Emerson Drive is a Canadian country music band consisting of Brad Mates (lead vocals), Danick Dupelle (guitars and backing vocals), Mike Melancon (drums), and Dale Wallace (keyboards and backing vocals).
Emerson Drive was formed under the name of 12 Gauge in February 1995 when Brad Mates entered a talent contest at his local high school in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Through the contest, Mates met fiddler Pat Allingham, bass player Steven Swager and keyboardist Chris Hartman. Mates, Hartman, Swager and Allingham decided to form a band with guitarists Dan Binns and David Switzer, bass guitarist Jeff Loberg, and drummer Remi Barre. The band started practicing in Mates’ basement and entering contests. In 1996, the group entered a local Battle of the Bands contest and won the opportunity to write and record their EP Open Season.
In 1999, the band moved to country music mecca Nashville, Tennessee in search of a record deal. In the process, they discovered that ’12 Gauge’ was also the name of an American rapper and had to choose a new name; Emerson Drive is named for the Emerson Trail that crosses Western Alberta and joins the Alaska Highway.
The group caught the attention of executives at DreamWorks Records subsidiary DreamWorks Nashville, who signed the group to a record deal in 2000. Emerson Drive’s debut album, Emerson Drive, was scheduled to be released in January 2002, but was delayed when DreamWorks executives found two new songs and brought in singer-songwriter Richard Marx to produce. The album was released in May 2002; it ranked No. 67 on the Billboard Top Country Album charts for 2003.
Emerson Drive’s debut American single, “I Should Be Sleeping”, was released in November 2001. The song became a hit for the group on the Billboard Hot Country Single & Tracks chart in 2002, peaking at No. 4 and finishing the year at No. 22. The album’s second single, “Fall into Me”, one of the two new songs Marx produced, was issued in late 2002. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2003, settling at No. 36 at year end. In Canada, it charted at No. 35 in 2002 and No. 32 in 2003, while “I Should Be Sleeping” charted at No. 40.