Thursday, March 22, 2012


Gord Bamford couldn't look less like a country star this morning, as he drops by to promote his new disc, Is It Friday Yet?  No cowboy hat, no boots, and certainly no star threads; he's wearing a hoodie, and one that's seen its share of wear.  But that fits Bamford to a T.  Hard-working, humble and level-headed, he does what he does, and you get what you see, and hear.  And what Bamford does is make country hits.

Just how seriously does he take the job?  Well, he shouldn't be on the road right now, or on the stage.  Or even out of bed, really.  Two weeks before I talked to him, Bamford was in hospital, having emergency gall bladder surgery.  I've had that operation, it's not huge, but you don't bounce out of bed the next day, it was three weeks recovery for me.

Umm, Gord Bamford bounced out of bed the next day.  He had to be on-stage, promoting the new album.  "There's nothing you can do in that situation," he laughs.  "You just have to do it.  And it was okay, that first night was a little tough but the album was coming out, and there was no way to cancel things."  Well, I beg to differ.  Performers cancel whole tours due to throat problems, or take a week off to deal with laryngitis or whatever.  I'm just saying, the guy has some work ethic.

Bamford likes to make songs that could be hits, and his new album is full of them.  Of the thirteen cuts, I tell him twelve of them could be singles.  "I'm glad you feel that way," he beams.  "That's what I set out to do.  It's the kind of music I want to make, and the kind I always liked."  Now, that doesn't mean he writes cookie-cutter material, mimicking what's on radio already, or re-writing the same Gord Bamford song over and over.  In fact, he takes more chances than not.  Farm Girl Strong does a gender-reversal on the typical macho rural theme.  You Make It Better is steeped in old-school Western sounds, like something that could have been recorded in the 50's.  There's always a thread of legitimate, Western sound to this Alberta boy's music, and you just aren't going to hear him try to crossover to slicker stuff.

The chances continue with Now That You're Gone, a song that imagines what it would be like if a wife, mother and partner dies.  "I was just thinking how that would be, and how someone could go on," he explains.  "It was tough to write, but maybe somebody will be affected by it.  I thought it was important to write."  Of course, it grabs you by the heart.  That's another big part of what Bamford does.

The title cut is the first single, lots of fun and working its magic for him already.  It may hit home with most of his fans, out there waiting for the weekend.  But Friday holds no magic for Bamford.  He's going 24-7 right now, and I really don't think he ever stops.

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