The last two decades have been a musical journey for a local Stettler band.
Over the last 20 years, Stettler’s harmonic country-crooners Renegade Station have had three name changes while also succeeding in picking up a few awards.
Comprised of long-time friends Kent Nixon, Russ and Luanne Carl, and Scott McKnight, the quartet began as a back-up band whose harmonies really “melded together,” according to lead singer Nixon.
“The harmonies are what really got us,” said Nixon.
The band started out the early part of their musical journey under the name “Damned if I know;” however, that name was eventually replaced with one Stettler residents may still remember, “Domino.”
As Domino, the band won Country Music Alberta group or duo of the year in both 2015 and 2016. Additionally, the group won the Fans’ Choice award in 2015.
The group rebranded around 2017 in order to be more connected to their Stettler roots.
According to Nixon, the Renegade part of the band’s name comes from the band’s experience that artists are “built differently” than the general population.
“We may as well embrace it,” said Nixon, with a laugh.
“There’s no sense being sorry for it.”
The Station part of the band’s name comes from the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions train station which still remains in Stettler, something the band is extremely proud of.
Since changing the name to Renegade Station, the group has picked up more hardware from Country Music Alberta picking up a Single of the Year award for “Who’s Gonna Love Me Tonight” in 2018 and “Every Now and Then” during the 2023 awards ceremony held at the beginning of April.
Despite the wins, Nixon says that the music is not about the awards.
“People enjoying your stuff is what’s important,” said Nixon.
Another key part of the music is the friendships that the group has made along the way, according to Nixon, recounting a writing session where himself and Luanne met up with Drew Gregory and Lyndsay Butler for a writing session in Standard, Alta.
“One way or another, most of them we’ve worked with,” said Nixon.
“It’s great to see friends of ours having success.”
On top of winning awards and performing at Country Music Alberta Celebrations, the band has also been nominated and played at the national stage for the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs).
Nixon says that the group has no intention of stopping, but they are definitely slowing down as they enter the next phase of their musical careers. That said, he’s not ruling out new music in the future and several shows have already been confirmed across the province for later this year.
Meanwhile, with Nixon and Renegade Station slowing down, the music scene in Stettler still looks bright; Nixon’s son recently helped form a band called the “Young Guns,” who recently played the Stettler Trade Show and have more upcoming dates in the community.
Having always been around the band, Josh was able to fill in when one of the band members became injured last year and was unable to play guitar.
The younger Nixon ended up playing with Renegade Station at COuntry Thunder in Calagry and at the CCMAs.
“It was awesome having Josh there,” said Nixon.
“He jumped right in.”
For more information or show announcements follow Renegade Station on Facebook or check them out online at renegadestationmusic.com.