The Glorious Sons have resolutely manifested all of rock ‘n’ roll’s most positive principles from their very start – creativity and adventure, passion and truth, energy and expression, individuality and spirit of community. Now, after a four-year journey fraught with multiple stops and starts, the Kingston, ON-based band returns with Glory, an album co-produced by Brett Emmons and Frederik Thaae, that fully captures the depth and breadth of their vast artistic vision. Fired by a remarkably vivid sonic approach and raw, heartfelt lyricism, stellar new songs burn bright with incandescent emotional truths that are somehow both deeply personal and wholly universal.
“I think that all this time has allowed us to very slowly hone in on something that just feels a little bit bigger,” says lead singer-songwriter Brett Emmons. “Something a bit more anthemic and celebratory.”
Founded in 2011 by Jay Emmons and Adam Paquette, and joined shortly thereafter by vocalist Brett Emmons, The Glorious Sons immediately caused a commotion with their immense ambition and impassioned songcraft, unleashing three studio albums that earned them two #1 Rock airplay smashes in the US and thirteen consecutive top 10 Rock radio hits in Canada. 2014’s debut album, The Union, affirmed their breakthrough success with a prestigious JUNO Award nomination for “Rock Album of the Year,” fueled in part by such singles as “Heavy,” “Lightning,” and “The Contender,” the latter of which proved the band’s first ever #1 at Canadian Rock radio.
2017’s Young Beauties and Fools more than delivered on The Glorious Sons’ promise, this time taking home the JUNO Award for “Rock Album of the Year” amidst worldwide airplay and increasing critical acclaim. The album includes the #1 singles, “Everything Is Alright” and “S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun),” the latter reaching #1 on Billboard’s “Mainstream Rock” chart in the US. Hailed at their most mature work to date, 2019’s third studio album, A War On Everything, instilled a contemporary gleam on The Glorious Sons’ traditionally naturalistic sound. The album earned the band a second straight JUNO Award for “Rock Album of the Year” as well as their second consecutive US #1 “Mainstream Rock” hit in “Panic Attack.”
Like any rock ‘n’ roll band worth its salt, The Glorious Sons have spent a great deal of their existence on the road, from headline tours, support runs, and showstopping festival sets to three unforgettable stadium shows supporting The Rolling Stones and more recently, a top-billed appearance alongside Pearl Jam in London, England’s Hyde Park. The global pandemic changed all that of course but at least allowed the band a chance to step back and assess what they’d accomplished thus far. After a brief pause, The Glorious Sons got right back to work, building up a catalogue of almost 40 new songs fueled in part by the intense emotionality and
anxiety conjured by the global shutdown. They shared a number of tracks but in his heart, Brett Emmons knew they did not represent the story he believes The Glorious Sons are here to tell.
“It was all quite negative,” he says. “It was nihilistic and a little bit too political. For me. I was spending a lot of time on my phone. It wasn’t something that I wanted to make my mark with. So we went back to the drawing board. I kept on writing.”
In the spring of 2022, The Glorious Sons headed to Nashville to spend six weeks recording alongside a big-name rock producer with an idea to capture the band’s unique camaraderie by tracking the whole thing live off the floor. Alas, “one thing led to another,” says Emmons, “and it was a failure, like watching a car crash in slow motion.”
“It was unbelievably demoralizing,” he says. “It probably took me a month after that to even just look at an instrument.”
Bowed but not broken, The Glorious Sons once again took a moment of adversity and turned it into a learning experience, an opportunity to recalibrate and adjust their immediate goals and overarching vision.
“It made me want to be a better producer,” Brett Emmons says. “It made me really focus on figuring out what I wanted to write about. It made me finally kind of accept some things I had spent a long time not trying to think about in my writing. And one of those things was that I am a sensitive person and also a very sentimental person. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”
In July 2022, The Glorious Sons convened at Emmons’ cottage home near Kingston, joined by Danish producer, composer, and musician Frederik Thaae, with whom they had partnered on both of their previous studio albums. Right away Emmons knew that the seeming endless winding road had led The Glorious Sons to exactly the place where they needed to be.
“It just felt like being back at home,” he says. “I basically told Frederik, I don’t know what was going through my mind for the last three years. I don’t know why I would ever fuck with this. Getting that connection back with him was an important feeling for me. It felt like I had a sparring partner again, the way I needed to.
“It was a real blast of humility. I think for a while we didn’t want to accept that we needed help, but the truth is that we really did. I needed somebody to get excited with me, I needed to be able to bounce stuff off somebody that I could trust.”
It is immediately clear that The Glorious Sons’ long labors were not remotely for naught. Glory is positively blazing with outsized melodies and heartfelt songcraft, all made indelible via Thaae and Emmons’ imaginative co-production and the band’s unstoppable performance. Weaving organic songcraft with intricately crafted electronic textures manifests something equal parts introspective and epic, a strikingly human music lit from within with uncommon emotional depth.
“I just wanted it to be huge,” Emmons says. “I wanted it to sound wide open, it wanted that that feeling of your chest being an open field. I wanted to be unapologetically ambitious.”
“I think the best things I do are just me talking about myself,” Emmons says and I for whatever reason, that’s what people connect with. They understand the stories because maybe they feel the same way about themselves.”
From their very start, The Glorious Sons have achieved the near impossible by sounding both familiar and unprecedented, offering a bold new idea of what it means to be a rock ‘n’ roll band in the modern era. Now, with Glory, The Glorious Sons have pushed themselves to the brink to create something meaningful, true, and undeniably their own.
“We spent a long, long time on the hamster wheel when we started out,” Brett Emmons says, “and now, I want to just take things as they come. For the first time in my life, I feel like the way people receive it matters less to me than ever before. It’s not that I don’t care what people think but I just know in my heart that we did everything we could.”