By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on January 26, 2024.
For two decades, Aaron Pritchett has forged a career in Canadian country music and now he’s hitting the road for his first tour in a whopping five years.
Pritchett, whose most beloved song may well be his hit “Hold My Beer” hits the Enmax Centre on Feb. 13 on his 29-date “Liquored Up” tour. The tour kicks off Jan. 27 in Calgary.
During his career, Pritchett has racked up more than 30 award nominations by such organizations as the Junos, the Canadian Country Music Association and others, winning multiple times for Entertainer of the Year.
Now he’s back in the spotlight giving Canadians a good reason perhaps to get “Liquored Up,” which is not only the name of his tour but his latest single. Also performing on the tour are opening artists Matt Lang and Cory Marks, who both perform on that tune.
The 53-year-old native of Terrace, B.C. is the real deal who paid his dues playing bars in his home province and Alberta.
He recorded his first album back in 1996 and in 2001 after entering a CMT contest called Project Discovery, he won a professional music video and cash which he put toward recording his album “Consider This” which came out in 2002.
His third album “Big Wheel” in 2006 contained “Hold My Beer” which earned him songwriter of the year honours at the 2007 Canadian Country Music awards.
Over his career, he’s had 13 Top 10 hits and a No. 1 single – “Better When I Do” in 2019.
“It’s been a long time and yet it feels like the 2019 tour was just last year,” Pritchett said in a phone interview.
“There was a little scare there where we didn’t know if we were ever going to be playing live let alone doing any tours so this feels absolutely amazing,” said Pritchett of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit in 2020, shutting down live entertainment across Canada.
“It put a scare into all of us” to the point where musicians didn’t know if they would play for live crowds ever again.
“Back then you didn’t know whether or not you were going to be on the road and finally we got back to doing these things,” said Pritchett.
During the pandemic, he tried to do as much with his free time as he could, including staging a nightly show on Instagram which he found exhausting because “I ended up having more to do than I thought would with not just the show, but I still recorded music, I still wrote music. I still tried to keep as busy as I could and I felt I’m trying to do too much here,” he added.
He also spent more time with his family than he’d ever done, which Pritchett called a silver lining to the roadblock created by COVID.
“There were years there, 15 years or so” he only saw his family at limited times because he was doing shows and going on tour so he had 2.5 years to spend time with his family because of COVID’s impact on live performances.
And now his kids are following in his footsteps.
His eldest son Jordan, 33, has played lead guitar with pop band Faber Drive and is in his own duo with his fiancee Danielle called Cross Parallel.
And his two younger sons Braden and Mason have a duo called AtlantisOne.
“They’ve all followed in the footsteps in a musical family – actually they’re the ones who created the musical family. I started it by becoming a singer and a performer and an entertainer and now they are true musicians, music makers and songwriters themselves. It’s pretty awesome to see.”
The response to his new music has been “mind-blowing” he says of “Liquored Up,” for which he has also recently released a video.
“Everybody’s calling it the new ‘Hold My Beer.’ Who would have thought that 18 years later that I’d have another ‘Hold My Beer’ in my career. That’s pretty awesome to see.”
A new single “Just Want to Feel It” comes out Feb. 2 and the album will be out in the middle of 2024. No date has been set for its release.
The only way to hear it before the release will be buying one of the 300 vinyl records that will be sold during the tour. Within those 300 black vinyl albums will be one gold record which will get the buyer a free acoustic concert with Pritchett and a friend or two anywhere across Canada, he said.
“It’s something different; makes it a little fun and interesting.”
He wrote ‘Hold My Beer’ with Deric Ruttan and Mitch Merrett, he recalled. They couldn’t come up with a title they were confident in and Pritchett thought of a saying on a T-shirt he’d seen about a decade before.
“I just blurted it out and Derek said ‘yup, that’s what we’re writing today’ and who knew that it would actually turn into what it has turned into, this amazing legacy song for me. I’ll be 90 years old singing ‘Hold My Beer’ and I’m OK with that. I’m very fortunate to have that luck with this song and hopefully it continues on, and who knows, maybe ‘Liquored Up” could turn into another one,” said Pritchett, who from the start of his career has pushed the boundaries of country music.
He’s also a philanthropist who in 2022 launched his annual Big Wheel Charity Golf Classic which has raised more than $150,000 for charities on Vancouver Island.