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Orillia, Ontario’s Bleeker Ridge had a good seven years of dedicated rehearsals, songwriting and gigs before landing a dream record deal with Roadrunner Records Canada and cutting an album, Small Town Dead, with legendary producer Bob Marlette (Shinedown, Default, Seether, Airbourne), chockfull of hooky hard rock anthems. That kind of woodshedding might not seem unusual, except the band formed when they were kids.
The melodic hard rock quartet is comprised of two sets of brothers — lead singer Taylor Perkins 21; guitarist Cole Perkins, 19; guitarist Dan Steinke, 19; and drummer Dustin Steinke, 20 — who met in 2003 at a local jam night in Lagoon City (pop. 3000). They went from playing Joe Walsh and Jimi Hendrix covers to writing originals, which they released on two independent CDs.
But the songs on their label debut, Small Town Dead, recorded at Henson Studios in Hollywood and Bob’s home studio in Woodland Hills, California, shows a band whose musicianship and songwriting skills belie their years. Radio and arena ready, they include the riffy soulful title-track; confrontational “Easier Today;” heavier groove, “Sixteen Hours;” searing power ballad, “In Our Hands;” and sentimental stunner, “You Would’ve Liked It.”
“We’ve always been more into songwriting than anything else, even when we were 13,” says Taylor. “When we’re writing songs, we’re always looking to say, ‘That’s cool,’ and making the songs huge. We’re all about trying to come up with rock ‘n’ roll songs that can still be melodic and heavy and touch people with the lyrics.”