Will Ardell’s debut double album, All About the Ride (country) and Leaving (rock) has raised eyebrows and generated buzz on both sides of the border since its release in March 2012 and he’s looking forward to sharing that music with Swift Current Jan. 4 and 5 at the Living Sky Casino.
Ardell, a prolific songwriter raised on a farm near Lucky Lake, now calls Swift Current home as he works towards becoming a fulltime musician and recording artist.
“I started putting my songs out there about 2008 or 2009,” Ardell recalled. “I had written a lot and sort of plunked at it at home and started doing it on line just for people to listen to, social networking, and it just kind of exploded from there.
“We wanted to do something a little bit different,” he said of his unique debut album, “because a lot of times the way the industry works, they try to pigeon-hole you into a certain sound, and I’ve kind of not been a fan of that because good music is good music, no matter what the genre, right? That was kind of what we decided.
“We just squeezed a bunch of different songs I’d written that didn’t maybe fit into country but they fit on the rock side, so we decided to make two albums out of it. It raised a lot of eyebrows in the industry, but I think that’s sometimes what you want to do. It got a great response.”
Ardell’s tour with the Southwest Chapter of the Saskatchewan Country Music Association led to an appearance at the SCMAs. “I played at the Songwriters Café this last March when they had their awards in Prince Albert. Then I got to play at the SCMAs this year in their Diamond in the Rough Showcase. That was really cool.”
He also enjoys playing small towns, knowing that his music is rooted there. “I know a lot of entertainment doesn’t come by that often. You try to do it in a reasonable fashion so everybody makes money at it. It keeps the town alive and gives people a chance to get out and really enjoy themselves.”
Drawing on a strict religious upbringing and life working as a hunting guide and later in the oil patch, Ardell has penned more than 500 songs in all styles and genres and developed a tireless work ethic.
“I guided until I was 20, and then went to work in the oil patch for a number of years and I enjoyed it, even being outdoors, and guiding can be brutal element wise, but you get to meet a lot of people and you learn to work hard, so I guess that pays off for everybody in the end.”
The music video Ardell created for Make Me a Man has had more than 100,000 hits on You Tube, adding to the success of his debut album.
“The studio video we shot for Make Me a Man, which is the next single coming off the album here in January on the country side, it will be the fourth single we released. The first three charted, every single for a debut album has charted, so that’s a pretty cool thing. The fourth one now, the little video we shot is just over 100,000 views on You Tube. That’s probably going to be the biggest hit off the album. That one’s going to be going overseas as well as in Canada and the US come January.”
Ardell describes his sound as “raw and authentic”.
“For me as a songwriter, you get a lot of your ideas and your way of saying things from your experience, because without them, you can’t convince your audience you’ve been through it if you can’t portray it with that passion and that realism that they expect. There’s a lot more demand now too for music that’s maybe not so over-produced and not so smoke and mirrors, more heart and soul music, which is emotion, which is telling a story or singing it so people can feel it. That’s the biggest thing.”
“The last four months now, being the chief cook and bottle washer in my own little company [Rock Point Music Ltd.], promotion, writing songs, working day job, and doing all the shows, my average sleep is about three hours a night. It pays off some day, right? That’s what they told me: hard work pays off. If not, it sure makes for a good story for the grandkids.”
For more information, or to purchase CDs, visit Ardell’s website at www.willardell.com.