Having notched 13 top 10 singles to date, Canada’s Aaron Lines is gearing up to make a serious splash at this year’s Westerner Days. He’s also pumped about continuing to introduce folks to tunes from his latest CD Sunday Afternoon.
He performs on the Molson Canadian Ranch stage on July 21.
Originally from Fort McMurray, Lines always dreamed of making music. But living in a northern Alberta community wasn’t completely conducive to seeing the dream come to fruition. Sports were a huge draw as well.
“I was always into sports – five or six types at any given time,” he explains.
And while his folks didn’t show much love for music around the house, his siblings, however, were starting to tune into their favourite artists and it all left an impression on Lines. He first picked up a guitar at 12.
“I don’t remember my parents even playing records, though my older brother and sisters did,” he recalls. His siblings had also been down the piano lesson route, but no one had stuck with it. “When I asked about guitar, mom actually found an old acoustic one that my dad had and signed me up right away for lessons.”
Thus the journey had started to an eventual move to Nashville, signing with RCA Records and the release of his debut CD Love Changes Everything in 2002. Lines was just 23 when he signed his first record deal.
Living Out Loud followed in 2003, Waitin’ on the Wonderful in 2005 and Moments That Matter hit shelves in 2007.
Interestingly, it was songwriting that really captured his interest at first. Performing was secondary. “I’ve never been a ‘Look at me’ kind of guy,” he says with a laugh.
Lines also was finding his voice about this time as well. He started a band with his brother and although it didn’t prove a blazing success, he recalls that period as being a rich time of learning the craft of songwriting. He was also intent on mapping out a career in music. Along with help from his brother and manager Jay, the guys started poring over lists of industry contacts, record companies, producers, publishers and booking agents.
They finally caught the attention of an executive at Arista Records in Los Angeles. By this point, Lines was attending University in Edmonton, majoring in business, but still performing, writing songs and taking vocal lessons.
A grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts combined with a loan from his dad was enough to pay for a professionally produced two-song tape, which they sent to their Arista friend.
At first, the L.A. contact zeroed in on Lines’ knack for penning songs. But along came producer Chris Farren who took a liking to Lines’ gift for performing as well.
In May 2001, he met with RCA Records and then performed a showcase for them in a small Nashville club. The label phoned Farren the next day to make the deal. The two went in the studio in December of that year, recording some of the material in Nashville, and some in a studio in Vancouver.
These days, Lines is grateful for the chance to share his music with the masses. He and his growing family divide their time between Calgary and Nashville, and he’s pleased to see his children growing up close to their extended families.
Meanwhile, never before has there been as much live musical entertainment set to hit various stages at the Westerner Days Fair & Exposition, which runs July 20-24 at Westerner Park.
Stars performing in the Centrium include Johnny Reid on July 23 — tickets are available by calling Ticketmaster at 403-340-4455 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca.
Others appearing at the Centrium through Westerner Days include April Wine on July 21 and These Kids Wear Crowns and Stereos, both appearing July 22. Entry to these shows is free with gate admission.
And besides Lines, a number of artists are also scheduled for the Molson Canadian Ranch stage, where entry is also free with gate admission.
Dean Brody performs July 20, High Valley hits the stage July 22 and Chad Brownlee plays July 23. Finally, Shane Chisholm performs daily.
The Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA) and Westerner Park have also partnered to provide some of Alberta’s aspiring country musicians with the opportunity to play at the Mol¬son Canadian Ranch at this year’s fair. Ty Hart & Wyld Ryde hit the stage July 20 and Six West performs July 22.
The Orchard performs July 21 and Domino is slated for July 23. The Boom Chucka Boys perform July 23 as well and Alee performs July 24.
Check out www.westernerdays.ca or call 403-343-7800.