Five years in, High Valley is in high gear

Five years can be an eternity when you’re young.

Five years can be an eternity when you’re young.

For Alberta country band High Valley, the half-decade between working on albums has taken the Rempel brothers from their teenage years (youngest brother Curtis aged from 16 to 21) to marriage and parenthood for older brothers Brad, now 27, and Bryan, 25.

“We’ve grown up a lot,” said Brad, who believes this maturity will be evident on High Valley’s newest CD, Love is a Long Road.

It will be released on Tuesday, June 12, when the group performs a some songs and does a “meet and greet” at Lammle’s Western Wear and Tack at Gaetz Avenue Crossing in Red Deer.

The up-coming album is mainly made up of relationships songs, “which isn’t new for us,” said Brad. But he believes the trio’s latest tunes reflect a more seasoned perspective.

For instance, Right Here Beside Her was written while Brad’s wife was pregnant with the second of their two young children. “That’s something I couldn’t have written for the last album,” said the guitarist/songwriter.

He Never Took Her Dancing contains a fictional premise that spun out of Brad’s observations about regret and the passage of time. The song tells the story of a man who finds dancing shoes under his wife’s side of the bed after she dies.

Brad said, “She always wanted him to take her dancing, but he never did.”

While both of these songs have sentimental overtones, Brad promises plenty of “crank up the radio, roll down your windows, fun, summertime tunes” are also included on Love is a Long Road.

The first single, Have I Told You I Love You Lately, has already climbed to No. 1 on the Canadian country chart and to No. 9 on the Billboard chart.

“Honestly, it’s very surprising and exciting,” said Brad, who admitted he lives in something of a bubble in Nashville, since his group’s music hasn’t made as much impact yet in the U.S. as in Canada.

“I have to hear my parents telling me ‘I just saw the video — it’s on all the time,’ or “I just heard the song played again on the radio’ . . . They’re very excited for us,” added Brad, who believes his biggest thrill is hearing fans sing along to his lyrics at a concert. “Then you know (a song’s) been played a lot.”

The musician is the only one of the brothers to have moved out of the Rempel’s home community of La Crete, Alta, which is so far north it lines up in latitude with Juno, Alaska.

Relocating to the southern music mecca was a matter of paying the bills, said Brad, who’s employed in Nashville as a songwriter who turns out tunes that can be recorded by other artists. One of his career highs was having a song he co-wrote, Together Again, recorded by Paul Brandt.

But the first pinch-me moment for the group occurred in 2007 when officials from the U.S. record company Eaglemont Entertainment discovered High Valley’s music on MySpace and met (and later signed) the three brothers at a small pizzeria in Twisp, Wash.

Brad recalled, “Twisp will always have a special meaning for us because a whole record label showed up to hear us play and there were only about 30 people in the place.”

A more recent highlight was getting nominated for a 2012 Juno Award. Although High Valley lost out to Terri Clark for best country album, Brad said he and his brothers got to walk the red carpet — with Nickleback, no less.

He admitted that moment would have been hard to imagine while growing up on his parents’ wheat and canola farm in a tiny community where the summer sun never sets.

Despite the northern isolation of La Crete, Brad said he and his brothers never had anyone tell them that performing “‘isn’t something you can do.’

“Nobody ever said, ‘You’d better give up’ — so that was a huge blessing.”

High Valley will perform at Lammle’s from 5 p.m. For more information, please call, 403-346-6410.

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