High Valley Turn the Tables on Life as a ‘Single Man’

The cleverly romantic anthem leads this brother duo's upcoming sophomore album.

High Valley Turn the Tables on Life as a ‘Single Man’
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 06: (L-R) Curtis and Brad Rempel of High Valley attend the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards Cumulus/Westwood One Radio Remotes on April 06, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ACM)

With their clever new track “Single Man,” rising duo High Valley build on the old-school devotion and new-school energy which made “Make You Mine” and “She’s With Me” breakout hits. It’s a formula that’s quickly becoming a calling card for the Canadian-born brothers, but Brad and Curtis Rempel say they’re not trying own the “good guys” lane on purpose. According to them, “Single Man” is just how they really feel.

“Family is the most important thing in my life, and that’s the honest truth,” says Curtis, noting that he and his brother are both happily married with two children each. “Brad and I are trying to take red-eye flights home even if we only have 24 hours between concerts. Or if we’ve got a long string a shows, we’ll lease another bus and get the family out there, and none of that is to prove anything. It’s just what we want.”

With “Single Man” out and starting to make an impact on fans, High Valley spoke with Sounds Like Nashville about the track’s sensitivity and what it might say about their second major-label album. And while they were at it, Brad explained what it’s like being a “sappy, emotional dude” in modern country music.

From the very beginning, “Single Man” stands out as totally devoted and heartfelt. What made you want to tell a story like this?

Brad Rempel: Well, I had been trying for a while to write a song that basically said “Hey honey I’m on the road, and I know being single looks tempting and amazing, but don’t worry. I’d way rather be with you than be a single man.” It wasn’t my hook, though. My co-writer Derrick Southerland had the idea of starting out saying what a single man’s life is like, and contrasting it with somebody’s who’s life is not like that, and then we were like “Let’s do what Curtis calls a ‘country switcheroo’ in the chorus.” So it’s like “I don’t know a single man” – pun intended – “who wouldn’t die to be where I am.” It is very heartfelt, it’s very honest and I love how it feels playing it live.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 07: Brad Rempel, Myranda Rempel, Rebekah Rempel and Brad Rempel attends the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 07, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/ACMA2019/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 07: Brad Rempel, Myranda Rempel, Rebekah Rempel and Brad Rempel attends the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 07, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/ACMA2019/Getty Images for ACM)

You guys have proven yourselves to be really good at showcasing male sensitivity – which country doesn’t always get credit for anymore. Why does it come so naturally to you?

Brad: Oh man, I’m the most sensitive dude in the history of the planet. People always think I’m angry looking and mean but I probably cry more often than the rest of the dudes in this town combined. I’m not sure why it comes natural – maybe it came natural to our parents and got passed down – but I’m a pretty sappy, emotional dude. (laughs)

Is that true? Is he really the sappiest guy in town?

Curtis Rempel: (laughs) Brad does say on a regular basis “Man, I just heard so-and-so’s new song, he’s got this new song about his dad, and I was totally crying on the plane.” I feel like Brad tells me that every week.

Brad: It’s true. The night before we go home, I cannot fall asleep. I don’t care if we’re in the world’s best bus or first class on a plane or whatever, I will not sleep well because I’m so excited. Sometimes we’re only gone for two days and I tell my wife “What the heck, I just saw you and I can’t sleep. I haven’t even been gone long enough for it to make a difference.”

You’d figure it would be the other way around, like you can’t sleep in the beginning because you’re all psyched to play the first show.

Brad: I think it probably has to do with our background. Growing up in the mennonite culture, it’s not like dad goes to work, mom goes here and the kids are in daycare, and life’s busy and the TV’s on during dinner. Everybody’s home together, you go to school and come back then work with your dad on the farm, and you all eat dinner together and you don’t have a TV, you know what I mean? So the whole family, the cohesiveness is very much an instilled thing, so maybe that’s why that sentimental, nostalgic feeling comes out.

I love the sound of “Single Man” because it feels traditional but also very of-the-moment – it’s got a banjo melody and the beat is built around these propulsive hand claps. How did you make that happen?

Brad: We can’t take too much credit. We do the traditional part, and cool people do the cool stuff. (laughs)

Curtis: Very well said! Our producer is this young pop guy, Seth Mosley, he’s done a lot of our stuff. Brad and I have our country/bluegrass roots – I mean Brad plays guitar I play mandolin – and the vibes we generate on our own are just super “back home.”

Brad: If we didn’t have the right producer every single thing we did would sound like a Ricky Skaggs 1980s song. But my other co-writer Jordan Schmidt produced the track the day we did the demo. He’s [written some of] the Mitchell Tenpenny stuff and the Kane Brown stuff, so he’s very up to speed on the current sound, and I’m up to speed on the old-school sound. So it’s always that tug of war between the old and new. But our favorite comment ever – aside from “Our whole family loves coming to your shows” – is literally “You guys seem very cutting edge and very old school at the same time.”

How is the new album coming?

Curtis: We don’t have a release date yet, but as far as our goals – like Brad was saying about families coming to our shows and the mix of old and new, those are things we don’t want to change at all. “Single Man” is a pretty good representation of what the album is gonna sound like … and there might be a little more crying from the listeners on this album.

Brad: There has been in the listening parties, that’s for sure.

Mostly by Brad, I assume?

Curtis: Oh yeah, I didn’t cry. (laughs)