Canadian rockers experience a full-circle moment after building fan base in small towns.
lorious Sons’ lead vocalist, Brett Emmons, took time away from the band while going back to school to study literature at a university in Canada. He told his band to “screw it,” while they performed for six months without him. His goal was to be a writer, but it wasn’t long before he asked his brother if the offer stood for him to return to the band.
It did, and it’s proved successful. The Glorious Sons boasted seven of the top 10 rock radio tracks in Canada. In 2015, they received a Juno award nomination for rock album of the year.
Bringing their music to the U.S. proved promising. Their hit “Sawed Off Shotgun,” known as “S.O.S.,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard active and mainstream rock charts. The band opened for the Rolling Stones in France and in Canada. Watching Mick Jagger “strut his stuff” backstage was memorable, according to Brett, but he was nervous for his performance.
“I put too much pressure on myself,” he says. “I was nervous but glad the experience is behind me. Now they’re coming into our backyard, and it has softened my nerves.”
Brett is the band’s lead singer, and he is also a songwriter. His two loves include writing and rock ’n’ roll.
“People attach themselves to a song they can see themselves in,” he says, explaining his writing process. “The stories I write aren’t over complicated. They’re simple, but from heartfelt brutally honest lyrics, that gives something for people to latch on to, to dissect and carry around with them.”
Due to AC/DC being his favorite band and most important musical influence, Brett mistakenly believed all songs needed the word “hell” in them, such as “Highway to Hell.”
“AC/DC was my first love,” he says. “Then I discovered Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne’s songwriting. It showed me that my lyrics didn’t need to be all hell-to-the-world songs. It could take you any place where you wanted to go.”
Brett says the band sticks together, and that is an outcome of six years on the road performing at Canadian venues to “nobody” and not stepping on one another’s toes. Now that they play larger venues, they enjoy appreciative fans.
“To be 4,000 kilometers from home, people chanting our songs in Florida, it’s amazing and humbling,” he says. “I think we’re in a sweet spot in our career. I’m not sure it gets any better than this.”
A favorite venue was in a small town near Toronto, when S.O.S was peaking on the charts.
“We had a thousand people screaming our songs back,” he remembers. “It was like a full circle moment because we’d built our fan base in small towns. It felt right to have all the people come out.”
The Glorious Sons and JJ Wilde open for the Struts on July 15 at Water Works Park Amphitheater. Tickets cost $25-$30, plus fees, and are available at eventbrite.com. ♦