Australian-born, Canadian-raised Gord Bamford is a father, country singer-songwriter, and multi-award winner – he’s won 23 CCMA Awards to boast, so he’s kind of a big deal! Making up one seventh of acts appearing alongside The Wolfe Brothers on their This Crazy Life multi-festival Australian tour; I caught up with Gord, on the last weekend of the tour in Queensland, to talk about starting over, Australia and living up to the tour name.
Have you picked up any slang while you’ve been down here?
I’m picking it up. I love the accent – I wish I could get it back. A lot of people say they like the accent I’ve got, I go, “I’ll trade ya!”. I left here when I was five so I spent most of my years in Alberta, Canada, but I live in Nashville with my family now. I don’t think it’d be hard to pick it up as I spend more time here.
Do you have any memories of living here as a child?
I was born in Victoria, so I spent time in Traralgon. We played a show there [and] I got to go back to the house that I had lived in. I was pretty young, but I remembered some stuff so I do have memories. I remember the pool area and stuff like that, and little bits of the town. My Dad was showing me around and telling me lots of stories, so it was good. [Traralgon] was a different show than the rest of them, but it was a really great response. We’re making plans to come back and do our own little tour within the next year or so.
Apart from the tour, what else have you been doing here?
I’ve been doing quite a lot of media and publicity stuff – which has been great. I’d say other than that, I’ve just been able to enjoy being in Australia, seeing the country and experiencing the place that I was born. I think everybody wants to come back eventually to their birthplace that they leave; catching up with Dad and my brother and some of my nieces and nephews that I’d never really met before.
How have the Australian fans been treating you?
They’re very similar to Canada, so it’s great to see that. They’re all very nice people here. Everybody is polite that I’ve met. They’re very welcoming and I think they like the story of, although I haven’t lived here much in my life, I was born here. It’s a beautiful country – just being here and part of the whole scene, the people I have met have been fantastic – you always miss that and look forward to your next trip back.
You’re currently on The Wolfe Brothers’ This Crazy Life tour. How did you get involved and how’s it been so far?
I met The Wolfe Brothers in Nashville, they were actually at my place before I got over here but they’re fun guys to keep up with if you can keep up with them. We have lots of fun together. Then this tour idea came up and I was just lucky to be on it. It’s fun. It’s just great to be in Australia.
I think the whole tour has been a great concept. It’s been great value for the ticket buyer and a really neat idea. It’s a unique idea and something that has obviously gone over really well. People have really raved about it, so maybe we’ll do it again. We’re looking at helping The Wolfe Brothers get over to Canada as well to play some shows, so I’m sure we’ll be doing some stuff together in the future.
The tour is being promoted as a many festival as a way of educating people on the new wave and sound of modern country music. That must be really exciting to be a part of such a diverse music genre that country music has become.
Yeah, that’s country music nowadays. It can cross into pop, some of it, and you’ve got the more traditional stuff. It widens the demographic of listeners that way so I think it’s all good. I’ve never really been a trend follower so I just stick with what I do and it’s pretty simple, relatable to the blue collar person and it seems to work. Some people want to write everything and I don’t think that’s necessarily the key. I think you find the best songs that you can get that are gonna impact the person listening to it – I think that’s the key [to country music].
You’re a huge star in Canada, have played so many festivals and your fan base is enormous – whereas the idea behind this tour is kind of to introduce you to the Australian country music fan base. Does it feel like you’re starting over?
Yeah, everything’s a build. The good thing about that is, my success in Canada is really grassroots and blue collar and we’ve been able to figure it out there, so it’s kind of the same concept here. It is starting over but we’ve done it once already, so we’re a little bit ahead of the game. It’s always up to the fans if they like the music and support it – and so far, the response has been way more than I ever imagined.
In my mind, there’s not really a better place to visit, come play, and be a part of. It would be great to be here when it’s snowing and cold back home. (Laughs) It’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to bringing my family down here to experience it and spend a bunch of time.
People are supporting what I’m doing and wanna make sure that we don’t just come in here once in a blue moon. In the next year or so, we’re planning a few more trips back in. We’ve got a good two-three year plan to try and build the market here and hopefully develop a viable touring market that we can be here as much as possible.
Were you surprised by how many people know your music down here?
Yeah, I was very surprised. I guess with the way music gets across nowadays days through social media and all that, people can hear it; but I was surprised that they knew some of the songs that I haven’t even played here. More and more now I’m getting a lot more going here as far as CMC and radio. It’s happening faster and faster and people are hearing more and more.
That seems to be evident considering your current single; “Breakfast Beer” recently hit the top 20 in Australia too.
It’s doing well. It seems to be quite popular here and I’ve got a lot of those types of songs so you’ll probably hear more of that type of stuff. The album, Tin Roof, just got released here – the “Breakfast Beer” single’s on there. We’ll have a new one here later at some point next year [but] we’ve got a couple more singles and videos that’ll go off that album.
Have you been inspired to write while on tour?
Yeah, I’ve picked up the guitar a bit. I’ve got lots of ideas and I’ve got stuff started. I’ve been on my own quite a bit which has been different. My family’s not here, so I’ve had quite a bit of time during the week to sit down and come up with some ideas. Nothing that’s complete yet, but definitely ideas.
You posted on Facebook that you shot a music video while you were down here. What can you tell me about that?
That’s the next single coming out here in Australia, as well as Canada. I’m really excited that we shot the video here so it should be down here in a couple of weeks. The song’s called “Fall In Love If You Want To”, so obviously we wanted to capture the beauty [of Australia], so we shot a lot at the ocean. It’s a love song. I’ve got some cool shots, but there’s some actors in it and what not. I think we’re coming back in March and we’re gonna shoot a couple more videos.
It’s the last weekend of the tour. What happens when you get back?
I’ve been away from home for a long time so it’s nice to get back to my family. My son’s actually in an ice hockey tournament so I gotta go to Chicago, and then I’m over to Canada. I’ve got about fifteen shows left before Christmas there and then back to Nashville. Then we have Christmas. My son plays a lot of ice hockey, so we’re back to Phoenix and then we’re actually doing a show in Mexico in January. Then writing and recording the new record – so I’ll be in Nashville in all of February and March; and then back on the road again.
You definitely live up to the This Crazy Life name.
Yeah, no kiddin’.