Aaron Goodvin’s voice is as country as a long stretch of gravel back road in a rural town. While his current single ‘You Are’ starts off with some electronic bleating that makes it sound like it could be a Shawn Mendes record, as soon as Aaron opens his mouth all bets are off. The guy is pure country. His new album ‘V’, now available on all digital platforms, is chock-full of the rustic stuff and for him, this is just a reflection of his roots.
“I grew up loving 90’s country music and that’s the kind of thing I want to keep or bring back, whichever way you want to put it,” says Aaron during an early morning call on an off day between Alberta shows in Fort Saskatchewan and Camrose, two cities located not that far away from his hometown of Spirit River. “I listened to a lot of George Strait and pretty much anybody that came from that era. It’s very important for me to keep it country because I simply love that kind of music.”
The record kicks off with the romping ‘Good Ol’ Bad Days’, a classic ode about a wild dude who manages to turn the corner. The singer admits the number is autobiographical and that ‘he and the devil were tight’ in his earlier days but, as is often the case, it was a girl that made him change his ornery ways. In this instance, it was his girlfriend (now wife) Victoria, and he remains smitten to the degree that he named the new album after her.
“When I first moved to Nashville I thought I had to party to stay with the ’in’ crowd,” he says. “I spent a few years doing that and then I met my future wife. She was the big reason that I was able to turn things around. I have a hard time writing songs that are not totally me and ‘Good Ol’ Bad Days’ is 100% autobiographical.”
“The song ‘For The Life Of Me’ picks things up from early in our relationship when I was kind of fighting it. When I met my wife it was a battle at first,” he laughs. “But she’s probably the reason that I’m still here and she’s inspired many of my songs so I named the album V, which is what I call her. She was a little leery about the title at first but I’ve told my personal story quite a few times in my career so she’s probably getting used to it by now. She’s cool with it.”
The singer collaborated with two elite Nashville tunesmiths on ‘For The Life Of Me’, Bart Butler, who produced Aaron’s first album and also served as his best man, and Westin Davis, who Goodvin says “has had a rough go at life and it’s made him a really great writer”. Aaron co-wrote all of the songs on the album with a wide range of virtuoso Music City writers and this results in an album of unique songs, from the gut-wrenching ‘Burn Out In Vegas’, to the rhythmic ‘Every Time You Take Your Time’ which grooves along in a similar manner to the slow funk of ‘The Long Run’ by The Eagles.
“In my opinion, the best songwriters in the world live in Nashville and they all want cuts so they all want to make it with you,” he chuckles. “I think in the beginning it was kind of a trial and error process in terms of finding writers to work with. You just have to kind of search out people that you really like to write with. Time flies by and you laugh all day and you walk out with a song. I wrote Every Time You Take Your Time with two seasoned writers, Jimmy Ritchey and Ed Hill. For that song, I went back and drew on the time when I was playing in bars and we’d do songs that rocked a little more like stuff by Journey or Bryan Adams. I realized how much I liked to sing and when I started writing songs in Nashville I was kind of leaning toward this blue-eyed soul thing. That’s where that song came from.
“Burn Out in Vegas sounds like a total change of gears but what you have to understand is you’re hearing these songs now all at once whereas I wrote them at different times and pulled them from different parts of my life. One of the good things about being 33 years old and making a record is that I’ve lived a little bit and I can draw upon different periods when I write my songs. Burn Out is the ultimate tough love song and I love it when the guy says he’s going to be there for her. I’m certainly that guy.” Aaron recorded and released his 2016 self-titled
Aaron recorded and released his 2016 self-titled debut with the confidence of having already enjoyed success as a songwriter for the track ‘Out Like That’ by Luke Bryan. He scored three Top 10 singles of his own including ‘Woman In Love’ and ‘Lonely Drum’. Lonely Drum became the only Canadian country single released in the past two years to be certified platinum and resulted in multiple Canadian Country Music Award nominations in 2018. Although it was a smash, Aaron feels he never got it to the place where he thought it was ‘killer’. Matt McClure, who produced V, suggested they beef the song up a bit and add it to the new album. This was music to Aaron’s ears and resulted in ‘Lonely Drum 2.0’. After its huge Canadian success, the singer thinks the new version could be a single in the U.S. But it will have to follow the first stateside track ‘Bars & Churches’, a great number that carries a strong message about the choice you have to make in terms of where you go to find redemption.
“I’ve been an artist that’s been around Canada for a while but in the States, I feel like you’ve like you’ve got to do something a little bit different so we’re coming out of the gate with this,” he says. “We’ve had the opportunity to play it for quite a few radio programmers, especially in the southern states, you know, the Bible belt. I think it’s a song that will connect with a lot of people.”
While Aaron’s current shows keep him in western Canada, plans are underway to head east for the summer festival circuit followed by a fall tour that he’s confident will go cross country. And if you go to a show, don’t be surprised if you hear shouts for ‘Free Bird’ coming from the crowd. No, this isn’t part of the long-running joke where people call out the Lynyrd Skynyrd track at shows that have nothing to do with southern rock, but rather this would be a shout-out for ‘Free Beer & Free Bird’, which may be V’s most hook-laden track.
“One of the things I love is that people recognize an Aaron Goodvin song as soon as it starts playing. Our first hit was ‘Woman In Love’ and it has an undeniable kind of guitar thing in it. I love that people can tell it’s my song even before I start singing. I pulled ‘Free Bird’ from the period when I was 18 to 25 years old and playing in bar bands but what’s funny is I’ve actually never played that song.”
Other Roots Stuff:
Fast-rising Canadian country group Chris Buck Band recently released their brand new album “All In”. The album racked up over 700K streams in just two weeks, and the new single “Good Ol’ Days” was the most added song at radio in the country format in Canada last week. All In pays homage to Chris’ home roots with the upbeat, opening track “Holy Ground” to showing his sentimental side with the country ballad “Driftin”. This sophomore album is a personal reflection of the singer that goes well beyond his 2017 party anthem “RDNKN”.
The Canadian country music community is embracing their family reputation as they come together to support one of their own in Toronto on March 3. An Opry-style benefit concert for Runaway Angel singer Cadence Grace, “Country Kicks Cancer’s Ass” will take place at the Rock N’ Horse Saloon in Toronto with a handful of country music’s best taking the stage in support of this talented artist. Featuring performances by Jessica Mitchell, Eric Ethridge, Leah Daniels, Genevieve Fisher, Kris Barglay and many more, tickets are available at:
Alberta Country artist Maddison Krebs has released a new EP “Live For Love”. She worked with some of music’s best producers and songwriters in Nashville, such as Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks) and Tony Martin (Tim McGraw, Keith Urban). Along with her sound, Maddison is finding her voice. You can hear it throughout her music, from “Real Real Thing” to “Queen Elizabeth” and “Live For Love.”
And who would have thought we would end things with a mention about Rare Earth. Well, it turns out that the voice of Rare Earth, Peter Rivera, who possesses one of the most soulful sets of pipes around, is back with a new song called “Encore” available at:
If you check out the song or any of his recent concert performances on YouTube you’ll find that the voice behind “Born To Wander” and “Hey Big Brother” has lost none of its power. Peter will perform at the Fleetwood Country Cruize-In in London ON on May 31, so be sure to catch him if you’re in the neighbourhood.