Canadian Musician - March/April 2023 | Page 34



Musical Compass

By Matt Bauer | Photos : Ben Dartnell
With Brett Kissel ’ s four-part The Compass Project being released throughout 2023 , the multiple-Juno and CCMA winner embarks on an ambitious sonic sojourn .


rivals the late , great Prince in terms of scope and ambition : a fourpart project to be released over a one-year period . Yes , that ’ s four albums in one year — something no major artist has attempted recently . Yet Brett Kissel is up for the challenge with the recently released The Compass Project South Album , which will be followed by three more geographically themed and influenced albums to be released this year .
“ I ’ m very excited about the success that this first album is having . So far , I genuinely believe that this is kind of a concept that has been 10 years in the making ,” an enthused Kissel says over Zoom from Summerside , PEI on the day of a sold-out show . “ Over the last decade in this business , I ’ ve learned so much . And I ’ ve really realized that , as a very versatile artist , there are so many different lanes that I can travel down at any given time in my shows , at any given time as a songwriter . I could probably travel down one of these four paths , and understanding that those are integral parts of who I am not only as an artist , but as a human being , as a dad , as a husband , but also as an entertainer . It ’ s really cool to now have this chance to not just double down , but really , really explode creatively with these four very unique records .”
The Compass Project South Album is an earnest , infectious and effervescent celebration that doesn ’ t let up over its 30-minute run-time . “ I ’ m still splitting my time between Nashville and our family farm in Alberta , [ the Wengzynowski North View Cattle Ranch ]. It ’ s been in our family for you know , 113 years , and my wife and I were very lucky we were able to buy the ranch from my grandparents . So it will last another generation , I have a cowboy boot on each side of the border , to be honest . So I love my life and Nashville , and I understand how important that is to a country music career . But I also love the farm life , you know , a quieter life up in Alberta . So with that being said , yes , the South album is very , very much dedicated to how great the scene is in Music City . How much I love being on Music Row , and , you know , recording new country music in such a special way .”
Born in St Paul , AB , in 1990 , Kissel believes that a career in country music was pre-destined . “ I was surrounded by country music in terms of what was played on our tractor , what was played on the radio , getting ready for school . And no one in my family ever played