Every once in a long while, a bush baby grows up playing a guitar, and learns to play it real well. In rare cases, these kids catch the right train and hit the big time. Two, not one but two, such people came to Prince George and lit the CN centre on fire. Dean Brody of Smithers BC, and Paul Brandt of Airdrie, AB. Let’s not neglect to mention the presence of rising star Jess Moskaluke of Langenburg, SK who, as of late, heated up the audience for the pair along the journey. Along with an arsenal of eye catching stage props (ie giant rubber duckies) and seasoned musicians, these two mainstream country artists put the miles on their “Road Trip” tour bus.
It was a Tuesday night but Brody convinced most of the crowd that we could treat it as a Friday. Our employers weren’t as convinved as we were the following morning, but that didn’t matter so much as Brody took us through jam sessions, ballads, hits, and sing-a-longs. Every other song he pulled a fun trick or stunt out of his hat. A ukulele appeared out of nowhere (I guess they’re fairly easy to hide), and he explained that one of his daughters had taught him the 3 chords the song consisted of. Though his family is off in Nova Scotia, it seemed he was trying to bring pieces of them with him throughout the show. Another trick to note, about as expert a musical performance on a chainsaw one could hope to see was doled out during, “Mountain Man.” A song that reassured us not to panic, because he could make bannock. His 100% Canadian band laid a gorgeous rhythm that kept the crowd dancing throughout.
It wasn’t an easy set to follow, Brandt had a big job promoting his heavy Alberta branding while in BC. It seemed like a hard sell. I recall Corb Lund landing his AB pitch more successfully. A point of applause was when he pointed out his drummer hailed from Salmon Arm. Brandt had a few tricks up his sleeve as well though. Perhaps if he was contracted under a bigger label, there would be an advisor saying,
“No Paul, you can’t spend all that money on 14 foot tall rubber duckies the audience can pass around. No, you can’t weld a CB radio mic onto your mic stand. That’s a bad idea Paul, we’re not funding that. You’re silly.”
However, Brandt did indeed get all those things for his big show, and they work together beautifully. You’ve got to admire a person with that many guts, and who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Both headliners did a great job of involving as much of the audience as possible with Brody stepping out into the wings of the audience for Hi Fives, and Brandt moving to the rear of the floor area with a miniature stage to woo the back of the stadium on. Seemed odd to choose Alberta Bound as the encore song while in BC, though the next stop of the “Road Trip” Tour was in AB. You can be sure to catch an entertaining performance at any one of their stops. Prince George enjoyed a surprisingly intimate evening with two of Canada’s biggest (and fairly local) country stars in the town’s largest venue.