TAKING OFF - Karac Hendriks will be performing at the Alberta Country Music Awards (ACMA) on Jan. 28th in Red Deer. He’s been nominated for Male Artist and Song of the Year for Thinking Of You.                                photo submitted

TAKING OFF - Karac Hendriks will be performing at the Alberta Country Music Awards (ACMA) on Jan. 28th in Red Deer. He’s been nominated for Male Artist and Song of the Year for Thinking Of You. photo submitted

Singer Karac Hendriks performs this weekend at the ACMAs

Hendriks has been nominated for Male Artist and Song of the Year for Thinking Of You

Having landed a couple of nominations for this weekend’s Alberta Country Music Awards, Karac Hendriks will also be hitting the stage for the big show here in Red Deer Jan. 28th.

Hendricks, who calls Sherwood Park home, has been nominated in the Male Artist of the Year category and for Song of the Year for for Thinking of You.

“It will be an exciting weekend, and it’s been an exciting past year,” said a clearly grateful Hendricks, whose latest single – “This Road is Mine” – dropped Jan. 22nd. The tune nicely paves the way for his next CD due in March.

“It’s a great way to kick of 2018 for sure,” he said.

To help take his latest cuts to the masses, he’s setting out on an eastern Canadian radio tour this spring as well.

There is no question Hendriks is a gifted artist and terrific communicator – abilities that were nurtured early on.

“One of my earliest memories is of leaning over the arm of the couch at my grandparents, and I had a Fischer-Price record player to play with” he says with a laugh. Early influences ran the gamut from John Denver to Willie Nelson.

“Music just has always been the thing that I’ve been drawn to. Not only playing and singing, but just through being a fan also. If I’m not making it, I’m listening to it,” he said.

He also cites Lee Roy Parnell as a key influence as well. “He brought this beautiful, classic country voice but he also played slide guitar, and I’m a big slide guitar fan,” he explained. “Lee Roy was just the epitome of someone who brought it all together – country, rock and blues – the whole bit.

“So that was a big turning point for me. He came out with a song called “On the Road” in ‘93 and that really shaped the way that I worked with my music. And I’ve continued on that journey ever since.”

He also received a mandolin from his great-grandfather when he was just six. Hendriks recalls his great grandpa working to restore anything made of wood – including this particular treasure which Hendricks learned to play early on as well.

His abilities shone through pretty quick, as he was onstage performing even at that tender age as well.

“I’ve been on stage my whole life – absolutely,” he explained, adding that music has always been his ‘Plan A’ in terms of a career direction. And there was always little doubt that country music was absolutely the right fit.

“Sometimes when you go on these journeys, I am influenced by a lot of different types of music. Sometimes, it’s not just knowing what you are — it’s also knowing what you aren’t. I’ve explored trying to write and perform in other genres, but country has always been where I land. And the beauty of country music, especially nowadays, is that it encompasses such a wide variety of music with other influences. Hopefully people can hear that in the songs I’ve released to radio.

“I’m always exploring.”

There’s no doubt he’s onto something. His self-titled debut disc (which received a ACMA nomination), spawned two radio singles including the exceptional “(Blame It on My) Youth” and “Can’t Help Loving You”.

“It was very surreal,” he recalls of hearing the news of the nominations so early in his recording journey. “Honestly, it was funny because when the award was announced – Drew Gregory won and he had a great album last year – I leaned over to my wife, and I’m like, this is such a relief,” he laughed.

Not that he would have been unhappy to take the prize, but he admitted that at the time there was a feeling like he wasn’t quite ready for the accolade.

“I feel like it’s such a right of passage to be able to do what we do, and now this year with two nominations, it feel like, well, maybe I do belong here – it’s such a great journey and I’m in such great company as well – it’s just like a big, old family reunion,” he added.

Produced by Juno and CCMA award-winning producer, songwriter and session musician Mike Little, “This Road is Mine” marks his fourth to hit radio. Besides his raw talent as a dedicated artist, his warm, engaging personality has no doubt also helped to open doors along the way as well.

Hendriks has previously performed at the Grey Cup Festival, the Big Valley Jamboree and opened for 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games as well.

Working as a supporting musician, Hendricks has also toured with some of Canada’s top country talent including Gord Bamford, Adam Gregory and Sean Hogan.

As mentioned, the Alberta Country Music Awards will be held on Jan. 28th during the ACMA Awards Weekend which runs Jan. 27th and 28th at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel.