Canada exports nearly $100 billion in mineral fuels each year, more than $60 billion in vehicles and billions of dollars more in wood, plastics and aircraft. Their finest export however, may be a group of guys that go by the name The Glorious Sons.
The Glorious Sons are a rock and roll band from Ontario that has had amazing success on Canadian radio and is now tackling the United States and Europe. Two brothers and three others formed the unit in 2011. Lead singer and guitar player Brett Emmons sums up his decision to join the band. “I quit all my classes and decided I was going to be a musician.” He acknowledges he wasn’t having much success pursuing a solo career so he accepted an offer from his brother to join the fledgling act.
“We jammed every night and some kind of spark hit. It was easy after that.” says Emmons.
Easy is a relative term of course. The Glorious Sons practiced tirelessly and began to develop a following in their native Kingston, Ontario. Some describe their music as traditional rock n roll. As it turns out, their path to success borrowed a page from the classic rock playbook as well. They played a lot live. They wrote music and recorded an EP on their own. They pitched a song called “Mama” to local Canadian rock stations, many of whom agreed to give the music a shot.
In the golden years of rock, that was a familiar story. Bon Jovi recorded a song on their own and convinced local radio to play it. Rick Ocasek from The Cars took a copy of their music around to Boston radio stations, hoping to earn airplay. Both bands are now in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.
Emmons explains how The Glorious Sons managed to convince radio to play their music without even having a record deal. “We were #6 on Canadian radio without a label at all. We ended up with management and a label of course. It just wasn’t that tough for us.” Once people started hearing their song “Mama” on the radio, they wanted to see the band live and once people saw the band live, they wanted even more.
“We knew we just had to play shows and we could turn heads that way. To be honest, we were very lucky that Canadian radio jumped on our first single and played it. They played it to death.”
That wouldn’t be the last time the band charted. The initial success brought them a record deal and thus began a string of eleven top 20 singles on Canadian radio, including three number one songs.
In the last couple of years the band has started to break though on US radio as well. Money and fame are not what motivate The Glorious Sons however. They play because they love the music. Emmons says “We have no choice. It is a decision you make in your bedroom when you’re 15 years old. All that other stuff - money and fame - that’s an after thought.”
The band has just released a new album, A War on Everything, which has already yielded a number one single and is being very well received, by critics and fans alike. “This one was so easy” says Emmons. “We had so much momentum coming into this album. We were finishing our first stadium tour. I was writing so much every day. Nothing could hurt my voice.”
That voice, like the guitars, cowbell and harmonica that accompany it, is raw and full of emotion. It is a primary reason their music connects so well with their fans. The band’s dedication to its craft doesn’t hurt either. “We got in there and were in the studio for 30 days, 14 hours, sometimes 16 hours in the studio. It was just a pleasure to be there. One of the best experiences of my life.”
The entire album is strong. One tune filled with irony is titled, “The Ongoing Speculation into the Death of Rock n Roll.” Despite the fact the band has been playing together eight years, starting in bars and growing into stadiums, Emmons says he is constantly questioned about the state of rock n roll. “You can go into any given club in your respective cities around the country and you’ll still see people playing electric guitar and screaming their heads off as loud as they can. Of course it’s in a good state.”
“A War on Everything” features music that covers the full gamut of emotion and experience. Emmons says there are some negative dark themes (Panic Attack) but there are a few songs that make the album a little lighter and offer a glimmer of hope (Lean on Me). He emphasizes that his songs are intended to be relatable to people and he hits the target. The tune “Love and War” with lyrics that include “It just hurts ‘cuz you’re not mad anymore, oh we never learned the laws of love and war” reach into the soul of anyone who has ever had a heart-wrenching romantic break up.
The album is a success lyrically, musically and if the #1 status of Panic Attack is an indicator, is on track for commercial success as well. While he hopes for the best, Emmons is not hung up on chart position or the number of units sold. “For anybody in this industry, we’ve all got a big hole in our chest and at the end of the day you’re just trying to fill it and be happy with what you’re doing.” He pauses and then adds confidently, “We’re very happy.”