Members of Emerson Drive are touring across Canada this winter to celebrate more than a decade of recording as a band. The group has a greatest hits package out and will stop at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre Tuesday (March 1) for a concert.

Members of Emerson Drive are touring across Canada this winter to celebrate more than a decade of recording as a band. The group has a greatest hits package out and will stop at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre Tuesday (March 1) for a concert.

Emerson Drive tours accross Canada

Country music band Emerson Drive tours across Canada this winter

The band that takes its name from a highway in Alberta is on the road in a coast-to-coast tour of Canada.It’s a romantic idea that recalls a bygone era in music, possibly because of simple logistics: winter in Canada leads to treacherous driving conditions.Emerson Drive, the five-member country music group from Grand Prairie, was stuck outside Winnipeg for more than nine hours as weather closed the Trans-Canada highway.But because few bands are touring in the frigid winter, those that do are rewarded by fans seeking a change from the monotony of inside.“They have a bit of cabin fever,” said Brad Mates, lead singer.It’s not the first time the band travelled across Canada – they opened for Shania Twain during a major tour years ago. The fans they made while performing with one of the biggest stars country music ever produced are still loyal and still cite the Twain tour as their introduction to the band.“That’s a consistent thing every night,” Mates said. “It’s definitely come around full circle.”Whether they would get to this point was a question they faced after the suicide of a former band member.That event, with other emotional highs and lows, became the song Memories, one of their highest charting songs to date.“It touched people in a way we weren’t expecting,” Mates said. “It makes that connection more real.”The song earned dozens of awards, including a Grammy Award nomination.Mates formed Emerson Drive while in high school, including his friends in the band, which was then called 12 Gauge. The band moved to Nashville in 2002 and released its first album and have four to date.The latest release is a greatest hits package that spans the past 10 years as Emerson Drive, while signed to a major record label. The disc contains their hit singles, which garnered Canadian Country Music Awards, and comes with bonus tracks and interview footage.“Fans are wanting to see and hear more on the greatest hits package,” Mates said, adding that the band has three songs already recorded for a new album it hopes to have out later this year.Emerson Drive performs at the Port Theatre Tuesday (March 1) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $39.50. Please call 250-754-8550 or visit www.porttheatre.com.arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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