Aaron Goodvin is a name we think you’ll be hearing much more of in future. Paul Sammon chatted with Aaron recently to give us the lowdown on the Canadian born, Nashville based writer and performer.
Having been introduced to his music only recently by a friend, I decided to look into the Canadian rising star’s career – and found that his first album was only released in his home country. He now resides in Nashville and I had the good fortune of being able to chat with him and ask him about his latest release, his dogs, his opinion of Luke Bryan and what he gets up to with his band when they’re not on stage. So, let’s dig in a little to the man that is Aaron Goodvin. (And yes, that’s with a ‘v’)
Hi Aaron, thanks for taking the time.
Hey, how are ya? Nice to meet ya.
So, I’ve done a little bit of research and I’ve found out pretty much diddly squat about you. We know that you first started performing publicly at the age of 12. Can you remember what you sang?
Er, yeah. The first song I ever sang publicly was John Michael Montgomery – “Be My Baby Tonight”. He’s a guy I’ve never met. I have a lot of people that know him and have worked with him and all this stuff but he’s one guy I’ve never met. It’s the strangest thing. I feel like I’ve met everybody else but not him….
Now, there’s a couple things I want to know about your name. I’ve learned that Goodvin could be from Anglo Saxon tribes in Britain as a change of Godwin. Do you know the origins of your surname?
I don’t 100% know but from what we can tell back in my family there’s a lot of different places my family descends from. Germany and Norway and Ireland. BUT, generations back we were Goodwins with a “W” and my family’s theory that we’re pretty sold on is that one of our great Grandfathers, generations back, wanted to marry somebody else and didn’t want to go through a divorce so he just changed his name. It sounds like it could happen so, y’know….
So I take it you’re staying in Nashville and not gone back to Canada at all? That is your home now?
I’ve lived in Nashville now for ten years. The last time I was in Canada was January. Three years in a row where my career was just starting blowing up in Canada and every Summer just felt like we were going there all the time. Last year we went on tour with Rascal Flatts but then to go from that three years in a row to nothing… Just crazy.
You’re back out a little bit at the moment. Do you have spare time as such?
I definitely have a lot more spare time than I’m used to which is not a great thing for me. I like to keep going and never like to stop but I’ve found time to do other things. One blessing that Covid has brought is that when you’re writing all the time on the road, songs kinda start falling through the cracks so I was able to go back and look at a few things that I thought might have been great or should have went in a different direction and actually had time to work on it.
I assume you’re spending a lot more time with your good lady, Victoria? How did she feel about the album being named after her?
Well, it wasn’t like ‘hey we’re gonna make a record with songs about my wife and we’re gonna call it “V”. It was more of an afterthought. It was kind of a thing we didn’t realise we had done. When you’re going through all these songs with different vibes and tempos to make sure you’ve got a full, complete record, um, once we had it we were able to go through it and there wasn’t really anything that we thought ‘That’s what the record’s called’ We went back and we were all listening to it and one of my managers, Mandy West, was like, “The common theme I pick up on is “V”” My wife’s name is Victoria and we all call her “V” and we also wanted to play on the fact that, as I continue to grow in other countries one of the things we want to pound home is it’s a “V”, not a “W” in my name.
What was the draw to country music? Was it a conscious decision or did you fall into it?
I grew up with it. My family, up in Northern Alberta, kind of very close-knit family, sang and played around the campfire. That was normal to me. There’s more people that sing and play in my family than don’t. So, it’s kind of like a family affair for me. I often joke that I think I was twelve years old when I found out that not everybody loved country music and I was distraught. (He chuckles) I was like, “What do you mean not everybody loves country music?”
I was somewhat of a troubled kid growing up and I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was like ten. So, my mom was always looking for things for me to do. I had this ability to hyper focus on things, things I was interested in at least. So, we were always looking for different things and my Mom put me and my sister in a karaoke contest when I was twelve and they were like “Wow, they can sing” so I think the thing that got me into all these other things that involved country music was performing, because as soon as I got on stage there was a place for all that energy to go. Then I fell in love with the whole song writing community which is what brought me to Nashville.
When I started making trips to Nashville, I found out there were these people that just wrote songs. With my dreams of being a performer I knew I needed to be a great writer and I had to have great songs I could get on the radio and so that kinda played into that.
When you’re on stage do you engage in banter and have a bit of a laugh with the audience?
Yeah, some people seem to think I have a sick sense of humour. Now, I don’t really see it as much as that, I’m just kinda being who I am. But there are portions during my show where all of a sudden it starts to feel like a stand-up comedy routine. It’s never planned but I just attribute that to being on the road and being on stage as much as possible and being comfortable. Once I’m comfortable it all just kinda comes out and I’m dropping jokes left and right. We definitely try to have a lot of fun.
I can see that guy sat behind you, Luke Bryan. Did you ever get a chance to thank him for putting your track on his album? (Aaron co-wrote Out Like That on Luke’s Crash My Party album)
Yeah, I did. I played a show with my pals, Adam Sanders and Cole Swindell. Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean were doing a big tour and they were in Atlanta and we had played this little club the same night as the after party. He came to the club after and that was the first time I ever met him. It was pretty cool to shake his hand and say, “Hey, thanks for changing my life.” Really great guy, I can’t stress that enough. Just a humble and full-hearted dude that just wants the best for everybody.
We can’t get your first album here in the UK; only the latest one, “V” and, from what I hear, your sound seems to span country and pop and a little rock. Are you still discovering yourself or is it just a case of developing your sound as you go?
I think it’s all of those things. The artists that I’m extreme fans of are people who evolve, and I think we get closer to that every time we go and record something. Y’know, I’m definitely in this place where I feel like we’re really starting to hone in on the sound. People are responding to certain things that I do which kinda flows more into this kind of country rocking, up tempo thing. That being said, I’m also a huge Chris Stapleton fan so I don’t know if there’ll ever be a record where there’ll be something more in that vein. So, my thing is like a little bit of searching and finding and, y’know, “You Are” is such a blessing. It’s more “poppy” but it’s not just a full-on pop song. My producer was like, “When we recorded that song, never did I think it would be number one.”
Well, you won Songwriter of the Year at the CCMA’s in 2018 with Lonely Drum. That must’ve been pretty special?
Incredibly, yeah. It was unbelievable. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I started going to the CCMA’s when I was sixteen so, when I won an award, I had already watched a lot of people win. A lot of people I look up to, a lot of my peers. When I won one it was like, ‘Okay, cool, I can die now, I’ve made it.’ It was a true sense of accomplishment ‘cause those are peer voted categories and the members of the CCMA made me Songwriter of the Year.
So, when Covid’s over do you have any plans to tour? Like a European tour?
Once again it was one of the things we were starting to do. Last year we did a trip to France and that’s the extent of my, y’know, we’ve only ever played France. It was a bit of a challenge because a lot of my show is banter and I don’t think any of those people understood what I was saying and I was laughing at my own jokes but, I think I’d do better in the UK. There were people sitting out in their lawn chairs all day and we couldn’t figure out what they were doing. They were sitting there until I played “Lonely Drum” live and I looked outside the tent and they were all up out of their chairs doing the line-dance.
I know you’d go down well in the UK. Artists tell us that, compared to the US fans, we know all the songs, not just the singles.
That’s how I was as a country fan. I’d hear a new Mark Chesnutt song and then I’d start looking that up. My mom used to take me to voice and guitar lessons every Tuesday. It was about an hour and a half drive and every Tuesday I would buy a new record, sometimes two. And I knew every Mark Chesnutt song just as well as the biggest fan within a month, y’know? That’s how I was as a fan, too. I would love to tour there. Let’s do it, I’m in.
Is there any plan to release your original album in the UK?
We don’t really have any plans to. I’m in an interesting situation in that I did that record on Warner Canada and didn’t have a deal in the US and my deal in Canada is Canada only. So, my deal in the US is like the World, excluding Canada so I actually have two record deals. But you know what I don’t see why we wouldn’t do that? In fact, I’m gonna see if we can.
Ok, from the hip, quickfire questions. Ball cap or cowboy hat?
Baseball, football or hockey?
Hockey. The Predators. I started going to Preds games to teach other people how hockey worked. My family are all Edmonton Oiler fans ‘cause they’re all from Northern Alberta.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs, all the way. We have two of them. Mine is called Telly and my wife’s is called Olive. Telly is super excitable, like me and Olive is like V. Super chill and relaxed.
Beer or whiskey?
I don’t drink any more, but beer is what I miss when I’m sitting on a patio at two in the afternoon and the sun’s out.
Touring or studio?
Touring. I love being in the studio as well but having an audience is for me.
Night out or night in?
I would have to say night in to be honest. I don’t mind the odd good night out but the thing I like, now I’m a married man of four years and have dogs, nights in are the best. Because my job is to be out, when I get in it’s like, ‘Ahh, this is nice.’
Bars or churches?
Oh man, that’s so hard. That’s a tough one. Even now I’ve kinda done my party days I still do enjoy going to bars. I like the vibe of bars but then there’s Church with all these people there. I’m gonna say… bars.
Do you have a guilty pleasure song? I’ve heard it might be “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys?
(Laughing) Oh man. Dude, when you said that, my brain literally went to a place called Mickey Roos in Franklin Tennessee that we lived across the street from. We used to go over there and drink Margaritas for $1.75 on a Wednesday. We wouldn’t be able to walk out of there and it’d be like four o’clock in the afternoon. It was horrible. All I remember was me and my buddy Drew were sitting there, and they had karaoke, so we went up there and did that song. Any Backstreet Boys song is a guilty pleasure.
OK, I’m going to wrap it up, but I will ask you to pick one of your songs that people in the UK should find to turn them on to Aaron Goodvin?
I would have to say “Lonely Drum” because it has proven itself time and time again. I call it a Gateway Song. It allows people to find something they love immediately and wanna dive deeper.
Fantastic. Thanks for speaking for so long. It’s been an absolute pleasure and we’ll hang out when you eventually get to the UK.
Hey, it’s been great, thanks a lot. We’ll catch up soon.