AARON GOODVIN is now in his 11th year in Nashville, since moving there from his native Canada. He’s marking the occasion with a new single “Country Dance”, inspired by the success of the song he is best known for to date, the smash hit of line dancing classes around the world, “Lonely Drum”. Following Aaron’s recent visit to the UK, Paul Lewis spoke to him for Six Shooter, about the tour, his new single, and many other things…
PL: How was your experience of coming to play in the UK for the first time?
AG: It was great. So much fun, such an experience. Taking a seven-hour plane ride and going to play in this other part of the world that wasn’t even real until I got over there.
PL: Playing the Buckle & Boots festival with the full band looked like it must have been great.
AG: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. And I was there for a few days before and got to see the whole festival come together before anybody ever showed up, which was really cool. Coming overseas like that, you’re not just going to play the show and fly back, you try and do as much as you possibly can. I was lucky that I was there with a great group of people (Aaron toured the UK with Jessie G and Matt Wynn). It’s also different to play somewhere without the radio play upfront. When I play in Canada, people come to hear the songs they’ve heard on the radio, but you come to the UK and it’s not about having to even know the music, it’s being able to celebrate that there’s a band playing – which is a whole different experience.
PL: There’s a strong country music community here, so even if radio airplay is limited, it’s possible to build a following for a tour.
AG: Yeah, we could feel it’s a tight knit thing. We get there and here’s the guy that’s running this show, and there’s the guy that’s running the next show, and they’re all supporting each other, which is really cool to be a part of. I’m excited to see what happens over the next few years, hopefully spending some time over there and, getting my music out to more people. Maybe we can really grow something.
PL: There’s definitely opportunity here, with major festivals like C2C and The Long Road at the top end, and even some country artists who can play the O2 alone – two nights in the case of Luke Combs.
AG: Yeah, I think I think there’s a huge opportunity. I gather from, talking to people over there, country music is getting bigger and bigger. It’s interesting to me that you’ve got an artist like Kip Moore, who is just killing it over there – playing even bigger venues than he can back in the US. So here’s a guy that had a little bit of radio play, and a couple of big hits over here. And he went over there and just started to build an audience
PL: Yes, he worked hard it at. He talked about how he would come over and lose money on a tour, but he wanted to do it, and do it right. So now he’s getting his return on that.
AG: It’s cool that you can build something like that, and it’s especially interesting to me because I live in America and I’m still building here. It messes with your mind a bit because you play a show in Canada (Aaron’s home, where he is a well-established, huge selling artist), everybody’s singing along to every song and knows every word – and then you head over to Ohio, and they might know one song. So you learn you have to incorporate a few more covers, so people get to know who you are, hear you sing something familiar, and can engage a little bit more.
It’s a crazy thing, but I wouldn’t be doing anything else with my life. I just love what I do so much, every facet of it. I played in bars growing up, playing cover songs. So, in a way I get to still live that. There are good and bad parts about that, but mostly good – and I just love being out there singing for people.
PL: In country music in general, it seems like artists are generally open to playing covers. There’s less preciousness about “only playing my own songs”.
AG: For me, it’s about the music that influenced me? Quite often even now, I’ll play the first song I ever learned on guitar, I’ll play “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, then I’ll play the first song I ever did at a karaoke contest in the Grand Prairie mall, John Michael Montgomery’s “Be My Baby Tonight.” Because those are the songs that shaped me as a singer and a songwriter, the stuff that I grew up listening to. And then I’ll go off and maybe do a version of “Tennessee Whiskey” which is really just a tip of the hat.
There’s so many artists and songs out there that we can go listen to and be inspired by, so what’s wrong with making that a part of what you do? But the goal is to play my own music. So I look at cover songs as a kind of gateway – you get this and then you can hear what I do, so you get people to listen to you who may not take the time otherwise.
PL: Let’s move on to your own music. Your new single, “Country Dance”, is coming out this week.
AG: Yeah, it’s happening so fast. I’m so excited. 5 years ago, we had a big song, “Lonely Drum”. It was a double platinum record in Canada and became well known among the line dancing community around the world. And it still sells today. We’ve got quite big support from that line dancing world, a lot of choreographers will even send us videos, which is amazing. So we wanted to build on that.
“Lonely Drum” was about “I can’t get a girl to come over” and this one is “I can’t line dance”. That’s basically the song and it’s kind of got a similar groove. We posted it on social media and the response was crazy. They were asking when is this coming out? I want this now! And until this point, I hadn’t really had a song that got a reaction like that. So we literally just put it together and we said this is the next thing we’re gonna put out. It’s been really cool because usually there’s a very calculated plan, what the next three releases will be and so on. But I’m sort of in between record deals, and one cool thing about that is we can make our own decisions on what we want to do, and when we have something to release, we can just react.
PL: So this this isn’t part of an album project at the moment, it’s a one off single.
AG: Yes, it is. I think eventually the song will be a part of an album, but right now we’re just going with the flow of this song. It’s been a cool experience to go with that energy.
PL: So you’re self-releasing this?
AG: Yeah, I still have a deal in Canada, and then we’re kind of shopping around in here in Nashville – I was on Revival Records for five years, and we’re ready for something new – a new outlook and a new team. Meanwhile, it’s important that we keep pumping music out on the radio in Canada, as I have a great radio team there and we’ve been doing so well. I don’t think I’ve had anything less than a top 20 song since 2016, which is crazy. It’s been such a great ride there, and we need to keep those people listening to our music. So for this single, I’ve teamed up with my agent in Canada who’s sort of acting as my label, and then we’ve got some distribution through Warner Nashville.
PL: Have you got other songs ready to go too?
AG: I’m always writing, I got home from a trip and wrote two songs yesterday. I’m really enjoying the whole process so much more than I used to. I feel like we’re building the UK, we’re building in the US, we’ve got a great career in Canada, and that really helps keep everything moving in the right direction. I’ve been in this town for 11 years – 11 years in a 10-year town! So maybe it’ll take 15, who knows, but I’m gonna keep at it!
PL: I know a lot of people in the UK would love to see you back here, any plans?
AG: We’ve already got one show in Barcelona, Spain, in October, so I’m going to try and build around that. Maybe we can find a couple more places to play, while we’re over there.
PL: When you were over here, we loved having you come and visit Electric Umbrella so it would be great to do that again too! (We wrote recently about the day Aaron, Jessie G and Matt Wynn spent with Electric Umbrella, a charity who create amazing music experiences with learning-disabled people, and in doing so challenge perceptions of their community and others like them)
AG: Yeah, I’d love to. I enjoyed my time there so much. I was at a charity function for Gord Bamford’s Foundation (a charity that supports kids & communities in Canada) last week and they auctioned golf with me for $10,000. It’s crazy, nobody should have to pay $10k to watch me play golf! After golf, people were telling stories and I told them about visiting Electric Umbrella, showing my photos and videos and they all said “This place is amazing”.
That day in the UK made such an impact on us all, it was probably the biggest experience we had over there. It’s awesome to go play your music for people and make money, but you really get a sense of what it means to be human when you’re when you’re doing that kind of stuff. It was such an eye-opening experience. And I know both Jessie and Matt felt like that too. We were all tired from being on the road, but you get into that situation and you just you just find another gear. It’s pretty amazing.
PL: I saw an interview in which you mentioned using your own wedding in the video for your song “Woman In Love?” How did you get your wife to agree to that?
AG: She’s a trooper. I think she just understands the nature of this kind of beast. She’s in the music business so she knows what she married into! She’s a big part of what I do and without her support, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’ve done so far. So she was like, “OK if you have to… let’s go!” I like it when things are authentic, and she knows that about me. I was like, I don’t want to be acting in a music video, you know, some couple that’s not real. I want things to be real. I think it’s cooler that way.
PL: Is there a video for “Country Dance”?
AG: We played a place called Cancun Cantina a couple of weeks ago and they made a video for us that I believe that we’re looking at editing into. We sent them the song a couple of weeks before we got there, and they put together a dance and they all danced it while they shot the video. So we’re sort of working with that and trying to figure it out. Like I said this release has been super quick, so we’re still figuring things out. But we definitely need a video and it would be cool as the storyline (of the song) is great – all you have to do is put me out there trying to learn a line dance!
PL: Thanks for giving us so much time, and we wish you every success with the single.
AG: Absolutely. It’s been great to talk to you.
Aaron Goodvin’s new single “Country Dance” will be released on all the usual streaming services on Friday July 7th. You can pre-save it now at: https://aarongoodvin.lnk.to/CountryDance