The Evolution Of A Classic Rock Band

On Saturday, September 21st, Kingston’s The Glorious Sons will unveil their latest studio release, `A War On Everything’ with a sell-out headline concert at that city’s Jack Richardson Stadium before 14,000 rabid fans.

To band members Brett Emmons (lead vocals), brother Jay Emmons (guitar), Chris Koster (guitar), Andy Paquette (drums), Chris Huot (bass) and Josh Hewson (keyboards), the concert not only marks a celebration of their current high status but also makes a statement of the band’s steady evolution over the past eight years.

It wasn’t too long ago, that the Glorious Sons were trudging across the country’s nightclub scene, sometimes performing a second or even third on the bill but they never lost focus on who they are and what they were trying to achieve and have slowly but deliberately involved into one of Canada’s top rock bands. An evolution that was underlined in 2018-2019 by a successful national and U.S tour dates opening for The Struts. Then came their gig, opening for The Rolling Stones Saturday, July 29th at Burls Creek performing before 71,000 fans.

“What can I say, it was an awesome experience for the band,” enthused Brett Emmons from his Kingston home base. “It was us playing before a crowd of that size. We approached the gig just like it was a normal concert but obviously it was a special occasion.”

And did The Glorious Sons get to hang out with Mick and The Boys? “Well, we staged a group photo with the Stones but they didn’t come across like they wanted to hang out with us,” Emmons quipped.

As for the forthcoming Jack Richardson Stadium gig, the significance of this concert is not lost on Emmons who says they probably could have pulled 40,000 people, such as the support for this band in Kingston, but again the band is trying to rein in their emotions in executing their performance. “It’s obviously going to be a natural high for us.”

A win in a local radio talent contest brought The Glorious Sons to the attention of The Trews’ John Angus MacDonald who produced their 2013 debut EP, `Shapeless Art’, and then after signing with Canadian indie label, Black Box, took a couple of key tracks off `Shapeless Art’ and added a number of new tracks to form their album debut `The Union’, again produced by MacDonald with two additional tracks produced by Gavin Brown.

The Glorious Sons - Panic Attack
The Glorious Sons – Panic Attack

Continuing to tour in Canada and the U.S, The Glorious Sons began to land key festival dates and even earned a Juno nominee for Top Rock Album. “I think the day we released The Union, both Apple and Spotify launched so obviously, the social climate was changing,” noted Emmons. “Personally, I have no problem with social media, considering that everyone is walking around, attached to a musical appendage (cell phone), the exposure to music has never been greater. My one regret is that some of the mystique between performer and fan has been lost but the bonus has been the ability to instantly communicate with your fan base.”

The Sons took three years to record their next album, `Young And Beautiful Fools’ (recorded in Los Angeles) and based on the strength of radio coverage for “Heavy”, “Lightning” and “The Contender” evolved into a mainstream rock act, earning a 2018 Juno for Top Rock Album. This evolution has continued through 2019 with the heavy workload of tour dates also allowing Emmons to write a stack of new material which the band has reduced down to the 14 tracks which make up `A War On Everything’.

Produced in Kingston Ontario’s North Of Princess studio with producer Frederick Thaae, `A War On Everything’ reflects just how much progress The Glorious Sons has made. The album’s opening track “Panic Attack” is pure, unadulterated rock but what is striking is the sophistication that is evident in the record’s production. There are melodic ballads; “The Laws Of Love And War”, the title track “A War On Everything” and “Pink Motel”, the bands follow up single, and anthemic numbers like “The Ongoing Speculation Into The Death Of Rock N Roll”.

The Glorious Sons - 2019 Promo Photo By Jonathan Weiner
The Glorious Sons – 2019 Promo Photo By Jonathan Weiner

The latter track is the band’s answer to on-going speculation about rock’s current status in the music industry spectrum but Emmons is adamant, that rock music is still viable. “You go to any dive bar on a Saturday night and you’ll see kids screaming their heads off,” he noted. “I grew up on classic rock, it may not be on the radar right now but it’s still relevant.”

Next stop for The Sons is a 19-date tour of Europe which the band again will take in stride, knowing that even though some of the dates will be intimate events, it’s a necessary process to continue their development, their third such tour.

“Yes we know we will be playing to maybe 500 people instead of 5,000 but it’s always a challenge to expand your reach to different markets. And it’s always fun to hear German fans singing your songs back phonetically, especially when they don’t understand your lyrics,” Emmons laughs.

Moving forward Emmons claims the band will stick by their ethics. “I have an inability to be satisfied with anything, I am always striving to move the band forward. We have a great marketing team with Black Box, my brother Jay has a great marketing brain, I always see us as project in progress.”

And as for the near future. “I want to get back in the recording studio,” notes Emmons. “The studio is my happy place.”  

By Keith Sharp

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