In 2009, Brownlee released his self-titled debut album.Brownlee says, ”I look back on it, and I really can’t believe where I was three years ago with my first single to where we are now. It’s gone like lightspeed.”
Indeed, Love Me or Leave Me is a strong effort from start to finish. The lead-off single, “Love Me or Leave Me,” cracked the top 10 on the Canadian country radio charts. The album’s second single, “Smoke in the Rain,” has just been sent to radio.
“It’s been fortunate that country radio in Canada has been playing my songs and the fanbase is growing. Can’t ask for more than that,” Brownlee says.
Love Me or Leave Me features a more mature, adult sound than Brownlee‘s debut record. He says, that ”I knew more going into this album. I was a little more experienced, a little more confident in what I wanted. It was a very rewarding experience.”
Brownlee cites “In His Own Terms” and “Leave Here Dying Young” as his two favourites off of Love Me or Leave Me. “In His Own Terms” was written for his grandfather and “Leave Here Dying Young” is about his dad. Brownlee says that he loves songs with a deep personal connection.
In February, Brownlee toured with Dierks Bentley from Vancouver to Winnipeg. The eight-date tour was a great experience for Brownlee, both personally and professionally. ”[Dierks] and everybody on his crew were so welcoming. We got along great. We had a blast, we just wish we had more shows to play together,” he says.
Brownlee is a former professional hockey player. He was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the sixth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He last played for the Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League in 2008.
Brownlee shared his love for hockey with Bentley when the two were in Winnipeg on the last date of their tour. “We went out with guys that do a game-day shinny, guys that work for the [Winnipeg Jets]. It was me, Dierks and his fiddle player [Dan Hochhalter]. It was definitely one of the highlights.”
Bentley is somewhat of a poster-boy for the NHL in southern U.S.A. markets like Nashville. During the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Bentley‘s “Am I the Only One” was used by the league for promotional purposes. Brownlee says that ”For the amount that [Dierks] has probably been out on the ice, he does pretty good for a southern boy. He just enjoys it, it’s fun to be around people like that.”
Brownlee says that overall, his hockey career has had a lasting influence on his music. ”I don’t regret a second of my hockey days, hockey’s turned me into a person who can navigate his way through the music business. You need a thick skin at times, you can’t just stop at an obstacle that gets in your way.
“Hockey’s definitely one of those sports that teaches you that. You’re gonna have teams you don’t make, coaches who are yelling at you. You can’t just cower and look away, you have to face the music. That’s what makes you stronger. If I didn’t have those years of hockey I wouldn’t be in the position I am today,” says Brownlee.
Love Me or Leave Me has been getting great feedback from fans via Facebook and twitter, and Brownlee admits to checking social media to gauge fan response to his new music.
In 2012, Brownlee and his band will be playing a series of show dates at country music festivals like the Craven Country Jamboree in Craven, Saskatchewan, the Boothill Hill Country Jamboree in Bothwell, Ontario, Manitoulin Countryfest in Little Current, Ontario and Capital Hoedown in Ottawa, Ontario.
Brownlee says that for theses summer festivals, his band is preparing to bring their live show to a whole new level of entertainment.
Check out Chad Brownlee‘s latest single, “Smoke in the Rain,” on radiowrangler.com
Special thanks to Holly Cybulski at HC Consulting.