Dean Brody and Dallas Smith brings their Friends Don’t Let Friends Tour Alone to Sudbury on Sunday
Dean Brody just wanted to write songs.
More than a decade later, he’s doing a lot more than writing as he brings his band, pal Dallas Smith and his band, and a star-studded group of opening acts for what promises to be one of the biggest country music nights of the year in Sudbury.
Brody and Smith bring their Friends Don’t Let Friends Tour Alone tour to Sudbury Arena on Sunday evening along with award-winning artists Chad Brownlee and MacKenzie Porter.
Who knows who else might take the stage? In an interview during a recent sound check in St. John’s, N.L., Brody said East Coast music icon Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea fame would also be performing that night.
“Last night we were at a bar (O’Reilly’s Irish Newfoundland Pub) having fun and shooting a video for Alan’s new record,” said Brody. “And he’ll be joining us, too.”
Although born and raised in the mountains of British Columbia, Brody has since spent time living in Nashville, Halifax, Calgary and now, just outside of Hamilton.
“I’ve lived in so many places and loved them all, especially the hospitality on the East Coast,” said Brody. “But I was back on the west coast over the summer and reconnected with the mountains and they are always going be a part of me.”
Brody, 44, grew up in Jaffray, B.C., and worked in a sawmill while learning guitar.
In 2004, he settled in Nashville and earned a songwriting contract.
More importantly, though, he met producer Matt Rovey, who helped get Brody his first record deal and who has worked on most of Body’s music ever since, sometimes sharing writing credits.
Brody has produced a string of hit singles for Canadian country music radio, including Brothers, which broke onto the U.S. charts reaching the Billboard Top 30 and allowing Brody to play to larger crowds.
“Brothers was my first hit and I remember we played these big shows in Tampa and Portland, but I only had the one song and had to entertain all these people for 90 minutes with songs they didn’t know,” recalled Brody.
Not so today. After Brothers, Brody’s hits include Dirt Road Scholar, Undone, Roll That Barrel Out, Trail in Life, People Know You By Your First Name, Little Yellow Blanket, Canadian Girls (which topped the charts), Bob Marley, It’s Friday, Bounty (which also topped the charts), Crop Circles, Bring Down the House, Time and 8th Day.
His most recent singles, from the EP Black Sheep, include Good Goodbye, Dose of Country and Whiskey in a Teacup, which have all reached the Top 10 in Canada.
Brody said he’s hoping a new full-length album will be released in the spring.
Add to the mix of Brody hits and those by Smith — who’s had eight singles top the Canadian country music charts, including Wastin’Gas, Autographs, Side Effects, Sky Stays This Blue, Make ‘Em Like You, Rhinestone World and the recent release, Dirty — and there will be no shortage of musical delights at this concert.
Smith has received three Juno nominations for country album of the year, winning once in 2015 for the album Lifted.
Brownlee and Porter are also Juno nominees and winners of multiple country music awards.
Brody said his initial career goal was to be a songwriter.
“I love writing, the creative process, but I learned to enjoy working on stage where I could meet my fans,” he said.
“And it’s great to be able to play the songs the way I wrote them and tell them about it, how I wrote it.”
Unlike many country music artists, especially from Canada, who regularly make the trek to Nashville where they work with teams of songwriters or find songs to perform written by others, Brody writes most of his own music.
“My brain just seems to work very well writing alone and turns a little slower when I’m in the room with other people writing,” said Brody, explaining why he pens most of his own material.
“For other people, having other people in the room really sharpens their skills. It’s about whatever works for them.”
Brody said “love and new love” are strong themes in his new upcoming album, which shouldn’t be a surprise given he remarried a year ago. He has two children by his first wife.
“I’m definitely in a chapter in my life where I’m experiencing love and new love,” said Brody, adding he’s also been collaborating with Sarnia’s Donovan Woods and Jason Barry on new material.
He’ll also be working with producer and sometimes co-writer Rovey.
“Matt has just believed in me ever since I arrived in Nashville,” said Brody.
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If you go
Dean Brody and Dallas Smith are banding together for an epic cross-country adventure, the Friends Don’t Let Friends Tour Alone.
It takes place Oct. 6 at the Sudbury Community Arena. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7.
Tickets cost $119 for general admission pit; and $97, $74 and $63 for reserved seating. Tickets may be purchased in person at the arena box office, 240 Elgin St.; online at greatersudbury.ca/tickets or by telephone at 705-671-3000.