Paul Brandt, the most awarded Canadian male country artist in history, took to the half house stage at CN Centre Sunday night for one of his Now Tour stops across the country.
Brandt's a nice guy with a great voice that's good a cappella, with an acoustic guitar and a smokin', full-on eight piece band.
It doesn't matter who is on stage with him, his rich tone and perfect pitch come through and he reaches out to touch all the fans who love him for the sweet man he is.
You can't help but like him, he's a great entertainer.
At one point Brandt waved in time with four teens to the right of the stage, their arms raised and orange bracelets glowing neon in the dark. Brandt pointed at one lady who jumped up, reaching out her arms to connect with her favourite Canadian country singer. Even the entire section waving frantically to get the artist's attention get a special wave and a wink.
Brandt started the concert with his title song, Now, then gave Leo and Donna a special shout out with a dedication of Together Again. As Brandt wished Donna all the best, his voice cracked with emotion, telling us this song wasn't just picked at random. The crowd knew this was serious business with the lyrics: Everything's falling apart right now, but with all of the hope that my faith allows, Ill be waiting till we are together again.
Then it was time for a mood lifter and Brandt picked I Do where he asked the audience to sing along as he promised 'to be your best friend'. After a few bars, he said the Prince George audience was better than Kamloops, which prompted even more enthusiastic crooning as the crowd made sure there was no doubt who had the louder pipes.
Small Town & Big Dreams got most everyone on their feet, especially when Brandt added Prince George to the lyrics.
The crowd also got a peek on the big screen of Brandt when he first started his singing career, entering the Calgary Stampede talent contest. After three years Brandt won the contest with Garth Brooks' The Dance and at 17, he said he thought the $1,000 grand prize would last him forever.
I have to mention what a great set special guests High Valley did. They got everyone revved up with On the Combine, they're latest hit Have I Told You I Love You Lately and a few others. The band is made up of brother Curtis, Brad and Bryan Rempel, who were raised on a farm singing harmonies since they were little. Nominated for Country Album of the Year, the Juno nod is just one of many so far for the band, and as the group stood on stage and belted out the tunes, you knew why.
A great show that had people skipping out of the stadium with big grins on their faces.