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Coast To Coast Closeup – Jamie Warren

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June 28, 2019 at 8:55 am - Home, Coast to Coast Closeup
By Cal Gratton

The Coast To Coast Closeup is presented by The Eagle River Casino and Travel Plaza in Whitecourt.

Jamie Warren is generally regarded as the most awarded independent country vocalist in Canada (Junos, CCMAs, OCMAs). Over his 35-year career he has released well over 50 singles, many of them hits. He’s also known as a great songwriter and if you’ve ever seen him perform live, maybe a comedian!?

Jamie lives in Kitchener Ontario, Canada, but was raised in Hanover Ontario where he pursued an adolescent dream of playing professional hockey in the NHL…with music as a background distraction. When he realized that his natural abilities for singing and playing guitar might make it easier to attract the attention of girls, he hung up his skates. Song writing was a logical progression for a sensitive guy who wrote poetry and short stories throughout his high school years.

His interest in music was likely genetic since his mother sang and played piano and his father played guitar and mandolin. Jamie had piano lessons at age 5 and guitar lessons at age 8. By the time he was 10 years old it was tradition for the Warrens to entertain after Saturday night euchre games (a Canadian card-game institution) in their smoke-filled basement. His earliest musical influences were whatever his parents listened to on the radio and the only thing his parent’s radio seemed to play, was country music. To this day he’s still a huge fan of Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline. Later in high school his best friend’s older brother exposed him to celebrated vocal groups like The Eagles, America, Poco and CSNY. Jamie has always had an appreciation for Texas singer-songwriters like Radney Foster, Lyle Lovett and Rodney Crowell.

Jamie attended Conestoga College to study Broadcasting. His goal was to become the youngest general manager of a mid-market radio station, but he emerged instead with a desire to sing for a living. What changed his mind? Jamie won a regional talent show at London Ontario’s Western Fair which sent him to Memphis Tennessee for an international competition where he placed second. Jamie then stayed in Memphis, while he worked a one-year gig at Libertyland Theme Park as an entertainer.  He still feels a connection to Memphis, the city that kicked off his career.

Returning to Canada he began a great friendship with producer J. Richard Hutt who produced “All Of The Above” and all of Jamie’s previous recordings. Rick initially engaged Jamie as a singer for jingles he produced out of his Kitchener-based CedarTree Studios. “I didn’t have a clue what I was doing” says Jamie, “thank goodness he had a lot of patience”. He must have learned something from the experience because his first Top Ten hit came shortly thereafter with “Take Me Home Mississippi” and subsequently a win as New Artist of The Year at the 1985 RPM Big Country Awards.

Around this time Jamie was being courted by Warner Bros in Nashville. To get a record deal at 25 would have been a great opportunity, but they passed on him in favour of a fellow named, Randy Travis. To this day Jamie remains a big fan of Randy and was honoured to be in the running with him. In the late 80s country music became more traditional in flavour so he took some time off from recording. He got married and had two kids and played locally in small clubs to pay the bills.

In 1993 Jamie was convinced that both country radio and Nashville were interested in a more contemporary style of music and might make room for him again. He released “Fallen Angel” on River North/Mercury Records, which yielded an enduring fan favourite and radio hit “One Step Back”. The success of this record was followed closely and even more impressively by the album “Just Not the Same” which surrendered several Top Ten singles and led to a handful of JUNO and CCMA nominations in multiple categories including wins for Independent Song of the Year and Independent Male Artist of the Year. Since then Jamie has released the critically acclaimed “Really” in 2003 and a career retrospective collection of greatest hits in 2005 under the title “Make Me Believe”. In 2008, Jamie released the very personal “Right Here Right Now” followed by “Howl at The Moon” (2010) and “I’ve Got A Feeling” (2013)

For the last four years Jamie has been consistently writing with other artists for their projects as well as his new cd “All Of The Above” (2018).

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