs. “We viewed him as more of a super star then Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson. Our house, in general, was all about country music from the start.”
As a mandolin player, Curtis in particular has always had an appreciation for Skaggs’ work. “I really tried to grow myself as a mandolin player by listening to him.”
The first time Curtis and Brad played the Grand ‘Ole Opry, two years ago, Skaggs also introduced them to the audience. Talk about dreams coming true. “He said, ‘Hey I know these boys, they’re from Canada, and they’re here to play for you’,” recalls Curtis. “We were playing our music, and I kind of looked over my shoulder and saw Ricky standing side-stage looking at me as I played, and he gave me a nod of affirmation. I remember thinking, Ricky Skaggs just gave me the nod! It felt so cool to be on that stage, so it was really a goose-bumps kind of moment.” Topping it off was that the entire Rempel clan was in the audience. “That was an unreal experience.”
Besides playing Westerner Days, the guys are also performing at the Calgary Stampede and are especially looking forward to a special gig in their hometown on July 24th. They will be performing, plus a CMT crew will document both the show and highlight La Crete and the Rempel family as well. “It’s the first time we’ve done a full band, full production in our home town. It’s going to be a pretty special time.”
Meanwhile, County Line was recorded and produced by Billboard ‘Producer of the Year’ Seth Mosley in Franklin, Tennessee and features songs co-written by Brad, Ben Stennis (Jason Aldean), Fred Wilhelm (Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town) and Canadian country music songwriter Deric Ruttan.
After recording roughly 50 demo tracks for the new CD, High Valley enlisted help from their fans and gave them the opportunity to vote for the 10 songs that would make the cut.
“So we kind of brought these two worlds – bluegrass and pop – together and made a super-fun, heavily pop-driven album with lots of bluegrass instruments. Our main goal was to have fun, and to make sure people smile when they hear the songs on the record,” he said. “That was pretty much our game plan, and I think we did it. We are really happy with the way it turned out.”
For more information about Westerner Days, check out www.westernerdays.ca.