With the release of their new album, Along for the Ride, Alberta’s Renegade Station embarks on a dynamic musical journey that sees the talented quartet elevating their already impressive reputation for creative excellence and superior showmanship to new heights.
Understanding that sometimes you need to shed elements of your past in order to embrace the wide, wonderful future, the group changed its name and has revitalized and focused their musical identity. They have pushed forward with a passion, and unrelenting drive that will see Renegade Station become a name that anyone hearing their unique pop and rock-infused brand of country music is unlikely to forget.
Originally known as Domino, the band came together almost accidentally as husband and wife duo of singer/bassist Luanne and guitarist Russell Carl began attending and performing at a town variety show in Stettler, not long after moving to the rural Alberta community. There they met guitarist/vocalist Kent Nixon and drummer Scott McKnight at the popular event and decided to create a band to play local dances and parties becoming the ‘go to’ act on the circuit.
“We were the backing band at this event and decided to take the show on the road, playing a lot of rodeo dances and weddings. But after a few years we realized we had something special. We just gelled as musicians and our voices harmonized so well together that we all just felt we needed to do more. So, we acquired ourselves a professional manager and began recording some originals and some songs that were gifted to us,” said Luanne.
Their new name is symbolic of the group’s unconventional approach to their music and sense of independence. They are unabashed about injecting their original music and the songs presented to them by other noted songwriters with healthy doses of pop and classic rock nuances – with a focus on lushly produced and beautiful layered vocal harmonies which owe as much to Fleetwood Mac as they do to Lady Antebellum.
The “Station” part of their name is a nod to vintage working steam train that is a tourist attraction in Stettler and which is a throwback to the region’s pioneering past. Therefore, a name that is reverent towards tradition, but which also alludes to a desire to go one’s own way is ideal for the band approaches their craft.
As proof of Renegade Station’s commitment to excellence, for the recording of Along for the Ride, they worked with respected industry veteran Johnny Gasparic (Gord Bamford, George Canyon, Snoop Dogg) at Dave Temple’s MCC Recording Studio in Calgary. It was the second time working with Gasparic, but this time around Luanne said he became more integral to the creative process as well as the recording process.
“We collaborated a lot more with him on the production side and it was awesome. He brings an amazing background and experience with him. He knows that we are very much a vocal band and a harmony band, and he really helped to emphasize that, but was also able to get us to do some things vocally that we hadn’t done before. He really got us to relax and open up. I don’t think we have ever sounded this good,” she said.
The lead-off single, Who’s Gonna Love Me Tonight, fits into the more adventurous approach that is Renegade Station’s hallmark. Sung by Kent who shares lead vocal duties with Luanne, it’s a mature, somewhat saucy but very true-to-life take on modern romance.
“We were really drawn to the song at first because of the amazing harmonies, but then once we got a sense of the meaning and message we knew we had to record it. It’s a little different and a little more risqué than a traditional country romantic song. It’s not the normal ‘I love you and you love me’ song. It’s a little more mature and realistic. Who is going to go home with who? Who is the strong person in the song, and who is the one going to just give in to the temptation of the moment,” Luanne said.
Don’t Hold Your Breath was penned primarily by Nashville-based Canadian singer/songwriter Jaida Dreyer and, again, the breathtakingly infectious harmonies fit the Renegade Station sound so well, they could not resist putting it on Along for the Ride.
“The song has this Little Big Town vibe, with an incredible melody and when we first harmonized together to the song we all just looked at each other with these amazed expressions. It is such a good song for us to really show off not only our country influences but how we can really bring that together with our pop and rock background. And I personally love this song because it’s about being a strong woman,” she said.
Proving that there is true musical versatility in Renegade Station, the song Rodeo Road is written by Joni Delaurier and pays tribute to the western rodeo lifestyle, which has special meaning for Nixon that comes across in his passionate vocal performance.
“Kent’s grandfather is in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame. His father in law is in the Hall of Fame. His three brothers in laws are Canadian Pro Rodeo Champion’s and there is a long line of cowboys and rodeo competitors in his family. That song was so special to him and we all loved it too and wanted it there as a sort of throwback to that gritty traditional country sound that we all grew up with. It represents a big part of the Alberta mystique and the importance of rural life, the rodeo circuit and the country dances that are part of so many people’s lives here,” Luanne said.
The rock-solid foundation that was built as Domino is not being shunted aside as the talented quartet moves forward. Renegade Station’s legacy is etched deep into the firmament of the western Canadian music scene and that can never be taken from them. In recent years they have won back to back Association of Country Music in Alberta, as Group of the Year (2015 and 2016) as well as the ACMA Fan’s Choice of the Year in 2015. They also garnered a CCMA nomination for songwriter of the year for their tune 2:15 and Luanne was also nominated for CCMA Bass Player of the Year for 2016.
The band has shared the stage with a who’s who of Canadian and international country music luminaries, from George Canyon and Carolyn Dawn Johnson, to David Lee Murphy, Emerson Drive, and Bobby Wills.
Along for the Ride is a bold statement by a collection of talented musicians and songwriters that is infused with authenticity, impressive vocal performances and insistent melodies that will stick with you for days.
And with this impressive collection of new songs, a live show that never fails to enchant and entertain, and an unparalleled creative drive, Renegade Station is truly poised to break through to a national and international stage.