The crowd of 600-plus greeted Dean Brody like he was an old friend coming home. Actually, that’s really what he was.
Brody, originally from Jaffray, B.C., took to the stage at the Key City Theatre Sunday and Monday, “just a couple of walls away” from where he went to high school.
The concert was preceded by a sound effect that speaks to the deep heart of country music, and perhaps of the East Kootenay as well — the sound of a pick-up engine turning over, accompanied by the whistling of birds, before bursting into a full-throated roar. It was an appropriate prelude for Brody and his band as they kicked off their show with “Dirt,” the title track from the album that’s currently riding high in the country charts.
Brody has matured as an artist and performer since his last stop in Cranbrook — a mere two and a half years ago. Since then, he has released his third album, “Dirt,” and taken top recognition at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. He was fully engaged with his audience at all times, charming and intimate, even when he and his band were in full flight (Jason Barry on guitar, Scott Galloway on keyboards, Mark McIntyre on bass and Lyle Molzan on drums).
“Me growing up here has provided me with so much inspiration,” he told the crowd Sunday night. “When I write a song I’m thinking about you guys.”
Brody gave us a sonic tour through his discography including following up “Bob Marley” from “Dirt” with a Bob Marley cover (“Three Little Birds”) — incongruously but somehow appropriately. He then performed his new 2013 single, “Underneath the Apple Trees,” solo and acoustic, before joining the rest of the band for an acoustic, “campfire” set, created on part of the set of “Merchant of Venice.” Featuring Barry on dobro and Galloway on mandolin, Brody and the band brought a folksier, bluegrass feel to the evening for a few numbers, before returning to the electric instruments for a set of rockers like “It’s Friday” and the current hit single “Canadian Girls.”
Brody may live on the other side of the country these days, but his pleasure at being “home” was indisputable. As Brody proceeds on his way across a nationwide-tour of sold-out shows, we can only express our pleasure at his coming home for a short while. Can’t wait until next time.
The Small Town Pistols
Brother and sister duo Amanda and Tyler Wilkinson gave us a session of emotionally evocative, melodic country in the Nashville style, featuring soaring harmonies and Amanda Wilkinson’s powerful voice. The pair — formerly the band “The Wilkinsons” — have an impressive resumé in professional music, and ran through old and new songs, getting the audience jumping before Brody’s entrance.
Editor’s note: This piece is based on a viewing of Sunday night’s concert.