Gord Bamford is one of the top country music artists in Canada
Gord Bamford is one of the best neo-traditional country artists north of the Canadian border, but few Americans know about this rising star.
His current album, "Day Job," is the reigning Canadian Country Music Association Album of the Year; he's currently working on a Christmas album.
I came across Bamford's music while listening online to an AM radio station based in Sasketchewan, and immediately liked what I heard.
I downloaded a few of his songs, such as "Hank Williams Lonesome" and "Postcard from Pasadena" and became interested in his music.
On Monday, I got the opportunity to chat with the Alberta native who calls Red Deer, home (it's a city about halfway between Calgary and Edmonton).
Bamford said it was an honor to write "This Old Hat", which became the theme song of the 2008 Calgary Stampede and has been played at the event (and leading up to it) every year since.
He also has a beautiful duet with fellow Canadian Country star, Jessie Farrell, titled, "Years Ago Last Night."
Bamford considers himself one of the only traditional country artists on Canadian Country radio, which he says has a pop-feel to it.
He's influenced by artists like George Strait, Brad Paisley and Mark Chesnutt.
The good news for new traditional country fans in the U.S. is that Bamford is testing the waters here and is about to release his first single south of the border; it will be "Hank Williams Lonesome", in which he name-checks more than a dozen songs performed by the Hillbilly Shakespeare.
"It's a great opportunity for me," said Bamford, who was born in Australia and carries dual Canadian/Australian citizenship.
Bamford moved to Canada when he was 4 years old; he's considering touring in Australia if he can enjoy some radio success there.
Renowned Nashville songwriter Byron Hill has co-written songs with Bamford and has helped pave the way for his success in the U.S.
"I write a lot of stuff (that relates) to every day people," Bamford said. "I try to write stuff that's positive, simple and catchy."
That's why it's no surprise that "Drinking Buddy," a light-hearted fun song is his most popular number during live shows.
One of Bamford's friends is country star Dierks Bentley, who like Bamford, enjoys the game of hockey.
But if Bamford becomes a big star in Nashville, don't expect him to devote himself to becoming a Nashville Predators fan. He's a lifelong Edmonton Oilers fan who lives in a city that's split between Oilers fans and Calgary Flames supporters.