Country music fans treated to Brandt, Brody, Moskaluke, Tuesday

They liked Jess Moskaluke fine, and Dean Brody got some keen listeners two-stepping on the stairs. But about 3,800 Red Deer-area country music fans saved their biggest Central Alberta welcome for Calgary boy Paul Brandt Tuesday night at the Centrium.

They liked Jess Moskaluke fine, and Dean Brody got some keen listeners two-stepping on the stairs

But about 3,800 Red Deer-area country music fans saved their biggest Central Alberta welcome for Calgary boy Paul Brandt Tuesday night at the Centrium.

The black-hatted headliner came on strong, singing I’m An Open Road with his five-piece band, prompting cheering spectators in the floor seats to collectively jump to their feet for the first time that evening.

As the tune built to a crescendo of guitar, mandolin and vocal intensity, Brandt brought Moskaluke back on stage after her lively opening set to share the mic for a couple of verses. And the Shania Twain-inspired Saskatchewan singer, with the new single Kiss Me Quiet, happily lent some of her sassy, soul-stirring energy to Brandt’s song about love and freedom.

Following Moskaluke’s departure from the spotlight, inflatable rubber duckies and beach balls were batted around by the crowd during the next Brandt next number, Forever Summer.

Then the concert got more laid back, which seemed like a good thing — at first.

When You Call My Name and Canadian Man, with its jazzy, lounge vibe, were well received. In between, Brandt spoke to fans with gratitude of his two-plus decades in the music business. “You’ve been behind me every step of the way … this doesn’t get old!”

After delivering his heartfelt hit Small Towns and Big Dreams, which got audience members clapping along, and the tongue-in-cheek Get a Bed, Brandt walked through the crowd to do a medley of slow tunes on a raised platform.

The amiable former pediatric nurse sang That’s What I Love About Jesus, inspired by church songs he grew up with. He continued with the slow-paced Home and Calm Before the Storm. After his strangely off-key version of I Meant to Do That, Brandt obligingly took his time taking a series of selfies with fans’ cellphones, while languidly performing his early hit, I Do.

Just as I was about to nod off, Brandt returned to the main stage and ramped up his pacing for My Heart Has a History and I’m Gonna Fly — which had fans stamping so hard, the stands were vibrating. Hello wake-up call!

Brandt’s biggest crowd-pleasers were Didn’t Even See the Dust and his terrific cover of the 1975 novelty song Convoy, which featured a Volkswagen Beatle-sized rubber duckie carried around the audience — something you don’t see every day …

White cowboy-hatted Brody performed a more evenly paced, high-energy set with his five-piece band.

At his best, the B.C. singer delivered a simmering, pot-boiler version of his Bring Down the House, complete with sexy banjo bits (no, that’s not an oxymoron). It’s Friday was performed as a memorable, Celtic-flavoured toe-tapper, while his opening tune, Bounty, had a haunting quality aided by a lonely train whistle sound.

At other times Brody listeners were required to suppress every ounce of cynicism to appreciate sentimental country fare, such as Little Yellow Blanket, People Know You By Your First Name, and Dirt Roads Scholar.

But the great thing about this artist is just when you think you have him figured out, Brody surprises with less predictable songs such as Wildflower, with a stirring electric violin solo, and the boisterous Roll That Barrel Out, with its Caribbean vibe.

Whether the chainsaw he deployed during his Mountain Man song falls into this category, I can’t say. But you’ve got to love Upside Down, about smokin’ weed. The tune contains traces of yodelling, whistling and is played on the ukulele. Brody said he was taught to perform on the tiny Hawaiian instrument by his eight-year-old daughter, who happens to play a yellow ukulele decorated with a unicorn.

“She taught me three chords and I wrote this song … but she’s not allowed to listen to it until she’s about 17 … or 18,” added the singer, who headed towards a strong finish with his hit, Dirt. In the spirit of country music, the song came ingrained with an acute sense of time passing.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People board and leave at the Century Park light-rail transit station in Edmonton on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Racism is a real problem:’ Growing number of attacks against Black Muslim women

‘Racism is a real problem:’ Growing number of attacks against Black Muslim women

Alberta Health Services declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Revera Aspen Ridge on Feb. 1. (Photo by Advocate staff)
Two COVID deaths linked to Revera seniors residence in Red Deer

35 active COVID cases at seniors residence

Red Deer musician Lorry Boschman has written a song about love in the time of COVID-19. Proceeds from his single, Romance during a Pandemic, will be donated to the local United Way. (Contributed photo).
Local musician records a song about love in the time of COVID-19 — for charity

Lorry Boschman will donate some proceeds to the United Way

Preliminary data shows Alberta’s suicide rate declined in 2020 — but some mental health critics say it’s too early to draw any conclusions since more dire pandemic impacts are only now being felt. (metrocreative stock)
Alberta’s suicide rate seems to have declined in 2020

But some experts say it’s too early to credit the pandemic

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre can accommodate up to 20 patients requiring a ventilator, says Alberta Health Services.  File photo by Advocate staff
Opinion: UCP government reneging on Red Deer hospital funding

Another year, another Alberta budget and another blow to central Albertans. Budget… Continue reading

Seattle Storm guards Sue Bird, right, and Jordin Canada pose for photos Wednesday, March 3, 2021, on the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle after they raised a flag with the team's new logo on it. Bird re-signed with the Storm earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Lille players celebrate after Jonathan David scored his side's second goal during the French League One soccer match between Lille and Marseille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

Canada defender Shelina Zadorsky, right, passes the ball in front of Argentina forward Sole Jaimes (9) during the second half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. Alphonso Davies and Shelina Zadorsky have been named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack
Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Manchester United's Fred, left, and Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park stadium in London, England, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Mike Hewitt/Pool via AP)
Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Grueling season starting to catch up with Man U, Leicester

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Gary Sanchez goes deep, Yankees hit three home runs to beat Blue Jays 4-1

Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) dunks as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The undermanned Toronto Raptors, down five players and six members of their coaching staff due to health and safety protocols, are scheduled to host the Detroit Pistons in their first action since last Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Carlos Osorio
Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Powell, Lowry do their bit but undermanned Raptors beaten handily by the Pistons

Canada's Ghislaine Landry, left, runs past France players during the Women's Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco, Friday, July 20, 2018. The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, grounded last year by the pandemic, will return for the women in May. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Chiu
World Rugby unveils condensed 2021 sevens schedule with Vancouver a question-mark

World Rugby unveils condensed 2021 sevens schedule with Vancouver a question-mark

Most Read