When: Tonight, 9 p.m.
Where: Upstairs Cabaret (15 Bastion Sq.)
Tickets: $35 at Lyle’s Place, Buckerfields (1970 Keating Cross Rd.), and the Loghouse Pub (2323 Millstream Rd.)
There’s a good reason why country music stars often play the bulk of their tour dates in the summer. Music that puts a premium on partying never sounds better than it does when the sun is out, tailgates are down and kegs are on ice.
For that reason, summertime living is incredibly easy for B.C. country singer Aaron Pritchett, who brings his act to the Upstairs Cabaret tonight and Nanaimo’s Queens Hotel on Friday.
Pritchett admits to often writing with July and August in mind, as evidenced by his biggest hits, Let’s Get Rowdy, Hold My Beer and Light It Up. His newest single, Suntan City, is the latest instalment in a series that could roll for as long as beaches have sand.
“I do have some serious songs I throw in my set,” Pritchett said this week from Gabriola Island, where he lives for part of each year.
“But they are usually quick little breathers before we get crazy again. Suntan City is one of those rowdy songs that fits in there perfectly.”
Born in Vancouver and raised in Kitimat, Pritchett came to country music almost by accident. It wasn’t until he worked at a Rooster’s Country Cabaret in Pitt Meadows that he had any real interest in being a country musician.
Kitimat had “no country scene whatsoever,” said Pritchett, who listened to mostly classic-rock acts growing up.
“Bands like AC/DC, Van Halen and Def Leppard, I just loved them. But something happened in 1990, when I heard Randy Travis for the first time. I never liked country music before, but that guy had something cool.”
Country music often gets a bad rap in B.C., Pritchett said. He has lived throughout the province, including stops in North Delta, Penticton and Langley. Pritchett said he has always found country music fans no matter where he travels.
“There’s a lot of country fans out here, a lot more than you’d expect,” he said. “I have played all up and down the Island, and there is so many more listeners than I expected out here.”
Pritchett is working on his upcoming seventh album, which will feature Suntan City. He won’t get around to releasing it until after the summer, which includes a round of dates over the next six weeks. Included among those are a pair of celebrity golf tournaments organized by his good friends, fellow Can-country singers Gord Bamford and Jason Blaine.
Pritchett has played in and played at a number of similar events over the years, including those of NHL pros Clarke MacArthur and Scott Hartnell. He also appeared at the Courtnall Celebrity Classic, which was organized by the hockey-playing Courtnall brothers of Victoria (Russ and Geoff) and their brother Bruce.
Pritchett grew up playing hockey and still does, so he’s an easy fit at hockey-related golf events. He never made it past the midget level growing up (“I was always too little,” he joked) but Pritchett discovered the game again once he was an adult.
“I think I played my best hockey when I was in my mid-20s. It was just rec hockey, but it was in the summer against all these great junior players.”
As for the belief that hockey players make for great golfers, Pritchett knows differently. “A lot of them are playing while they are playing hockey, and it develops their hand-eye co-ordination. But I’ve met a lot of hockey players in the last little while who can’t play golf to save their lives. Which makes me feel great, because I’m not the greatest golfer.”