Emerson Drives’ Brad Mates calls himself and his band members road dogs. The group has been touring for 12 years, so it’s become part of their lifestyle.
Emerson Drives’ Brad Mates calls himself and his band members road dogs. The group has been touring for 12 years, so it’s become part of their lifestyle. “The road is actually one of the biggest and best tools that has helped this group get to where it is today,” he said. The group is rolling into Dover for two race weekend events: to play a Saturday concert at the Rollins Center and sing the national anthem before Sunday’s race. The band started rising in the charts in early 2000s with its singles “I Should be Sleeping” and “Fall Into Me.” This year they have earned more acclaim than ever with their album “Countrified” and hit single “Moments,” which was nominated for the Academy of Country Music’s Song of the Year award. “We were never expecting it to get this far,” Mates said. According to him, the band started as a bunch of guys getting together three times a week to play in the basement. Obviously, they’ve grown and gelled as a group in the dozen years since. “There’s strength, there’s growth in the band each year,” he said. For fans already familiar with the group, Mates said the upcoming show will be a high-energy event with a lot of the singles fans are familiar with, and also some new songs people have never heard. “Being able to get reactions from people in a crowd playing brand new music is a great indication sometimes,” he said about choosing what to put on a new CD. There are some standbys that the group has to play, though, including their version of the Charlie Daniels’ Band classic “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” “It’s not our choice anymore,” Mates said about playing the song live. “It’s our fans’ choice.” The group also is working on other covers ranging from Foo Fighters to Shenandoah and Don Henley songs. “It’s extremes, for sure, but the great thing about what we do with these songs is that we put them into an acoustic set,” Mates said. The diversity of their songs isn’t a surprise after learning who some of their influences are: AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Alabama, Merle Haggard, George Strait and Ricky Skaggs all rank in the band’s good graces. Group members have become NASCAR fans over the years and are excited to be singing the national anthem, which gives them a chance to reach potential fans. For those who want to give the group a chance at the Saturday show before hearing the anthem on Sunday, Mates assures them it will be worth it. “If people haven’t seen the live show before, I can guarantee they will be fans of this group as soon as they come out and see it,” Mates said. Proceeds from the show benefit Autism Speaks. Dover Post