Gord Bamford's CMC Rocks homecoming
GORD Bamford is happy to be putting down roots, both professionally and personally, in Australia after moving away at a young age.
The 41-year-old country music singer has enjoyed a long and successful career in Canada, where he moved with his mother at the age of five following his parents' divorce.
After playing at last year's songwriters session at CMC Rocks, he's returning to the music festival with his full, eight-piece band in tow to play the main stage for the first time.
"It was interesting to see the similarities that Canada has when it comes to country music," he said.
"It was great to see how the Australian fans are at CMC Rocks and it was good to take part in the songwriters' event.
"This is the first time the full band's come with me to Australia and it's always nice to have your own band and your own show."
After years apart, Bamford has reconnected with his Australian family and plans to see them while he's touring the country.
"I hadn't had a relationship with my dad for quite a long time -18 years - and I have cousins and brothers and sisters there, so to come back and reconnect with my family has been really important for me," he said.
"Things happen for a reason and I'm lucky to pursue my career over there too. I enjoy playing in Australia. It feels so similar to the Canadian market; it's a bit smaller but the fans are just as passionate. Outside of not having my accent anymore I definitely feel like an Aussie."
For those not familiar with his music, Gord describes himself as a Canadian Lee Kernaghan.
"People ask me what my career is like and I think it's very comparable to Lee. I've talked to Lee about it and it's pretty haunting how similar our careers have been," he said.
"I'm pretty purist (when it comes to country music). I listen to a lot more of the traditional stuff. I grew up on Merle Haggard and Alan Jackson. I really like Eric Church and I've been listening to Lee for years."
Gord's eighth studio album Neon Smoke will be released in Australia on Friday, just in time for CMC Rocks. The album's first two singles, Livin' On Summertime and Neon Smoke, are out now.
"My CMC show will be a pretty good mix of everything and some great cover songs," he said.
"Most of the band's been with me for 10 years, so they're very dialled in to how I operate. It's a very high-energy show. Everyone (in the band) is ecstatic about coming to Australia."
Gord Bamford performs at the CMC Rocks Music Festival on Friday at 1.20pm. He will also present an award at the CMC Music Awards, which will be broadcast live from The Star Gold Coast on Thursday at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW on Foxtel's CMC Channel.