Josh Norrad is helping keep country music alive and well in New Brunswick.
“This has honestly been like riding a huge wave that just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” says New Brunswick country/rock music musician Josh Norrad who was recently nominated for three MNB awards for Country Artist of the Year, Member’s Choice and Fan’s Choice.
Norrad, whose solo career began as a side project from other groups he was involved in, has been gathering steam ever since the release of his first single, Can’t Catch Me John Wayne and his debut album, Cars, Guitars and Mason Jars.
“After releasing my initial singles, the support was so great that it lead to a music video, then a full length album, and now three MNB Award nominations, not to mention the amazing performance opportunities that have come out of this,” said Norrad. “My fans have been ruthlessly supportive. They have always been the ones pushing this wave forward by purchasing my music, telling all of their friends, and sending tons of encouragement my way to keep going.”
County music was once a dominant force within the province’s music ecology, enough to warrant a Country Music Hall of Fame all its own. These days, young musicians writing and performing country music in New Brunswick are a rarity when compared to the abundance of rock, folk and indie acts. But as Norrad can attest, the genre has begun to experience a resurgence in recent years.
“I feel very positive for the NB country scene,” he said. “Our roots are deep, our branches are growing and our future is bright.”
“We may be few, but we are strong,” said Norrad. “There is a great thing happening right now in the New Brunswick country music scene as many artists are beginning to experience more success. Compared to the last 20 years, and perhaps partially due to the promotional advantages of social media, we are seeing that it is possible for NB artists to begin to break the Maritime barrier and move onto the national stage. People like Tyler Deveau and Melissa Hunt have been seeing success on national radio as well as Tristan Horncastle on both radio and stage. We also have our guys like Ivan Daigle, Steve Waylon, and Rik Reese who are hitting the NB circuit hard with top quality performances. Though we may be few, the artists here in NB are working very hard and are achieving successes that have long been out of reach for Maritime acts, paving the way for young artists to also find success as they enter the scene.
“I feel very positive for the NB country scene,” he said. “Our roots are deep, our branches are growing and our future is bright. The country genre definitely holds a solid place in the NB music scene.”
Speaking on his recent award nominations, Norrad’s efforts and experience thus far are not unlike any other musician working within any other genre in the province. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication and involves a whole lot more than simply writing and performing.
“There have been countless nights spent writing, endless trips to the studio, unlimited amounts of emails to book and promote shows,” he said. “After you pour your life, heart, and all of your creativity into music, booking, performing, and promoting, to get recognized by your home province for all of your hard work is truly an honour.”
Looking ahead to the later part of the fall, Norrad has lots in the works including new music and a new video which will be filmed later this month.
The 2016 MNB awards will be handed out Thursday October 13, 2016 as part of Festival (506) taking place this year in Miramichi.