A beloved High Valley favourite called “On the Combine” almost never came to be.
The Rempel brothers were about to cut their first record in Nashville when Brad suggested the song.
“Back in the day, we were in Nashville, working with some folks. It was the first record deal we signed, and we were trying to choose songs,” recalled Curtis. “Brad brought this song to the table.
“Everybody in the room was like, ‘What’s a combine?’” recalled Curtis. “They told us, ‘Nobody’s going to relate to this song. Farmers are not a majority in this world.’”
But the brother fought to have the song on the album, and won.
“We cut it, released it, and started playing it. We were really impressed with how well it was received by the folks up here in the Prairies, and even in the northern states. All the farmers just love it, because there’s not a lot of stuff like that out there. That was a huge deal for us — we were known as the ‘combine’ band.”
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The song also attracted the attention of a charity which operates Bible camps in developing countries, and it became the theme song when 200 combines gathered in Winkler, Man. and set a Guinness World Record. They were also part of the effort in Saskatoon in 2012, where 249 combines upped the bar (and tore through 320 acres in under 10 minutes).
These days, High Valley has its own charity connection. The band has ‘adopted’ a farming village in Burundi with Food for the Hungry. They’ve visited it several times, and encourage fans to sponsor children there.
“Our goal is to keep working there and someday see a kid actually graduate, not only from school, but from college. We know it’s a long-term deal. Right now if you live to be 35 there, it’s like being 95 here.”