Dean Brody Brings Country (And Some Friends) To Toronto

Dean Brody did something Thursday night only a handful of Canadian country artists have done before – headline a major venue show in downtown Toronto.

The 42-year-old B.C. native thrilled thousands of fans at the Budweiser Stage (formerly the Molson Amphitheatre) in a set that included surprise guests.

Shevy Price came out to lend her voice to “Beautiful Freakshow,” the title track of Brody’s most recent album, and Alan Doyle popped in for “Soggy Bottom Summer.”

Brody said it was a simple as picking up the phone and asking Doyle if he’d come.

“He’s such a good sport. He had the day off so he flew in.”

The night of country music included performances by Tim Hicks, Carly Pearce and a surprise appearance by Dallas Smith.

Brody said he was thrilled to be able to perform on a big stage in a Canada’s biggest city. 

“It’s awesome to actually be in Toronto and have this kind of turn-out,” he said in an interview with “To have this kind of a stage to play is encouraging.”

The singer said urban dwellers can appreciate the themes of country music. “A simple life,” he said. “What we sing about, we celebrate small town values, things like that, and I think people gravitate towards that.”

Brody said there’s no science to crafting the perfect song — but he knows when he’s written something special.

“If it moves me in any way,” he explained. “If it makes me super happy or I can’t stop playing it.

“Even more so, if I play it for people I really trust, in my inner circle, and they go ‘Wow, that sounds really good’ or they cant stop singing the hook, then I go, ‘Oh, OK, this might have some legs on it.”

Brody added: “You just try your best and write something that you love and that you think your fans might appreciate.”

Fans are important to Brody (one of his five CCMA nominations this year is in the Fans’ Choice category), who uses social media to stay connected. Earlier this year, he shared news about the end of his marriage on Facebook.

“I do try to share with them things that I’m going through,” explained Brody. “I love people to know I’m normal.

“I am a really private person but I know my fans appreciate knowing me. Part of why they love what I do is that they feel like they know me somewhat. So I love giving them a glimpse at my life.”

Brody also reflected on the first time he heard one of his songs on the radio. Driving in Pennsylvania, he heard “Gravity” — from his 2009 debut — come on.

“We pulled the car over and listened to it,” he said. “It was just really magical. I’ll never forget that.”

These days, though, he’s more likely to turn the radio off when one of his songs comes on.

“Once we’ve got a song done and we’ve recorded it and we’ve done it a thousand times, we don’t want to listen to ourselves.”