Oct. 12, 1999

By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff

Not bad for a guy who started by singing at campfires! Dawson Creek country music singer Montgomery Steele (a.k.a. Monty Petrick) has reached yet another milestone with his debut compact disc "First Time Out." It’s become the first 100 per cent Canadian content debut CD to ever have five consecutive top-30 hits as tabulated by RPM magazine.

"It’s excellent," he said. "Even getting a CD cut is a real big thing."

Recorded in 1997, the CD’s latest hit is "Debbie Darlene" which Steele describes simply as "a country love song."

Other hits have included "Indian Woman", "In This Heart of Mine", "Red Wine Kisses", and "The River Song."

RPM publisher Walt Grealis said Steele’s success has as much to do with his willingness to promote as what’s on the CD.

"He’s an independent and he has a free flight aggressiveness about him," Grealis said. "He covers all points."

That’s in contrast to many Canadian musicians who’ve recorded independently, Grealis said.

"The problem with a lot of independents is they get a hand-out from government and that money comes so easy to them that they spend it, and if it doesn’t happen, they go back and they get more," he said.

"Montgomery uses his own savings and he puts his heart and soul and whatever money he’s got into what he’s doing." Indeed, Steele quit his job at the family business, R Home Supply, to devote himself full-time to music.

To go with Steele’s high ratings are a few accolades. He was nominated for outstanding male vocalist of the year for the Big Country Awards, and made an appearance when the show was televised coast-to-coast on CTV. And his video, which has an outdoor theme to it, won international video of the year award at a competition in Texas.

Meanwhile, a single-CD release, "Damned Old Rodeo", has reached number 13 in the United States on the Trans America Broadcasting chart, which covers 78 stations reaching over 6 million listeners.

‘Damned Old Rodeo" was written by Pouce CoupeÕs Bernie Steward and features a duet with Tina Turley. He plans to soon release "Damned Old Rodeo" in Canada and Europe, but Steele sees the video as being the key to any further progress.

"If you can get your music video played, then more and more people get to know you and of course they start buying your records," he said.

Steele may have a long way to go before he reaches the heights of such stars as Randy Travis and Willie Nelson, but considering his humble beginnings, he’s already gone a long way.

"I do a lot of riverboating and outdoor stuff, and I wanted to play guitar by the fire," he said.

But when he came up with Indian Woman, he thought heÕ’ try to record the song.

"That particular song jumped up on the charts to number 20 in Canada. And then it did extremely well in Europe; it went to number three," he said. "So that’s what got me started."

And who knows? Grealis said Steele has as good a chance at stardom as anyone.

"Stardom doesn’t come by design," he said. "Everything is by accident, and he could be lucky and do that way. Some of the great stars in country aren’t great singers. It’s the material they have and it’s the public that they’re able to acquire."

This article is taken from the Peace River Block Daily News, Dawson Creek, with the permission of the publisher. The Daily News retains all rights relating to this material. The information in this article is intended solely for research or general interest purposes.


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