Country duo, Autumn Hill, are the special guests for the Gord Bamford/Joel Nichols tour making a stop at the General Motors Centre in Oshawa Tuesday, May 24 2016. Autumn Hill is Mike Robins from the Greater Toronto Area and Tareya Green from Calgary. They released Anchors in 2015 earning a Juno nod for Country Album of the Year. The two crisscrossed the country in a Ford Fiesta getting to know each after they were introduced at a music industry party. The result can be heard on radio, online and on stage as Autumn HIll gain ground in both pop and country territory.
Slowcity.ca had a chance to chat with Mike.
Q: Welcome back to Oshawa, what are your roots in the city?
Mike: "Well living so close by, I’ve been to Oshawa many times. I’ve Seen a bunch of concerts here, its always a great place to see live music. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to play the GM Centre, it’s been a dream of mine. It’s gonna be pretty crazy. Oshawa has been so incredible, and supportive of Autumn Hill. KX 96 has had our backs since we started, it’s really amazing and means the world to us. I love getting the chance to come back and play here, it always feels like home."
Q: Since the time you have written "It Don't Get Better Than This", has it? How?
Mike: "That is an amazing question! This whole experience has been a wild ride, we really are living our dreams, getting to create music and then share it with everyone is incredible. Since we wrote “It Don’t Get Better Than This” for the Anchor album, life has gotten crazier. We released “Blame” as our first single, and the reception of that song and this record has just been amazing. We even received a Juno nomination for country album of the year. It's a little insane, but we are so grateful to be in this position. The country community is amazing and have been so supportive of us. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it. So, life is pretty good these days, and we can’t wait to rock this tour with Gord Bamford and Joe Nichols, its gonna be a blast!"
Q: Why do you think the East GTA is producing such great country acts like Meghan Patrick, Stellas, JJ Shiplett, Cadence Grace, Jadea Kelly, yourself - something in the water?
Mike: "I am so proud to be from here. I think some of the best country music is coming out of Ontario right now. I’m a fan of so many artists from this area. I can’t wait for the CMAO’s awards, that night showcases the incredible talent from Ontario, its gonna be amazing. There must really be something in the water. It’s incredible to watch the whole country really enjoying all this music from our home town."
Q: Mixtape tells me that country music acts draw from all music genres and not just traditional country music? With all the influences and choices what is about country music that drew you in and became the music you like to make?
Mike: "I would say its two main things. First I love writing songs, and to me one of the most important parts of a song is always the lyrics. The stories are and have always been so compelling and honest in country music, that I was drawn in by them and loved so much of this music. The other thing was, I also am a little guitar obsessed and how could any player not love this genre. I mean some of the best pickers in the world are in Country. Vince Gill, Brent Mason, of course Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, are all heroes of mine. It’s just an amazing type of music that grabs you and doesn’t let go."
Q: Are you still touring in a Ford Fiesta, I doubt you are but how do you hold on to that relationship and mutual experiences that drove so much of your songwriting? As you get bigger and bigger do you trade something of that songwriting intimacy for the popularity?
Mike: "HAHA oh man that car…What a trip that was, I think that trip enhanced our bond incredibly we loved that tour! At the end of the day going through this journey with a great friend is what drives the magic. A song like “Good Night For Going Nowhere” our brand new single features life experiences we shared as well as pieces of us individually. As long as you bring those things to the table and are honest you can write anything. It’s not about what your traveling in, its always about just writing the best music you can."