Famed Canadian country star Paul Brandt is showing who he really is, and that involves giving back.
Brandt is travelling across Canada on his "Just As I Am" tour, and will be stopping in Cranbrook for a special concert at the Alliance Church on Sunday, May 19 at 7 p.m.
Compared to the megaconcerts the Juno and CCMA Award-winning Brandt sells out, this tour is a tribute to his humble beginnings — he will be singing gospels from "Just As I Am", his seventh studio album — in churches instead of booming theatres.
"This album is a gospel album and this is the kind of music that really I cut my teeth on," said Brandt in a phone interview with the Townsman. "I grew up listening to this music and it's really, I guess in a lot of ways, my roots.
"I thought it made a lot of sense to put it into perspective and play these songs where they would usually be heard and invite people to come and hear them at the church."
In 1996, Brandt became the first Canadian male country singer to hit the Top 10 Billboard Country Music Chart in more than 20 years. From there, he has since come to be recognized as the most awarded Canadian male country singer, with a resume of number one hits and gold and platinum albums.
But despite being at the top of the country music world, Brandt relishes in giving back to others, and not in the fame and fortune.
Thus, proceeds of this tour are going towards The Build It Forward Foundation, which helps the poorest of the poor in developing countries.
"The thing that drives Build It Forward is just using it to be able to take care of people around the world, to reach out to them and to love our neighbours as ourselves," Brandt said.
"The reason behind it, really for me, is that it's influenced by my beliefs. In the Christian belief it's an important part about what we believe — to reach out and to try to help people whenever we can."
Currently, the foundation is financing a project in Haiti to rebuild a soccer field, a playground and a church that were destroyed in a high magnitude earthquake.
Some proceeds will also be going towards the local churches where Brandt plays.
"When you are on stage and you are doing this every single night and you know it's doing something good for somebody, that's a pretty exciting feeling."
The concert will be held at the Cranbrook Alliance Church, on 200 Kootenay Street Cranbrook, at 7 p.m. May 19. Tickets are $40, purchased at the door and at the church's office. They can also be bought in advance for a discount price of $33.71 (plus tax) online at www.paulbrandt.com or by phone at 1-800-965-9324.