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Local Country Artist Reveals First Single

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JR Charron at his home in Niverville. Sara Beth Dacombe

Like so many people during the pandemic, JR Charron’s commute is shorter than ever now that he’s working directly from home—although there’s an additional challenge at play in his case: his home office doubles as his music studio, and he’s entirely surrounded by distractions. It can be tough to focus on either financial consulting or his professional music career, especially when his recent single has achieved considerable success online.

“It was pretty tough to start with, just adjusting my studio space to be an office at the same time,” says Charron, who lives in Niverville. “But I’ve kind of found a happy medium now that we’re a couple months into it.”

Charron has played in different bands for years and until recently provided wedding entertainment, hiring a band to back him as necessary. He has also been working on an EP, which was initially planned for release in early May.

COVID-19 pushed back the album’s release, however, and forced Charron to change his approach. Instead he and his band released the first single, “Song for You.”

Charron submitted “Song for You” to the Canadian Indie Country Countdown (CICC), a fan-based voting system where songs are ranked according to how many votes they get per week. Upon its release, “Song for You” very quickly placed in the top 50. The song has since climbed nearly 10 spots.

Recording styles differ from band to band, and it’s tough not to feel disappointed when life circumstance result in recording delays.

“There’s what’s called Tennessee or Nashville recording, where you all get together in a circle and you’ll all play at the same time,” says Charron. “Or there’s traditional recording, where you get together at separate points and record like that. And, well, COVID has put a damper on getting together, that’s for sure… The big thing for the release was, we just wanted to have that big show. We just wanted to be able to play with everybody, for fans and people, to actually enjoy that moment because you only get one first EP release.”

The full as-yet-unreleased EP is called Impression and will feature several brand-new tracks in addition for “Song to You.”

“I wrote ‘Song for You’ a couple years back,” he says. “It only took me about 45 minutes to write the song, front to back. I wrote it about my dad. He passed away in 2014 and it pays homage to him and tribute to everyone who’s lost someone in that situation.”

Charron recently submitted the song for radio play on Golden West and CBC and other local Winnipeg stations.

“The support is very organic. I’ve noticed tons and tons of social media shares. It’s a whole other level how it’s grown by itself. It’s really cool.”

Charron’s fans used to be primarily Winnipeg-based, but now he’s noticed a fanbase emerging from all over North America. He credits his online music presence on Spotify and iTunes for helping him to get on people’s radar, and he muses about how the global pandemic has likely had an effect on people’s listening habits.

“A lot more people are listening to music while they’re working from home, so they’re looking for new playlists and that kind of thing,” he says. “I think there was a period of COVID where people weren’t listening to music as much. It seemed like it was more of a depressing time and people were down on themselves, but it seems like now people are listening to music now more than ever. It’s a good time for new music, I think.”

During these strange times, Charron is thankful to be living in Niverville where the community is known for celebrating musicality and supporting local artists.

Charron moved to Niverville in October 2018 after having grown up in Binscarth, close to the Saskatchewan border. After moving to Winnipeg to attend school, Charron took a job as a consultant at Bold Commerce in Winnipeg, eventually relocating to Niverville with his wife Amy.

“We were living in the city for years and we wanted out,” Charron explains. “We’re both small-town people, so Niverville was a good option as far as the commute was concerned for work. It’s growing rapidly, it’s very progressive. It feels like home.”

He adds that the Manitoba music scene is really booming, and that it’s been underrated as far back as the 1970s, when artists like Neil Young, The Guess Who, and BTO were getting big.

“It may be underground, but you look at things like Live at the Roslyn, people are coming to Manitoba to play music and to record,” he says. “We’ve got some of the best producers in the world here and people don’t even know they’re here. In Niverville, we’ve got a world-class recording studio right in town. There’s tons of artists that come out of here. It’s a great music community.”

Charron has previously played with bands such as Jump the Clutch, whose single “Day Worth Living For” ranked in the top 15 across Canada and the U.S.

“We were beating out the Tim McGraws of the world and the Florida Georgia Lines and those guys, so that was the first kind of claim to fame, but as far as [‘Song for You’] is concerned, it’s my first solo release as a an artist.”

Charron has another single coming in July, with the full EP coming in August.

For more information

Find him on his website, www.jrcharron.com, at online music platforms, and on social media.

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