The Prairie States - press photo 3 copyIn their latest album, “Trouble Is,” The Prairie States, an Edmonton-based country band, takes listeners on a musical journey through moments of love, longing, and reflection. The album’s title track, “Trouble Is,” encapsulates the fleeting nature of special moments, urging listeners to appreciate them while they last.

“The song itself is about appreciating those special moments because they don’t last,” said Jeff Dick, lead guitarist for the band. “This album is a great snapshot of a moment in time for our band. The last few years summed up in a musical story.”

 

The band’s musical style has evolved since their debut album, “Lost In The Right Direction,” released in 2018. “When we released ‘Lost In The Right Direction,’ we had just formed the band and hadn’t really found our sound yet,” Dick explained. “That record was put together at a time where we were just discovering who The Prairie States were.”

With a lineup consisting of Mat Cardinal, Jeff Dick, Mike Nash, Jay Der, and Doc de Groot, The Prairie States has garnered numerous accolades, including eleven Country Music Alberta Awards. Their journey began in 2017, and since then, they have released several singles that have made their mark on the Canadian Country Chart.

The band’s latest single, “Backroad (That 17 Summer),” is a nostalgic ode to a past summer love. “When the song was pitched to us, we knew it would be a perfect summer driving song,” Dick said. “Roll down the windows and turn it up!”

The Prairie States - press photo 2 copyThe album’s track, “Heart Was A Place,” holds special meaning for each band member. “The idea that the heart of the one you love could be a place was very intriguing,” Dick said. “Each member of the band has someone special in their life and this song is a dedication to those ladies.”
The collaboration with Erik Dylan and Bobby Wills, renowned producers, significantly influenced the sound of “Trouble Is.” “Both Erik and Bobby really helped to influence the record a lot,” Dick said. “We always want to have our records sound like a band. When we play live, it’s five guys out there playing, and we want our songs to reflect that.”

The album’s creation was not without its challenges, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Part of the process took place during the pandemic,” Dick said. “That was a challenge for the whole world but also presented unique challenges when it’s difficult to get into a room together and play music.”

Despite the challenges, The Prairie States persevered, and “Trouble Is” emerged as a testament to their growth and resilience. “Trouble Is took us on a journey as a band,” Dick said. “When we started it, we were an indie band doing it all on our own. We have been lucky enough to have signed with Willing Records and Sakamoto Agency since then and have a growing team around us.”

The Prairie States’ music draws inspiration from a diverse range of influences, creating a unique blend of classic and modern country sounds. “The five of us in this band have many musical influences,” Dick said. “One of the great joys of being in a band is that melting pot of influences.”

One of the most unique aspects of The Prairie States is their Low Life Lager, a limited-edition beer created in collaboration with Sea Change Brewing. The idea for the beer came from a desire to connect with the community during the pandemic. “We ended up delivering it to those who helped us get through that mess, front-line workers, teachers, nurses, doctors, etc.,” Dick said. “It became a real community builder and tribute to all of them.”

The Prairie States are also pioneers in the use of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in the Canadian music scene. “Blockchain technology is a real game changer,” Dick said. “Someday it will be a part of every industry, music included.” The band has released several NFTs, including unique artwork and exclusive access to live performances. “It was a fun and unique way to connect with our fans,” Dick said.

For The Prairie States, performing live is a central part of their experience. “There is no better way to connect with people,” Dick said. The band has shared the stage with artists like Brothers Osborne and Charlie Major, and they have learned a lot from these experiences. “Each time you watch someone play you can learn something new and take it in and make it your own,” Dick said.

The Prairie States’ songwriting approach has evolved over the years as well. “When we started the band, the songs on our first record were all written by the band members except for one,” Dick said. “Over the years we have had the opportunity to expand our circle of co-writers and have worked with some incredible talent.” The band is constantly working on new songs, and they draw inspiration from a variety of sources. “We are lucky enough to be in country music,” Dick said. “This is the genre where storytelling is key.”

Being in a band is a delicate balance between individual creativity and the band’s collective vision. “The overall vision for the band takes precedence over what might be one person’s idea,” Dick said. “That being said, it is each person’s individual creativity that makes us what we are.” The band members have learned to communicate and compromise, and they work together to create music that reflects their shared vision.

The Prairie States have also had many memorable fan interactions over the years. “We recently had a fan send us a cover of ‘Waiting On You,’” Dick said. “It was a beautiful solo acoustic number and we all really dug it.” The fan told the band that the song was special to him and his partner, and they had even gotten a tattoo of the cover art. “It’s moments like that that show you music can connect us in a really meaningful way,” Dick said.

The Prairie States’ music is deeply rooted in the landscape and culture of Alberta. “This is the place where most of us grew up,” Dick said. “The open prairies are celebrated in our name. You can’t help but be influenced by the beautiful place we are lucky enough to live.” The band’s music reflects the values and traditions of Alberta, and they are proud to represent their home province.

Watch for more from The Prairie States in 2024.

As seen in the February 2024 issue:

519 Issue 66 February 2024 Mick Mars issue

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