Monday, September 23, 2013

Former Vernon Viper Brownlee Just Hitting His Stride In Country Music:

Here is an article I found on former Vernon Vipers defenceman Chad Brownlee. Brownlee a recipient of his first JUNO Award nomination back in February is a country music star, played two years in Vernon (2001-03). In 113 regular season games with the Vipers Brownlee collected (14-28-42). Brownlee was drafted in 2003 in the 6th round, by the NHL Vancouver Canucks but retired from hockey after a short stint in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) with the Idaho Steelheads before becoming a Country music star.

Chad Brownlee's Player Profile:

For more on Chad Brownlee visit his website,

This was in the Calgary Herald Newspaper:

Chad Brownlee just hitting his stride in country music

By Mike Bell, Calgary Herald July 15, 2013

So. You have a pretty lucrative career: CEO, small business owner, podiatrist, whatever. You probably also have a hobby, right? Something that helps you pass the time, perhaps a passion, like squash or stamp collecting or gardening.

Now what if that full-time job was gone, taken away from you or no longer an option? Could you turn that hobby into a new career? One that you could, quite conceivably earn just as much with, if not more? And be just as happy, if not more?

So you’re not Chad Brownlee — a former Vancouver Canucks draft pick who’s found incredible success as a Canadian country music star. One with no regrets.

“I’m happy with what life dealt me. But I think I walked alongside what life has dealt me as far as making a decision to follow this path,” Brownlee says, noting his decision came mainly as a result of recurring injuries.

“But I was fortunate enough that I had a hobby that I was working on throughout all those years that I could just jump into. Obviously it wasn’t a given that I would be successful at it just by choosing to do so, there was a lot of variables as well that came into it, a lot of people that helped me get to this point but I really don’t see myself as doing anything other than music

“It’s one of those things where I feel like this is really what I was meant to do my entire life and that’s a pretty cool feeling.”

Even cooler thanks to the success he’s achieved in four short years. Two albums, charting singles such as Carried Away, Crash and Smoke In the Rain, Juno nominations, Western Canadian Music Award nods, a Canadian Country Music Awards nomination for Male Artist of the Year on the strength of his latest release 2012’s Love Me or Leave Me, and a winner of the Rising Star Award the previous year for his self-titled debut — yeah, things are going pretty well as far as a backup plans are concerned.

The B.C.-bred Brownlee admits, though, that despite the results and the possibilities, that first year after making the decision to switch streams was a period of adjustment. It wasn’t the easiest time for him and one filled with doubts, with the musician not even being able to watch hockey or talk about it, noting he had to deal with the knowledge that “everyone knows you as a hockey player, your family your friends, it’s who you are, it becomes your identity.”

“I had a year of ‘what if?’ ” he continues. “And, ‘What am I really doing here and why am I playing open mics and working as a server in Vancouver and giving up this game that I played for so many years?’ But you know what, at the same time there was that eternal voice telling me that all was good and everything was going to work out.
“So, I can’t complain.”

No, no he can’t. Again, life is pretty great for Brownlee and only seems to be getting better.

He admits he’s become more and more comfortable with he who is as an artist and the direction he wants to go. And to that end, he’s currently working on his third album, already having written a handful of new songs that he’s “really, really excited about” during sessions in Nashville and Toronto, with the hopes that he’ll hit the studio in the fall.

But before that, his summer schedule is already filled with some high-profile dates, also showing how far he’s come, how much his star has risen in the last couple of years.

Take his Sunday show on the mainstage of Sasky country music fest, the Craven Country Jamboree, just before Scott McCreery and closer Kenny Chesney. It follows last year’s somewhat lesser prestigious performance there, which he nonetheless describes as “pretty epic.”

“I played the beer gardens last year on the Sunday night after the main shows had finished. And everybody flooded in and it was absolutely crazy. We played for over two hours and we probably could have played longer, everyone was just ready to party and have a good time.

“So I’m looking forward to hitting the mainstage this time,” he says.

“That’s what most artists want is that progression, that constant progression, and I’m lucky enough to be having that over the last few years. In a short career I’ve had it’s just gone so fast. To be at this point, is really incredible.”

Of course, before he gets there — the mainstage — he still gets to perform on Saturday night at the Stampede equivalent of the beer garden, Nashville North.

He’s well aware of the rowdy reputation of the venue and is looking forward to dealing with the particular challenges it provides, well versed in the type of zoo he’s heading into.

“I call it the three Bs: Beer, barf and brawts,” Brownlee says with a laugh.

“You kind of get used to it after awhile, though.”

Chad Brownlee performs Saturday night at Nashville North.

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