Ask any country music artist to define success and you’ll likely get a different answer from each one of them. For High Valley, based on their own measurement, they’re trending in the right direction. Earlier this month in Nashville, the band of brothers from La Crete, Alberta, were one of only two Canadian acts to crack CMA Music Festival’s star-studded roster. But when you take away the hype, it’s all about the music and the fans for the small-town boys.

“I love measuring how far we’ve made it or not made it based on how many people know songs that were never on the radio,” says Brad Rempel, one half of the High Valley duo.

“You spend so much time fighting to find the best songs and write the best songs. You can only release a handful of them but when people actually connect with our music enough to learn the whole record, that’s a huge goal for me.”

This past year has been a whirlwind for High Valley, releasing their major label debut album ‘Dear Life’ in November that includes singles ‘Every Week’s Got a Friday,’ and ‘I Be U Be.’ They toured in Europe playing for a sellout crowd in Berlin, Germany., and joined Dean Brody on tour in Ontario this past April. On top of that, their lead single ‘Make You Mine’ has more than 10 million streams on Spotify and they’ve had the opportunity to play at the Grand Ole Opry and perform on the Today Show, just to name a few.

Down on the Riverfront stage during CMA Fest in Nashville, they sang for thousands of fans from all over the world who belted out the words to every song.

“We’ve met Canadian fans who brought Canadian flags down here and American fans from all across the U.S.,” says Brad. “It’s pretty awesome to see that in the last year our following has expanded the border so much. Canada, the US, Europe, everything.”

Just days after wrapping up an exciting week of shows, meet and greets and appearances in Music City, the boys joined Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on the Soul2Soul tour with stops in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois.

“The highlight for us was seeing the response from fans. The fact that in all those cities, thousands of people could sing every word of our songs back to us was insane.”

They’ve come a long way since they started making music together on a farm in rural Alberta but despite their recent rise to the top, the pair are taking it all in stride.

“No matter what happens I think our families will keep us very grounded, our kids will still care way more about the score in their football games than they will about our concert,” says Brad. “Hopefully our career keeps taking off but again our families keep us grounded.”

So what’s next for High Valley?

“We started with Ricky Skaggs, Shania Twain, now Tim and Faith. After this we’re aiming for a Taylor Swift tour.”

As we approach Canada’s 150th Birthday, we’re reminding you to make sure High Valley is on your list of artists Canadians should be proud of.

Kate Pettersen