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Front Page » June 30, 2009 » Emery County News » Emerson Drive to perform at fair on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.
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Emerson Drive to perform at fair on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.

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The plans for the Emery County Fair are in full swing. One of the many highlights of the upcoming fair on Aug. 5-8 will be the Emerson Drive concert which will conclude the fair on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. With the release of its fourth studio album, Believe, Emerson Drive secures its place as the premiere band in contemporary Country music. The album, produced by Josh Leo and Teddy Gentry (of the legendary country band Alabama), showcases all of the attributes that have fueled the group's long, steady rise through the country ranks--lead singer Brad Mates' passionately expressive vocals; the extraordinary musicianship of band mates Danick Dupelle (guitar), Dale Wallace (keys), David Pichette (fiddle) and Mike Melancon (drums); the quintet's ability to choose first-rate songs, coupled with their own growth as songwriters; and their ability to capture in the studio the energy that has made them one of modern music's must-see live acts.

Believe, a co-release of The Valory Music Co. and Midas Records, captures the most extraordinary period in the group's history. Their last album, Countrified, gave them their first #1 single (the smash "Moments"), earned them nominations for a dozen major awards, including a Grammy, and set the stage for Believe.

"This is the album that will define Emerson Drive from this point on," says Brad, "I think you can hear in each song the fact that we're at a very comfortable place in our career when it comes to knowing who we are as a band."

The album displays the band's ability to get the most out of a variety of songs and styles. "Belongs To You," the project's first single, is as big and passionate a love song as they have ever done, sure to become a sought-after wedding song. "There's My God," is a song about finding the presence of the Almighty in a world torn by strife and sorrow.

The CD displays all of the musical prowess that earned each member nominations for the Canadian Country Music Association's "All-Star Band" and led Dale, David and Mike to take home wins in 2008. The band shows off its own writing chops with four songs, including the life-affirming "I Love This Road," the nostalgic "That Was Us," "Life Down Here" and "Too Much," with a groove and lyric celebrating the pleasures of love.

Believe is literally a celebration of the band's triumph over tragedy. The fact that it follows the breakthrough "Moments" is highly fitting, since that song's story of redemption parallels the band's triumph after losing a record deal, then losing a former member to suicide.

"As we look back at the ups and downs we've gone through in the last eight years in our business and personal lives," says Brad, "it's obvious they have molded us into something very strong."

Emerson Drive's success grew out of a dream that began in Brad's hometown of Grande Prairie, Alberta. A selfless camaraderie has kept them united through the years, and a tireless work ethic continues to make them one of country's busiest bands. Non-stop touring (their old bus recently passed the one-million mile mark) has won them fan loyalty that has been a key to their longevity.

"We have fans that have been with Emerson Drive since the beginning," says David. "They're still very dedicated. During the years when we were going through lean times and we weren't being heard on the radio as much as we would have liked, they were buying tickets and supporting us. People believed in this band and continue to believe in us, and that means everything."

The journey began when Brad, who grew up with his dad's George Strait and Don Williams records, was inspired after an 11th grade talent contest to start a band with some classmates. They began life as 12 Gauge, but soon became Emerson Drive, taking their name from the Emerson Trail, which crosses western Alberta to join the Alaskan Highway.

The members of Emerson Drive moved to Nashville and released a 2002 self-titled album that featured two breakthrough Top 5 hits "I Should Be Sleeping" and "Fall Into Me," as well as follow-up hit "Only God (Could Stop Me Loving You)." The band also received their very first #1 video on CMT with "Fall Into Me." Their second album, What If, gave them four Top 15 Canadian hits and one Top 20 in the U.S. but following a corporate restructuring, they parted ways with DreamWorks Records.

They continued touring, and their story took a dramatic turn in the right direction when producer Leo and Alabama's Gentry came to see them play. "They blew us away," says Gentry, who called them "possibly the best band I've heard in years.

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June 30, 2009
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