Aaron Pritchett’s dreams of living on a tropical beach are close to a reality — if you take out the tropical part.
Earlier this year, Pritchett bought into the Silva Bay Pub on Gabriola Island, where he and his family have lived for the last four years.
“It’s a blast,” he says. “When I’m home I actually bartend.”
The 45-year-old country singer/songwriter hasn’t spent much time behind the bar lately, he’s been busy touring, promoting his latest album, The Score, a tribute to his 20-year recording career.
“This year’s been an exceptional year of successes… When we first opened I was working all the time and bartending was a lot of fun,” he says. “I’ve only been home a couple days at a time the last few months, which is kind of sad. I miss bartending and I miss that sort of atmosphere of hanging out with a bunch of friends and meeting a lot of new people as they come in. It’s a ton of fun when you’re doing it.”
When he’s not behind the bar, he still loves performing. The BC native has been playing music for 25 years, recording his first album, Young In Love, 20 years ago; CMT has been airing his videos for almost as long.
Two decades back, Vancouver’s JRFM played the title track from Young In Love to promote one of his live shows at a local bar.
“And it was once that they played it,” he recalls with a chuckle.
His career really took off in 2002 with the release of the single Consider This.
“Ever since, I’ve been lucky enough to have several top five singles and a couple of number one videos. Doing this at this age — I mean, it’s not like I’m super-old or anything — but I’ve been around quite a while and having this resurgence, I guess you could say, of successes, it’s a little surprising I have to admit, but at the same time very welcome.”
His music is influenced by the likes of Motown stars Smokey Robinson, James Brown and Stevie Wonder along with Van Morrison and Elvis Presley.
“I remember being six years old and just admiring that Elvis could do that. He could captivate everybody, he got all of our attention.”
Pritchett fans know he is also influenced by the heavy rock of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“I’ve always been that edgier country guy. I remember when I first got into the industry and a guy said, ‘Man you’re like the Bruce Springsteen of country,’ — I consider that a compliment.”
A highlight of the past two decades came earlier this year, when Pritchett opened for country superstar Garth Brooks.
“It was that ultimate moment because I dreamt of that when I was 22. I had the dream of playing on stage with Garth, then I woke up. That was one of the major highlights. … I think the biggest crowds that I played for was 35,000 people and the first time that I ever heard a big crowd sing back Hold My Beer to me was probably another one of the greatest moments of my career. … When I heard that back, I just went, ‘Wow, you know, I’ve done OK. I’m going to be OK for the next few years – I can feed my kids.’”
Pritchett is a huge fan of social media; connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @AaronPritchett and on Facebook @aaronpritchettofficial
Pritchett performs at the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park in Comox with guest the Luke Blu Guthrie Band, Aug 25. Filberg.com