By GARRETT BURCHETT
Jason Blaine’s focus right now is pretty simple.
“We have a lot of miles to cover, a lot of fans to see, and a lot of towns to rock country-style,” he said.
Blaine is rolling through Canada with fellow country artists Tebey and James Otto on their Three’s A Party tour, including stopping at Dallas nightclub in Kitchener on Nov. 4.
For Blaine, a native of Ontario, there is nothing better than touring through Canada, in front of his Canadian fans.
“Country fans up here don’t just listen to the music, they live the country music,” he said. “To hear them singing your songs back, sometimes I’ll just stop singing and they’ll sing a song back to me, that’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Blaine got a taste of that on the very first show of the tour, in Halifax. He was unsure about singing his song They Don’t Make Em Like That Anymore, on this tour. The song, which won the Canadian Country Music Association single of the year in 2012, is a true story, written about his grandfather, who passed away this summer. But when he began to sing the song in Halifax, the crowd started singing along, really loud, from the first line of the song. After that, he decided to keep the song in the show.
“It showed how much it means to them, and that it’s not just about me,” said Blaine. “They really connected with the song. And that transcends any awards or chart position, it’s just a real human connection with the fans.”
Songs like They Don’t Make Em Like That Anymore, is a prime example of Blaine’s commitment to putting a piece of his heart in every song.
“I tell a lot of stories in my songs, of true memories, the way I grew up, and where I’m at in life today. Especially on this new record,” Blaine said. “I love a good time song, a songs that rocks, but it’s not just about that, it’s about songs with depth and meaning as well.”
That is why he fell in love with country music, specifically ’90s country, and artists like Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, and Brooks and Dunn.
“It was a song for every occasion, it was a song for a wedding, a song for saying goodbye. It was a song for Friday night, or Sunday morning,” he said.
Blaine’s new album contains two bonus tracks, which he wrote for his children. Dance With My Daughter has been a popular song at weddings, with many fans emailing Blaine to say that they have danced with their daughters to his song. And after writing that song, Blaine’s son approached him and said, “You gotta write a song about me, and you have to call it Play With My Son.”
“On this album, there are 11 songs for fans, and two songs for me,” said Blaine.
His new album Countryside came out on Oct. 23, and the title track remains one of the most played songs on country radio. But while things are looking up for him right now, it certainly hasn’t been an easy journey. He is thankful for the support of his wife, who gave up a good job in Canada to allow him to pursue his dream.
“My wife and I, we took a big leap of faith in the fall of 2006, with a three-month-old baby girl, and we packed up everything we could fit into a Pontiac Grand Am and made the trip to Nashville,” recalls Blaine.
And just before the release of They Don’t Make Em Like That Anymore, he had one of the worst charting singles of his career, and thought his career was over. Now he realizes that better things were just around the corner.
“We’ve had some big hits and had big misses. Songs that I thought for sure were gonna do well … and it just wasn’t to be,” said Blaine. “That’s just the roller-coaster that this business is. I think I’m just getting better at enjoying the ride.”