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Interview and Photos by Mary Andrews
A conversation with country music's rising stars Brad and Curtis Rempel of High Valley
Country Thunder, Florence, Arizona, April 13, 2019
Brad and Curtis Rempel are two brothers who compose the High Valley duo from La Crete, Alberta, Canada. They have lived in a rural Mexican Mennonite colony all of their lives. Their parents were born in Mexico. The entire family was raised singing in church. The band has had many charting songs in Canada since 2010 and they were signed to Atlantic Records in 2015.
The band has bridged the gap between country and Christian music with a new country vibe. The Canadian duo has opened shows for Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, LeAnn Rimes, Dierks Bentley and Reba McEntire, earning a solid reputation as a must-see live act.
ConcertLivewire was able to have a chat with High Valley prior to their meet and greet at Country Thunder (CT). Brad and Curtis alternated answering questions unless indicated otherwise.
ConcertLivewire: The Last time High Valley performed at Country Thunder, there was only half of High Valley. One of you was having a baby.
Curtis Rempel: Yes, I was having a baby. If you are doing the math, she's two years old now.
CLW: You also performed at the Oro Valley music Festival outside of Tucson last fall in the middle of a rainstorm. You were very good sports to endure that and finish your set. It's good to have you here at Country Thunder. Is this the only CT Festival that you will be playing this year?
High Valley: We just played CT in Florida before coming to Arizona. We will be appearing at CT Wisconsin July 18-21. We love it.
CLW: What is the High Valley Story? First of all how did you get the name High Valley?
HV: It's not as exciting as you would hope. As a kid I had a little tape recorder and I did the news, weather, and sports on this cassette recorder. I did this fake radio show and I made up this fictitious band when I was 12 and I pulled my brothers in. The fake band was called High Valley. When we finally started performing, that's what we called ourselves and it has stuck. We actually had a name before we had a band. It comes in handy to have the name ahead of time.
CLW: Are you from a family of musicians?
CR: Yes we are. I am the youngest of six kids. We got three sisters and another brother back home. They are great singers and musicians. Honestly, we learned to sing from our sisters. That's the family we grew up in. We really didn't stand a chance. We pretty much had to be musicians. Dad played bass guitar. Mom played 12-string and acoustic guitar. The reason we played music was from our mom, musically, and our dad provided the encouragement.
CLW: How old were you when you started singing?
HV: Now you are going to figure out our ages. I was four years old when our family recorded their first gospel album. That was in 1988. (Curtis) So, I was negative two years old in 1988. It took us from 1988 to 2019 to be nominated for new artists of the year. So, there you go.
CLW: Congratulations! Do you have new music out now?
HV: Yes, we just released a brand new single record called "Single Man." We are going to play it later in the day for our buddy. Brad and I are not single guys, so it's pretty confusing. We're both married and we each have two kids. We both used to be single though. We wrote it from the perspective of we don't know a single man out there who wouldn't die to be where I'm at. That's the point of the song.
CLW: Do you write all of your music?
HV: We don't write all of it, but as much as possible. We just want to record songs that say what we want to say. Our songs are usually about faith, farming, and family. We write about small town values. So, whether I wrote it or someone else, we don't care.
CLW: Who inspires your music the most?
HV: Rickey Scaggs has been a huge influence, actually for our entire family. He's like the Elvis of the Rempel household. We've been able to become friends with him over the years. We've been able to work with him in the studio. He introduced us the Opry crowd. We've been able to perform with him on stage at the Opry house. That's been pretty amazing for us since we've admired him since we were kids. That's really it. Also, Dierks Bentley playing here tonight is in the vein of the kind of music that we love. He has a bluegrass tinge on his music. There are definitely his records that I remember listening to in the not so distant past like "What Was I Thinkin'" and "Lot of Leavin' Left To Do."
CLW: What has been the best thing to happen to you thus far?
HV: My son threw six strike outs today in little league baseball game. My two year old daughter is potty trained now that's pretty a huge milestone for our family. Becoming a father is absolutely life changing. That's one of the things I'm most proud of. I'm so excited to go home and see my kids.
Career wise, we have been able to do some incredible things that we have dreamed of. Just being able to travel around planet earth because people want to hear our music in different places is pretty incredible. We get to see the world and hear the fans sing our music too is mind bending like Australia, Europe, and here. People singing our songs are one of the best gifts we can be given. It is THE best gift that a fan can give an artist.
CLW: What is the worst job you've ever had?
HV: (Curtis) I've never really had another job other than this. (Brad) We had a slow winter one time and I got a job at a mobile home factory one time. They know it was temporary and so did I. I was staining wood trim and cabinet doors. I was doing the same thing every day. (Brad) My worst job was probably working for the Chamber of Commerce, I was entering Excel Spreadsheet data for every business and the owners of the businesses, phone number and fax numbers. That was in the summer, the only time of the year it's warm outside and I had to be inside typing data all of the time.
CLW: Any new albums or EPs on the horizon?
HV: Yes, We are almost done with this new record and "Single Man" is the first song from the record. You'll be hearing new music all the time until the records comes out.
CLW: If you were interviewing yourself, what would you ask?
HV: Why do you look so tired? My answer would be I have two kids and my wife is an early morning person. I don't sleep enough.
High Valley gave fans an amazing high energy set later in the day. There was no evidence of either Brad or Curtis looking tired.
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