Brownlee: From hockey sticks to steel guitars

Performer ready to raise the temperature at Bud Country Fever
By ADAM JACKSON Herald-Tribune staff

Canadian country music star Chad Brownlee has dropped the gloves – and the rest of his hockey equipment – in the search of a music career and he will share his tunes in Grande Prairie at this wekend’s Bud Country Fever.

Brownlee is scheduled to appear Saturday from 6 to 7 p.m., warming the crowd up for George Canyon and Billy Currington who are scheduled to end the night.

“I think it’s great, every time I can share a stage with artists and songwriters that have a lot of years under their belts, it’s a great experience for me,” said the 2003 sixth-round draft choice of the Vancouver Canucks. “I sit beside the stage and try to pick up a few things here and there.”

Brownlee spent some time in the East Coast Hockey League with the Idaho Steelheads, but eventually chose country music as his full-time profession after an injury-marred career.

“I took some time in my last year to really figure out what it was I wanted to do,” said Brownlee.

“I lost my love for the game so that really pushed me out and all the while, I was working on my music and songwriting and I had such a strong passion for it, it almost made the decision for me.

“I haven’t looked back since.

“My body is thanking me for it.”

The 2011 CCMA rising star award recipient will also bring along Hayley (born Hayley Rita McLean), described as ‘‘the quintessential chick with a guitar’,’ to Grande Prairie as a part of his nation-wide tour with the young star.

“She’s an incredible talent, we have been very fortunate to have her as part of the band for the last year or so and it’s fun watching her career take off as well,” said Brownlee.

“She’s released her first single ‘Feeling California’ and it’s kind of nice being able to feature that song in my set.”

Brownlee’s songs, including his hit singles ‘Day After You’ and ‘Love Me or Leave Me’ have very personal tones, speaking to past relationships and hardships he has seen in his life, something he believes allows listeners to truly relate to his music.

“That’s what got me into music in the first place – being able to relate to the songs,” said Brownlee.

“I want to write songs so the listener can say ‘Yeah, he wrote this song about me’ and I draw from personal experiences to find authenticity within the song.”

Brownlee says country music fans that make the trip to Evergreen Park for Bud Country can expect a high-energy, fun show that is constantly evolving with him and his band.

“As long as I can see people singing back, smiling and dancing, we’ve done our job.”

Hockey Sticks & Guitar Picks

Did you catch the 1st episode of Chad Brownlee’s Hockey Sticks & Guitar Picks? There’s more to come throughout the playoffs!

Here’s a clip from the first show: