Canadian Musician - November/December 2017 - Page 35

Time (L-R) Ches Anthony, Trevor MacLeod, Justin Lester, Jordan Honsinger, Doug Oliver & Josh Lester of Cold Creek County By Andrew King. Photos by Mike Highfield. A feeling of unfulfillment had fallen over Doug Oliver. In the years leading up to 2013, his band had basically lived the cli- chéd rise to rock stardom that had become so elusive in the post- Napster music industry. And then, after hitting number one on the Bill- board Mainstream Rock charts, extensive tours supporting the heaviest of rock heavyweights, even the lavish Las Vegas music video with bikini-clad ladies, came another rock cliché: the indefinite hiatus. “After coming off of a number one in America, you have thousands of fans all over the world, and then, all of a sudden, it comes to a halt,” Oliver reflects. “I mean, we had some great success, but it still wasn’t the peak for me. I wasn’t done. I still had a lot to prove.” He continued to work in the music industry while contemplating his next move, developing and producing artists from a few different genres. As he tells it, “One thing led to another, and I started getting on the wave of this country thing. I was falling in love with the music and paying close attention to what was going on.” Specifically, it was the straightforward-but-substantial melodies and storytelling that drew him in – the idea of music and words being distilled to their purest, most emotional and impactful form. After all, considering his pedigree in the world of mainstream radio rock with My Darkest Days, that approach wouldn’t have been all that foreign to him. (The prevalent fashions associated with the two genres, though, might have been a dif- ferent story.) Throughout the remainder of 2013 and leading into 2014, Oliver brought together a band of talented and, more importantly, driven mu- sicians that bought into his vision for success in a burgeoning country music market. That band was Cold Creek County, and as with Oliver’s previous project, they’ve wasted little time in making an impact on the Canadian industry landscape. Oliver doesn’t totally embrace the idea of being the “architect” behind Cold Creek County, but he doesn’t outright reject it, either. The first iteration of the band recorded some demos that Oliver then sent to Kevin Zaruk, better known as Chief. The two had worked closely together during My Darkest Days’ run, and in addition to his associations with rock powerhouses like Nickelback and, at least for a time, Hinder, Chief had recently branched into country as a co-founder of umbrella company Big Loud Mountain. Their first signee? The now-massive Florida Georgia Line in 2011. They knew they were onto something, and subsequently put a plan in place to capitalize on the potential. They solidified the band, secured funding from a private investor, tapped hitmaker Scott Cooke to co-pro- duce some tracks alongside Oliver, and properly cut a five-song collection with no label, no management, and no concrete proof that anything would come of it. The initial plan was to take one of the songs to a radio tracker and see what might happen. “This sort of thing takes time, so we just wanted to put feelers out there and get on the playing field,” Oliver says, looking back. What happened next was, put simply, mighty promising. They found someone to push the song – EMI Music Canada vet Rob Chubey – who, about 15 minu FW2gFW"&V6VfrFRfR2&6VB&6B6VBf"&RFW6VBFRFW"fW"6w2B6RЦ&W6VBv( ĆR6B( 6( BG&6F2( fRvGF6VBBFגg&V@v'&VB6( ( ƗfW"&V62&VfW'&rF6W626F( 2F&V7F b&F2Be"v'&V66FRWB66Rg&66vBRbFR&V( 2wW'0FRƖRvF2ƗfW"&VV&W'2BFRVW7Fv3( v&PRBvBƗ7FVrF( Ю( ĒWVBvBVVBBRv2fW'G&wVVBBvFV@W2F6Rf"Ɨ7FVr'G( ƗfW"6FVW2f'7BFR&Bf6FVB6( 2ff6W2BVBFR&V6&FVBG&60f"FRFVGvvVV2FW"FWvW&RfFVB&6f"f&6rЦ66RGvvVV2gFW"FBFWBW'2F6v2BR22( "3