When the Lights Go Down the hometown crowd erupts into cheers and whistles as Canucks draft-turned-country-singer Chad Brownlee steps out onto the stage. Almost blushing, Brownlee steps up to the mic,”hello Kelowna!” And the crowd goes crazy again as Brownlee and the band begin the first song.
The evening is a fine mix of familiar songs, radio hits, and friendly banter, with various crowd members (who obviously know Brownlee) shouting out quips in between songs- to which Brownlee returns the shoutout, often asking, “is that you so-and-so?” much to the delight of the rest of us. Brownlee mentions a few friends by name here and there, and introduces his parents and grandmother (sitting in the 4th or 5th row), and generally just treats the audience as one big family reunion at a backyard BBQ. The icing on the cake is hearing Brownlee play a few songs on the Sherwood Hockey Stick guitar, which will be auctioned on Brownlee’s website with all proceeds going to Tim Horton Children’s Foundation.
Brownlee periodically regales us with stories about where the songs come from, or what the meaning is behind a song and it was great to get some insight into some of them.. The radio hits become sing-alongs, with the sold out audience matching Brownlee in passion if not in talent!
Brownlee’s band doubled as band for openers Bobby Wills and Jess Moskaluke, both of who made a brief reappearance to sing a duet each, and a song or two with all three performers on stage. Their voices blended well together and after being on tour for such a length of time, the banter between all three artists was firmly rooted in familiarity and mutual respect and admiration as evidenced by Brownlee telling us that Wills had the ‘voice of an angel’, and Moskaluke sharing some insight into the ‘boys’ tour bus jokes. The evening ended with a good mix of country and pop/rock with a cover of Bruno Mars UpTown Funk.
All in all the evening was enjoyable. Brownlee may not jump around the stage like some of the more ‘rockin’ country acts out there today, but his passion is palpable, and his voice is one that you could listen to all day long. He’s also a highly accomplished guitar player, which truly came forth in the mini acoustic set Brownlee did mid-set. Brownlee is an artist who will outlast the trendy ‘artist of the month’ performers, and will surely be around and doing well for years to come.
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*read our review of Chad Brownlee’s subsequent show in Vancouver Commodore Ballroom written by Rob A Fillo HERE.