The rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of those attending this year’s inaugural Boots and Hearts Country Music Festival at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario. The show featured a star-studded lineup including Tim McGraw, Kid Rock, Lionel Ritchie, Carrie Underwood, and Paul Brandt, who we caught up with before his performance.

Festivals like Boots and Hearts are important to Paul because it gives him the opportunity to thank his fans.  “They (festivals) are like award shows in a way.  You get to see a lot of people that you don’t get to see every day that you’re friends with and who you worked with in the past.”

Paul described the backstage scene of the festival as “laid back.”  When asked if this was something unique to country music, Paul explained, “I’ve heard it said that there’s not another genre of music where there’s so much collaboration and camaraderie in a backstage, behind-the-scenes kind of setting.  They (the artists) don’t put a lot of airs on, they’re just people.”

Paul Brandt at Boots and Hearts Country Music Festival

When we asked Paul what inspires him to write songs, he said, “I’ve heard people say to be good at songwriting you have to be a great observer of life.  You have to watch what’s going on and really absorb it.  Take it in and internalize it and try and bring it to people in a way where they will be engaged … it’s the thing I love the most about what I do. It’s very different, I find, than performing.”

As a proud owner of what he calls a “muscled out” 2012 Ford F-150 Eco Boost, Paul openly mentioned his personal experience working with Ford.  “I know that (Ford’s) new slogan is ‘Go Further.’  A part of the inspiration behind that is to reach beyond communities and around the world, to do things that are important and I love that this is what Ford stands for.”

Recently Paul’s foundation worked with Ford to secure support for a benefit concert to help raise money for those affected by the Slave Lake fire in Alberta.  After raising over $175,000 from the concert, Paul asked those who attended if they could “look beyond their tragedy to someone else’s.”  The people of Slave Lake responded generously by paying forward 25 per cent of the raised funds to Paul’s organization, allowing his team to work on projects in Haiti, “making lives down there better.”

What was Paul most looking forward to on the day of his Boots and Hearts performance?  “I just love getting in front of the crowd. It’s just about rocking out and having a great time so I’m looking forward to it!”

After catching Paul’s energetic, boot-stomping performance, we can tell you he did just that!

Paul’s latest album Just As I Am is also scheduled for release this fall.

Special thanks to Paul Brandt, Tammy Love and the team at Brookline Public Relations Inc. for making this interview possible!