When Adam Winn moved to Fort St. John more than a decade ago, he knew he was headed north to where a good job as a firefighter was waiting for him.
But work only gets a man so far, and soon after arriving and immersing himself in the community and church, Winn quickly realized he had found the city he would stay and call home.
The firefightin’ troubadour has penned a new ode to his adopted home and Northern B.C. called Song For The North, released digitally and on the radio on February 15.
“I just wanted to write a song about living up here and being happy with being here, and just to be proud of this place. It’s a good place to live,” Winn says.
“We catch a lot flak sometimes from other parts of the country. I wanted to affirm that a lot of people feel that way.”
Winn originally hails from Creston, a small town of 5,300 nestled in the Kootenays.
It’s a laid-back town that moves at a slower pace than the Northeast foothills, say Winn. While he immortalized his hometown in a tribute on his debut EP in 2017, Winn says Fort St. John and Northern B.C. are good places to chase one’s ambition, whatever it may be.
“Up here, I find if you’re wanting to do something usually you can find the means to do it and the support from the community,” Winn says.
Song For The North is part of Winn’s upcoming album titled Roots, slated for release this spring, and now available for pre-order.
Winn recorded 12 songs for the album, and is working alongside Canadian musician and producer Ryan McAllister at Five Acres Studio in Abbotsford.
McAllister was strongly recommended by friends, and recently recorded an album with Fort St. John’s Last Horse Standing.
“I felt he was a trustworthy person in the music industry who could give me honest feedback on my songs,” Winn says. “He really helped me take my songs to the next level in production.”
McCallister has played with the likes of Sam Roberts, Willie Nelson, and Carly Rae Jepsen. He's also produced Tim Neufeld & The Glory Boys’s Hootenanny album, which won a Juno Award in 2017 for Christian/Gospel Album of the Year.
Winn has a unique blend of storytelling that mixes alt-rock and country, McAllister says.
“There’s not a lot of guys that can pull that off, then he has these nice love songs he’s written,” McAllister says.
“I’m not a big fan (of love songs), but the way he sings them, he’s got a bit of an edge to his voice that makes me believe him. He’s got this grit in his voice that’s very believable.”
The approach to recording and producing is different from one song to the next, whether its an outlaw cowboy tune or a love song, McAllister says.
“You frame the sentiment in the right way,” McAllister says.
“It’s nice to see a songwriter get excited when the canvas surrounding their music starts filling in. It just comes to life.”
Roots is a reflection of where Winn has come from and where he’s rooted at now in life.
Winn says he grew up without much direction in high school — now, he has a career, a wife, and one big family with five kids, and a sixth on the way.
“I’ve definitely been blessed with a good life up here. That doesn’t surprise me, but … a lot of people would be surprised to see where I am now,” Winn says.
“I got firmly planted roots in the ground.”
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at email@example.com.