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City country artist enjoying rapid climb

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Tara Jeffrey

If hard work, patience and humility are the keys to success, Eric Ethridge is doing all the right things.

Sarnia’s rising country crooner and his bandmates have been riding high on a whirlwind year-and-a-half — and things just keep getting better.

But the 26-year-old just takes it all in stride.

“I’m kind of just figuring it out as I go along,” the St. Patrick’s High School grad says with a modest laugh.

He’s fresh off a massively successful summer, flanked by a main stage performance in front of a 35,000-strong crowd at Boots and Hearts — the second largest country music festival in North America — and a fast-rising stardom that earned him a shout-out in Rolling Stone Magazine.

Since then, Ethridge and his band — which includes Jacob Burton on drums, Dan Ainsworth on bass, fiddle player Matt Piche, Marty Oblak on banjo and lead guitarist (and big brother) Mike Ethridge — has signed on with United Talent Agency, with hopes to broaden their audience and access bigger and better gigs.

“That’s the next step — getting on national tours, hopefully getting opening slots for big names — so it’s pretty exciting.”

Meanwhile, Ethridge recently spent time in L.A. working with Brian Howes — the Canadian producer and songwriter known for his work with acts like Nickelback and Daughtry.

“We started recording, but he had to postpone some of the production because he is also working with Keith Urban,” said Ethridge. “Hopefully in the next little while we’ll get that done. But it’s been really exciting. A lot has happened.”

With interest growing from a few major record labels, Ethridge said the goal is to continue writing and recording, with an EP release as early as next spring.

“When we think of how far we’ve come in the last year-and-a-half — we weren’t even sure what this was, or if anything was going to come of it,” Ethridge said.

“We’re very thankful for how things have gone so far.”

It began when Ethridge started performing at bars around London while earning a degree in kinesiology a few years back. His music career was gaining traction but took a back seat to chiropractic school in Toronto.

Today, he’s back in Sarnia where he somehow manages to juggle a pair of dream jobs.

“I just opened a practice a month ago,” said Ethridge, who is working with Dr. Dave De Shane at his clinic.

“It’s just balancing time; I have days when I do chiropractic work, and I have days when I just focus on music.”

And whether he’s opening for Florida Georgia Line, or playing Captain Kidd Days in Corunna — Ethridge’s charismatic stage persona never forgets to thank his parents, and the unending support of his hometown.

The band’s final Sarnia-Lambton performance of 2015 takes place Oct. 24 at Rustic — a fundraiser for Jordan’s Angels, a local charity launched in honour of Jordan Graham who ended his life by suicide in 2012 at age 19. Proceeds go toward local mental health initiatives and suicide prevention awareness.

“It’s something that’s close to my heart — with friends and family affected in various ways — I’m sure we all know people who have to deal with these things,” he said. “So if I can help in any way, it’s definitely worthwhile to do.”

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Rustic’s Country Night, featuring Eric Ethridge (with opening band, Them Dang Rattlers)

WHEN: Oct. 24; doors open 7 p.m.

WHERE: Rustic, 505 Campbell St.

DETAILS: Tickets are $10; proceeds to Jordan’s Angels. Tickets available at Picker’s Alley, Cheeky Monkey, and online at ticketscene.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

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