Kingston

Sons of rock ’n’ roll

While playing the bar circuit in his hometown, singer Brett Emmons of The Glorious Sons would routinely hear an older musician diss another Kingston, Ont., native who rose to fame with The Tragically Hip. “This guy would talk about how he was so much better than Gord Downie when he was younger,” recalled Emmons.

While playing the bar circuit in his hometown, singer Brett Emmons of The Glorious Sons would routinely hear an older musician diss another Kingston, Ont., native who rose to fame with The Tragically Hip.

“This guy would talk about how he was so much better than Gord Downie when he was younger,” recalled Emmons.

The disgruntled older performer inadvertently taught 21-year-old Emmons an important lesson: You’re never going to please some people because they aren’t rooting for you in the first place.

To avoid the anxiety that comes with chasing after success, you have to forget about meeting outside expectations and focus on why you started playing music, said Emmons, who performs with The Glorious Sons at a sold-out show on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Wild Bill’s Sports Bar in Red Deer.

“You do it for yourself and not worry about what other people have to say.”

On that note, The Glorious Sons just released the band’s first full-length album The Union. It follows the hugely popular previous EP. Shapeless Art, which spawned two Top-10 singles, White Noise and Mama.

Although the Kingston rockers now have thousands of fans across the country and more riding on the success of The Union, Emmons said band members are determined to stay true to who they are as musicians.

“You can’t fail as long as you are trying harder,” he added, “so as long as we are happy with (the album) and some people are touched by it,” he believes the rest doesn’t matter.

While the last few years have been a thrilling round of cross-Canada tours and regular radio play for the band, Emmons believes he and the other musicians — his brother Jay Emmons, Chris Huot, Adam Paquette and Andrew Young — remain grounded.

“We all have really good families that make sure we stay modest.”

The Union pays tribute to these “blue-collar” families, said Emmons, who noted “me and all the band members worked trades and grew up with parents that did everything to support us, put food on the table and clothes on our backs.”

While the new album doesn’t come right out and sing the praises of working people, it’s implied in every song, he added. “You can feel it. I can’t write lyrics that say exactly what I think completely. I like to make people think.”

For instance, the band’s newest single, Heavy, might bring The Sopranos TV series to mind if you listen carefully. Emmons said the gangster family drama was his all-time favourite show, and he was particularly struck by a line delivered by one of the mobsters: “It was something like, ‘Next time you come, come back heavy,’ ” he recalled — meaning ready to do battle.

Emmons borrowed this sentiment. The song’s lyrics go “Come heavy or don’t come at all,” as a metaphor for fighting off negative forces.

Among the The Union’s other songs “about normal human life, lost love, regrets” is a tune that returns to Emmons’ first point about not trying to please everybody.

The song Gordie was actually inspired by Downie and the jealous older singer who kept trying to boost himself up by trying to pull Downie’s reputation down.

“Anxiety is a funny thing,” said Emmons. “Once you start doing well, it starts to affect you” — until you remember you are making music “because you are doing what you love.”

“We understand we’re not the biggest band in the world,” he added — but then “biggest” was never The Glorious Sons’ goal.

“We’re trying to make great songs.”

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

A lesson in excellence and success

Mary Kemmis, president of the Prairie Division of Black Press Media, and… Continue reading

Gravel operations could cloud pristine trout stream, say conservationists

Border Paving proposes to excavate below the waterline near the Raven Rriver

Alberta government firing election commissioner who was investigating leadership

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government is firing the province’s election commissioner,… Continue reading

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

Some Canadian universities are urging their exchange students in Hong Kong to… Continue reading

First-time novelist Ian Williams wins $100K Scotiabank Giller Prize

TORONTO — First-time novelist Ian Williams singled out a special member of… Continue reading

Central Albertans help families during holidays with Christmas Wish Breakfast

It takes a community to help a community. And Sunday morning at… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Nov. 19 The Mountview Sunnybrook Community Association will hold its AGM at… Continue reading

Opinion: The buck stops with Red Deer city council

Red Deer city council has taken measures to distance itself from decisions… Continue reading

Alberta government firing election commissioner who was investigating leadership

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government is firing the province’s election commissioner,… Continue reading

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

Some Canadian universities are urging their exchange students in Hong Kong to… Continue reading

First-time novelist Ian Williams wins $100K Scotiabank Giller Prize

TORONTO — First-time novelist Ian Williams singled out a special member of… Continue reading

Campus under siege as Hong Kong police battle protesters

HONG KONG — Police tightened their siege of a university campus where… Continue reading

US angers Palestinians with reversal on Israeli settlements

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday said it no longer considers… Continue reading

Pence aide’s testimony renews focus on VP’s Ukraine role

WASHINGTON — He knew nothing about the Ukrainian backchannel, his aides say.… Continue reading

Most Read