Tap 9 will be performing Aug. 18th as part of the Entertainment in the Park series.
Showtime is 7 p.m. at West Stettler Park.
The band initially formed in 2010, explained lead vocalist/guitarist Tony Hoffmann, referring to Tap 9’s early days.
“We were fortunate to bring in Orion (Donnison), another guitar player from a band I had been playing in and Steve Tanner who is this incredible bassist. And so between Grant (Harder), Brad (Harsent) and myself, we formed Tap 9.
“Our first gig was Red Deer’s Bower Ponds Canada Day celebration in 2011. We basically wrote 12 songs, put them together and performed them and then about a year later, we recorded them,” he said.
“So really, it all came out of a desire to write original music.”
The band’s first song, Alberta Home, was originally published in the spring of 2011.
And as their bio points out, since the release of the their first full studio album in September of 2012, Tap9’s identity has become more defined. “Most of us are basic rock and roll and the country is of course a big influence in Alberta as well. So over the years we have shifted to a little bit more of a country feel,” he added.
Interestingly, Tanner hails all the way from San Antonio, Texas.
“He’s been a professional musician for most of his life with a number of different organizations in Texas,” said Hoffman, adding that Tanner was teaching at Red Deer College at the time he signed on with Tap 9.
“We are pretty lucky to have him – he’s a phenomenal player; very talented and a big contributor to the music.”
Hoffman explained that when it comes to writing tunes, it’s very much a collaborative venture.
“Music also did become a venue for me to speak about the way I felt,” he added. “So I started writing words down, and with the help of the rest of the team, we would come up with the music and write these songs. It flows and it works.”
And then there is the joy of recording.
“It’s better than going to Disneyland,” he says with a laugh. “It really is. It’s just an amazing experience. And we’ve been fortunate enough that we’ve been able to play in some incredible studios.”
For Hoffman, his own love for music was sparked early on.
“My parents were always singers so that’s how we started – I started singing in church,” he said. “At school, I also started playing different instruments like saxophone and guitars. So I grew up with that.
But for me, the reality was that after high school, the real world hit. I played for about a year professionally with a band, but then I had to go out there and get a job,” he recalls, chuckling.
He also married, started raising a family and of course got busy with lots of other things, so music essentially took a back seat for about 20 years. “I played a little bit, but didn’t play at that level anymore,” he said, adding that he would maybe pick up his guitar every three months or so.
But that deep down love for music really hadn’t diminished over the years.
“It was really Grant who I had met at an event, who brought me into that jazz band and within a year we had started Tap 9. It re-kindled the fire. And it’s been an incredible experience – it’s very precious to me that I get the opportunity to play with these guys,” he said. “We have a lot of fun.”
As mentioned, the guys have done plenty of recording over the years as well, including a self-titled release back in 2012, an EP called Cowboy in Paradise in 2015 not to mention several singles over the years including the aforementioned Alberta Home, One More Christmas, Superhero, and Bluejeans.
“When we are playing, we have a lot of fun,” said Hoffman. “And that is what it’s all about – enjoying the experience. And when there is a crowd there – that’s the pinnacle! It’s so much fun when people are interacting – it’s incredible.”