George Canyon is currently makin’ his way across Canada on his Jekyll & Nothing to Hide Tour.
Corey had a chance to chat with George on Friday about how the tour is going and the success of the current album I Got This.
Corey: Maybe tell us how the songs for the new album came together?
George: Well this record actually took about 2 years. We hadn’t done an original record since Better Be Home Soon which was 2011. I have been busy doing lots of other things like acting, producing and mentoring other artists and kinda got away from recording my own music. We wanted to make a record that was a lot of fun to make but at the same time experiment with some different sounds and really just have fun making it. So we sat down started writing songs and having songs pitched to us and then recording songs to see how they sat. And on this one half the record is co-produced with Johnny Reid and the other half was co-produced with Jeff Johnson. That was another first for me, I had only ever co-produced my records with one producer at a time so it was kinda fun to split it up. Johnny and I are old friends so it was a pretty big laugh when we got into the studio together. What we did was create a record that at the end of the day we call all just sit and listen to. It didn’t matter if you were a George Strait fan or a Sam Hunt fan we wanted something that would kinda appeal to everybody and I hope that’s what we created. The fans sure are responding well.
Corey: So how has that fan reaction been on the early part of the tour?
George: We are actually witnessing that, it’s weird because the old school way to tour a record is to release a record and to go on tour the same day. And that’s what we decided to do this time so we could experience with the fans what they thought as they first got the record. So we are right there, and it’s a little bit humbling for us because what we are witnessing are the fans singing the new stuff back to us, like immediately. And it’s kind of like, how are they able to know this stuff so soon, and that’s the power of the internet and social media. It’s very humbling when you’re doing your new single and the fans know every word. And having not just the #1 single but having the #2 single as well on iTunes which I am still in shock over having both the #1 and #2 most downloaded songs on the Canadian iTunes charts. And the shocking part is the #2 song isn’t even a single yet called Daughters of the Sun. And we are how is that even possible. And the fans are reacting to that like it is already at radio. It’s very overwhelming in a good way.
Corey: Let’s touch on getting back in front of the radio stations while you are on this tour, what has that been like for you?
George: It’s awesome, we actually recorded a song on the record in honour of radio for all they have done for me and been a partner in my career and it’s kind of cool to have that. It’s a song called Only The Radio Knows. And to be able to present them with that is a way for me to say thank you guys so much and how much this relationship means to me. It’s the first time I have been able to do that in my career and just getting in to talk to everyone and even getting to talk on the phone has been really amazing. I actually just got off the phone with a brand new radio station and seeing that is really good for our industry and having brand new Canadian country radio stations popping up.
Corey: Lets go back a bit from 1989 when you started to today and maybe how the country music genre has really evolved and your thoughts on that?
George: Ya starting back in ’89 and playing the bars where you would work six nights a week, five sets a night and you traveled on the seventh day which was the Sunday to the next place. You set up again, stayed in a band house and you did the whole thing all over again. Now that whole mechanism has changed and the industry itself has changed as well. You know you had Garth and Shania coming out with this new influence in country music. And I have witnessed a huge growth for sure, but what I have noticed as of late is that country music really adopted the multiple genres of country, we have pop-country, traditional country, alt-country, rock-country. We have all these different styles of country and our industry is growing leaps and bounds.
Corey: Maybe tell us what it has been like working with the Calgary Flames the last 2 seasons?
George: It’s been awesome, I’m in my second season with them but unfortunately I am on the road on this tour right now, but will get back. They have been great, such a great organization and getting to witness it and really be a part of it is a big honour.
Corey: Let’s talk a bit about social media now, it’s such a big part of today’s communication how do you use Social Media outlets and your thoughts on social media?
George: Well, I think like anything it can get abused, and what I mean by that is sometimes from what I have witnessed on Twitter and Facebook is a wee bit of an adult playground for bullies. And have heard from lots fans that have discontinued using those social media outlets anymore because of that, which is sad. But it’s like lots of things in life, you have to find the good in everything and stay online with that. We are very active on Facebook of course. And we have the website, but I am not as crazy as some of these younger artists that are Instagraming and Snap Chatting and doing all the new things. I really don’t have that kind of time, but I can say I do enjoy in now and again. And my kids, they teach me stuff my daughter and my son that is and we have a bit of a laugh every now and again when I get to do some of that. But I know we stay active and current on Facebook.
Corey: Is there a stop in this tour that you are looking forward to most?
George: You know, on this tour because we are combining clubs, theatres and casinos its like a new day everyday. You know for example we just did a couple dates where a 2nd show was added and we ended up staying in one city for two days and that is kind of a strange feeling because we have been so use to going into a different place every day and it’s not just like when you do a theatre tour where you’re in a theatre everyday and that theatre vibe. This tour, man, it’s like we are in a club one night then a casino then a theatre it’s a blast. So every stop we have been making we have been looking forward to because its exciting and new.
Corey: George thanks for doing this. We look forward to seeing you next month when you bring the tour to Ontario.
George: Thanks Corey, look forward to seeing you soon.
Corey Kelly / @CoreyKelly76