BONNYVILLE – Through the ups and downs of Avery Cardinal’s 32 years, one thing has remained constant – his love of music and his passion for guitar.
After years of overcoming numerous challenges life threw in his way, Cardinal’s two-man band, The Run Wild, has released their first debut single ‘Don’t Need It,” with two more singles anticipated to be released in the near future.
Cardinal tells Lakeland This Week that while he spent the majority of his youth in Bonnyville, many years of his childhood involved moving between women's shelters to foster homes from Lethbridge to Edmonton, and throughout the Lakeland.
“It's made a massive impact and it was tough growing up,” says Cardinal. “I had to basically learn my own lessons, so I didn't fall into the same mistakes that I saw growing up with some of the problems that go on in Indigenous communities.”
Despite the obstacles Cardinal faced in his early life, he kept his hands busy with guitar and his sight set on his music sheets.
Self-taught, Cardinal has had a guitar in his hands since he was 14 years old.
“I would just print tabs off the internet because this was before YouTube and I would just teach myself all these songs and I literally (practiced) all the time, every day when I was a teenager.”
While a student at École Notre Dame High School, he found a niche of peers where he could pass his time jamming.
“I had a really good group of friends. We were all really close and whenever we were together there was always a guitar, and I was sitting around playing.”
After high school, like many of his peers, Cardinal went to work in the oil patch. That was until about seven years ago when he took a trip to the West Coast. He was hooked immediately and without a second thought Cardinal made the decision to relocate to Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.
Fast forward to 2019, Cardinal was introduced to who would become the lead singer of The Run Wild, Tyson Geick, by a mutual friend who also happens to be from Bonnyville.
She knew Cardinal and Geick’s passion and skills for making music and got to work connecting them.
At first Geick was reluctant to pursue a musical career, that was until he was introduced to Cardinal.
“She showed him my Instagram with my guitar (videos). And he said, ‘OK yeah, let's get together’,” recounts Cardinal.
“We got together and just like that it was an instant connection. Every time I played a song, he knew it and loved it... It’s pretty rare that you have a connection like that in music. It's pretty hard to like all the same stuff and think the same way about music.”
In the last two years, the duo has poured their spare time into making their music a viable career with the goal of getting into the country rock scene.
“I wasn't expecting anything and then we first got Nygel (Asselin), and we're working together, and he was really, really, really liking it. The songs, as we were recording them, were just sounding better and better and they just blew up and got bigger and better… we felt like we were actually doing something here and we were all really proud.”
The pair is now just beginning to see the fruits of their labour from the recording of their original songs to the release of their first single, which was produced by Asselin, a multi-platinum award winning producer.
‘I Don’t Need It’ was also mixed by Jeff Dalziel and mastered by Randy Merrill.
“So, with all these super massively successful Grammy award winning albums Randy's worked on, and that he was willing to master our songs, that made me feel like we are writing good songs and on the right track,” he says.
Merrill is known for the work he did on Taylor Swift's Folklore album and with other artists such as Adele and Olivia Rodriguez.
“I feel like I'm doing the right thing. And of course, I won't actually know that until it gets on the radio, but I feel like I'm pretty close here,” says Cardinal.
The Run Wild’s song ‘I Don’t Need It’ is all about leaving the big city behind, appreciating life with fewer material things in the countryside and taking stock of what is already in your life.
“It's important to share where you're from, especially in the country community. It's a big thing to talk about the hometown and where you're from, and it's always been country culture. And I am proud to be from Bonnyville,” he says.
While Cardinal continues to pursue his musical career on the West Coast, he adds that Bonnyville will always be where he is from.
And once The Run Wild establishes themselves within the music industry, Cardinal will take the time to write songs that reflect where he has been, what he has gone through, and where he comes from.
But for now, he is focused on creating music that appeals to the masses.
“I feel like music has a recipe... You got to follow the recipe and play the game. So right now, that game is to write catchy songs that have easy melodies, and the lyrics are relatable,” he explains.
“We're hoping that if we get on the radio and we get some money back then we can record another song, or another two songs.”