Country star Gord Bamford holds Halifax, N.S. near and dear to his heart.
He loves it so much that in 2015, when he visited for the Canadian Country Music Awards ceremony, he missed his flight home.
Bamford performed and won Male Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, and shared Songwriter of the Year with his writing partners that night.
But the next morning, instead of boarding an aircraft, he found himself at an establishment on the Halifax pier, writing what would become hit song Breakfast Beer.
"I love this place, and I'm always happy when I'm here," said Bamford, prepping for a tour stop on Dec. 7. "We announced this stop late, but the tour has been awesome. I feel like we've been on our game every night.
They're at the tail-end of a 41-date stretch, and have been going steady for six weeks.
They started on Vancouver Island and will get up to the Maritimes and Halifax. After that, the band will head through Ontario, and end up in Winnipeg on Dec. 14.
"We'll be heading home just in time for Christmas," said Bamford. "That will be a nice break."
The tour, named Honky Tonks and Dive Bars, is derived from a recent Bamford song.
"We wrote a song called Dive Bar recently, and we sort of wanted to get back to where we started and go grassroots. We always wanted to do a small, up-close and personal show tour," he said.
"This, I feel, may be our best tour ever, and we have some areas where we stay two or three nights and play. It's been really good."
He's always happy with how the fans respond in the Maritimes.
"They're just amazing. People truly love our music, and it's a great spot to be. This area is one of my favourites to play in. People are so passionate," he said.
Bamford calls his new album, Neon Smoke, his best one yet.
"Nine records in, we really reached out, and are appealing to all types of demographics. We play great on the radio. We spent a lot of time on this and are happy," he said.
"We have a uniqueness to our music, and we keep things simple. We're relatable. As a country singer, we match our music to our fans and keep things easy."
He says they consistently try to raise the bar, and give fans what they want.
"We have a loyal fanbase, and our shows keep selling out. I love doing this for a living, and always want to better myself," he said.
"I'm lucky I can do this work, challenge myself vocally and musically, and work toward making things even better."
He stills leans back and loves his older work, including Drinking Buddy, Stayed 'Till 2, and more.
"I see 19-year-olds singing to my old stuff, and we have everyone loving our music. We have middle-aged people coming and younger people. It's great," he said.
He said country music is currently diverse, and he's happy to be a part of the resurgence.
"It speaks to the music and what people are liking. The country has been trending differently for a decade, and we're bringing more people into the genre," he said.
"You could love Luke Bryan and me, or Chris Stapleton and myself. Country tells a story, and it's nice if people relate to it."