Country artist Dean Brody is set to hit the stage in Red Deer next week alongside Paul Brandt for their co-headline tour, The Road Trip Tour.
The duo plays the Centrium Oct. 6th.
“So far, so good – what a blast,” said Brody of the tour so far. “It’s been awesome.”
Brody recently released his fifth CD Gypsy Road. The record features the top 10 single Upside Down which also recently landed CMT Video of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards.
Gypsy Road has been described as his most winning and original collection of songs, a fact confirmed by the first single Upside Down. It’s fitting for a guy already possessed of a boatload of CCMA and JUNO Awards including twin 2014 Country Album of the Year prizes for his fourth disc, Crop Circles.
“It was really cool – we had never won in that category before,” he said of the clip which was shot in California and directed by Margaret Malandruccolo. “I’ve worked with some amazing directors, and Margaret is one of them. It was really cool to share this with her, and see her win as well because she really is an amazing director and visionary.
“You just never know – sometimes you do a video that is a little bit less involved and it gets nominated, and then there might be something you spend more time on and it doesn’t get nominated.”
The link throughout Gyspy Road is Brody’s ability to tell stories that resonate emotionally as well as musically, creating characters that scan as real people. “It’s funny but I can’t really write for more than an hour at a time,” he said. “After that I start to lose perspective,” he said.
“A lot of my songwriting comes out of editing. I’ll write something, then walk away from it and do something else and then keep coming back to it.
“I have instruments scattered all over the place and I like noodling on things. I learned three chords on the ukulele and wanted to try and write something,” he said. “I think it really helped take Upside Down into a more playful, summery place. You can’t write a ballad on a ukulele,” he laughs. “I try and do something different – I don’t want to put out songs like a cookie cutter or in a template kind of process.
“I don’t really consider myself as good a songwriter as an editor. I have friends who can sit down and write a song in three hours and they can have perspective on it. For me, I need to step back from it.
“I might come back to it the next day and think where it needs to go. The editor in me says I need to change this part of it, or make it go in this direction. I have friends who can get that bird’s eye view of a song in a moment; for me, it takes me time to get that bird’s eye view.
“It’s like brainstorming – there aren’t really bad ideas – you just kind of throw them out there and put together a skeleton of a song. It’s like framing a house. You get get the melody down – which is the framing and then you finish the house and that’s the lyrics.
“It’s really magical how it starts out as something you do off in a corner somewhere, and you have no idea whether it’s going to resonate or not. Then you go into the studio, the musicians put their hands to it and their art, and the song builds into something that everybody hears and recognizes. It’s exciting being a songwriter, because you can see it go from zero to 100.”
Early influences in Brody’s musical journey run the gamut from Dwight Yoakam to Johnny Cash.
“Dwight Yoakam was the bridge for me into country music. There was guy doing something kind of different, doing his own thing. It was really country and it was super cool. Johnny Cash – I read his book years ago, and thought what a life and what a story.”
Gypsy Road indeed covers huge emotional terrain. Witness the plaintive Footprints of a Giant, galvanized by the 2014 shooting of 24-year-old Corp. Nathan Cirillo as he stood guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Ottawa’s National War Memorial, leaving behind a five-year-old son.
Another passion that is close to his heart is the Dean Brody Foundation, which through fundraising and awareness, supports the work of grassroots organizations who share a passion to rescue and rehabilitate young girls who are victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery.
He came across a book called Remember Me, Rescue Me written by English writer Matt Roper who journeyed to Brazil to learn about that country’s horrific child prostitution scene. “It broke my heart, so I contacted Matt and asked what can we do?”
Roper was all set to sign up for journalism school in London when he abruptly left the office, hopped a jetliner to Brazil and launched his search for contacts to help tell the story. He’d already grown quite familiar with the country after doing research for an earlier book called Street Girls.
That harrowing tale told the story of what it meant to, “Create a new prospect of hope and life for young girls” who would otherwise have little or nothing to look forward to.
Meanwhile, Brody’s Foundation’s mandate is to help bring hope, healing and justice to vulnerable and exploited girls around the world. “It helps to keep things in perspective.”
For ticket information, visit www.ticketmaster.ca.