Mention Canada or Big Valley Jamboree and Paula Bowman's face lights up like a Christmas tree.
"The Big Valley Jamboree outdoor music festival is our favourite place to play," said Paula from her home in Melbourne, Australia. "We also love Canada and our new album, which will be released in June there. It was recorded in Vancouver. It has already been released here in Australia and our first single "Serves You Right" has been doing well at number nine and people here love that Canadian style."
Jetty Road played in Camrose at the kick-off party in 2009 and were instant hits with the Canadian crowd. When Gord Bamford couldn't play on the main stage the next day because his wife went into labour, it was an easy decision for Panhandle Productions producer Larry Werner to bring back the Australian country band to the concert bowl. This year, they will be on the main stage on July 29 with other acts such as George Canyon and LeeAnn Rimes.
"That was pretty cool. We were excited to play again and help out. We wanted to stick around and hear some of the other bands anyway," added Paula. "Every year we come back to Canada and go to Europe, so we are very busy just with our normal stuff, touring, doing shows and re-connecting with our fans."
Jetty Road is made up of Paula, her identical twin sister Lee, Julian Sammut and Simon Ross. In 2009, they released Life At A Million Miles that was recorded in Nashville. "Our new album is called Far Away Places. It is not called that simply because we are always travelling. We called it that because it takes us in a music direction that is far away from our original style and anything we have done before," explained Paula, who admitted a bit of Canada has rubbed off on Jetty Road.
The band's new CD has a distinct Canadian flavour with help from Jason McCoy and George Canyon. Both musicians also played at Big Valley Jamboree. "Our producer on this album was Paul Shatto in Vancouver. We really liked what the producer has done and we developed a friendship. Another thing that is different, is the fact we did some co-writing. Before this album, we had written everything in-house. We had the opportunity to co-write with some pretty cool Canadian artists such as George Canyon. We wrote a song called "Wrong" and it turned out, oh so right," Paula laughed. "It worked really well. He liked the song so much that he wanted to sing with us in the recording."
With the usual duet of Paula and Lee, George added an even fuller sound to the song. Jetty Road also wrote some songs with Jason. "He was having a mini-festival 40th birthday bash and we played. He said it would be great to hook up and do some writing, so we did and two of those songs are actually on the album."
The Canadian style has pushed them off the fence and has progressed their sound. "It sounds like Jetty Road with a honky-tonk twist," said Paula. "And the song with George is a lot more traditional than anything we have done before, so we went in several directions, which pushed us with diversity."
Jetty Road has always been known for high energy shows. "The honky-tonk style on "Welcome to the Party" fits in with what we do. We are high energy right from the word go. This gives us a different level of energy in a way that you can feed on it, and musically for us, it is a relaxing upbeat tempo."
The country rock sound had the band thinking of AC-DC, another Australian band. "One of the songs with Jason McCoy has that AC-DC feel to it in a country way. One of the guys in the studio then told us we were in the same Vancouver studio where AC-DC recorded "Thunderstruck" and we completely fell off our chairs. That was pretty cool."
Jetty Road is not concerned that they are Australian and yet they have recorded albums in the United States and in Canada. "We are a bit isolated here in Australia. Thank God for the Internet," Paula said jokingly. "Being internationally known only enhances our band and it allows us to share our music with the rest of the world. Bands in Australia are influenced by what North Americans do anyway."
The band usually goes to Europe and then heads to Canada. "This year we go to Canada in early July and we are there for six weeks to promote the album. It should be released June 28, before we arrive. Then we go to Europe for six weeks. Then we actually come back. We will be touring with someone you know very well in October, Shane Yellowbird."
Jetty Road recently signed a deal with On Ramp Records, the same record company Shane is with. "We are the first band outside of Canada on that label. We don't know quite what is in store for us yet. We are looking forward to touring with him. We are trying to convince him to tour Australia with us. We could take him to the outback and he could rope something. (Shane's dad is well known for his calf roping and team roping skills). There is a lot going on in Jetty Road's little world."
"I am really looking forward to playing at your festival again. I'm not just saying that. We think it is the best festival to play at." Jetty Road should know. They have played at a lot of venues throughout the world in the last five years. To date, the band has landed main stage slots at Big Valley Jamboree, The Cavendish Beach Music Festival and the Merritt Mountain Music Festival.