Those who say country music only can be made from those who grew up in the south have obviously never heard the talented music being produced from our neighbors in the north. Enter the James Barker Band.
Made up of, James Barker, Taylor Abram, Connor Stephen, and Bobby Martin, the group from Ontario, is taking the Canadian country music scene by storm and it’s just a matter of time before they become a sensation in the U.S. While the group started making music in 2013, it was in 2015 when they won the Emerging Artist Showcase at the Boots and Heart festival, earning the chance to open for Thomas Rhett, and signing a record deal the next year.
From there, the group hasn’t slowed down. Their debut EP “Game On” has over 30 million streams on Spotify, with 5 of the 7 songs becoming Top 10 hits and three becoming certified gold. They were the most played Canadian artist on Canadian country radio in 2017, and still hold that title eight months into 2018.
The first single off their album “Lawn Chair Lazy” quickly became the highest charted debut single from any Canadian artist at Country Radio; a song that Dierks Bentley likes to cover at his own shows. Later in 2017 they were nominated for 5 Canadian Country Music Association Awards, including Duo/Group of the Year, Album of the Year, and Single of the Year.
Listening to their music, one can see their appeal. Easy lyrics that can are relatable, whether about drinking in a bar, or experiencing new love; and catchy melodies that are certain to get stuck into your head.
Their song “Chills” was nominated for the SOCAN Songwriter Prize, an award that is open to songs from all genres. It was the first time a country song had ever been nominated for the award.
The latest single from the group is “Good Together” a song that is featured on Spotify’s Top Country playlist. It is already the most streamed Canadian country music single released in 2018, and I’m pretty sure I’m half of those streams. This song is so infectious, it’s guaranteed to be stuck in your head all day long, which is something you won’t be complaining about.
James Barker Band has definitely found success and a loyal fan base in Canada and I can’t wait to see how their popularity spreads to the states.