November 19 @ 7:30pm
Rows A, B, C $71.35
Rows D & up $60.10
He’s been called Canada’s answer to George Strait. But a distinctive sound and songwriting ability is what defines Gord Bamford as one of country music’s best neotraditional artists and like so many others that have come before him, Bamford is not an overnight success. He has spent the better part of the last 20 years honing his craft, working to get where he is today: a 16-time Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) award winning artist. Bamford has opened with artists such as Tim McGraw, Goerge Strait, Martina McBride, Brooks & Dunn, Miranda Lambert and just recently a cross-Canada tour with Reba McEntire.
While his 6th studio album Country Junkie sees Bamford using a variety of different songwriters, such as Brent Baxter (Alan Jackson – “Monday Morning Church”), Phil O’Donnell (George Strait – “Give It All We Got Tonight”) he stays true to that formula for success he’s had with Nashville-based co-writing partner Byron Hill (George Strait – “Fool Hearted Memory”, Gary Allan – Nothing On But The Radio”, Joe Nicols – “Size Matter” … just to name a few).
“The greatest thing about Byron is he’s just become a great friend. All he wants me to do is have success,” says Bamford. “He still to this day says ‘Just try to get the best song you can get, because it all starts and ends with a song’. I say that too. Whether we write them or whether we find them, I believe in putting out the absolutely best songs I can get for a record that are going to advance my career. He’s the backbone of what I do, there’s no doubt about it as far as writing songs and producing records. I can’t ever see myself not doing a record with the guy unless he decides he doesn’t want to. He’s amazing.”
Hill confirms their powerful union. “It all started the moment we met, a mutual respect of each other’s abilities,” explains Hill. “Somehow our individual contributions to the process have continued to improve the combined result. There is a need to stay connected to the roots of what Gord is and where he started, but move it a bit forward as well. We both understand this, so I can’t help but think each album is just going to get better and better. After producing many albums with Gord, and just when I thought I knew everything Gord could do, it happened again….something new and fresh, and no doubt the best yet.”
“It’s tricky to try and figure out what is going to work on radio because it seems to change so often,” Bamford says. “Country music isn’t what I grew up on anymore which was Merle Haggard, Garth Brooks and Johnny Cash. I mean it is, but it isn’t, especially on the production side. It’s a lot edgier. I wanted to make sure I stuck to my grassroots of what I do the best and what has gotten me to where I’m at today. So there’s a good mixture of stuff people would typically hear me do but there’s also an element of where I stepped out of the box a little bit.” The title track “Country Junkie” is a prime example of that traditional sound. The strong Merle Haggard guitar intro paired with Bamford singing with his boyhood country idol Joe Diffie, will undoubtedly delight fans. “I wore out Joe Diffie records growing up,” the down-to-earth Bamford says. “I mean he probably wouldn’t like to hear that because he’d think he’s getting old. In my mind he’s arguably one of the greatest country singers to have ever lived. What a huge honour it was to have Joe part of that song and what a great song it turned out to be. I can see that one being a lot of fun live as well.”
Judging by the God-fearing, family-loving, working-man tone Country Junkie exemplifies, Bamford makes sharing his success a priority. His Gord Bamford Charitable Foundation has generated almost $1.5 million since its inception in 2008. He set a record at the 2013 golf event by raising $355,000 for charities such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and numerous children’s hospitals all across Canada. “Those organizations have had an impact on my life and that’s why we do what we do. It’s always great to get out, play music, be on stage and wake up every morning loving what I do. But probably the greatest thing I get to do is interact with a lot of these children and try to make a difference in their lives. It’s hard to comprehend but it’s an awesome thing to see a kid’s face light up who is really sick and all he wants to do is go to Disneyland. It puts it all into perspective as to why I think God put me on earth to do what I do because it’s helping other people.”
That humble, likable approach is what continues to draw legions of new fans to Gord Bamford. But it’s the music that keeps them loyal. No one knows this better than Byron Hill. “It is one of his key attributes that endears him to people every time,” says Hill. But Hill also confirms what long-time Gord Bamford fans already know: he gives them what they want: country music.