Canadian Country Spotlight: Chad Brownlee

Chad Brownlee, born in Kelowna, British Columbia (my former place of living) has been a consistent hitmaker up here in Canada for a few years now. Brownlee’s two biggest assets are 1. His ability to always sound 100% engaged to the lyrics and 2. His versatility. He can sing up-tempos, mid-tempos and ballads all at a high level. Here are five highlights of the Chad Brownlee discography:

“Listen” (from Love Me or Leave Me)

“Listen” is a mid-tempo that exemplifies Brownlee’s strengths as a vocalist. He doesn’t oversing it, something that was a very real possibility in the hands of a different vocalist, he adapts to the production changes throughout, and puts in the right amount of passion when he needs to. “Listen” also possesses a strong melody, a surprisingly restrained production (I was totally expecting a bombastic production considering the buildup before it) and strong lyrical content with the narrator begging his woman to come back. It also features one of my favorite things in music, tempo changes. I love tempo changes, and it was just the cherry on top of an already winning single.

 

“Day After You” (from Chad Brownlee)

“Day After You” is a brilliant example of Brownlee’s strength as an interpreter. He drenches the lyric in heartbreak, and it obviously helps that “Day After You” is already such a strong lyrical offering about the days after a breakup. The production doesn’t reach full blown power ballad status and the melody is eerily similar to the brilliant but often forgotten “It’s a Good Thing” by Jaron and the Long Road to Love. “Day After You” is the type of song that I want more of on mainstream country radio, and it’s certainly a shining moment of Chad Brownlee’s career.

 

“Smoke In The Rain” (from Love Me or Leave Me)

I see a trend here. Another breakup song. Thinking he’s a one-trick pony? Far from it. One great and very underrated skill is to be able to take a similar topic and execute different ways. “Listen” was a song begging his ex to come back, “Day After You” was a mourning of sorts and now the third one, “Smoke in the Rain” is the narrator leaving in an angry state and declaring “someday you’re gonna wish that I was still here.” Once again, it’s a fine performance, and while the production can get a bit cluttered, it’s not a major gripe. Good stuff.

 

“Crash” (from Love Me or Leave Me)

“Crash” is an intensified love song, using metaphors like “a train through a house of glass” to describe the feeling of love. The producers, once again, do a masterful job of keeping the production under control, and out of the way. Likewise, Brownlee, also once again, does a stupendous job of injecting a high amount of emotion into the song. While it’s not his strongest effort melodically, everything else is spot-on.

 

“Leave Here Dying Young” (from Love me or Leave Me)

I’m a sucker for a good “live life to it’s fullest” song, and Brownlee’s ranks up there with efforts from the likes of Tim McGraw, Brantley Gilbert and Montgomery Gentry. It’s perhaps Brownlee’s best song ever, a pleasant melody, an outstanding production and totally kick-ass lyric. I’m starting to sound like a broken record now, but Brownlee also sounds like he means what he’s singing, and it’s clearly sung from the heart, as the video below will show. Masterpiece.

 

Fun Fact: Chad Brownlee is a former Vancouver Canucks draft pick (my favorite NHL team!), 6th round, 190th overall. Bonus Points!