Newfoundlander Gregg Bolger is finding success as a country music star in Alberta, releasing his newest single I’m All In
Newfoundland’s own Gregg Bolger has carved out a fine niche as a dark horse of Canada’s country music scene.
Since uprooting from Newfoundland to Alberta in January of 2012, Bolger has released a successful studio album, collaborated with the likes of George Canyon, Granger Smith guitarist John Marlin, Chris Byrne of The Road Hammers and Gord Bamford drummer Chad Melchert, and all the while maintaining a happy home for his wife and two young sons.
In the wake of his latest single, a co-write with his wife Jennifer titled I’m All In, Bolger caught up with The Newfoundland Herald for our latest Q&A.
Take me through these past six years since your move to Alberta. We know you’ve been anything but idle, music-wise.
My last year in Newfoundland was 2011. My last year home I did 152 shows on the island, everywhere from St. John’s down on George Street, right up to Labrador and Lab City. It was a busy time when I lived home. When we moved to Alberta, I told my wife Jennifer that I had to slow down a little bit. With slowing down on the playing side of things I was able to focus on the writing and recording a little bit more, which was great.
Your latest single I’m All In was a co-write between yourself and your wife Jennifer, which was later fine-tuned with the likes of Chad Melchert, Chris Byrne and John Marlin. Walk me through the creation of your newest tune.
I said I need to come up with a new idea for a new song. I had a little bit of a writer’s block. I was trying for a couple of weeks to come up with an idea, and not much was happening.
(Jennifer) was thinking about a relationship, or that sort of thing. When she said ‘I’m All In,’ the first thing I thought about was sitting at a poker table and your chips are all in. I started to write the song, keeping in mind her idea of being all-in in a relationship, but then said how can I work it to give it a little bit of a hook to go back to that gambling sort of idea. And it worked.
What’s your thoughts on the working life of a singer-songwriter in 2018. Given the advent of streaming services and social medias, would you say it’s difficult to make a dent?
The whole music industry is changing. People are not downloading as much as they used to since Apple Music, Spotify and these monthly subscriptions have come on the scene. It’s great for the consumer, but as an artist it makes it a little more difficult because the return is not there. It’s the same thing with cd sales. Record companies are having to kind of re-invent themselves a little bit to try to recoup some of those costs. Artists are touring a lot more than they used to, because they make big money in shows.
Canadians have always been strong supporters of country music. Have you felt particularly embraced by your fellow Canucks?
I think Canada in general has some of the best songwriters in the world. If you listen to what’s coming out of our country right now, the songwriting is up there with some of the best writers in the world. Even for support and radio play and that sort of stuff, Canadian country radio is very supportive of up-and-coming artists, and established artists. If you’re an up-and-coming artist in the U.S. it’s a little bit more difficult to get that radio play … I think as a Canadian artist in general you definitely have a shot when it comes down to it.
Moving forward with your career, being a dedicated family-man, what is your blueprint?
I’d love to have another artist take one of my songs and record it. The touring thing these days are a little more difficult for me with family and that sort of thing. A songwriter and publisher is where I hope to end up.
For more on Gregg Bolger visit greggbolger.com and find I’m All In on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify