For the past couple of decades, it seems like Nashville has been more of a factory town than it has a true Music City.
Instead of working to produce true country music artists as it had at one time in its illustrious history, Nashville now seems content to just churn out the same-old, same-old, using the same group of songwriters and the same group of session players on just about every album these days.
That makes it hard for one project to sound different from the next, blanketing the radio waves with tunes that are hard to distinguish from one another.
Looks like a band from Canada might just break that stale mode, however.
Made up of five musicians from north of the border, Emerson Drive insists on doing things their way, and that includes playing their own instruments on their records, instead of relying on session players. They also have a hand in writing a good chunk of their own material.
Fans of the group won't have to travel far to see the band in their natural environment -- the concert stage -- as Emerson Drive is scheduled to make a stop at John E. Miller Auditorium on the Ozarka College campus in Melbourne Sept. 26.
Presented by the Ozarka College Foundation Board, the concert is a fundraiser with proceeds going to the Ozarka College Foundation Endowment for scholarships.
Foundation Special Events Chairman Son Lamb said he expects the concert to be an exciting event, much like the Little Big Town concert two years ago. "We want people to come out to enjoy a fun evening of entertainment while supporting an important cause," said Lamb. "Emerson Drive is an emerging country group, and we are excited to bring them to Melbourne."
Advance tickets are $30 and $40, and can be purchased at First National Banking Company locations in Mountain Home, Melbourne, Horseshoe Bend, Mammoth Spring and Salem. Tickets also can be ordered online at www.ozarka.edu.
Emerson Drive received two Country Music Association nominations this year for group and video of the year for "Moments," nine Canadian Country Music Association nominations including group of the year and album of the year for Countrified and a Grammy nomination for best country performance by a group. The group has also won awards from the CCMA, the Academy of Country Music and Billboard.
The band is still on the road promoting their third album, Countrified (Midas Records), an album that churned out a pair of hits, "A Good Man" and "Moments," a song that reached the top of the charts.
Countrified also features a souped-up version of The Charlie Daniels Band's smash-hit, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," a tune Emerson Drive revamped with a frenzied, breakneck pace and injected with bits of boogie-woogie piano and a snippet from Led Zeppelin's Kashmir in the process.
"The title of the record basically sums up everything we are as a group," Brad Mates, lead vocalist said. "It's the music we feel is Emerson Drive and it's a stamp of what we believe is our kind of country music -- something our fans can really relate to."
Not your run-of-the-mill reading of a country music favorite for sure.
But that's just one thing that makes Emerson Drive so engaging.
For more information on Emerson Drive's show in Melbourne, call 870-368-7371.