Juno award-winning Canadian country singer Brett Kissel has always been more of a musician than a jock.
But having played at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg two years ago, he says he knows what it takes to get a crowd of athletes pumped for a sports competition: “Everybody listens to music to get all fired up — whether it’s great music in your locker room, or it’s at a giant concert.”
Kissel is ready to deliver an adrenaline thumping free show starting from 6 p.m. under the big tent Saturday night at Canada Game Plaza.
He and the opening act, Manitoba First Nations singer Frannie Klein, will launch the 2019 Canada Winter Games concert series with a familiar lineup of tunes. Kissel pledges to perform every last song that his fans are expecting to hear.
“So be careful for what you wish for,” he adds, with a laugh.
Since this will be his first concert of 2019 (“I’ve been hibernating,” he jokes), “We just might end up playing all night, or even all weekend…”
The St. Paul, Alta. native, who now lives in Nashville, can look back on an amazing 2018.
He was the No. 1 most played artist on Canadian country radio, also topped the pack in sales, and held his biggest-ever world tour for his last album, We Were that Song. It includes the fast-rising track Cecelia.
Although the song was named and written for his wife, the lyrics about longing are resonating with hundreds of country music fans — which Kissel says is about the best you can hope for, as a songwriter.
On Jan. 27, the couple celebrated the birth of their third child — and first son— in Edmonton.
Kissel says they travelled back to Alberta for the delivery because they wanted their boy to be born in Canada, surrounded by extended family members.
Their two pre-school daughters are so far adoring their little brother, “so it’s a very special time for us.”
While the singer doesn’t plan to bring his young family on this short jaunt to Alberta, he still intends to travel as much as possible with his wife and kids — including on a planned tour of the U.K and France later this year.
“We Airbnb it,” he said, taking over a house rather than a hotel room, giving the kids plenty of space to play and be noisy.
His other big plan for 2019 is to start planning his next release.
“I’ve already got 25 new songs for the new album,” he says. As these need to be whittled down to the 10 best, Kissel isn’t sure when the album will be ready.
But it seems the public isn’t done yet with his current album. He was thrilled to be nominated for a 2019 Juno Award for country album of the year for We Were That Song.