Family, country music and a western lifestyle weave the fabric of Gord Bamford’s life. Like a well-worn quilt, the four-time Canadian Country Music Award winner carries his fundamental principles with him no matter where his tour bus takes him.
Staying true to such virtues is easy for Bamford. He credits his namesake and uncle, Central Alberta cattleman Gord Graves, for instilling these passions while growing up in Lacombe, Alta.
Gord is passionate about giving back and helping those who are less fortunate, which is one of the main reasons why he formed the Gord Bamford Charitable Foundation.
It was Graves, along with Bamford’s family, who encouraged him to foster both his talent and love of country music.
Fifteen years later, Bamford has maintained his focus on music and honed his craft as one of Canada’s leading country music songwriters. He wrote 11 of the 13 songs on his new album, Day Job.
The accolades keep stacking up. Bamford’s album, Honkytonks and Heartaches, was recently named Album of the Decade by Larry Delaney, an expert on Canadian country music. Delaney has been publisher and editor of Canada’s Country Music News for 30 years.
“Gord is right amongst the top songwriters that we have,” says Delaney. “Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of Gord’s vocal delivery. It’s very country.” The biggest strength of Canadian country music lies in its songwriting—and Bamford is picking up where Canadian greats Ian Tyson and Gordon Lightfoot have left off.
The Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) also recognized Bamford for his songwriting talent for his song, Stayed ‘Til Two, in November, 2009. It was one of the top three country music songs that achieved the most plays on domestic radio in 2008.
His new CD explores a time when Bamford wondered if a career in music was realistic. While working a day job as a concrete truck driver, he discovered the freedom to explore country music in the security of that truck cab.
“In that truck, I was on my own. I loved it. My mind could go wherever it wanted and it gave birth to many of my song ideas,” says Bamford. “That’s when I realized I wasn’t done with music.” Shortly thereafter Bamford won Q91 radio station’s “Search for the Stars” talent contest in 1994, which included a recording session at a professional studio.
Fast forward to 2010. Today the 34-year-old is one of Canada’s brightest country stars. Bamford’s Nashville-based
company, Quinnford Publishing, currently houses a catalogue of 325 songs. Yet most of the songs are not about his life. “I write about other people’s lives.”
One exception to that rule, however, is the song Little Guy. Bamford penned it four hours after the birth of his first son. It only took 20 minutes to write. “I always say Little Guy was a selfish song because I wrote it about my son.” Now, with three young children all under the age of five, his priorities have changed.
“Kendra and I live a pretty average life. We tie skates, clean toilets, pick up toys, and read bedtime stories,” he
says. “Our house looks like the rest on the block—our fridge is covered in the kids’ artwork and we shop at all
the same stores as everyone else in Lacombe.”
The importance of kids and the western lifestyle are also apparent in Bamford’s recent partnership with the
Canadian 4-H Council. Set up as a fundraising initiative, 4-H members across the country will be selling
his CDs, with a portion of the profits going back to their club.
“I am very excited to have the chance to give back to an organization that had such a big impact on my youth,” says Bamford, who was a member of the Lacombe 4-H Beef Club.
“Gord exhibits all the characteristics that 4-H embodies,” says Mike Nowosad, CEO for the Canadian 4-H Council. “This is apparent in both his life and in his music. We are extremely appreciative to Gord for this opportunity and his support of 4-H Canada.”
It’s the support of such organizations along with the comfort of family and friends that keeps Bamford grounded.
He takes this support with him, especially on the road. “I love looking out the window at the prairie scenery. I get lost in my thoughts. That bus takes me to places to do what I love best—perform and entertain.
“And then, it takes me back home again. I never see myself changing. I am country, pure country.”