March 20, 2012

SJP

Bamford like a roadie on tour
By Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency


Gord Bamford (Handout)

Gord Bamford’s work is never done.

Unlike many musicians, the rural Alberta singer-songwriter’s day doesn’t begin and end with his performance.

“You nailed it right on the head,” laughs Bamford from (fittingly

enough) a tour stop out east. “After the show, I’m the guy that’s loading the trailer. I’m the guy that’s getting the bus ready to go.”

Welcome to the glamourous life of a Canadian country artist. But for the 35-year-old Bamford, it’s a labour of love: And the embodiment of the way he was raised.

“We grew up on a family farm in a small community where you had to earn what you got. This is no different. You’ve got to work hard to get places in life. It doesn’t come easy.”


After more than a decade of writing, recording and touring, the Australian-born artist’s hard work is finally paying dividends. His 2010 album Day Job earned him a slew of CCMA awards, while the single My Daughter's Father was the most-played song on Canadian country radio last year. All of which helped make his aptly titled fifth album Is It Friday Yet? his most high-profile disc to date, thanks to a new partnership with Sony Music Canada. It may also be his strongest album, boasting a solid lineup of blue-collar country singles that favour old-school twang — and Bamford’s warm, distinctive baritone — over trendiness and gloss.

Somewhere between the trailer, the bus and the stage, Bamford found a minute to talk about working for a living, the world according to Garth and why you won’t catch him moving to Nashville.

Working-man songs are a staple of country music. But for a lot of artists, that’s just a pose. That’s doesn’t seem to be the case with you.

No, that’s just who I am. It’s the way I was brought up. And that’s what my songs reflect. It’s pretty meat-and-potatoes stuff. What you see is what you get.

Are you hands-on in every aspect of your career?

Every aspect. We’ve built this from the ground floor up. It’s kind of the Garth Brooks approach to things, I guess you could say. I’ve been reading his book and it seems we’re trying to do a lot of the same things he did. Obviously, we’re not at that level yet!

What kinds of things are you talking about?

Well, Garth always had a hand in everything, always made his own decisions. But he was also very smart about listening to the people he surrounded himself with. That’s how it is with me. Anytime you have more than one mind thinking on something, you better pay attention to it. But at the end of the day, I usually go with my gut feeling. And it seems to be working. It’s just about keeping true to who am I and what I do.

Unlike a lot of country artists, you co-write nearly all your songs.

Why?

It’s really not been by design. I just think it’s important to have great songs. And I’ve been fortunate to be able to write with arguably some of the greatest songwriters in the world when it comes to country music. If I didn’t have those songs, I’d be looking for them, because that’s the most important thing. You have to have great songs. If you don’t, you need to go find ’em.

What makes for a great song?

Well, country music is not hard. It’s simple. Melodically, it needs to hook somebody within the first 20 seconds. And it’s important, in country music anyway, to talk about what people want to hear more than what you want to sing about. That’s why we sing about love and children and drinking and partying — life, you know. That’s about it.

I was always told to keep it really simple. Some of the greatest country songs in the world have just three chords.

But at the same time you’re being commercial, you clearly aren’t trying to be trendy.

I’ve just stuck with what’s worked for me. We’re at a time when country music is going more pop-country. And for me it’s kind of great, because everybody’s trying the pop-country thing and I’m the only guy sitting here playing traditional country songs. So hey, I hope it keeps going that way.

Being a Canadian country musician seems like a tough gig. It’s not a huge national market in comparison to the U.S.

It’s about what you want in life. Do you want to have a career and a job you love that enables you to make a good living, or do you want to be away 300 days a year in search of making millions? I’ve seen it happen — artists that are doing well here in Canada and all of a sudden, they think they should head to the States and forget where they came from. But I love Canada. The fans have been great to me, and I can make a living doing what I want to do. I have three kids at home and we’re doing fine. We’ve got a roof over our head.

Gord Bamford’s Tour Dates

March 21 | Port Hope | Capitol Theatre

March 22 | Owen Sound | Roxy Theatre

March 23 | Guelph | University

March 26 | Sault Ste. Marie | Community Theatre

March 27 | North Bay | Capitol Theatre

March 28 | Orillia | Opera House

March 29 | Parry Sound | Stockey Centre

March 30 | Huntsville | Algonquin Theatre

March 31 | Sudbury | Fraser Auditorium

April 21 | Winnipeg | McPhillips Station Casino April 25 | Lloydminster | Community Theatre April 26 | Yorkton | Portnuff Theatre April 27 | Melfort | Arts Theatre May 14 | Terrace | Lee Theatre May 16 | Prince George| Playhouse May 17 | Quesnel | Seniors Hall May 23 | Cranbrook | Key City Theatre May 24 | Trail | Charles Bailey Theatre May 25 | Chilliwack | Cultural Centre

darryl.sterdan@sunmedia.ca

@darryl_sterdan

blogs.canoe.ca/ent

facebook.com/darryl.sterdan

 




HOT MUSIC HEADLINES
Randy Travis files new lawsuit
Stars bid George Jones farewell
Jason Aldean files for divorce
Band Perry avoids soph slump
Currington dumped by NASCAR
Aldean, wife have split: report
Paisley set for Christian backlash
More Headlines
Lambert at centre of police probe
McCready remembered at memorial
Swift: Exes can write songs about me
Dixie Chicks' Maines goes solo
Travis pleads guilty, gets probation
Harris charged with hit, run: report
McCready denies shooting boyfriend

Latest videos
See more videos


Who's coming and when
Want to know when your favourite band is coming to town? Check out Clive, JAM Music's extensive Canadian concert listings.

Movie Listings
Find out what's playing at a theatre near you.
TV Listings
Wondering what's on tonight? Check out our TV listings for the complete schedule in your area.




Do you think Kanye West should have the book thrown at him for fighting with a photographer?
Yes
No


Results | Story