By Zachary Cormier
Award-winning country music star Johnny Reid is bringing his unique style to Red Deer next week when his ‘What Love is All About’ tour rolls into the Centrium.
The tour, which stops in Red Deer on March 5th, will feature songs from Reid’s latest album of the same name, as well as some old favourites.
“The title of the tour is ‘What Love is All About’, so my hope would be that people walk out of that room that night having somewhat of a better understanding of what love is really all about,” said the Scotland-born Canadian country artist.
This is not the first time that Reid has performed in Red Deer and the singer-songwriter said he has fond memories of playing here.
“I played Red Deer many, many moons ago. I can remember playing the Arlington Inn in Red Deer, there was a wee pub in Red Deer and I played there many moons ago and I’ve played the arena in Red Deer several times,” he said, adding that he’s looking forward to returning to the city.
“It’s wonderful. I’ve always enjoyed Red Deer.”
The CCMA-award winning artist moved to Canada from Scotland with his family when he was 15-years-old and went to high school in Brampton, Ont. before attending Bishop’s University, where he was a place kicker for the football team.
“When I graduated Bishop’s, my very first opportunity in the music business professionally was to write songs for Dreamworks and I signed a development deal as a songwriter and a development deal as an artist,” Reid recounted.
Since then, Reid has become a star in the Canadian country music world. He has released eight albums of original music and two Christmas records, all but two of which have been certified Platinum.
And Reid managed to continue that success with his latest album, What Love is All About, which was released last November, which he recorded with legendary producer Bob Ezrin.
“I had written a song called Fire It Up, which was released by me in Canada, but was actually recorded and released around the world by Joe Cocker. Actually, God bless him, it was his last single before he passed on. But with the success of that single, I found myself with a lot of opportunities to go to different places to write songs,” he recalled, adding the songs he wrote while abroad would eventually become the basis for the new record.
“The one thing that I realized really quickly is that no matter the colour or the creed, we all kind of speak in the same language. They want me to write songs about people in their lives, they want me to write songs about people they’ve lost. It was all about the same story.”
All of that culminates in the album’s lead off and title single, which according to Reid, tells the story of a man who has kind of given up on love.
“Bob and I got to talking and I played him What Love is All About and he said ‘That’s a special song. We need to record that song’.”
And the record continues to follow the same thread as Reid’s distinct songwriting style shines through, from the touching sentiment of A Picture of You to the island vibes of What I’m Feeling Right Now, which features a guest verse from rapper Kardinal Offishall.
“I phoned up Kardinal and said ‘Hey man, listen I might send you a song you have a listen and then maybe you and I could collaborate on it.’ And he kept giggling and he said ‘Man I’m gonna be on a Johnny Reid album?’ So we were having a laugh about it because the majority of my audience has probably never heard of Kardinal and the majority of Kardinal’s audience has probably never heard of me. So it’s just a really cool opportunity to sort of spread the love a wee bit,” Reid said of the song.
Reid added he tries to avoid defining his music as any one genre or style.
“I’ve always just sort of wrote the songs the way I wanted to write them, record them the way I want to record them, and perform them the way I want to perform them,” he said, adding that he draws inspiration for his music from many different sources, including his Scottish roots.
“Growing up in Scotland, Scottish people are always good story tellers, some of the best story tellers that I’ve ever met,” he said.
“My dad drove trucks and was a diesel mechanic, so he was on to what you called ‘Western music,’ you know, Don McLean, Don Williams, Charlie Pride. These are a lot of the songs that I grew up listening to in my house.”
And much of that shines through in the new album, as well. Many of the new songs were written with other artists, which Reid said can help make the song the best that it can be.
“I’ve written a lot of songs by myself, but I feel like you miss kind of a worldly vibe,” he said.
“Life is a collaboration, so it’s, I find, really cool to sit down and get people’s perspective on things.”
Tickets for the March 5th show are available at www.ticketmaster.ca.