Conrad Bigknifes third album, Full Circle is a mix of soaring vocals, shimmering guitars and catchy choruses. Theres a simple beauty to these songs that is worth paying attention to.
Bigknife grew up in a large, close-knit family on Starblanket First Nation with 3 sisters and 4 brothers. He remembers his father as the ultimate Jack-of-All-Trades driving snow plow in the winter, doing carpentry year round and raising cattle on their farm. His Mom somehow managed to take care of all of the kids and also drive school bus.
At the age of 8, Bigknife remembers listening to classic country albums with his Dad and siblings. Some of his favorite performers were: Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Freddy Fender and of course, Johnny Cash. By the age of 13, he was a full on Elvis fan. He says, There were times when I got very close to sounding like Elvis on Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog and right then I knew that music was what I was going to do with my life. Bigknife will still play some of those beloved Elvis songs for the fans who request them when he plays at the local Province casinos.
Bigknife released two albums prior to Full Circle. 1997s Hurry Up and Wait and 2003s This World.
Full Circle is only Conrad Bigknifes third album, but hes really found his sound with this one. I feel like Im finally doing exactly what I was meant to do with my music he says. For the past 15 years I was playing in a country music cover band and it just wasnt fully me. I never knew if the audience was clapping for my performance or just because I was playing a popular song that they loved. So I started to sneak my own songs into the sets wed play. I wanted to see what would happen.
Turns out Bigknifes original tunes were as catchy and memorable as some of the country and soft rock classics he was covering. He noticed that after playing a few of his songs several times during a long set, that the people on the dance floor started to sing along to his songs just like they had during the Elvis, Eagles and country hits covers.
There were some good times playing those cover songs too. Bigknife recalls, One of my most memorable moments was Nashville North Stage 1997. I was singing my last song, Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers. As the song came to a close, the entire place erupted into thunderous applause and a standing ovation. It was honestly one of the greatest moments of my life. Now, I want to have those kinds of moments singing my own songs.
When asked what its like writing songs with his wife Shannon, Bigknife reveals a very personal side of himself. "As We Are is actually a song about our marriage. Its from Shannons point of view. Its about the flexibility and understanding that we have as individuals. We dont feel like we are trapped because we are married but rather we truthfully believe the heavens brought us together.
The lyrics are:
As we are what will be
Full on living you and me
As we are well never find another road like yours
Another road like mine
The vocals on As We Are and the stripped down style are reminiscent of some of Keith Urbans more mellow, easy-going songs like Memories of Us.
Its easy to imagine Hearts and Lucky Charm becoming big roots/country hits. From the opening melodic guitar solos to the choruses that will stick in your head for days, these songs remind country music fans of why they love this genre so much.
Bigknifes big heart and endless determination remind us of another star who was able to transcend musical boundaries and who stood proudly on the stage right up to the end Roy Orbison. Bigknife has that clear, powerful Orbison-esque voice and its easy to imagine that through the years Bigknifes songs will evolve and become classics just like Presleys and Orbisons did.