Earlier this year, High Valley announced the departure of Curtis Rempel, one half of the former sibling duo, who shared his plans to move back to his hometown in Northern Canada and pursue a new business venture with his wife. Curtis and his brother (and fellow band member) Brad Rempel shared notes of love and encouragement upon the announcement of his departure. Now five months later, High Valley, which now consists of Brad Rempel and his band, is forging ahead with two new songs, “Whatever It Takes” and “Never Not,” out today (Nov. 12).
Of the two songs, High Valley will release “Whatever It Takes” as their next single. The upbeat love song was co-written by Rempel, Jon Nite and Ben Stennis, and it was written and recorded at the tail end of a beach trip taken by the three writers.
“We were packing stuff up and I’m sitting on the couch looking at the water. It’s probably 9:30 or something, and I’m just strumming the guitar, not trying to write a song or anything, just looking at the water, chilling, doing what you do when you’re not doing it on purpose,” Brad shared with Sounds Like Nashville. “Instead of packing up the little mobile studio, they were like, ‘Hey, why don’t we not pack up,’ and we started writing it right then and there and recording it. It was fast and furious and easy.”
The song features sing-along-worthy lyrics that paint a picture of an enduring love. These lyrics are also personal to Rempel and his wife’s story, as the line “swing a hammer, climb a ladder” refers to the couple’s latest house flipping projects. Sonically, the song combines the band’s signature bluegrass-inspired sound with electric guitar elements, strong percussion and larger-than-life production.
“I write so many songs and I love writing songs, but every once in a while I write a song where it really truly feels like we’ve married the kind of acoustic, old school bluegrass I grew up with, with somebody who understands almost arena, soccer-stadium, anthemic kind of chants and gang vocals,” says Rempel. “When we marry those two together, that’s, I think, when High Valley’s at its best.”
High Valley is also debuting “Never Not,” which takes a different musical route with a more rock-influenced beat and hints of steel guitar under ambient production. This tune was co-written by Rempel, Ben West and Matt Willis, and it was inspired by a phrase said by former NHL player Colby Armstrong during Rempel’s trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
“I’m a huge hockey fan, and I got flown out to watch the Stanley Cup Finals with a bunch of NHL hockey players for a show on Sportsnet,” Rempel shares. “They’re all enamored with musicians just like musicians are enamored with pro-athletes, so I’m asking them hockey questions and they’re giving me ideas for songwriting. They’re like, ‘Brad, you write songs, you should write this or that,’ and they’re all just horrible, horrible songwriting ideas.”
“At the end of the night we go for a steak dinner, and Colby Armstrong starts doing push-ups in the restaurant on the floor, and we’re like, ‘What the heck is this guy dong?’” continues Rempel. “We’re like, ‘Arm dog, you’re getting your workout in before bed?’ And he’s like, ‘Never not, bro. Never not. You know me, man. You don’t get a physique like this without working out. I’m never not working out.’ So, I wrote ‘Never Not’ down in my phone and I said, ‘There you go. That’s the first amazing idea that you’ve had all day. I’m going to write that.’”
The new releases usher in a new chapter for the band, who released US Top 20 hits “Make You Mine” and “She’s With Me” in 2016 and 2017, respectively. This new chapter will include a new album out next year, which Rempel says will continue to meld High Valley’s signature sound with broader influences.
“I will say that I feel like there are no rules after being locked up for a little while,” Rempel says. “I felt more energized than ever to not care at all about any boundaries. I think you’re gonna hear what you expect and you’re also going to hear a few things that you may never would have thought.”