Dean Brody and Jessica Mitchell: East Coast Tour Lands in Wolfville!
By Mike Butler
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 October 26 when Dean Brody and Jessica Mitchell hit 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 sixteen-time CCMA award-winning Canadian Country Music artist with a string of hits under his belt and a huge fan base. Dean is hitting the road this fall for his Dirt Road Stories Tour, beginning October 20 in Truro, NS. Dean is stopping in both small towns and big cities with this intimate acoustic tour that will showcase Brody’s depth as a songwriter.
For his East Coast dates, Dean will be joined by acclaimed singer-songwriter Jessica Mitchell, giving listeners a taste of her recently released debut album, Heart of Glass. Immediately following, Mitchell will set out on her first-ever solo tour across the country. Mitchell 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 a record that embodies powerful and soulful melodies and lyrical brilliance.
I had the pleasure of interviewing this dynamic duo about their collaboration. There’s such a great energy with these performers and you should run and grab your tickets for their show as soon as possible.
When asked how this collaboration took place, Dean 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, we knew it would be special to have her on tour.”
Jessica spoke candidly about the process of creating her new album. “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.”
I asked Dean, with so many awards, accolades, and a huge fan base already solidified: what keeps him motivated and striving in his career? “I always try to evolve, to keep moving, to not be satisfied with comfort or achievement.” he responded, “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.”
I was excited to hear what inspires these hardworking, passionate artists. Dean says, “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 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.”
Jessica’s inspiration comes from her own life: “I love to bank memories, good or bad, and turn them into a story. It usually starts with having a conversation with my writing partners, and that sets the tone for the process. It’s all about the emotion.”
As mentioned earlier, music is everywhere these days (I am a fan of buying CD’s) but you can locate Dean and Jessica’s music and travels through social media, and keep updated at all times. Dean appreciates social media because “it allows me to interact directly with my fans. Little moments that I can share that help everyone see how ‘normal’ I am. I can be a huge dweeb and have a lot of fun not taking myself too seriously. I like being able to share that with them. Instagram is probably the best place for following me.” And Jessica pointed out, “social media has its moments, I try to stick to the music as much as possible, there’s enough going on in the world that we could use a little break every once in a while so I do my best to bring joy into it. I really love connecting with fans, and it’s nice to have a platform to connect with them directly.
I was interested in hearing about the touring process and how Dean and Jessica felt about the long hours of performing on the road. According to Dean, “touring allows us to see our country and all our fans in a very compressed amount of time. I love it. So many different regions and cultures in one country and yet we all have a common ground. I wish everyone could experience Canada like we get to on a tour. As far as advice for other touring musicians goes: get out of the the venue and leave the bus and go for walks in the towns you travel to. Take those moments to enjoy our diverse and beautiful country. It’s easy to get into the habit of staying inside!” And similarly, Jessica said, “I’m really excited to get to travel across the country again, it’s such a privilege to get to go back to these places time and again. I think I’m mostly looking forward to touring the record and getting to play older songs that I haven’t focused on in a while.”
And we know it’s not all just about the touring and music. In their spare time Dean and Jessica have hobbies like everyone else. Dean says, “I’ve found that MMA has been a great way for me to do something completely different from 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.” Jessica says her love of movies, video games, yoga, cooking, hanging with friends (and being a homebody) all provide her with a rewarding separation from the music world.
Dean and Jessica arrive at Convocation Hall on Friday October 26 at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased through deanbrody.com or the Acadia University Box Office. Best of luck to both Dean and Jessica and enjoy the show!