It was an unseasonably warm and sunshine filled autumn day on October 11 2011, as I traveled to Sanderson Centre, Brantford, to see the CMT Hitlist Tour, starring Canada’s hottest male country stars, Dean Brody, Aaron Lines and Deric Ruttan. CMT is hitting the road with 26 cross Canada tour dates. The tour kicked off September 22nd in Kelowna, British Columbia and rolls into 26 different cities in 31 days, with the last stop ending in Halifax October 22. What makes this a unique tour is that every set list is different. The fans vote online and pick the 4 cover songs that they want the trio to sing, and the band does not find out what songs they’re going to sing until that day. The night held great promise of a fantastic show. Last night was their very first show in Ontario!
The crowd was eager and waiting when the band took to the stage right on time as scheduled. As the lights dimmed and the first few familiar notes began, the Sanderson Centre exploded with energy. Dean Brody, Deric Ruttan and Aaron Lines opened the show with “Hey Good Lookin’, an old familiar Hank Williams fan favorite! Deric and Dean left the stage. Aaron Lines, who was nominated for Album of the Year at this year’s CCMA Awards for his new album release of Sunday Afternoon, got the show started with his hit single Turn It Up! Then he sang You Can’t Hide Beautiful, another one of Aaron’s hit singles, next he sang Lights Of MY Home Town. He told the audience that he “writes emotional songs from the heart.” Then the crowd went wild when he proceeded to sing Cheaper To Keep her. The fans were dancing in their seats and singing while Aaron was interacting with his audience. Aaron then left the stage.
Next, Deric Ruttan took to the stage. Deric is from Bracebridge Ontario, and was happy to be back in Ontario. Deric is an accomplished singer-songwriter and has just released his 4th album Up All Night-Deric Ruttan Live. The last time he performed at the Sanderson Centre was in 2005 with Paul Brandt. Deric’s wife was in the audience this evening. The first song Deric sang was When You Come Around, followed by First Time In A Long Time. Next he sang That’s How I Wanna Go Out; then he rocked the crowd with Goodtime. All the girls in the audience were screaming and hollering! Deric then left the stage.
Next Dean Brody took to the stage and performed his rockin’ song Roll That Barrel Out. The whole audience was singing! Then he sang Little Yellow Blanket followed by Wildflower and People Know you by Your First Name. Girls in the audience were holding up personal signs during this song. Dean was shaking hands with the audience. Lastly he sang Trail In Life. Dean won Album of the Year, Single of the year, and Songwriter of the year for Trail in Life at this year’s 2011 CCMA awards.
Then Aaron and Deric joined Dean on stage and they became more intimate with the crowd as they sang in a “Nashville circle,” and sang acoustic versions of their songs and told stories to their audience. Aaron sang a song that he had written for his own wedding called I wanna Be That Man! The crowd went silent in awe! Next Dean sang a comical song about kissing’ cousins, followed by Deric signing a more serious song about his grandpa called Main Street 1979. Dean performed his famous song Brothers. I’m sure there were a few tears in the audience as she said this song is for anybody who had lost or fought for Canada in any of the wars.”
Next it was time for the trio to sing the fans choice cover songs! The band came back on the stage and they rocked out to Summer Of 69 by fellow Canadian artist Bryan Adams! Next they sang Copperhead Road, by Steve Earl, followed by Jessie’s Girl by actor/singer Rick Springfield. And of course as I mentioned at the start of my review the trio’s first cover song for the night was Hey Good Lookin’. Great choice of cover songs from the fans!
What a great show! The Boy’s were very intimate and up close to their audience. The Sanderson center was built in 1919 and was recently renovated. The acoustics were great! The audience could clearly hear the artists sing and their voices were not muffled by the band. Well done CMT Hitlist tour, I can’t wait to see you in Guelph, ON.