SOLID GROUND – Singer Jaydee Bixby

Jaydee Bixby featured on Westerner Days stage

Canadian Idol runner-up exploring new creative ventures

Singer Jaydee Bixby enjoys nothing more than sharing his tune with audiences nation-wide.

For generations, his relatives have been known as the Hillbilly Bixbys in Drumheller and Bixby grew up singing at bars and rodeos with his parent’s family band.

Following in this lineage of honest country music is the 23-year-old’s third CD Work in Progress.

The first single, On and On, is already causing a buzz and fans are excited to hear the latest from Bixby.

“It’s coming out in August, and I’ve been really looking forward to it,” he explains during a recent chat. “A lot of these songs are ones that are very near and dear to my heart.”

Local fans will be able to hear the new material Thursday evening during Westerner Days at the Molson Canadian Ranch stage.

Bixby, who lived in Red Deer during his high school years, said it’s largely audience reaction to particular songs that determines whether they make it on an album or not. How a new tune gels with the guys in the band also is an indicator of whether it’s ultimately recorded.

Also, family reaction is important.

“They’re the ones that introduced me to the country music I grew up loving and listening to, so I really trust their opinions.”

Bixby was only 17 when he participated in Canadian Idol in 2007, finishing in second place.

From there, his life was a whirlwind of high-profile shows and media attention.

“It was absolutely a great time – it happened so fast. In the blink of an eye it was over, but I met a lot of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise and learned a bunch of stuff.”

He’s never really stopped since.

“We’ve been on the road for like six years now, and time just flies. I can’t believe I’ve been in this business that long already,” he laughs.

He opened for icons like Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney and cracked the top 10 on the Canadian Albums Chart with his debut disc Cowboys and Cadillacs in 2008.

He continued to mature as a performer and a composer, collaborating with songwriters in Nashville and releasing Easy to Love in 2010.

This was followed by extensive touring, which helped cement Bixby as one of Canada’s premiere country talents. He’s even launched his own record company as well.

But at the end of the day, it’s connecting with fans that make it complete.

“My career highlight has been going on the road,” he said. “Just a big old tour bus and my band. Whether we were playing a sold-out show in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or we were in the middle of the bald-headed Prairies in Manitoba, that was the happiest I could ever imagine myself.”

Currently based in Vernon, B.C., Bixby drew on his life experiences when penning tunes for Work in Progress, which finds him coming into his own as a songwriter.

“I feel like I’ve grown up a bit,” he explained. “I’m able to relate to more people. I’m at that point now where age doesn’t really matter. I can sit down and talk with anybody, whether they’re 90 or 42.”

Music also provides that universal appeal that makes it such a superb means of self-expression.

“It doesn’t matter — we all go through the same problems. These are all genuine experiences, whether it’s a breakup or just going out and having some fun.”

Certainly, there’s plenty of fun to be had on Work in Progress.

Drop the Tailgate is a stomping party number that highlights Bixby’s baritone and rustic yodels, while the acoustic guitar-driven Walk You Home captures the youthful excitement of new love and was inspired by the innocence of the Beatles’ hit I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

The CD even includes an old-time country duet Hate to Love You which is sure to please traditionalists.

Work in Progress was recorded in Vancouver with Bixby and longtime guitarist D Klinger co-producing alongside returning studio collaborators John Webster and Bill Buckingham.

In addition to classic country sensibilities, the musicians tapped into the spirit of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll.

“I don’t really listen to the radio unless it’s one that has the oldies – all the time. For me, the simplicity of that era was just fantastic,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything like it. It’s a story and a song, and I like that you get to hear every word I say when I sing.”

Meanwhile, he’s clearly enjoying the journey.

“I’ve gotten to do some pretty phenomenal shows,” he adds. “I’ve gotten to do the shows that I’ve always dreamed of doing. Now, it isn’t a competition and I’ve got nothing to prove – I just want to play music.”

editor@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

First official speed skating competition held at Setters Place this weekend

More than 100 junior speed skaters from across Alberta competed in the Jeremy Wotherspoon Open

Get your healthy on

Healthy Living Expo promotes sustainable, innovative and healthy lifestyles

WATCH: Team Alberta visits Red Deer this weekend to prepare for Canada Winter Games

About 250 Team Alberta athletes toured venues and tested out facilities Saturday

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

PHOTO: Eyes turn to heavens to witness super blood wolf moon

These two photos show the lunar eclipse about 30 minutes apart from each other.

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Most Read