ABOUT THE BAND
Jason Hastie and The Alibi might arguably be one of the most talked about new arrivals on the Canadian country music scene.
Jason Hastie grew up in Birsay, Saskatchewan, a farming community of no more than 68 people located approximately 2 hours south of Saskatchewan's biggest city, Saskatoon. It was here in his hometown that Hastie had instilled his deep love of country music.
Hastie says that Birsay was the stereotypical small farming town with community dances at which a band would perform. He admits seeing the group earn the admiration of those in the crowd, combined with the fact the band had their own bus (albeit a school bus they had painted black), helped him understand the power that music can have upon people.
"Country music was all around me. It was almost impossible to have escaped it," Hastie begins. "I used to watch the Tommy Hunter Show on CBC Television with my musically-talented grandmother. My parents also loved music and helped instill that same appreciation in me."
Hastie started playing piano at four years of age. When Hastie was in junior high school, he picked up the trumpet while continuing to dabble in piano; in high school, Hastie sang with his school's choir. After graduating high school, Hastie toured the United States for one year with a band before moving on to university life, picking up the guitar while also earning his accounting designation.
"Accounting was going to be my safety net, so to speak," he says. "My parents were farmers and wanted me to go to university to have something to fall back on."
In 2002, with the encouragement of friends who made a similar pilgrimage from Saskatchewan, Hastie found himself living in Calgary and working for a prestigious accounting firm. A short time later, Hastie started his own consulting firm and ultimately found himself with a significant amount of flexible time.
"I started attending a lot of the jam sessions that local establishments were hosting, not only in Calgary but in the communities outside of Calgary too. Those really helped fuel the fire that music was something that I was destined to pursue."
Hastie would release two solo singles to radio in 2005, forming the duo Six West a short time later. Six West went on to achieve respectable success in Canada, landing their song "I Will Wait" in the Top 40 in Canada. The video made it into regular rotation on Canada's Country Music Television Channel.
Creative differences would bring Six West to a standstill. However Hastie's passion for music was not diminished.
Fast-forward a year and a half to April 30, 2013 when the six-song EP, Turning Point, dropped to the masses. The album spent time in as the #1 Canadian Country Album on iTunes. Turning Point was recorded with acclaimed country producers David Kalmusky and Danick Dupelle (Emerson Drive) in Nashville, Tennessee, Tom McKillip in Vancouver, and Bart McKay in Saskatoon.
Hastie shares that the process of recording his new EP was "incredibly freeing,” stating that the freedom to make his own decisions and be a little more musically adventurous and creative was liberating.
Hastie's EP contains a collection of songs ranging from the profoundly emotional to the light-hearted. The singles “Til She Don’t” and “Fallen Too Far” reached Top 50 status, while “She Ain’t Pretty” was his highest charting song to date, hitting #46 on the Mediabase charts in Canada.
Evolution would naturally bring his band, The Alibi, to a crucial and integral part of the creative process.
"The guys I have playing in my band [The Alibi] have more of a rock history than anything country I consider that to be a good thing," he says. "It has actually been a breath of fresh air. Thanks to their history, my music is being injected with a Keith Urban-type of influence. Perhaps most importantly though, the guys are committed to taking the time to grow and ensure our live show is stellar. We have all been to concerts where you absolutely love the record but get nothing more from the live show. That won't happen at one of my shows. Building those relationships with our fans is going to be a crucial part of our success."
After performances at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, the Calgary Stampede and a sold-out CD Release in their hometown of Calgary, Jason Hastie and The Alibi signed a distribution deal with Southbound Records and eOne Music Canada in August 2013. A re-release of Turning Point, including two live bonus tracks is scheduled for later this year and a new album is also in the works. With Hastie’s vocals, Joel Fraser on lead guitar, Kyle Kobylka on drums, and Ray Banman on bass guitar, the possibilities that lay in store for Jason Hastie and The Alibi are virtually endless. No one is more excited about the future than the guys themselves.