High Valley - Grew Up on That EP
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Grew Up on That EP (Warner, 2020)

High Valley

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

When Brad and Curtis Rempel began writing songs for their EP in the pre-COVID-19 era, the Canadian duo known as High Valley had no way of knowing "Grew Up Like That" would make a fine pandemic coping mechanism. The brief six-song collection is laden with tunes about family, love and good old-fashioned upbringing. The duo is known for its fusion of contemporary country and bluegrass. On this short collection, there is more gloss than grass. The production is slick, the melodies radio-friendly and with a few exceptions, it bounces along playfully from start to finish.

The vocals especially shine on acapella numbers, "Northern Star" and "River Still Running." Cory Crowder has a co-write credit on the latter and it is the most country sounding in the collection with a "Fishing In The Dark" feel. By contrast, "Your Mama" is filled with accurate, but cliched praises befitting of a good matriarch. It feels a bit over-eager to make its point. Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard has a writing credit

The closer, "Show Me The Way," begins with a techno beat and rolls along like an '80s pop song. It closes the collection out on a fitting up-tempo number that is lighthearted and fun. The duo grew up in rural Alberta and used a garage as their studio. The winters were harsh, and life on a farm is always tough, but none of that rawness is reflected here. But its positive vibe just might be what the doctor ordered in these unprecedented times.

CDs by High Valley

Way Back, 2022 Grew Up on That EP, 2020 Dear Life, 2016

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