Today’s Spotlight – Renegade Station. Hailing from Alberta, this dynamic quartet brings great music that you can’t help but enjoy. We sit down and chat about how the band came to be and dig into their music. Check it out now.
I was interested in how the band formed. It was Luanne and Russell that started it off, with Kent and Scott joining after. What was it like doubling the stage presence that quickly and were there any issues at first?
Well, we were all in bands at the time, and had got to know each other by performing together at a local variety show as the backup band. We would learn 40 songs in about 8 weeks, and we had such chemistry we decided we should play more than one show a year together. Hitting the stage together was such a high, and we knew right then and there that there was something special between us. Doubling the stage presence was amazing!
You can tell there are a lot of influences from old school country artists to layered songwriters like Fleetwood Mac, can you give us 3 artists you admire, and maybe 3 that folks would be surprised you are fans of?
That’s such a great question! We bring a lot of influences to the band for sure, and probably some that wouldn’t be expected would be AC/DC, Trooper and KISS. Again, full groups with lots of vocals, seem to be what we really are drawn to!
You are from a cute little town called Stettler, which last I checked was about 6000 people. What’s it like growing up in a community where you can forge such close-knit bonds with not just your friends, but the whole town?
It truly is the best! Kent was born and raised here, Scotty moved here when he was about 5, and Russ and Luanne as adults, but grew up in a small town as well. We love the connection we have with everyone in town. Waving to each other on main street, stopping in the grocery store and chatting in the aisles, people letting you know how proud they are of us, well, that just means the world to us. We love our hometown!
Back in those early days, playing the scene in and around Stettler, what was the moment that made you realize you could go further, think bigger?
Well, we had a moment of realizing how hard we were working. Playing lots of shows, rehearsing and well, working hard, but not really smart! We sat down and had a conversation about the direction we wanted to go in. The new album is recorded, and had a song released to radio, and it was getting some attention, but truly, we had no idea what to do.
Thank goodness for Google! We knew we wanted to try to get to the next level we just had to give it a shot! We had performed at a showcase at the CCMA’s called Diamonds in The Rough, and met our now manager, Angie Morris of Sirroma Entertainment. She herded us in that proverbial laundry basket like a bunch of kittens and got us on the right track. It was not overnight, but we have continued to work smarter, and work on the best music and show we can.
Whatever it was, it worked. In 2015-16 you won 3 ACMAs. What was it like to get recognition from such a critical organization and to have that “We made it” moment?
We talk about that frequently, and not sure if we think that even yet! LOL, the night we won our first award was truly life changing for us. We just felt so incredible having been recognized by our peers who we have admired and looked up to in the music industry, and our fans. It truly made us even want to do more and be even better. We were, and still are so honoured.
You have toured with some heavy hitters because of that, what are some of your favourite touring stories?
We have had some great shows with some amazing artists for sure! Some fun memories are chilling out in our trailer with Doc Walker after a show together, eating pizza, sharing some bevy’s and singing some harmonies with them on some of their songs. It was incredible! Another was doing a show at Cook County Saloon in Edmonton for a fundraiser for the Ft. McMurray fire, and playing along with Carolyn Dawn Johnson, on a song we had covered for years. Talk about a surreal moment!
The new single Free Free Free just dropped, tell us a bit about the track?
Free Free Free is a song that looks at all the things we take for granted in life. The little things, that when you look back are actually the big things. We really feel this is the song that we were meant to release right now. This past year with the pandemic, and the whole world having to give up so much, has made us realize how important slowing down is and how important gratitude is, for those everyday things. This past year has taught us that the best things in life, truly are free.
Can fans expect an album in 2021? The last full album was 3 years ago in 2018!
We know! Time has flown by! We are hoping to have a full EP. So many things up in the air right now with the pandemic, but that is the plan and the goal for 2021!
With country music being one of the more fluid when it comes to the evolution of sound, what do you think it is about the medium that allows for said change, and where do you think it’s going?
We are really digging the evolution at this point in time. It seems to be going back to a more country (classic) sound. More stories again, which is what we feel country music is all about. Telling stories that we can relate to. We love where country music is right. now, and where we see it trending.
You do a lot of awareness raising, and charity work in general. Animal haven Rescue league, Humboldt bus victims, anti-bullying, etc. and that’s just at a cursory glance. What drives you to help others?
Well, we have the ability to help, so we do. This past year we weren’t able to do as much as we normally do, but we do what we can. We just have always felt, if we can help out in some way, we will. It is a big part of who we are, and you never know how your little bit of help can really change someone’s life.
Live shows were pretty moot during 2020; however, you were able to be part of a Cruise-In. Tell us a bit about what that was like, and what it entailed?
That was so much fun! We didn’t know what to expect, as you are playing to cars! However, it was so amazing! Seeing all the headlights and hearing all the horns when you finished a song was really overwhelming actually. Our sound crew was amazing and had the music piped in through everyone’s stereos, as they would tune in to a designated station, we called, of course… Renegade Station.
Online Shows, yay or nay?
Yay! We love them. I mean, in person live shows of course are better, as you feel the energy from the fans, but we love connecting with our fans online. So great to stay connected!
One of the positives about online shows is that it has allowed folks to play to a much wider audience that they might not have been able to reach. I am curious, do you think this decentralisation of shows is giving more access to people, or is it an oversaturation of the market?
That is a great observation and we have worried about that, as it can be oversaturation for sure. We have tried to space out our shows, and still stay relevant and also offer up. some other things online that might be fun for our fans. We have definitely been able to reach a larger market, and meet a lot more people by doing online shows and we love that aspect of it for sure.
2021 is still up in the air. What are some of the difficulties for you as artists to try and plan into the unknown?
The biggest difficulty is not playing live. That of course is where our bread and butter is made. We miss the fans; we miss the connection we have to each other on stage. As a band, when we go into lockdown, we can’t get together to do lives etc. We have to stay creative and positive. It can be difficult, but we truly are trying to make the best of it.
A fun fact about you guys I heard is that you are named after a train or a train station?
Yes! Its a solid 4/5 months we spent talking about our name and what we wanted it to be what was important to us. We have always felt like renegades, that word kept coming up in our conversations about our name. We were trying to add the second part of the name, and we were playing at a venue called the Station, and it really fit. But the reason we chose it is because our hometown of Stettler, Ab is home to the world famous Alberta Prairie Steam Train, with a beautiful train station in town. We felt that the Renegade part is our “wild” side, and the Station part is what grounds us, and what reminds us of home.
You have done several presses and interviews now. I want to know what is one thing you wish that people knew about you that never comes up?
Wow, that is an awesome question. We are super close. We have been together for a long time and have seen many acts come and go, and we are still here. That we are very proud of, proud of our accomplishments and proud of sticking together through thick and thin.
Many of our favourite independent and smaller businesses have been hit hard from Covid. What are some of your local favourite places to hype up and give a shout out to?
We have some of the absolute best shopping in Alberta in our little town!! Please check out Fresh Wife Collective, and Sweet Home. Just incredible. People come from all over to check out those shops! Also, The Coffee Tree, Brenda’s Cosy Cafe as well, a couple local eateries that are just amazing! Great food and coffee, and the people are even better!
Spotlight – Renegade Station is complete and we enjoyed it. Big thanks for chatting with us and also answering questions
Check out Free Free Free out now!
Keep up with all recent info right here
Get your own Spotlight also – It’s super simple