Canadian country artist Brett Kissel brought his Airwaves Tour to The Roxy Theatre in Barrie for a high energy night of country music. The near sell-out show comes early in the cross-Canada tour for Invictus Entertainment clients Kissel and supporting act Jordan McIntosh. This show has been on my radar since it was announced a few months ago. Something about Brett Kissel’s music just resonates with me so I was happy when this day arrived. Things are certainly taking off for Brett both personally and professionally. He and wife Cecilia are expecting a baby, due in February 2016. And it’s easy to see why Kissel has found success with his music. The catchy single Airwaves, for which the tour is named, has reached gold status in sales on his Warner Music label and has also enjoyed heavy rotation on country radio. This tour also comes on the heels of Brett’s appearance on the legendary Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville, a rare honour for any artist let alone a Canadian country performer.
So yeah, I was stoked to be covering this event! This show kicked of with French-Canadian artist Yoan, who opened for the Airwaves Tour in Quebec. He was not originally on the bill for this Barrie show, but was certainly a great addition to the night’s entertainment and we’re glad he made the trip to Ontario. Yoan has seen some awesome results of his work, winning season 2 of La Voix (which is the Quebec version of The Voice). And his first solo album released in March 2015 broke sales records (with 35,000 copies sold in it’s first week!) and has been certified platinum. His deep baritone voice and smooth guitar skills were a great way to get everyone warmed up. Yoan was accompanied by the really slick slide guitar playing of Rick Haworth for his acoustic set, and the crowd were very appreciative. We will absolutely be seeing and hearing more from this talented Canadian.
Next up came the introduction for Carleton Place Ontario’s Jordan McIntosh who opened with All About The Girl much to the crowd’s delight.
He captured his audience right away and got things heated up by following up with songs Story Of My Life and That Girl. His boyish good looks and non-stop smiles added to his presence on stage. Jordan was a great choice for an opening act, with a great voice and his own unique style. He is enjoying some great exposure and touring experience in advance of his debut record Grew Up In A Country Song, which is slated for a 2016 release. Jordan whipped the crowd up with a strong set, got things rolling and set the stage for Kissel’s arrival. He came back out later in the show, joining Brett on stage for another number. I am definitely looking forward to hearing and seeing more of Jordan in the future, because he certainly has one!
After the break, BAM! Right from the opening chords Brett Kissel owned the rest of the night. This was definitely a country music crowd, and they were immediately right into it and looking for a good time. With lots of western boots, hats and plenty of plaid, they rocked and swayed with beers in hand for a great night of live country music. It was a great venue to see this show, with a good sized stage to give a true concert hall feel, but intimate enough for everyone to feel close to the action with great sightlines. The sound was spot on, and Brett had everyone dancing. The show opened the with I Can Play Guitar as the Canadian Kid immediately connected to his audience. With band mates Matt McKay on guitar, Ben Bradley keeping time on the drum kit, Tyler Vollrath on the fiddle/guitar and Justin Kudding on bass, they entertained us thoroughly and completely.
Things rolled along wonderfully with a set list that provided a nice congruent flow of tempos and moods. Standout songs were 3-2-1 and the obvious Airwaves. And of course everyone loved the Blue Jays game updates and the fact that Brett donned a Blue Jays cap at one point. But memorable moments for me were Brett wading out into the middle of the audience for a couple of songs including an amazing version of Great Day To Be Alive and then taking peoples phones to capture some selfies. He also brought one lucky fan onstage who was celebrating her birthday. He sang with her, and then gave her his guitar, which he autographed for her. Talk about making this girls night! This is an artist who really knows how to connect with his audience. Brett also brought Yoan back out for Good Hearted Woman , and as mentioned did the same with Jordan McIntosh for a medley version of Raise Your Glass. It was a full-on, high energy country music show.
The tour supports Brett’s Sept 2015 Pick Me Up record, and after leaving Barrie, Brett moves on to other Ontario shows before heading through western Canada to complete the bulk of this Canadian tour. My last comment… GREAT SHOW! Make sure you catch it as they come through your town, you won’t be disappointed.
Scott Burns / @SBurnsimages