Five Questions With… Chris Labelle of River Town Saints
The high-energy and harmony-driven sound of country-rockers River Town Saints has brought them success at radio, and a new single is ready to roll. Learn more in this chat with their lead singer.
By Jason Schneider
Their beginnings may be rooted in small towns surrounding the Ottawa River, but there is nothing small about River Town Saints. With a rock edge to their approach to country, the five-piece, harmony-driven group consisting of Chris Labelle, Chris McComb, Jeremy Bortot, Jordan Potvin and Daniel DiGiacomo has proven that a little heart and a lot of work does, in fact, go a long way.
Led by Labelle’s lead vocals, River Town Saints’ songwriting and live show earned them a deal with Open Road Recordings, notable shows with The Road Hammers and Tim Hicks, and high profile festival appearances at Boots And Hearts, London, Ontario’s Rock the Park, and even a performance at The Queen's Plate in Toronto.
Having released a slew of successful singles leading up to, and after, the arrival of their self-titled debut album in 2017, River Town Saints are set to share their latest track, “You Get To Me,” on Feb. 14. The band’s next scheduled show is Feb. 21 in Pembroke, Ontario, and you can find out more at rivertownsaints.com
Your new single, “You Get To Me” is being released on Valentine's Day. Is there any significance to this?
The Valentine's Day timing is just a happy coincidence. But the song’s lyrics do capture that feeling when you're excited about something new, so we’re hoping people will respond to that positive message.
Your debut album has been out for some time now. Do you feel it captures what the band is about?
It’s always exciting when you release your first record to the world, and I think it does capture what RTS is about. We're a super high-energy band that likes to have fun and not put too much pressure on ourselves. That said, we've been working day in and day out in the studio to get our new single just right, so that’s why we’re eager to have people hear it.
You've shared stages with many major country artists. What's the key to winning over their audiences?
I think when you open for huge acts you have to try and be better than them because at the end of the day the fans are coming out to see Kenny Chesney or Tim McGraw. If we can get the audience to say, wow, that opening act was great then, we’ve done our jobs. That will lead to more gigs and more fans as we grow.
What are your fondest musical memories as you were growing up?
I always loved driving to the rink with my dad, and we'd blast the radio to get pumped for the big game. Hockey was serious in our family.
What's been the biggest challenge in your life over the past year?
I got married back in September, so the married life is great. I'll never forget when we went snorkelling with another couple from Arkansas on our honeymoon. Our tour guide was Hector the Protector against any sharks. We ended up seeing a whale shark, and even though it didn't have any teeth, I'll never forget what our new friend from Arkansas said—“My uncle doesn't have any teeth, and he can eat a steak no problem, so I'm getting the hell out of the water.” That was a good giggle.