Canadian Musician - November/December 2017 - Page 37

“Getting signed is the easy part; sustaining it is the hard part. You’ve just gotta put the time in.” While his is the most impressive track record from an industry standpoint, his bandmates aren’t strangers to the music business. MacLeod spent a short stint with My Darkest Days himself, while the Lester brothers learned plenty from their father, bluegrass master Emory Lester. All are well in tune with the idea of hard work being the only path to sustainable success. “First and foremost, we’re all performers at heart, and it’s all about being on that stage and perform- ing for people. That gives us fulfillment individually,” says Oliver about what brought the group together in the first place. When they’re not on the road, Cold Creek County will rehearse five days a week. Musicianship is important to this band – something that helps them stand out in a crowded contemporary coun- try market. “Producers can do anything these days to make you sound great on an album,” he muses, “but we really pride ourselves on a live show that sounds as good or better than our record. There are no excuses in our camp; you either do it or you don’t.” They don’t take anything for granted, and as Anthony says, they share the mindset of being lifelong students, and the idea that “there’s always something to be learned.” The process of making Homemade proves his point. At the time that Anthony was officially welcomed into the fold, two of the EP’s five original tracks were pretty much in the bag, but he still made his mark by injecting some fresh ideas into the work. “I kind of brought in this idea of having four- to six-part harmonies all the time, kind of lead- ing into songs with a cool a cappella idea,” the singer offers, and the band was keen to follow him. Pulling it off with a group of such seasoned musicians didn’t take much. “If you want to throw a fifth or mi- nor on something,” Anthony adds, “they’ve already got it figured out before you can tell them.” That approach to the vocals – which is really an evolution of the interlocked harmonies showcased on Till the Wheels Come Off – is one of the new Trevor MacLeod elements that give Homemade a more traditional country tinge. One might assume that this much-welcomed throwback sound is the band looking to shed the “bro country” label that was sometimes applied to their debut, but Oliver insists that’s never been a concern. “I don’t even know what that is, anyway,” he “We’re always tinkering, man. We want to be a very diverse band, and want the songs to sound different from one another and not be a one-trick pony, so to speak.” That idea will be further affirmed in early 2018, when the band drops their second short-player in a row. Anthony is particularly excited to be in- volved in the creative process from start to finish, and sprouts a smile when he mentions breaking out his harmonica for a few songs. “There’s definitely some cool surprises on there,” Oliver adds. He explains that the idea behind following up a successful debut with two subsequent EPs is to “keep content coming all the time. We want to be in people’s faces. We want to share music with the world, and with our fans. They’re the ones that give GEAR AT A GLANCE CHES ANTHONY (LEAD VOCALS, GUITAR) JUSTIN LESTER (BASS, VOCALS) Composite Acoustics 3/4 Acoustic Guitar Sennheiser EW500-965 G3 Handheld Wireless Microphone Fender Precision Bass Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray Bass Traynor Amplifiers JORDAN HONSINGER (BANJO, VOCALS) Fender Guitars Fender Amplifiers Strymon Effects JHS Effects Fulltone Effects Electro-Harmonix Effects Sennheiser Wireless Goldtone Banjos Eastman Acoustic Guitars Dobro Resonator Guitars Suhr Electric Guitars Fender Electric Guitars Empress Effects Radial Engineering Preamps & DIs D’Addario Strings JOSH LESTER (GUITAR, VOCALS) Fender Stratocaster Guitars w/ Galaxy Pickguards Vox Amplifiers says of a term that’s pretty much been flogged to death. “We just make music because we love it. You can label it however you like, but it’s about lyrics, vibe, and positivity. Everyone’s always just smiling and having a good time, and we love it.” That was certainly the case in the studio while the EP was coming together. Like the band’s debut LP, Homemade found Oliver and Cooke sharing production duties in an arrangement that seems to bring out the best in both sides. “We love the guy,” Oliver says of their returning collaborator. “He’s very dear to our hearts and homes, and we work really well together.” The growth between releases, the drummer tacks on, is totally organic – the product of a band maturing and coming into their own, never shying away from new ideas if they do the song justice. “We’re very open to exper- imenting, and that’s what our records come down to,” says Oliver, speaking to that sonic evolution. TREVOR MACLEOD (LEAD GUITAR, VOCALS) DOUG OLIVER (DRUMS) Pearl Masters & Reference Series Drums Sabian Cymbals Vater Percussion & Drumsticks Remo Drumheads Plunge Audio IEMs us a career, so we want to cater to them and let them know we appreciate them.” Cold Creek County have made no bones about the fact that they’re gunning for the top – that making a successful career out of making mu- sic is the ultimate goal, and one that informs every move they make as a band. It’s something they’ve each been working towards individually for years; now, they’re leveraging one another’s talents, skills, and experience for a collective push forward. It’s paid off so far, with only a pair of formal releases leading to a busy 2017 full of summer festival dates and fall tours with the likes of Dallas Smith and Old Dominion. Oliver is pleased with their trajectory, but also makes it clear that they’re going to continue the grind and don’t ever plan to rest on their laurels. “There are a lot of great bands out there – especially in Canada – that are just killing it,” he says. “Getting signed is the easy part; sustaining it is the hard part. You’ve just gotta put the time in.” Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Musician. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 37