ON SOLID GROUND- Singer Johnny Reid brings tunes from latest CD plus loads of classic favourites to the Centrium during Westerner Days. Reid performs July 23.

ON SOLID GROUND- Singer Johnny Reid brings tunes from latest CD plus loads of classic favourites to the Centrium during Westerner Days. Reid performs July 23.

Johnny Reid set to hit Westerner stage

Singer Johnny Reid continues his unstoppable foray into the modern pop/country music scene with his latest disc A Place Called Love.

Fans will be able to hear firsthand what the critically acclaimed crooner with the familiar raspy, expressive pipes has been up to when he performs during Westerner Days next month. He played at the fair last year to a sold-out show and organizers knew he’d be more than welcome for a return stint this year as well.

Reid, who originally hails from Scotland but moved to Canada when he was 13, takes the Centrium stage July 23. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

“One of the greatest relationships I have, apart from my family, is the relationship I have with the people who come out and see my shows and buy my records,” he explains. “The longer I’m given the opportunity to record songs and sing them, the deeper that relationship becomes.”

From the get-go, Reid has showed a vivid knack for telling stories through his music. Cuts like Dance With Me and A Woman Like You show his ability to explore songs with an emotional intensity that fans quickly took a shine to. Newer tunes like the upbeat You Gave My Heart A Home tap into that distinct ability of Reid as well.

A Place Called Love was released in Canada last summer and made its debut at number one on the charts.

But places where love dwells so strongly aren’t always the happiest. Grief is of course part of life, and Reid includes a tune on the disc that was inspired by the death of his grandmother.

“Before the passing of my granny if someone had asked me, ‘Do you believe in a place called love?’ I would have said yes but in no way would I have understood how deeply.”

Thoughts of what he’d like his own legacy to be also began to surface.

“It’s not about number one songs, tour buses and having your face on a billboard,” he says. Reid also explains how he wants his music to have a healing nature about it. “It’s about writing songs that help people. Songs that help them cry when they need to and help them laugh when they can.”

Recorded in Nashville’s Blue Room and Toronto’s Metalworks Studios with producer and co-writer Brent Maher, the album also reunited Reid with many of the players who’ve brought their musical gifts to earlier releases like 2007’s Kicking Stones and 2009’s Dance With Me.

Reid has certainly connected with audiences; his fan base grows with each successive release.

Over the past five years, he has sold more than 500,000 CDs in Canada alone. His first DVD – Johnny Reid Live at the Jubilee – was certified platinum within a mere three weeks of its release last winter. He was also nominated in five categories for the Canadian Country Music Awards in 2010.

Over the past several years, he’s won 13 CCMA awards including the 2009 Fan’s Choice Award and the Top Selling Record and Male Artist of the Year Awards two years running.

This year, he’s also been selected to receive the 2011 CCMA Humanitarian Award.

Reid will receive the honour during Country Music Week this September in Hamilton, Ont. A desire to give back has always been part of what he’s wanted to do. Reid has been an avid fundraising force for World Vision Foundation, the Children’s Aid Foundation and the Make A Wish Foundation of Canada among others.

“I am both humbled and honoured to receive this award on behalf of all of us who strive to offer hope and love to those who need it the most,” said Reid, who is also slated to perform at the CCMA presentation on Sept. 12. He kicks off his A Place Called Love tour the next day.

The tour includes about 40 stops altogether. “When we were putting this tour together I said to myself, I’ve got ninety minutes on stage,” he says. He wants to see folks impacted by the music and the message of his latest project as well.

“My goal is to have people walk in to a show and, if they don’t believe in a place called love at the beginning, to make sure they do by the end.”

For tickets to his upcoming show, call Ticketmaster at 403-340-4455 or visit www.ticketmaster.ca.