The current COVID-19 pandemic may have knocked the stuffing out of the global music community but Transcona Manitoba country trio Petric are taking all these hurdles and barriers in stride. They are on course to release their first full album ‘Flashback’ January 13th and will roll out three singles with accompanying videos in advance of the album being issued.
“Our fans want information, they want new information,” explained guitarist/chief songwriter Jason Petric on the phone from this Winnipeg suburb. “So we are going to put a song out (“Déjà Vu” is the new single), wait a month, put another single out and build up the momentum for the album release. It’s obviously been a tough year but we figure we owe this to our fans who have supportive of us since day one.”
Formed in 2014 by Petric Brothers Jason and Tom (lead vocalist) with lead guitarist Jordan Daly, Petric initially started out performing at local fairs and were encouraged by the favourable response they received. “It’s an intoxicating feeling to have people cheering for you. There is no better feeling in the world to be on stage and having your audience clapping and singing along. It certainly gave us the incentive to take things to the next level.”
This development was further fuelled by a meeting with Country star Dallas Smith with whom they met at the 2015 Canadian Country Music Awards in Edmonton. He not only encouraged the fledgling trio but also took them on tour with him as they released their first two Ep’s, `It Girl’ in 2015 and `18 Ends’ in 2017,
Described as a `hybrid of Country and Pop music’, Petric agrees that the band has received its ‘Country branding’ based on Tom’s vocal inflections rather than the band’s instrumental arrangements. “We specifically told our producer Chris Baseford we don’t want any banjos on our record. You don’t hear any banjos in our arrangements. No one in the band plays a banjo and nobody wants to play a banjo. A banjo is not authentic Petric!”
Agreeing that tracks like the new single “Déjà Vu” and other key compositions like “Single Problem”, “All Who Wander” and “Safe With Me” are melodic in nature, Petric says he is not concerned if Petric’s music falls into the acceptable norm of Country Music Radio.
“We put a song out there and it goes where it goes,” Petric noted. “We are what we are. We’d love to record a pop album, Jordan is a big John Mayer fan, but if the industry keeps saying that Tom’s voice sounds “Country” then I guess we are Country. Our main concern is how good our music is. I don’t want to worry about other people’s opinions. If I do that, we will only jeopardize ourselves.”
Certainly, Petric has enjoyed a positive reaction to concert appearances at established Country Music Festivals like Cavendish Beach PEI, Calgary Country Thunder, Boots & Hearts, Big Valley, the Calgary Stampede and Vancouver Island and had almost sold out a headline appearance at Winnipeg’s famed Burton Cummings Theatre when the pandemic put a halt to ticket sales.
What is refreshing about Petric is their stance on running their own music business. They release product on their own label, they manage themselves and book about 50% of their own gigs. With assistance from top radio programmer Anya Wilson (“the absolute best, we love her to death) who gained them significant airplay for “Something We Do” and “Single Problem”, the band is embracing the new norm in music promotion with a major focus on social media and download sites like Spotify and Amazon Media.
“It would be great if people gave you $20 for your CD but that doesn’t happen much anymore,” Petric admitted. “But people spend their money differently these days. The world is changing drastically every day but this is not a bad thing! We just have to roll with it and not fight the current. At the end of the day, this is now an online business.”
Petric has announced that the new single, “Déjà Vu” is already receiving airplay in Australia and the band would love to tour there next but he warns that the band will not jeopardize their fan’s health by performing until the current pandemic crisis is in recession.
“I can’t see major festivals being staged next year, maybe some small gatherings but to expect crowds of 10,000 or more to congregate under the present environment, at major festivals is unrealistic,” noted Petric. “We have discussed not playing in 2021. We all have young families and we don’t think being a part of a big gathering right now is a responsible position to take.”