Canadian Musician - March / April 2018 - Page 34

Brett Kissel The Continuing Rise of Canadian Country By Andrew King W e’re amidst a watershed for Canadian country music. Exactly when it began and when it will peak – or whether it already has – is up for debate, but the number of Canadian country artists with coast-to-coast visibility is as high as it’s been in recent memory, and many of those artists’ individual pro- files remain on the rise. Brett Kissel and Meghan Patrick are members of this current cohort who are leading the charge as flagbearers for this ongoing musical movement. Both are signed to Warner Music Canada – a label whose roster is as fine an example of this trend as anything. Whereas Warner was largely dormant in the modern country market just a few years ago, now it boasts a diverse and thriving country roster that, in addition to our cover stars, includes the likes of Aaron Goodvin, High Valley, JJ Shiplett, Paul Brandt, The Abrams, and The Washboard Union. Kissel and Patrick share a few other things in common. Both have relocat- ed to Nashville from their Ontario homes in recent years, and both are proudly flying the flag of Canadian country despite their new addresses. And even though there’s a music market that’s hungry for what they’ve got to offer, the two are also amidst the process of carving out music careers that work for them, learning through a combination of those to have come before them and the ever-trusty school of trial-and-error-type life experience. Canadian Musician caught up with the two to see how they’re progress- ing on their respective paths shortly after the release of their latest studio albums. Brett Kissel Brett Kissel didn’t sleep in the same bed for more than three nights in a row throughout all of 2017. He counted. Twice. “The fact that we play as many gigs as we do, we’re always up in Canada, always on the tour bus. We spend more nights in hotels and on our bus than we do at home,” he tells Canadian Musician – and he’s just fine with that. Kissel is a born performer. He loves being onstage. Some look at touring as a means of sustaining a music career; for Kissel, it’s the whole reason he has one, and that had a significant impact on the shape of his latest record, 2017’s We Were That Song. 34 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N &