Just because Nova Scotian country music star Dean Brody is on a hot streak, it doesn’t mean he is taking that success for granted.
In fact, it might even be tough to fault Brody if his head was getting big, but as a Canadian, and a Maritimer at that, such fears can be quickly put to rest.
Released this past April, Brody’s fifth album Gypsy Road has, thus far, continued his winning streak in grand fashion. At last month’s Canadian Country Music Awards in Halifax, his award win for Video of the Year marked Brody’s 14th CCMA of his career, a testament to his ongoing popularity with fans and the music industry alike.
Yet, he says the award win proved to be as surprising as any and all of the previous 13 CCMAs he had won.
“I never go into awards shows expecting anything. If you set yourself up for a big win, it could prove to be a shock if you don’t take that award home,” Brody tells The MusicNerd Chronicles.
“They are a great honour, and a great distinction to have, however, the wins are about so much more than just me. It’s a celebration of the work of my label, the promoters, and my publicity team. There are so many people behind the scenes working to help make me who I am as an artist that it feels like a team victory when I do win.”
Brody’s victories are certainly well-deserved at this point in his career, as things weren’t always so easy.
Early in his career, Brody signed a publishing contract with an American company. Despite his debut effort cracking the Top 25 in the U.S. and the Top 10 in Canada, things took a turn for the worse from a business stand-point.
Sensing he could be facing a stalled career had he stayed on board with the company in question, Brody asked to be released from his contract. Instead of returning to Jaffray, B.C., where he grew up, Brody and his family settled down on Nova Scotia’s South Shore to begin the process of rebooting his music career.
A short while later, he aligned himself with one of Canada’s premiere country music labels, Open Road Recordings. His first record for the label, Trail In Life, yielded four Top 10 singles, three CCMA awards as well as a Juno Award nomination for country album of the year. He wrapped up 2011 as the most played Canadian country artist on Canadian radio.
Subsequent records proved Brody was no one-album wonder. His 2012 full-length Dirt would see him awarded the CCMA for Album of the Year as well as Male Artist of the Year, while 2013’s Crop Circles would earn Brody another Album of the Year CCMA.
After having kept busy for the bulk of 2014, including having undertaken yet another national tour, Brody slowed down in the later part of the year, only to be immersed in the writing process for what would become Gypsy Road.
“These songs had to come together a little faster than what I was accustomed to.”
Asked if the pressure got the better of him at any point, Brody says that the opposite proved to be true.
“It was a little frantic but I’m the kind of person that needs a deadline staring me down. I’m not the most prolific writer,” he laughs. “I never have trouble finding other things to do, so it was actually great to have a challenge like this. It kept me motivated to write.”
Arguably one of the more poignant songs on Gypsy Road is Brody’s track “Footprints Of A Giant.” Brody says the song simply poured out of him the day after the terrorist attack on Canada’s Parliament Hill last October.
“I was in New York at the time and saw the news scrolling along the CNN ticker. It was one of those things that I can’t really explain how it came together. It was a product of that moment I was in. From the point of view of a child, I couldn’t help but think how unimaginably tough it would be to have your father taken from you like that. Things like that hit you a lot harder when you’re a father.”
Brody’s performance in Moncton on Wednesday night is one of 22 shows that are a part of the Road Trip tour, which began late last month in B.C. The tour also features Canadian country music star Paul Brandt, whom Brody credits as having given him the inspiration to pursue a country music career.
“I’ve looked up to Paul for years,” he says. “I was working at a sawmill and Paul was that guy who had made a career for himself in music. I’ve often wondered if I would have taken the risk for myself if it wasn’t for Paul, because he proved you can go to the centre of country music and compete alongside the best artists out there.”
As the Road Trip tours winds down – the final show takes place in Halifax on Oct. 24 – Brody is looking forward to his return to the Maritimes, and Moncton specifically.
“Moncton has always been good to me. [Radio station] XL Country 96.9 has been so supportive of my career since day one. It’s going to be nice to be back in the city.”
Fans attending Brody’s show at the Scotiabank Centre on Saturday evening in Halifax are being given the opportunity to hear their favourite song live, with money raised supporting The Dean Brody Foundation. Full details are available online.
What: Dean Brody with Paul Brandt and special guest Whitney Rose
When: Wednesday Oct. 21, 7 p.m.
Where: Moncton Coliseum, 377 Killam Dr., Moncton
Tickets start at $44.50 plus service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Coliseum Box Office, by phone (506) 857-4100 and online at tickets.moncton.ca.