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Country music star puts twang in mining

March 1, 2010
by Norm Tollinsky
In: News with 0 Comments

There are all kinds of creative ways to promote the mining industry, but Larry Berrio tops them all.

A country music performer from Sudbury, Berrio co-wrote and recorded a song called Rock Town at a recording studio in Nashville, followed up with a music video filmed in Sudbury and will now embark on an Ontario-wide tour of country music radio stations to promote his home town and the industry that fuelled its growth.

“I’ve never worked a day in a mine, but my dad’s a retired miner, and my uncles, neighbours and friends are all involved in the mining industry, so I thought it would be cool to write a song about mining,” said Berrio.

The song led to the idea to shoot a music video and that’s when Berrio’s marketing genius really kicked in. Hiring film crews and covering all of the other expenses related to shooting a high-quality music video can be prohibitively expensive, but a lot of people in the mining industry are country music fans and eager to help out.

Vale Inco, Mining Technologies International and the Redpath Group got onboard as major sponsors and a number of other companies pitched in with donations in-kind. The Day Group, for example, offered Berrio the use of a helicopter and NORCAT offered its mine for the shoot.

The video includes fly-by shots of the Superstack, the Big Nickel and Berrio himself singing on top of stage set up on a conveyor belt overlooking the Fisher-Wavy slag pit.

Offering his sponsors product placements in the music video would have been a challenge, so Berrio decided to shoot a second video about the making of the Rock Town video and included both of them on the DVD.

But, wait, it doesn’t end there.

Berrio’s next brainwave was to go on the road to promote the video, his CD (entitled RPM), Sudbury and the mining industry generally by doing interviews on country music radio stations across Ontario.

“I’ll be promoting the City of Sudbury and what it’s all about,” said Berrio. “People don’t know a lot about the mining industry. You can drive by a farm and see the magnitude of the operation, but when you drive by a mine, all you see is the headframe on surface. People don’t realize that the depth of Creighton Mine in Sudbury is equivalent to seven CN Towers or that there are machines 4,000 feet underground that are as big as dump trucks.”

To help Berrio in his travels across Ontario, Cambrian Ford loaned him a pickup truck festooned with Rock Town graphics and logos.

“Then, I figured I’m gonna need fuel to run it, so I approached Esso. They gave me an unlimited gas card and said ‘Use it until you’re done with the radio tour.'”

Three hundred sponsors and dignitaries joined Berrio for the launch of the Rock Town music video at Science North on February 5th.

The CD is currently available for sale online at musicmax.ca and at most Wal-Marts. The DVD can be ordered through Berrio’s website at www.larryberrio.com

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