Canadian songwriter Brody builds Nashville career

Tue Feb 3, 2009 8:49pm EST
 
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By Ken Tucker

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Growing up on the edge of the Canadian Rockies in rural Jaffray, British Columbia, singer-songwriter Dean Brody spent a significant part of his childhood involved in 4-H, fishing, hunting and splitting firewood. In his spare time he played guitar and wrote songs.

At 16 Brody, like most other boys around town, started working at the local sawmill. But after years of writing on the side, Brody knew that to move forward with music he had to leave town.

"I wondered if there was something more to life than a 9-to-5 kind of job," he says. "The longer I spent working there, the more I wanted to get out of town and move to Nashville." So in 2004 he loaded up a U-Haul and began the 2,500-mile trek to Tennessee.

He didn't know a soul in Music City. "I had nobody," he says. After a mass mailing to Nashville labels, Brody eventually got a music publishing deal and focused on songwriting.

But after two years with the publishing company, Brody got the news that his contract and U.S. work permit wouldn't be renewed. He and his family moved back to Canada. But when Brody called friend and producer Matt Rovey to give him the news, Rovey told him that Keith Stegall, who was working at the independent label Broken Bow Records at the time, was interested in signing him. Brody promptly returned to Nashville.

The artist's first single, "Brothers," about two siblings, one of whom goes off to war, is No. 35 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. The song recently peaked at No. 10 on sister publication Radio & Records' Canada Country chart.

"I had just finished watching 'Band of Brothers' on HBO," Brody says of writing the song. "I thought about what it would be like for a little kid to see his older brother go off to war." (Brody's younger brother spent two years in the Canadian Armed Forces.)

Brody has recorded a self-titled album produced by Rovey. A release date hasn't been set.

Reuters/Billboard