Singer/songwriter Johnny Reid is slated to perform July 24 in the Centrium during this year's Westerner Days Fair & Exposition.

Singer Johnny Reid plays Westerner Days

Scottish-born artist forging ahead in country circles

  • Aug. 24, 2010 6:59 p.m.

Canadian platinum hit-maker Johnny Reid is set to hit the stage at this year’s Westener Days Fair & Exposition.

On the heels of his latest release Dance With Me, the popular singer/songwriter will showcase his depth of raw artistic skill July 24 in the Centrium. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster by calling 403-340-4455.

Reid’s 2007 offering Kickin’ Stones garnered the Scottish born, Nashville-based artist CCMA’s for Top-Selling Canadian Recording and Top Male Artist in 2008, as well as a Juno nomination for Country Recording of the Year.

Dance With Me made a quick impression with the engaging first single A Woman Like You which vaulted straight into solid rotation at CMT, fired up by Reid’s gritty, heartfelt vocal performance. The simply-crafted title tune itself is one of those remarkably romantic cuts which struck a chord with listeners as well.

Still, Reid knew from the beginning of production that he wanted to inject the project with a certain undeniable energy.

“The big thing with this record was that I wanted it to be danceable,” he explains. “I wanted for people to be able to get up in their living room, or at the bars, or at the concert hall and dance.”

There’s a spectrum of styles surfacing as the tunes unfold from rollicking pianos and soaring strings to slick horn arrangements that tap into every musical nuance from country, soul, R&B to rock. On an emotional and expressive level, Reid’s voice can keep up with virtually all of it.

For Reid, it’s ultimately about keeping it simple.

“When I sit down with a guitar I really try to be straight to the point, straight to the heart, and make sure whatever I’m singing is cold, stone, truth,” he says.

“I really wanted to make a record that would speak to all the people who listen to country radio, all the people who’ve changed my life.”

While recording in Nashville’s Blue Room studio, Reid and co-writer, producer, and close personal friend Brent Maher placed the emphasis on getting strong performances live off the floor, cutting vocals and the band’s tracks simultaneously.

They wrapped things up mostly in the space of just a couple of days utilizing the artistic strengths of folks like Vicky Hampton, who’s backed up performers like Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Rogers and Billy Joel; keyboardist Gordon Mote and co-writer and guitarist Mark Selby and members of Mark Knopfler’s touring band including bassist Glen Worf and guitarist Richard Bennett.

“I wanted there to be a real sense of continuity between Kickin’ Stones and Dance With Me,” Reid explains. “It’s about how you live your life. It’s about takin’ a wee bit of time to spend with the person you love, to sort of get lost in a moment and get back to basics.”

Meanwhile, other musical highlights for this year’s Westerner Days Fair & Exposition include the Kraze Birthday Bash, when Kraze 101.3 takes over the Centrium stage July 22.

Punk/pop sensations Marianas Trench play July 23 as well. These shows are included with gate admission.

The Molson Canadian Ranch melds the fair’s traditional beer gardens with a new outdoor stage and lots of live shows featuring The Higgins, Hey Romeo, One More Girl and Jessie Farrell.

Gate admission prices are $9 for adults, $7 for youth ages 13 to 18) $4 for kids six to 12, and $5 for seniors. Kids five and under get in free. Parking is $6.

For more information, call 403-343-7800 or check out www.westernerdays.ca.

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