When Aaron Pritchett and his band set up in Sidney’s Charlie White Theatre Jan. 11, it will not only be the kickoff to the 36-date Out on the Town national tour, but his new EP of the same name will also drop to fans across the country.
The tour will swing through a variety of venues along the way with a carefully curated ban. “They’re the best of the best in my eyes,” he says. “Not just great musicians, but great people.”
And the show will adapt to different sized rooms with different vibes before it culminates Feb. 23 in Pictou, Nova Scotia.
But that doesn’t change the show, Pritchett says.
“I come with the same amount of energy and I’m in your face no matter what,” he says. “I don’t care if they’re sitting and it feels like I’m playing in Russia or I’m in a club and they’re right there and I can touch their hands.”
Connecting with this fans is something Pritchett does regularly. With thousands of followers on three social media platforms, the Kitimat native who now divides his time between Gabriola Island and Nanaimo, doesn’t mind sharing some of his personal life with the public.
“I like to try and engage them in a conversation and reply to their comments,” he says, “and make them see that I’m a real guy.”
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Sometimes you just need to get away from things. Over a month ago I asked @warwickandrews, who I’d only met a couple times through his longtime friends @justinpasutto and @jillian.harris, if he’d like to take something that I called a “Mancation”. Go somewhere, anywhere to do something… or even nothing. Camping, crash someone’s pad, anything. He didn’t hesitate and planned a weekend away that was incredible. I’ve had some stress and anxiety over the last several months that I needed to try and relieve myself of, and this past weekend was exactly what was needed. Warwick said “Let’s go to my buddy’s place in Jordan River, BC!” No need to ask me twice and off we went to @matt_zuto’s place just on the outskirts of Jordan River. And, not only does Matt have an amazing property, and live in one of the most incredibly beautiful spots on earth, but he’s one of the greatest dudes you’ll meet. Between Warwick, Matt, Justin, and all their buds, they’re all first class fellas. New friends, forever friends now, boys! Thanks for everything Warwick and Matt! #knowamsaynnn #Mancation2018 #MoreMancationsToCome! #WouldjyaLookAtThat
The tour — which also includes a Jan. 12 date at Cumberland’s Waverly Hotel — feature Jan. 13 and 14 shows at the Queen’s in Nanaimo.
Joining the Pritchett parade this time out is opening act, Winnipeg singer-songwriter David James and two-time Canadian Country Music Association award winner Kira Isabella, who Pritchett calls “amazing performers.”
“Country music in general likes artists of all ranges,” he says. “I’m seeing a huge growth in young people coming out to the shows – all the shows, not just mine. As a whole with this tour we cover all those areas.”
As the tour rolls through the Prairies, braving a Canadian winter aboard a bus with 12 people in close quarters for six weeks, it’s the fans Pritchett is most looking forward to catching up with as he brings with him new material like the single “Better When I Do.”
Even when he started listening to country music, Pritchett says “it wasn’t the most popular by any means” and long considered himself a “closet listener” to tunes that were “great but somewhat repetitive.”
“It’s a lot more diverse now,” he says of the country genre that catches flack for the way its artists sometimes dabble in pop and rock. “That’s what I was shooting for with the EP.”
On Out on the Town, Pritchett, a Juno, BC Country Music, Western Canadian Music and Canadian Country Music award winner, is hoping for his first number one single. But, really it’s about bringing back to the stage what his dedicated fans want – a rockin’ show.
“That’s the main goal always,” he says, “to have fun and make the audience have fun. When you’re a country fan – country fans seem to be for life.