Talking country

Jason Blaine grew up listening to and playing country music in Pembroke, Ontario; however, these humble beginnings have done nothing to hold him back.

After attending Algonquin College for business, the now-Nashville-based country star moved to Kitchener-Waterloo, where he worked at Cedar Tree studio with award-winning producer, Rick Hutt.

Blaine lived in KW until 2006, when he moved to Nashville and his career exploded.

“I went to Nashville in 2006 to write and record and I called the record ‘Make My Move’, since I had just moved,” Blaine told the Cord in a telephone interview.

With the help of producers, Blaine’s first two music videos, “Rock in My Boot” and “Flirtin’ With Me”, went to number one, making him the first CMT artist with two back-to-back number one videos.

“Then we released a song called “My First Car”…. It was part of the biggest contest CMT has ever had. We gave away a 2008 Honda Civic.”

Blaine laughed, remembering his first car as nothing that glamorous – he drove an old Sentra Hatchback.

“It was all I could afford,” he elaborated. “Not very cool, but I loved that car. Your first car’s not supposed to be cool.”

The video for “My First Car” climbed to a top-five spot on the charts, as did his current single, “Give It to Me.”

“It’s just a big sigh of relief and at the same time kind of like ‘Yesssss!’ you know?” he said, commenting on his success in the competitive music industry.

While Blaine misses certain Canadian staples – Tim Horton’s, poutine and healthcare, to name a few – he is happy with his decision to move to Tennessee.

“I love [Nashville],” he raved. “It’s a place I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve always wanted to be in the centre of the music scene and the community of songwriters and musicians in the city is just unparalleled.”

He spends his time there writing and playing – he’s written several hundred songs and feels his art is constantly improving.

“The best song I’ve ever written is always the latest song I write. You finish the song and it’s like, ‘This is the one!'”

Blaine thinks of his sound as a combination of his musical influences – Vince Gill, Steve Wariner, Garth Brooks and Travis Tritt, with a healthy splash of his favourite artist, Bryan Adams.

Country music has always been a love of Blaine’s because of its familiarity to him.

“I was always drawn to the story,” he said. “But also to the melodies. There are so many beautiful melodies in country music.”

While enjoying all aspects of his career, Blaine is still unaccustomed to the response of his fans, particularly in being recognized. “It’s like, wow, oh my goodness, this person knows me and I don’t know them…. I don’t know if it’s something I’ll ever get used to.”

Currently on the biggest tour of his career, he has ample opportunity to experience the benefits of his success, even having his face on the side of his tour bus.

The artists he’s touring with include The Higgins (a family trio who play all their own instruments and write their own songs), artist/songwriter Steven Lee Olson and Canadian Idol finalist Tara Oram.

Blaine says they spend their travel time talking, jamming and playing Xbox. “Our tour bus is not too much of a rock-star bus,” he laughed, also noting that one of his tourmates, Eileen Higgins, has her baby travelling with them.

“We’ve all become really good friends,” he said after a glowing introduction of his tourmates.

The tour began in Kamloops and finished in Halifax on June 18. It included, among a handful of dates in Southern Ontario, a performance at Kitchener’s Dallas Night Club on June 10.

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