The past few months have allowed brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel - known collectively as country duo High Valley - a unique opportunity. While the duo has enjoyed hits north of the border such as "County Line" and "She's With Me," the success of "Make You Mine" - currently No. 25 on the Country Airplay chart - gives them a chance to hear their music on the weekly country countdown shows here in the United States for the first time. It's a feeling that Curtis won't soon forget.
"I've heard it on a few countdowns so far," he tells Billboard. "I remember one time my family was riding out to the lake, and literally, as soon as we pulled up, the song came on the countdown and it was in the 20s. It's a surreal feeling, one that I've got to say is pretty amazing."
Growing up in tiny Blumenort, Alberta, one might not expect such a down home sound to come from a duo from Canada, but Brad says that Bluegrass is something that is in their blood.
"We just had a record player and 8-tracks growing up. Mom and Dad came from a Mennonite background, so we had a lot of Gospel music, along with Bluegrass and Country. As a result of that real conservative upbringing, Bluegrass was a natural fit. Ricky Skaggs records were well-loved in our house, and he was also a huge role model for us. In fact, he was the one that introduced us to the people at the Grand Ole Opry, and he sang with us on the initial version of 'Make You Mine," he says, referring to their first recording of the song - a hit on Canadian radio in 2014.
On November 18, the duo released Dear Life, their first project to be released in the States -- which Curtis is thrilled about. "That's one of the most rewarding things in the music business, when you work hard to create something that you are proud of and that you love and finally you get to release it. That's my favorite part. I love getting to read the Twitter feeds when release new music, and see what people think about it. It's always exciting. We've got some great songs on the new album, and I love how it sounds. We've been able to let some of our fans hear it already, and they seem to love it. We're so proud of it, and can't wait for everyone to hear it."
When reminded of how deep the roots of Country Music are tied to family acts - all the way back to the days of The Carter Family, Brad says that it makes sense. After all, he reasons, they did spend a lot of time together during their formative years.
"I think that anytime you rehearse something with someone, you're going to get better," he says. "We had all that time - all the five hundred-mile trips we would take to the airport to go visit our grandparents or twenty-four hours one way or forty-eight hours in a van with six siblings. There was always music. Our church didn't have much in the way of music, just an organ. That would be the case every single Sunday. I think it was built into our family's DNA. We really didn't have any other forms of entertainment. We had to make our own," he reasons. "Thankfully, many years later, it's paying off."
One of the highlights of Dear Life is "Soldier," which Curtis says left a definite mark on him. "That's one of my favorite songs on the album because of the feel and the vibe of it. You just can't help but to start grooving and bobbing your head and stomping your feet. It's just so fun. That's what I love about it. It's a song about fighting for what you believe in and standing up for the ones that you love. It's just a great song."