Alberta-born country singer Paul Brandt is on the road for his current tour The Journey, which sees a star-studded line up of Brandt’s friends Jess Moskaluke, The Hunter Brothers and High Valley.
“I’m not sure that Canada has ever really seen a tour like this before with so many different Canadian country artists on the same bill. I just think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
And it’s performing in Alberta where he feels most at home.
In Brandt’s early days, he’d perform at 180 shows a year at the time all across the world, but he started feeling homesick.
“I thought it was just that usual homesick thing that a lot of people think, but I started to realize that really what it was is that we live in I think the best place in the entire world to live. It’s incredible to be able to be here in Alberta, to be so close to the mountains – the inspiring views that are around here. It was really exciting for me when I was finally Alberta-bound and I got a chance to be home and around family again.”
He said he’s happy to be based just outside of Calgary towards Cochrane with his wife and two kids.
“It’s nice, when I’m not on the road to still be a hockey dad and take the kids back and forth and just be an active part of the community too.”
One of his latest songs that’s been getting a lot of traction is Bittersweet, which was inspired by his son. When his son was seven, he and Brandt and were hanging out in the backyard one summer day wrestling, doing daddy and son stuff.
“He stopped me right in the middle of it all and said, ‘Daddy, I don’t want to have fun anymore.’ And I’m like, ‘What? What’s wrong buddy? He says, ‘Well you know, they say time flies when you’re having fun and I want this to last forever,’” he said with a laugh.
“It’s one of those moments you just want to bottle,” said Brandt.
So he went to the studio and got together with a buddy of his, Brad Remple from High Valley.
“We were writing together that day in Nashville with some friends and the idea of Bittersweet came up and the song came together pretty quickly after that.”
Brandt then finished recording it and thought something was still missing, so he called up Lindsay Ell, who has been having incredible success internationally and is also a fellow Albertan.
He had a chance to meet her a couple of times, one of those being at the Canadian Country Music Awards in Edmonton, so she agreed to sing in Bittersweet and the rest came together.
With an over 20-year career in the music industry, Brandt’s current project kind of captures what it’s all been about.
“The Journey YYC BNA – YYC and BNA are the airport codes for Calgary and Nasvhille – there’s a lot of stuff that’s happened for me in that trip back and forth through the years, not only professionally but personally. It makes you look at life in a different way,” he said.
From performing in tight coffee shops in Calgary to being on stages with over 100,000 people in the audience, Brandt has gotten to experience it all.
“And that happened in a period of a couple of years for me. There are a lot of really cool moments. We’ve sat with world leaders and performed for people who have literally orbited the moon. I’ve sang for Miss America, for the Queen of England and then been at hospital bed sides and hung out with people who are having a tough time and used music to connect.
“There’s a lot of different, incredible moments and music has been the vehicle that has taken me to all of those things.”
Brandt says he tries to make off-time, especially for spending time outdoors – another one of the reasons he loves being in Alberta so much.
“I love being in the mountains and I love fly fishing. I’ve been fly fishing now for probably 12 or 13 years and just really enjoy getting up on a mountain stream somewhere in the middle of nowhere and spending a day that way.”
Brandt also loves spending time with his family. Whether it be Calgary Flames games, ice skating or playing the piano, he likes to spend time with them as much as he can.
Although Brandt’s current project, which came in two waves of The Journey YYC Part one and The Journey BNA Part two is complete, he says it won’t stop there.
“I’ve already got ideas for new music popping into my head so I’m sure we’ll be back in the studio before long. I can’t quite stop that creative bug that I’ve got and that’s a good thing. There’s always new ideas coming.”
He heads to Red Deer’s Enmax Centrium Jan. 29th.