It’s inevitable, any domestic band that conquers its home country music scene must eventually look beyond its borders to expand its fan base, secure new festivals to play and build on its brand globally. For Australia’s Jetty Road, looking for new horizons extended far beyond its own borders and across the ocean. And when Country Music Awards of Australia’s 2010 Group of Year decided it wanted to try breaking into the competitive North American country market, it didn’t choose Nashville: The band decided to take its chances on Canada and its country music scene. “As a Commonwealth country, we just felt a natural connection to Canada.” says Lee Bowman, Jetty Road singer and guitarist. “We, like millions of others, are also big fans of Shania Twain. Her rise to country music supremacy all started in Canada and she became a massive country star. We just felt there’s something really special about Canada.”
For the past four years, Lee Bowman along with her twin sister, Paula (vocals), Julian Sammut (lead guitar) and Simon Ross (multi-instrumentalist) have made Canada a priority for Jetty Road’s development. The Canadian country music scene is taking notice. “At first, I think the industry (Canada) saw us as bit of an ‘Aussie’ novelty,” says Julian Sammut. “Now, heading back to Canada for our fourth year in a row, we feel we’ve really made some in-roads in the Canadian country music scene. We’ve driven countless hours across the ‘Canadian Outback’ stopping by many country radio stations and playing many small towns as well to make new fans. We’ve done the hard yards and will continue to do so.”
Jetty Road’s hard work is paying off. In March 2011, one of Canada’s premiere country record labels signed the band to its impressive roster of artists. Based in Nashville, On Ramp Records represents some of the biggest names in Canadian country music including, Victoria Banks, Shane Yellowbird and Jaydee Bixby. “There is a real buzz about Jetty Road across Canada,” notes President of On Ramp Records, Louis O’Reilly. “This band’s talent is undeniable and its work ethic is phenomenal. With Jetty Road’s new album, Far Away Places, I expect only bigger and better things for Jetty Road in North America.”
The aptly titled Far Away Places is a direct product of the band’s ongoing investment into the Canadian country music scene. Jetty Road recorded the album with Paul Shatto, a Vancouver based producer in the Factory Studio – also in Vancouver. Plus, Jetty Road hired Canadian session players to play on the album. The band also co-wrote six songs on the album with Canadian country superstars, George Canyon, Jason McCoy, The Higgins and more. “We’re so grateful to our Canadian mates” boasts Simon Ross. “The collaboration made us all better song writers.”
If the success of Jetty Road’s first official single (“Let it Out” released June 2010) to Canadian country radio is any indication, Canadian country music fans are going to enjoy the new songs on Far Away Places. “Let it Out” cracked the top 50 on Mediabase’s country chart and received airplay on over 60 radio stations from across the country – an impressive accomplishment for a developing international band.
In 2011, Jetty Road will once again journey to far away places. While the band headlines festivals in Europe, Canada is considered by the band its second home. Look for Jetty Road on the main stage this summer in Canada at Big Valley Jamboree, Cavendish Beach Music Festival and Merritt Mountain Music Festival.