Growing Up Country: High Valley’s Brad Rempel Reflects On His Musical Upbringing In Rural Canada

hv2 Brad (left) and Curtis Rempel. Photo by Robby Klein

"I've got ants in my pants for twenty dollars." Those are the only words -- the entire chorus, in fact -- that I can remember to the first song I ever wrote as a 4 year old. We lived in a traditional farm house on 1440 acres of land 17.5 miles from La Crete, Alberta (13 miles of pavement and 4.5 miles of gravel). We didn't own a TV and our nearest radio station was an AM station 200 miles south of us with a weak signal. So we provided our own entertainment. I'd stand on my stage (a footstool in front of our couch) and my three older sisters would be the enthusiastic audience. 

Because of our remote location (directly east of Juneau, Alaska) and our Mennonite upbringing, pop culture was lost on us. Even in the '90s we were listening to records (Ricky Skaggs, Buck Owens, Everly Brothers) and the occasional 8 track. Looking back now I realize it's strange to have to drive over a frozen river to get home. I know it's not normal to be five hours away from the nearest McDonalds or Wal-Mart. I am thrilled that after moving to Nashville I no longer drive eight hours to get to the airport. In 2007 at an artist retreat in Winthrop, Washington I heard and discovered the music of Michael Jackson for the first time. This year while on radio tour we were introduced to a song we were told "everybody has heard" called "Stairway To Heaven." But all of that shaped who I am and what I write.Sign In to Keep Reading

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