Drew Gregory is performing live on the legendary Cook County Saloon Stage September 25th, at 7:00PM.
Gregory the singer is also Gregory the farmer – two sides of the same engaging, unpretentious and amiable coin, solidly rooted in the landscape and soil of his rural homestead. The music is as approachable as he is, something that also translates on stage as he forms an instant rapport with any audience for whom he performs.
Growing up in the small rural community of Standard, Alberta (population around 350) Gregory was exposed to music through local radio as well as from his dad’s extensive classic rock vinyl collection, and soon came to appreciate both the country and rock sounds that flowed through the family home. By the time he was 15 he had acquired his first guitar and from the first strum of the strings, he knew that making music was going to be a big part of his life.
“I never took lessons but would play it from the moment I got home after school every day until I went to bed. Once I got that guitar in my hands, it just felt like something I needed to do. I started playing at a lot of high school parties and that’s where my love for performing came along – having everybody singing along while you played was quite a thrill,” he said.
“And after a post college backpacking trip to Australia, where I spent a lot of time just travelling and thinking about my life, I came back and began working the family farm, which gave me more flexibility and time to play more shows. At that point, my love for farming and my love for making music became the two most important things in my life.”
Artists such as country megastar Eric Church, crossover artist Steve Earle and classic rock icon Bruce Springsteen were early influences, primarily because all three, regardless of genre, sing about real life, and about their own trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows.
Working with Kitchener, Ontario-based producer and multiple CCMA award winner Jason Barry over his last two recording projects, the veteran producer has proved to be an exceptional collaborator who intuitively understands the vision Gregory has in mind for his music. “He wanted me to really dig deep and really figure who I was and who I wanted to be as an artist.” he said.
The positive experience of working with Barry on his last two records has given Gregory more confidence as a songwriter. All seven songs on his last album Good Place to Start feature his compositional skills alongside wonderful co-writers.
“I have had the chance to work with some pretty talented songwriters, learning something from each experience. I have always kept an open mind that if there was a great song pitched to me, that I did not write, and it fit the project and fit my sound I would record it. But more recently I’ve found that the material that we were coming up with on our own was better than what was being pitched to us. And as I get more experience, I seem to be getting more confident in my abilities and in my choices,” Gregory said.
Evidence of Gregory’s status as a country music artist on the rise are the numerous accolades that he has thus far garnered in his career. Most recently, he was named Country Music Alberta’s (CMAB) Male Artist of the Year at the 2019 awards and took home the 2019 CMAB Award for song of the year. His single Better in A Bar won that title, a song he penned with long-time co-writer Aaron Goodvin. Over his burgeoning career he has shared the stage and opened concert and festival dates for the likes of Miranda Lambert, Kip Moore, John Michael Montgomery, Big & Rich, Emerson Drive and Chad Brownlee among others.
Drew knows how to rock a crowd, and has plenty of experience on stage for large and smaller audiences with past festivals, Big Valley Jamboree (both Main Stage and Molson Stage), Bud Country Fever, Country Thunder and Dauphin Country Fest. Drew made his debut appearance on the Nashville North stage during the 2015 Calgary Stampede and has been a staple since. His performances at clubs, rodeos and small festivals are usually packed with diehard fans; many traveling from out of town.
Regardless of the success that has come, and which will undoubtedly continue to grow, he will always return home to his family farm, as it not only keeps him grounded, allows for replenishment of his soul and a certain amount of peace and solitude, but also continues to be the most essential aspect of his creativity. It’s where he continues to draw inspiration, and where he continues to learn life lessons, and perspective on what is truly important. All of this is reflected in the music. Farmer, poet, entertainer and musical force – Drew Gregory is the epitome of the modern Canadian country music troubadour.