WOLFVILLE -- Imagine the East Coast without music or the vast variety of shows, music festivals and intimate concert venues.
We are so fortunate to have amazing music at our disposal through the internet but the feeling of a live show can’t be beat.
Just off the heels of the Alan Doyle concert and the Deep Roots Music Festival, the Valley is being treated to another song-filled concert extravaganza on Oct. 26 when Dean Brody, joined by Jessica Mitchell, hits the Convocation Hall stage in Wolfville.
Dean Brody is a name that is very familiar to a lot of us. He’s a two-time Juno and 16-time CCMA award winning Canadian Country Music artist with a string of hits under his belt and a huge fanbase. He’s hitting the road this fall for the Dirt Road Stories Tour, beginning Oct. 20 in Truro. Brody is stopping in both small towns and larger markets with this compelling, intimate acoustic tour set to showcase his depth as a songwriter, and his unparalleled ability to bring storytelling to the forefront of country music.
For his East Coast dates, Brody will be joined by acclaimed singer-songwriter Jessica Mitchell, giving listeners a taste of her genre-bending sound with tracks on her recently released debut album, Heart of Glass. Immediately following, Mitchell will set out on her first-ever solo tour dates across the country. Truly a diverse act, Mitchell has been lauded as ‘country music’s Adele’ and likened to Sheryl Crow. Mitchell has previously toured with the likes of Johnny Reid, Terri Clark, Bonnie Raitt, Ron Sexsmith, and Royal Wood. She has spent the last decade traveling between Toronto and Nashville, collaborating with top-notch songwriters, focusing on writing new music and crafting her richly unique sound, culminating in an a raw, record that embodies powerful and soulful melodies and lyrical brilliance.
I had the pleasure of interviewing this dynamic duo about their collaboration.
When asked how this collaboration took place, Brody said, “I met Jessica a few years ago and fell in love with her voice. She has so much passion and power in her delivery of a song.”
When asked about the journey to create her new album, Mitchell said, “It was a long journey, five years of writing and development. It was truly difficult to choose the songs mostly because of how many I had fallen in love with but it’s a perfect representation of that chapter of my life. It has a very eclectic feel to it, with a little something for everyone I think, all the producers and co-writers involved definitely added a unique touch. I’m just excited that people have gotten to hear it finally. It’s something I’m very, very proud of.”
Asked how he stays motivated with many awards and accolades to his name, Brody said it’s all about constantly striving to improve.
“I always try to evolve, to keep moving, to not be satisfied with comfort or achievement. The journey is what it's all about for me and working hard is part of who I am. I love pushing myself in whatever I do, whether it's music or a new jiu jitsu sequence, or whatever! So that's what keeps me going - reaching for something always just beyond my grasp,” he said.
“People inspire me. I've always enjoyed trying to understand people and to tell their story and not simply my own. Recently I wrote a song about Rosa Parks. It started as an image, I saw her in my imagination as a little girl wrestling with the racism at her school and her growing up into the silent, fierce woman and human rights activist she became. I could see her sitting on that bus in Montgomery, Alabama - not as simply a grown woman - but as the little girl inside her. Even our greatest heroes - they have a vulnerability that makes them special, and ultimately comparable to us. I get quite emotionally involved with some songs. That sometimes makes them easier to write.”
Mitchell often draws on her own experiences when it’s time to write a new song.
“Life inspires me. I love to bank memories, good or bad, and turn them into a story. It usually starts having a conversation with my writing partners and that sets the tone for the process. It’s all about the emotion.”
Both artists can be tracked on social media.
“Social media allows me to interact directly with my fans. Little moments that I can share that help everyone see how "normal" I am. (Or ABNORMAL!) I can be a huge dweeb and have a lot of fun not taking myself too seriously,” said Brody.
“I like being able to share that with them. Instagram is probably the best place for following me.”
Mitchell can be reached on many platforms: Twitter @jessicamitchell, Facebook: Jessica Mitchell Instagram@jessicamitchellmusic, YouTube Channel: Jessica Mitchell
And we know it’s not all about the touring and music. In their spare time both artists have hobbies like everyone else. Brody says, “I found that MMA has been a great way for me to do something completely different than music. I can show up at the gym and just work hard and not talk a whole lot. I don't have to be ‘on’ at the gym. And the friendships I've made there have brought me back to how and where I was raised. Hard working, blue collar folks that don't care if you're a country star or not. I appreciate that balance in my life.”
Mitchell loves movies, video games, yoga, cooking and hanging with friends, and finds being a homebody a rewarding separation from the music world.
If you go: Dean Brody and Jessica Mitchell play at Convocation Hall in Wolfville Oct. 26. Tickets can be purchased through www.deanbrody.com or the Acadia University Box Office.