Two sold-out upcoming shows at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook reflect the local excitement of returning hometown boy Dean Brody.
Brody, who grew up in Jaffray, B.C., is about to launch a cross-Canada tour in support of his album “Dirt,” released in April of last year. Since its release, his career in the country music biz has kicked up a notch.
The “Dirt” tour comes through Cranbrook for two shows, Jan. 27 and 28.
Brody, who currently resides in Chester, Nova Scotia, said his last cross-Canada trek was about a year and a half ago, with the CMT Hit List Tour. Since then, he’s released his third album, “Dirt,” which reached number 12 on the Canadian album charts, had a single in the top 40 of Canada’s Hot 100 (“Canadian Girls”), and taken awards for Album of the Year and Male Artist of the Year at the 2012 Canadian Country Music Awards.
So one could expect considerable excitement as he sets out on his first tour in a year and a half.
“I don’t have a whole lot of expectations,” he said. “I do have myself — I have high expectations of myself and the kind of show we put on.
“So as far as the crowd goes, it largely depends on how well I do,” he said with a laugh.
Brody said it will be good to return to Cranbrook — the Key City Theatre is the number four stop on the Dirt Tour (preceded by shows in Victoria, Vancouver and Penticton).
“Cranbrook’s always got electricity when I’m there. It’s a lot of fun playing at home in the East Kootenay.”
“Dirt” has received rave reviews in the music press on both sides of the border. And Brody’s bringing a band along with him to bring out the best in it.
“I’m really proud of my band,” he said. “They’re some of the best players in Canada — in North America, really. Jason (Barry, for example), who plays guitar for me, is a multiple CCMA Award-winning guitar player. He’s produced records for Terri Clark, he’s played with Alabama, and all the guys have those kind of resumes.
“That’s one of the most exciting parts about the show — I get to listen to my guys, who are some of the
best players in North America.”
Part of the show will be full-tilt rocking country, and some will aim for a different approach.
“We’re going to try a different approach for part of the show,” Brody said. “We’re going to go unplugged, to give the audience a bit more of an intimate, campfire kind of setting. So the fans can get a closer connection to us.”
On the first leg of the tour, Brody will be joined by supporting act Small Town Pistols.
Listeners get a sense of the Canadiana in the music and lyrics on “Dirt.” Songs like “Canadian Girls,” “It’s Friday” (with Great Big Sea) or the “Sleeping Bag Song” (written with George Canyon) reflect the small town experience, which most of us who grew up in places like the East Kootenay or south shore Nova Scotia can immediately recognize.
But though his songs are informed by this smalltown experience, Brody’s craft is also in part shaped by Nashville, Tennessee, where he moved in 2004 to pursue his music career, and where he landed a song-writing contract.
“I learned a lot when I was in Nashville,” he said. And Brody’s been asked to return.
“My producer, Matt Rovey, is an executive for a major record label in the U.S., and he’s talked about it. I’ve recorded albums there, my publishing deal is still in Nashville.
“But I just love Canada. My experience going back and forth between the U.S. and Canada has given me a real appreciation for being at home. Some people think I’m crazy — they’re like ‘Man, if I could make it in the U.S., that would be the ultimate.’ Yeah, it would, but the sacrifice I’d have to make in regards to my family would be too much.
“But we probably spend a month, a month and a half there every year, just hanging out with friends, writing songs and recording music. So it’s kind of like a second home to us.
“Until you’ve been across the border, and lived in another country, it’s hard to explain to people that Canada’s special, and whenever you’re away from home there’s a little part of you deep down that reminds you that you’re not quite at home. In Canada I don’t have that feeling.”