Paul Brandt Opens Up About Humboldt Tragedy

Canadian country singer Paul Brandt opened up recently about the heartbreak he felt upon learning of the horrific Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan.

“Me and my wife Liz, we spent the night, I’m not kidding, like a lot of Canadians probably, balling our eyes out and praying and trying to make some sense of this situation,” he recalled. “You feel useless.

“Last time I had this feeling was probably around 9/11, where it’s like, OK, all the control’s been taken away.”

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Speaking to Forman of BX93, an iHeartRadio station in London, Ont., Brandt said he had recently rewritten his 2001 hit “Small Towns and Big Dreams” for Hometown Hockey – and knew he had to dedicate the song to the Humboldt victims and their families.

“I thought about those boys and I thought, I bet because of the kind of guys they are and were, they took a lot of big risks,” the 45-year-old Calgary native explained. “They paid a lot for their dream and they probably would have wanted me to go and sing this song.”

Brandt said he’s pleased so many Canadians are finding comfort in the song, but he also hopes it moves them to do some good.

“Use that as a reminder to go sign your donor card, go donate some blood,” he urged. “Sometimes with situations like this, we can’t fix them, but we can walk alongside people and that’s really what we were hoping to be able to do with this song – is just show them we’re here for you.”

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Brandt sat down with iHeartRadio to talk about his new EP, The Journey. He also reflected on some highlights from his long career in country music.

The singer recalled how he got Keith Urban to contribute a guitar solo on Brandt’s 2004 song “Leavin’” and how the song ended up doing some good.

“We had spent some time together in the early days when we were both playing clubs throughout the States [and] always really clicked. He was always very nice to me,” Brandt said. “I met him at the CCMAs again and he heard the song and he’s like, ’I’ll see you in Nashville. I totally want to play on that.’

“So, he walks in, plays the song and then looks at me and he’s like ‘Is that OK?’ I’m like, ’You’re Keith Urban. Like yes, that’s OK. Whatever you play is OK.’”

Brandt said Urban insisted that he donate his fee to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.