October 15, 2018 1:42 pm

Dean Brody talks stripped-down Canadian tour, Dirt Road Stories and new music

Dean Brody Performs at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, B.C.

Ron Palmer / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images
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Two-time Juno Award-winning Canadian country star Dean Brody is taking a stripped-down acoustic tour across the country this fall.

Dirt Road Stories is taking a headlining country act to smaller and more rural Canadian towns for 37 intimate and compelling sets.

WATCH BELOW: Dean Brody’s latest single, Dose of Country

READ MORE: Dean Brody makes exclusive 2018 tour announcement

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The Bush Party singer is bringing along three very special upcoming country acts too. Jessica Mitchell, Andrew Hyatt and Tenille Arts will join Brody on the road to maximize the country experience. Brody has been topping the country charts this year with his hits 8th Day and Dose of Country.

Global News spoke with Brody, and the rising star shared tour details and his plans for new music.

Global News: The big Canadian tour, Dirt Road Stories. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Dean Brody: We’re gonna be stripping everything down. For the last few years, we’ve done a lot of big shows with big production and sound. Halfway through those bigger shows, we’d do a cut-down campfire scene, and it turns out that it’s sometimes my audiences’ favourite part of the show. So, we thought, let’s just try expanding that four-song acoustic breakdown to a full-on tour. Kinda like a lodge or a kitchen party experience.

So a totally different approach to what you usually do. How does that feel?
I feel like a fish out of water. I’m used to the stage and the big production. Usually, you can hide behind the wall of production or the wall of music, but you definitely get comfortable with it after a while. There are a lot of things occupying people’s attentions. So when it’s stripped down like this, I definitely feel more in a fishbowl versus what I would feel on the bigger stage.

Having said that, do you still tend to get nerves right before a show?
Oh yeah, definitely. I’ve always had a bit of stage fright. I think it’s my desire to make people happy and to do a good job for all the people that come out: the fans, the promoters and for my band. I really just wanna do the best I can. But I find with the more intimate settings — like a theatre — you feel at home a lot quicker, which is something I’m really looking forward to. It’s been a while.

What do you feel is the difference between playing at home (in Canada) opposed to playing abroad?
The thing about playing at home is that some of my songs are patriotic, so when I get into those, I feel more of a passionate connection. Like if I sing about Canadian girls or Hockey Night in Canada for example, there’s a camaraderie that comes with those lyrics. So playing at home is definitely a favourite for me.

You’re bringing three Canadian support acts on tour. Can you tell us the reasoning behind your choices?
Because they’re passionate about what they do. Firstly, Jessica Mitchell, if you hear her live, she’ll make the hair stand up on your neck. She delivers so much emotion when she sings her songs. She was just over the moon about being able to join us on tour. All three of them were. Tenille Arts, Andrew Hyatt. They were pumped. Secondly, I think the passion of these artists will really bring something to the tour. I love sharing the stage too. I think it’s a cool experience for fans to be exposed to musicians they may not have heard before.

Dean Brody poses at a bridge on Queen St. East. Aug. 10, 2017.

Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star via Getty Images

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It’s nice to see a little more female representation in the country spotlight too. Did that play any part of it for you?
I don’t really think about that until people actually point it out. [Laughs] It’s awesome that we can have more spotlight on these female artists, but it’s just a matter of talent for me. Tenille Arts has a beautiful song called Cold Feet, I can’t even describe it. Jessica [Mitchell] of course too. The power and passion that comes from these voices is incredible. I honestly feel like they’re so much more talented than I am. [Laughs] Man, I wish I had half the talent they did.

A lot of your fans are really taken by the thought and articulation that goes into your songwriting. Where does your inspiration come from?
Many different places really. Imagery is really big for me, so I’ll try to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I was watching a documentary last week about Rosa Parks and I just wrote a song about her, so sometimes movies inspire me too. A lot of people, even my Dad, are like ‘how are you still coming up with songs?’ Like they’re worried the well’s gonna run dry. [Laughs] I love writing about where I’m from and celebrating the country I live in, but I also like to tell other people’s stories and give a voice to something that maybe hasn’t been heard before.

The music video for Dose of Country just dropped. I heard that was filmed somewhere in Ontario for a contest?
Yeah, it was. We filmed on this beautiful piece of land, it was in the Mulmur area. It was gorgeous and we got to hang out with a bunch of folks from the area. Perfect crowd, perfect setting. We basically had a show outside of their barn, and you don’t see it in the video, but there were people behind it, all in tents playing games over a bonfire, it was really cool to have that country experience and document it.

WATCH BELOW: Dean Brody on the set of Dose of Country

READ MORE: Terri Clark On Being Inducted Into The Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame

That perfectly attests to the meaning of the song, too right?
Absolutely! It’s all about country and the contest winners were the most intense country folk we could ask for. They even had a barbecue and a bush party out back after the shoot. It was perfect.

Can you say anything about the new album you’re working on?
Oh yeah, we definitely have an album in the works. We’ve got a few songs recorded and I think April might be a good time to come out with album No. 7. I can’t wait for you guys to hear the new stuff. It’s really exciting!

Are there any new elements you’d like to incorporate into your new music?
I think grassy instruments would be fun to experiment with, like the banjo or squeezebox kind of stuff. I like stuff that they used in old country, I wanna incorporate that in modern country. The kind of instruments that people might just whip out at a kitchen party. Like the melodica, which is basically like a mini-piano that you blow into. I’ve got one, they’re super cool. Stephen Colbert even plays one. I like using different instrumentation along the beaten path, just as long as it’s still country.

What are your plans between Dirt Road Stories and the new album then? You’re a busy guy, any time for a break?
I don’t think so; I like to keep rolling. Y’know, we’ll probably start planning another arena tour for late next year. Sometimes people say ‘hey, you should do a greatest hits tour,’ but I’m not ready yet. [Laughs] It’s like I’m not gonna do that until retirement. I feel so energized with music right now. I’m just gonna keep on pumping them out because I have a lot of creative energy still. As long as my fans love it, I’ll keep on keeping on.

Dean Brody performs at the CityFolk Festival at Lansdowne Park on Sept. 18, 2016 in Ottawa, Canada.

Mark Horton / Getty Images

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The Dirt Road Stories tour begins in Truro, Nova Scotia on Oct. 20 and concludes on Dec. 2 in Cranbrook, B.C. You can find tickets for the nationwide trek on the official Dean Brody website.

Dirt Road Stories tour dates

The below dates are with singer-songwriter Jessica Mitchell:

Oct. 20 – Marigold Centre – Truro, N.S.
Oct. 22 – Rebecca Cohn Auditorium – Halifax, N.S.
Oct. 23 – Playhouse Theatre – Fredericton, N.B.
Oct. 24 – Imperial Theatre – Saint John, N.B.
Oct. 25 – Homburg Theatre – Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Oct. 26 – Convocation Hall – Wolfville, N.S.
Oct. 27 – Capitol Theatre – Moncton, N.B.
Oct. 29 – Imperiale Bell – Quebec, Que.
Oct. 30 – Corona Theatre – Montreal, Que.

The below dates are with Andrew Hyatt:

Nov. 1 – FirstOntario – St. Catharines, Ont.
Nov. 2 – Burlington Performing Arts Centre – Burlington, Ont.
Nov. 3 – Rose Theatre – Brampton, Ont.
Nov. 4 – Fraser Auditorium – Sudbury, Ont.
Nov. 5 – Academy Theatre – Lindsay, Ont.
Nov. 7 – Sanderson Centre for Performing Arts – Brantford, Ont.
Nov. 8 – FirstOntario Arts Centre – Milton, Ont.
Nov. 9 – The Grand Theatre – Kingston, Ont.
Nov. 10 – River Run Centre – Guelph, Ont.
Nov. 11 – Regent Theatre – Oshawa, Ont.
Nov. 12 – Festival Hall – Pembroke, Ont.

The below dates are with Tenille Arts:

Nov. 15 – Club Regent – Winnipeg, Man.
Nov. 16 – Club Regent – Winnipeg, Man.
Nov. 17 – Casino Regina – Regina, Sask.
Nov. 20 – Vic Juba Theatre – Lloydminster, Sask.
Nov. 21 – Red Deer Memorial Centre – Red Deer, Alta.
Nov. 22 – Douglas J Cardinal Performing Arts – Grande Prairie, Alta.
Nov. 23 – Pomeroy Hotel & Conference Centre – Fort St. John, B.C.
Nov. 24 – Quesnel + District SR Citizen Centre – Quesnel, B.C.
Nov. 26 – Massey Theatre – New Westminster, B.C.
Nov. 27 – Port Theatre – Nanaimo, B.C.
Nov. 28 – Tidemark Theatre – Campbell River, B.C.
Nov. 29 – Cowichan Performing Arts Centre – Duncan, B.C.
Nov. 30 – Vernon Performing Arts Centre – Vernon, B.C.
Dec. 1 – Charles Bailey Theatre – Trail, B.C.
Dec. 2 – Key City Theatre – Cranbrook, B.C.

[This interview has been edited and condensed.]

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca

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