High Valley – “Love You For A Long Time”

hvThe title of High Valley’s U.S. debut album, Love Is A Long Road, might just raise an eyebrow. The band consists of three 20-something brothers – Brad, Bryan and Curtis Rempel – who seemingly came out of nowhere to earn multiple Canadian Country Music Association and Juno nominations for their music in their homeland of Canada. They’ve opened shows for Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Reba McEntire and become fast friends with some of their heroes. What the heck could three young guys with such an apparently quick ascent know about a long, hard road to anywhere?

In truth, the ascent has been gradual. And challenging.

High Valley would not be on anyone’s radar if the brothers were not, in fact, all about long roads. They grew up in a remote region of Canada, 500 miles from the nearest international airport. To connect with the world at large required a commitment because geographically, it was literally a long road to anywhere.

But the group’s personal journey is a long road, too.

Despite being in their twenties, High Valley has,, in fact, been recording for more than a decade and touring for 16 years, and they booked their own concert dates for much of that time, since older brother Brad was a mere 12 years old. The guys quit their jobs on Jan. 25, 2007, and devoted themselves fully, make-or-break, to a country music career at a time when they had no record label and no guarantees that enough work existed to cover the fuel costs for a group that lived eight hours from an urban center.

It’s that deep commitment to a cause that provides the foundation for High Valley’s Love Is A Long Road, an album brimming with driving tempos, engaging harmonies and superb musicianship. Underneath those obvious components are layers of thought that take a little longer to fully assimilate. The sound has an in-the-moment inspirational quality, but the words are built on long-term ideals: faith, family, farming – aspects of life that require honest dedication if they have any hope of working.

Brad co-wrote the bulk of the songs on Love is A Long Road with such established writers as Phil Barton (Lee Brice “A Woman Like You”), Danny Wells (George Strait “Check Yes Or No”), Brian G. White (Rodney Atkins “Watching You”) and Neal Coty (Mark Chesnutt “She Was”). The album’s lone outside song, “Never Took Her Dancing,” came from Allen Shamblin (Miranda Lambert “The House That Built Me”) and Rob Crosby (Martina McBride “Concrete Angel”). And High Valley enlisted a couple of proven hitmakers – Phil O’Donnell (Craig Morgan) and songwriter Jeremy Spillman (Eric Church “Hell On The Heart”) – to produce the album, which mixes tight harmonies with traditional country instrumentation. It perfectly matches the Rempel brothers’ youthful vigor with their authentic rural upbringing.

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