Australian born and Alberta raised, Canadian country music sensation Gord Bamford will be in town this month to perform songs from his new CD “Tin Roof” and to share some of the classics that have driven his career into the global limelight. It was his mother, a singer in a country band herself, that inspired Gord’s move towards music. He was convinced to leave his dreams of being a professional athlete to write songs, make records and win over crowds around the world. The recipient of numerous Canadian Country Music Association awards, Gord suggests his biggest reward is the smile on people’s faces. Capitalising on his success as a performer, he continues to share the spotlight with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Make A Wish Foundation through his own work and that of the Gord Bamford Foundation. I caught up with Gord on his “day off” from his home in Nashville Tennessee. We talked about sports, kids, music and the “Breakfast Beer”…
Mb: Hey Gord! Where are you calling me from today?
GB: I’m back in Nashville actually, for a little break on this tour and enjoying the 28 degree weather here!
Mb: I bet. I see that you recently moved to Tennessee…
GB: Ya, we made the move about a year ago. It was a great opportunity for the family and my kids. I can be here everyday to write songs, when I’m not on the road, so it’s been a good experience so far… but we miss Canada quite a bit. We’re just here for a few years.
Mb: How are you liking the political environment down there?
GB: Well it’s pretty comical to watch. As a non voter, it’s pretty intense, as is everything here.
Mb: You’re originally from Australia and moved to Canada as a youngster. Do you get a chance to go back to visit or perform?
GB: My mom and dad split up… my dad’s an Aussie so… I just rekindled my relationship with my dad at Christmas. He came over here to Nashville, so it’s been a long time. So funny you ask that, we just signed a great record deal in Australia! We just released our single and video there last week and we’re heading there in august to play a big festival and then a tour there in the new year. We’re just starting to get into that market so it’s exciting for us.
Mb: They’re very receptive to the country sound in Australia.
GB: They are! You know it’s a long way to go and it’s tough to go down there with everybody, so you have to get the right team involved down there and get a really good manager in Australia. It’s exciting to see if we can open up a new market there. My music is a really good fit and I hold dual citizenship so the story is kinda unique too. We’ll see what happens.
Mb: You’re out touring your new CD “Tin Roof.” How was making the record?
GB: It was a different process. A different producer after 6 records so different thoughts and a different set of ears. Spent a lot more time making this record than I typically do but I really enjoyed it. I really think we got the best record we’ve ever made. Sonically it’s a little different but it’s still a country record, so it makes me happy cause that’s what I like to do. It’s come out of the gates really great and people seem to be embracing it which is what you want so… we’ve done all the work putting it together, It’s up to the people now and hopefully it continues to go in the right direction.
Mb: And the track “Breakfast Beer?”
GB: (laughs) Ya that song! I’ve been throwing that title around Nashville for about 3 years and no one could really get it and I finally sat down with long time friend Buddy Owens and an Ontario girl Meghan Patrick and it just sort of came alive. It will be our next single coming out here in the next couple of weeks. I think it’s very relatable for everybody and it’s a great anthem song and we’ve been playing it on the first leg of the tour and it’s been going over like crazy.
Mb: I see you’re also a philanthropist. You have your own foundation and have done work with Big Brothers, tell me about that.
GB: When my mom and dad spilt up and we came back to Alberta, where my mom grew up, I got involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters cause my mom was a single mom for a while and they really helped me out and helped her out too. It’s just a great organization that caters to young kids that need that mentorship. It was really good for me. That’s a big part of what the foundation does, though it does a very wide variety of things, but it focuses around youth. We work with children’s hospitals and the Make a Wish Foundation. It’s been incredible for me. We do lots of small communities and lots of with kid’s sports. I grew up playing lots of sports. I really wanted to be more of an athlete than a country singer way back when. (laughs)… The foundation ties the things that are important in my life and children… especially having 3 children, it means a lot to me. To be honest with you, it’s probably been the most enjoyable and humbling experience I’ve ever had in my life. To interact with the kids and help change people’s worlds. It’s hard to explain unless you’re the guy standing there watching the smiles on their faces.
Mb: Tell me about your own kids. You’ve been a father now for a decade, how you feeling?
GB: Well, it’s the greatest thing ever, you know? My son and I finally got to play baseball. That’s something I’ve been dreaming of since the day he was born. I help couch the team here in Nashville… and the girls are in to school and gymnastics and soft ball, and hockey is a big thing for us around here. The kids are doing great. It’s a big move when you move from your small little town in Alberta and you move to Nashville… and they have to meet friends again, but they’re settling in. But what a great experience. I wish I could have had that as a kid, they’re taking it all in and doing great. They have a great mom, that’s what’s keeping them going!
Mb: All your life experiences in the end shape the sort of music you make. What do you hope people take away from it?
GB: I just hope, in some sort of way, and I’ve seen it… music’s a powerful thing. It can soothe and heal and help people out, I just hope people remember me and come to my shows because they love what they hear and that it means something to them. I think that’s the greatest thing about doing what I’m doing. When you can stand on stage and look out and see everybody singing your song and having a good time. My career is really grass roots and blue collar and I’m a guy who will play in a 200 seats community hall or an arena and i’ll continued to that because it’s all about people.