Sometimes your past can be your dark days.
Sometimes they can be your darkest days.
Such is the case with Doug Oliver, drummer for Canadian country act Cold Creek County. Literally.
So when confronted with that past, when asked if there’s any way it could possibly affect his current life, he seems blindsided.
Question: Will his new band ever do a country cover of Porn Star Dancing?
“Oh, man, the guys bug me about that all the time,” Oliver says with a somewhat embarrassed laugh. “They call it ‘Corn Starch Dancing’ or something like that — I don’t know, man.
“They bug me about that all the time. They’re like, ‘We should play it!’ and I’m like, ‘No. We’re not. We’re not going to play it.’ ”
We are, of course, referring to Oliver’s time in mid-oughts hard rock act My Darkest Days and the 2010 song that helped launch them.
The four-piece were signed by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger — who, along with Zakk Wylde and Ludacris, appears on that first single and, not surprisingly, in the video — and proceeded to have “great success in America,” ending up on Island Def Jam in the States, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Track chart with it and having the song certified gold down south.
After a couple of albums and heavy touring, “that band ran its course” and went on an extended hiatus, with members getting involved with other projects, including frontman Matt Walst, who joined Three Days Grace.
Oliver turned his attention to the production and management side of the industry, starting up Fairhurst Music Management and a studio, and his tastes went to the country side of the music because of “the melodies and the tones” and even the “vibe” surrounding the music.
“I just really fell in love with it, to be honest,” he says noting that country is closer to who and what he is right now. “My heart is definitely in the country world again.”
So much so that in 2013 he put together the original lineup for Cold Creek County, with musicians — Brandon Scott, Josh and Justin Lester, and Trevor MacLeod — from around the rural area where he grew up and where the band takes its name.
“We’re all from small towns,” says Oliver, who hails from Hastings, which had a population of around 900 back then. “Trevor would be the city slicker from Stratford, Ontario. But that’s how we established our roots.”
And after doing that, they then used Oliver’s roots, or rather his Darkest Days, to help expedite the process of establishing the band — a year and a half after conceiving of the idea they had a record deal with Sony Music Canada.
“We got very lucky,” he says. “I just really used the contacts that I made from my previous band to get there a little quicker.”
They released their debut Till The Wheels Come Off in late 2015, having some success with singles such as Our Town, Beer Weather and the title track, and earning a handful of CCMA nominations as well as a nod in the Breakthrough Group of the Year categories at last year’s Junos.
When it came time to hit the studio and put together a follow-up — what would eventually become the seven-track EP Homemade, which was released last June — singer Scott left the County due to “creative differences.”
The band, keeping the theme alive, looked to another rural part of Canada for his replacement — Sasky boy Ches Anthony.
Oliver, who co-produces and manages the band, says he actually found him on YouTube while googling “good singers or great singers or something like that … and his video was the first video that popped up.”
So he reached out to him and two days later Anthony was in Toronto auditioning for the role he was soon given.
“What a character, though, man,” Oliver says. “He’s got so much passion for the music.”
So, too, does the other new full-time addition to the Cold County crew, banjo player Jordan Honsinger — who was previously a touring only member of the band — who not only lent his playing to the new crop of studio material but also brought some “added harmony” to the songs.
And those songs have taken the sextet that much further, especially the title song, which was co-written by Oliver, and current single This Town Is You.
For those who missed them last year during the Stampede, fans in this town will get a chance to see the new lineup and the new tunes when they hit Calgary for a Monday, Feb. 5 show at the Grey Eagle Event Centre as part of an impressive country package that includes The Washboard Union and Old Dominion.
Well, not necessarily the newest tunes from Cold Creek County. Oliver admits they’ve been back in the studio and have almost wrapped up their next record, which he can’t give a concrete date for, but says that it will be “coming out very soon.”
“The material on (the new) record just kind of speaks to all of us,” he says. “It’s a little more mature, a little more organic, but this one’s a lot about life and a lot about love …
“We’re very excited to share it with everyone.”
Nothing but brighter days ahead.
Cold Creek County perform Monday, Feb. 5 with The Washboard Union and Old Dominion at Grey Eagle Event Centre. For tickets and more info please click here.