Brett Kissel plans for a Grand Slam at Centrefield

Kissel excited to play in front of the home crowd at Jaycee Ball Park

“I’m in such a great mood! I’m so excited and can’t believe things are happening in St. Paul, the way they’re happening; it’s crazy!” County music superstar, Brett Kissel says selling out Jaycee Ballpark for the second year in a row has him floored. The 26 year old, from Flat Lake, says he could have never imagined when he was playing catcher as a kid at Jaycee Ballpark that one day he’d sell out the field for a two-day music festival.

“It’s tough to find the words to describe how happy and appreciative I am, to come back. It’s just such a great feeling,” St. Paul will always be home, says Brett, “there’s so many great memories there; but the fact that we can build memories and maybe be a part of other people’s stories, as they come out and party and have a great time at Jaycee Ballpark, to my music and the music of my friends… I just think it’s all around going to be nothing but a great time.” In grand slam line-up for the two-day music festival, with Brett, are Trooper, Aaron Prichett and Carolyn Dawn Johnson, with promises of more artist releases to come as the event nears.

Last year Brett held his Hometown Homecoming concert on June 18th to a sold out crowd. The one-day show, held at the same venue, on nearly the same day, was a huge success and featured up-and-coming local talent, Olivia Rose and Cassidy Zahar, as well as the great Charlie Major. Brett said there was magic on the field that day and wanted to continue the tradition at Jaycee, “a lot of people have been asking (why we don’t move to a bigger venue). Sometimes we’re thinking, ‘maybe we do something bigger, maybe we take it to the next level’; but for us, we just loved the layout of it.” Jaycee Ballpark is located right off main street St. Paul, in the heart of the community, adjacent to the Rec Centre/Clancy Richard arena and positioned right behind St. Paul’s famous landmark, the UFO Landing Pad. “We have the name now, Centrefield, which of course is a baseball theme and the fact that you kinda have to go with what you know. We were very lucky and thankful with the response we got last year. So you think, ‘can we repeat it?’.”

The Town of St. Paul loves that it’s in the heart of St. Paul. We love what it looks like, it’s so accessible for everybody and it’s got a great feeling. It’s got a festival atmosphere, while still being intimate. – Brett Kissel on Jaycee Ballpark

Kissel says baseball held a special part in his upbringing, laughing as he reminisces about his older brother Jamison and him switching positions on the field, as the years went on, “my brother was a shortstop and as a kid, I was always a little chubby, so I would play catcher or first base; because that was a position where I didn’t really need to run. But then, as I got older and we started playing beer league, they started putting me in the outfield, so they could all play the infield and not have to run as much.” Kissel says he “loves baseball,” which just adds to the reasons why Jaycee Ballpark was the ultimate location for the Centrefield Music Festival.

Wife Cecilia helped shape Brett’s music

Brett says it’s absolutely important for his family, wife Cecilia, daughter Mila and wiener dog Charlie, to be close to him. The foursome almost always travel together, “we travel in a pretty compact little unit. It’s me being selfish and just wanting to be around them and not missing out on anything.” Before Brett’s career blew up, he and Cecilia talked about what type of family they wanted to have, “in this business and in most that people have to travel a lot to make a living, it takes a toll on families. When Cecilia and I first got married and we talked about what we wanted to accomplish as a husband and wife, we always felt that traveling together is really important so that we can always be together and maybe break the stereotype of a lot of people in music.”

Brett says a lot of his latest album Pick Me Up is based on his relationship with Cecilia, “and it two ways,” explains the country singer. “One, there are certain songs, like the song content, that talk about [her]. Some of the love songs and even my first song, ‘Airwaves’, it became my first number one. It talks about love. I remember when Cecilia and I got together, we were one of those couples that would crank things up on the radio. I think we really gravitated towards great music and having it be the soundtrack to our story. I think Airwaves is like that.”

“The other way that Cecilia has had her input in the songs and the record; even if that songs was not a personal attachment to us,” as Brett explains, his wife has always been his number one adviser, “she has such great ears and the perfect female demographic, I’ve always appreciated her opinion when it comes to songs that I’ve recorded of other people’s.”

“There are a lot similarities that we have, we both fell in love with classic country music. Her favourite is George Jones, one of my favourites is Johnny Cash,” Cecilia also helped open Brett’s musical range, “thanks to her I really got into pop music. I wasn’t into pop music, it was always country, country, country.” Brett laughs as he reflects, “then I started dating this amazing girl and we start listening to some amazing artists that I never listened to or never gave the chance to. Thanks to her and her diverse taste I’ve been able to become a better artist.”

New Music & What Brett’s listening to 

Brett says he’s been spending a lot of time perfecting new music that he plans on releasing very shortly, “there’s different versions of the new music that we’ve cut. That’s one of the big things that’s been occupying a lot of my time.”

When he’s not tweaking and refining his new music, Brett says he’s been really into Canadian talent, “it’s awards season right now, and the Junos are coming up. I’m listening to some of my friends in the business. I really, really like Mariannas Trench. They’re a band that I’ve always loved and I really enjoy their new record and some of the older stuff too.”

For country music, Brett’s been spinning Brother Osbourne’s latest track, ‘Stay a little Longer’ and Bruno Mars for his pop flavour, “his new record is fantastic.” Again thanking wife, Cecilia for his new-found diversity in musical tastes.

Small Town Likability 

Brett says being approachable comes natural in a way, because he’s from a small town. “It kinda comes as second nature. Based on two things; one, grow up in a small town where everybody knows everybody and two, I love to have conversations,” Brett recalls hanging at the Co-op Mall while parents or grandparents were shopping and just sitting on the benches, chatting with people as they passed by. His family has always been chatting by nature, “I remember in high school, going to get the mail and it would take 30 minutes, because I’d just start visiting with everybody.”

On the flip side, Brett says there have been famous people that he looked forward to meeting, that couldn’t be bothered with him. He never wants to leave a negative impression on a fan, “just as a fan or as an equal in the business, they never had the time of day for me. I’ll never forget that and I want to make sure, moving forward, that I never leave a young artist or a fan with that type of feeling; cuz it never feels good.”

On Garth Brooks

Brett’s childhood icon, Garth Brooks, was completely approachable, “he’s such an inspiration because Garth is so nice. He’s so kind and so genuine. He’s just a down-home country boy. He reminds me of someone from our hometown, someone that you could just sit and talk about hockey with, talk about life, about cattle, about farming; he’s just so normal. That’s what’s so amazing about someone so extraordinary being so normal. He truly is a fantastic role model for me.”

It took a lot of nerves for Brett to open for Garth, on Brook’s nine show stop in Edmonton. Brett opened for two of those shows and laughs at how much mental strength it took, “simply because he’s very aware. He was side stage for my entire performance. You just want to impress him and you want to impress the hometown crowd.” Playing at Roger’s Centre really blew the young musician away, “it would be like a kid in hockey going out knowing that Wayne Gretzky was in the crowd. That’s what it was like for me, ‘alright Brett, don’t make a mistake, you can do this.'”

Centrefield Music Festival

Tickets are sold out to the two-day festival on June 16-17 in St. Paul, with more artist announcements on the horizon. Until June, Brett will be working in the studio on his next project and hopes to be able to bring the party to the ballpark this spring!