You can take the girl off the farm, but it turns out you can’t take the country out of Katie Rox.
The 2001 graduate of the Red Deer College music program has lived in Vancouver for most of the last decade. For a time, she dabbled in industrial rock music as Katie B., lead singer of the Juno Award-nominated band Jakalope.
But then she got burned out.
“When I quit the band, I started questioning if I wanted to do anything in music anymore,” said Rox, who performs on Thursday at The Hideout, in Gasoline Alley south of Red Deer.
Eventually, Rox — better known to her RDC friends as Katie Biever — took up songwriting again.
But her new tunes had more to do with her upbringing on an Airdrie-area farm than any urban sensibilities she picked up in Vancouver.
“I try to write what I want to write but it always has a country flavour to it,” Rox said, with a chuckle.
Her sound is not Dolly Parton country or even Taylor Swift pop-country. “I think of it as Katie country. It’s kind of folk/alt country, with a small-town sound,” she added.
Her latest album, Pony Up — which features a childhood photograph of Rox’s older sister leading a horse, because “she was a much cuter kid than me,” admitted Rox — is full of very personal songs.
Perhaps the most personal is her first single from the CD, Airplane.
Rox said she wrote the tune after her husband, actor Colby Johannson of Innisfail, gave her a pep talk exactly when she needed it.
“He said, ‘Look at it this way: You’re at an airport and you can go anywhere you want. . . . ’
“It’s funny, how the things you say to people — sometimes even things you don’t remember saying — can make such a difference.”
Leave Me Here is a song Rox co-wrote with Simple Plan member Sebastien Lefebvre, whom she got to know while working several years ago at The Warehouse Recording Studio in Vancouver (where she was once asked to sing backup on a Mandy Moore song).
The duet with Lefebvre is about wrongly anticipating what someone’s about to say. “You find out he wasn’t going to say what you thought he was going to say, but you’ve just gotten into a fight about it,” said Rox, with a laugh.
Rox buried a hidden track on the album, called Thank God for Small Towns.
She didn’t credit this song, which plays after the last tune listed in the liner notes, because it was written and recorded at the last minute in her apartment. Yet everything seemed to fall into place. “Even my cat meows perfectly on it.”
Rox always looks forward to returning to her Alberta roots.
Although Airdrie is no longer the one-traffic-light town she remembers from her childhood, she said she still loves going home again.
“When I first heard the Miranda Lambert song The House that Built Me, I was on the verge of tears . . . I called my mom and she said, ‘You’re probably just a little homesick.’ ”
There’s no admission charge for the 9 p.m. concert.