CMA Songwriter Series, Toronto: Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Marcus Hummon, and Levi Hummon

On Tuesday night in Toronto, four country music singer/songwriters sat on the stage at The Great Hall to share their stories and songs with an attentive, appreciative audience. It was powerful and peaceful and everything we love about the magic of music.

The CMA Songwriter Series came to Toronto and featured Canadian superstar Dean Brody, emerging star Jessica Mitchell, and a familial duo of writers and performers from Nashville in Marcus Hummon and his son Levi Hummon. These four artists sat, with smoke and lights behind them for ambiance, and offered us everything we could have hoped for. There were jokes and laughter on stage and in the crowd, there were moments of closed eyes and intent listening, and there were tears, because that’s what happens sometimes when the songs and stories and situations come together perfectly in music.

Note: The Country Music Association (CMA) also presented a music and brand forum earlier in the day, offering great research and insight into the country music landscape in terms of audience and consumption and more. And know this, country music is alive and well and strong in Canada, the numbers prove it.

Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon and Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

During the Tuesday evening performance, each of the artists on stage took four turns to their songs… with one cover thrown in when Marcus Hummon paid tribute to Canadian rock and roll legend, Neil Young by playing The Needle And The Damage Done.

And while Marcus did throw in a cover, he also shared three amazing and famous country songs that we were privileged to hear. The elder Hummon started with Born To Fly, the 2001 #1 single from Sara Evans, followed that up with Cowboy Take Me Away, the 2000 #1 hit from The Dixie Chicks (co-written with Martie from the country music mega-trio), and after his Neil Young cover, he wrapped by singing a duet of Bless The Broken Road, the 2005 #1 record by Rascal Flatts (first recorded and released by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and then Hummon himself) and winner of the 2006 Grammy for Best Country Song.

Marcus Hummon, Levi Hummon, Jessica Mitchell CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

Following Marcus in the lineup of singing and sharing was Levi Hummon. The 26 year old singer/songwriter showed his talent, proving that it’s in his blood, and that he’s got the same thing inside of him that his daddy does.

Levi has been named One To Watch by multiple publications, he’s played CMA Songwriter Series shows in the US and abroad (UK, Netherlands, Sweden) and his 2017 single Stupid is nearing 7 million streams on Spotify.

On Tuesday night the younger Hummon played Don’t Waste The Night (with nearly 3.5 million streams of its own), Songs We Sang, Love Heals (his next single, coming soon), and Stupid, the track that is helping him make his name as a young country artist.

Levi Hummon showed the Toronto crowd that he has the songwriting chops, and the voice to carry himself through a career. His range is impressive, he’s crisp and in tune with where country is right now, and it’s clear that he has deep roots in the genre.

This was Levi’s first trip to and show in Toronto… we’re guessing it won’t be his last.

Jessica Mitchell and Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

Next in line was Jessica Mitchell, the CCMA nominee and one of the best people we know. Mitchell showed off the power, connection, and emotion in her songs over her four turns, and shared some information that is setting up a big 2018 for her.

Earlier in the day it was announced that Jessica Mitchell will be the opening act on Johnny Reid’s upcoming Revival Tour over two months from late February to late April. It’s a massive trip across the country, and a great opportunity.

The second piece of news was equally, if not more, exciting… Jessica told the crowd that her debut album, Heart Of Glass, will be released this spring. And while she told us after the show that she doesn’t have an exact date yet, it was clear that she’s excited to share this collection of songs with the world.

On her first round, Jessica played Bulletproof, a new song that we should expect to hear on the new album. On her second trip through, she played her 2017 single, Tear It Down, and as we quietly sang along we were reminded once again of how powerful she is.

Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon, Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

When her third turn, Mitchell played the title track to the upcoming record. Heart Of Glass is good, deserving of the lead on the album, and fits perfectly with everything we know about her ability as a songwriter to explore and capture that things that we feel but don’t always know how to say.

And, on Jessica Mitchell’s fourth and last turn we got exactly what we hoped for and were afraid of.

A year and a half ago we first heard Mitchell play Workin’ On Whiskey at the Country Music Association of Ontario awards and were blown away. We’ve watched and listened as her career has taken off since then and have heard Jessica play the song live a bunch. However, that takes absolutely nothing away from the impact the song had on Tuesday night. The room was quiet. You could have heard a pin drop. It was only Jessica Mitchell, her guitar, and a song that will make you cry. It was perfect.

Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon, Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

On the end of the stage, in jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap, was Dean Brody. The BC born country star who has played for thousands and thousands of fans, has been celebrated with awards from the CCMA and at the Junos, and continues to write and record hits.

Over his four turns on Tuesday night, Brody shared some new music, and played a favourite. He connected with the fans and industry in the Toronto audience, and he did his part to impress upon all of us, how country music works at its heart.

The first time through the rotation, Brody played a new song. And while we don’t know the official title, or when/if it will make it to a record or single, we’ll tentatively call it Moonlight Girl. It was sweet and lovely and the kind of acoustic track that puts a smile on your face.

On this next turn, Dean put a little vacation feeling in the room with another new song. Leaving Mexico (another title we’re unsure of) is a little different for Dean as it tells the tale of leaving Mexico at the end of a trip, rather than the odes to the country that he’s sung about going to before.

Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

On the third trip, Dean Brody put a feeling of love in the room, playing a song that he wrote after finding a person that has clearly put a smile on his face.

Happily Ever After (our last tentative title, we promise) is the kind of song that couples will latch onto. It is sweet and full of love and will be played on radio and at weddings. Whenever it is released it will become a fan favourite. We’d bet on it.

And then, on Dean Brody’s last turn, and for the last song of the night, he played the song that earned him the Canadian Country Music Association’s Songwriter of the Year award in 2017… Time.

If you’ve heard the song, you know how hard it can hit you. And if you’ve heard Dean Brody sit in a silent room and play it on his guitar, with nothing between you and the song, you know that can stop everything and own you.

Hearing Time on Tuesday night at The Great Hall was the end to a wonderful evening. One that brought laughs, excitement, cheers, and tears to the intimate crowd.

Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

More Photos from of Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Marcus Hummon, and Levi Hummon at the CMA Songwriter Series, Toronto

Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Jessica Mitchell CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell and Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Jessica Mitchell and Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon and Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Levi and Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Empty Chairs under blue lights - CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

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3 comments on CMA Songwriter Series, Toronto: Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Marcus Hummon, and Levi Hummon

  1. Stephen James Wright says:

    Saw Jessica Mitchell play HEART OF GLASS with Kathleen Edwards on backup at the Drake Underground last year.

    She just blew me away and I said it then, and I say it now, that song is a HIT and is going to blow her up to a whole lot more people.

    1. Joshua Murray says:

      She is so good. And, she’s genuinely one of our favourite people on the planet. Also, she might make us more emotional than any other artist when she’s on stage singing…

      1. Stephen James Wright says:

        Something about her voice has such a fragility that just cuts to your core. But then she opens up and BAM, that power hits you like a mac truck.

        She is legitimately a very, very special talent. Saw the video of her doing Neil Young at the Massey Hall Songwriters tribute a few months ago, and she made me tear up.

        Just brilliant, and I can’t wait to hear the new record.

Give Us Your Two Cents!

CMA Songwriter Series, Toronto: Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Marcus Hummon, and Levi Hummon

On Tuesday night in Toronto, four country music singer/songwriters sat on the stage at The Great Hall to share their stories and songs with an attentive, appreciative audience. It was powerful and peaceful and everything we love about the magic of music.

The CMA Songwriter Series came to Toronto and featured Canadian superstar Dean Brody, emerging star Jessica Mitchell, and a familial duo of writers and performers from Nashville in Marcus Hummon and his son Levi Hummon. These four artists sat, with smoke and lights behind them for ambiance, and offered us everything we could have hoped for. There were jokes and laughter on stage and in the crowd, there were moments of closed eyes and intent listening, and there were tears, because that’s what happens sometimes when the songs and stories and situations come together perfectly in music.

Note: The Country Music Association (CMA) also presented a music and brand forum earlier in the day, offering great research and insight into the country music landscape in terms of audience and consumption and more. And know this, country music is alive and well and strong in Canada, the numbers prove it.

Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon and Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

During the Tuesday evening performance, each of the artists on stage took four turns to their songs… with one cover thrown in when Marcus Hummon paid tribute to Canadian rock and roll legend, Neil Young by playing The Needle And The Damage Done.

And while Marcus did throw in a cover, he also shared three amazing and famous country songs that we were privileged to hear. The elder Hummon started with Born To Fly, the 2001 #1 single from Sara Evans, followed that up with Cowboy Take Me Away, the 2000 #1 hit from The Dixie Chicks (co-written with Martie from the country music mega-trio), and after his Neil Young cover, he wrapped by singing a duet of Bless The Broken Road, the 2005 #1 record by Rascal Flatts (first recorded and released by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and then Hummon himself) and winner of the 2006 Grammy for Best Country Song.

Marcus Hummon, Levi Hummon, Jessica Mitchell CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

Following Marcus in the lineup of singing and sharing was Levi Hummon. The 26 year old singer/songwriter showed his talent, proving that it’s in his blood, and that he’s got the same thing inside of him that his daddy does.

Levi has been named One To Watch by multiple publications, he’s played CMA Songwriter Series shows in the US and abroad (UK, Netherlands, Sweden) and his 2017 single Stupid is nearing 7 million streams on Spotify.

On Tuesday night the younger Hummon played Don’t Waste The Night (with nearly 3.5 million streams of its own), Songs We Sang, Love Heals (his next single, coming soon), and Stupid, the track that is helping him make his name as a young country artist.

Levi Hummon showed the Toronto crowd that he has the songwriting chops, and the voice to carry himself through a career. His range is impressive, he’s crisp and in tune with where country is right now, and it’s clear that he has deep roots in the genre.

This was Levi’s first trip to and show in Toronto… we’re guessing it won’t be his last.

Jessica Mitchell and Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

Next in line was Jessica Mitchell, the CCMA nominee and one of the best people we know. Mitchell showed off the power, connection, and emotion in her songs over her four turns, and shared some information that is setting up a big 2018 for her.

Earlier in the day it was announced that Jessica Mitchell will be the opening act on Johnny Reid’s upcoming Revival Tour over two months from late February to late April. It’s a massive trip across the country, and a great opportunity.

The second piece of news was equally, if not more, exciting… Jessica told the crowd that her debut album, Heart Of Glass, will be released this spring. And while she told us after the show that she doesn’t have an exact date yet, it was clear that she’s excited to share this collection of songs with the world.

On her first round, Jessica played Bulletproof, a new song that we should expect to hear on the new album. On her second trip through, she played her 2017 single, Tear It Down, and as we quietly sang along we were reminded once again of how powerful she is.

Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon, Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

When her third turn, Mitchell played the title track to the upcoming record. Heart Of Glass is good, deserving of the lead on the album, and fits perfectly with everything we know about her ability as a songwriter to explore and capture that things that we feel but don’t always know how to say.

And, on Jessica Mitchell’s fourth and last turn we got exactly what we hoped for and were afraid of.

A year and a half ago we first heard Mitchell play Workin’ On Whiskey at the Country Music Association of Ontario awards and were blown away. We’ve watched and listened as her career has taken off since then and have heard Jessica play the song live a bunch. However, that takes absolutely nothing away from the impact the song had on Tuesday night. The room was quiet. You could have heard a pin drop. It was only Jessica Mitchell, her guitar, and a song that will make you cry. It was perfect.

Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon, Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

On the end of the stage, in jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap, was Dean Brody. The BC born country star who has played for thousands and thousands of fans, has been celebrated with awards from the CCMA and at the Junos, and continues to write and record hits.

Over his four turns on Tuesday night, Brody shared some new music, and played a favourite. He connected with the fans and industry in the Toronto audience, and he did his part to impress upon all of us, how country music works at its heart.

The first time through the rotation, Brody played a new song. And while we don’t know the official title, or when/if it will make it to a record or single, we’ll tentatively call it Moonlight Girl. It was sweet and lovely and the kind of acoustic track that puts a smile on your face.

On this next turn, Dean put a little vacation feeling in the room with another new song. Leaving Mexico (another title we’re unsure of) is a little different for Dean as it tells the tale of leaving Mexico at the end of a trip, rather than the odes to the country that he’s sung about going to before.

Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

On the third trip, Dean Brody put a feeling of love in the room, playing a song that he wrote after finding a person that has clearly put a smile on his face.

Happily Ever After (our last tentative title, we promise) is the kind of song that couples will latch onto. It is sweet and full of love and will be played on radio and at weddings. Whenever it is released it will become a fan favourite. We’d bet on it.

And then, on Dean Brody’s last turn, and for the last song of the night, he played the song that earned him the Canadian Country Music Association’s Songwriter of the Year award in 2017… Time.

If you’ve heard the song, you know how hard it can hit you. And if you’ve heard Dean Brody sit in a silent room and play it on his guitar, with nothing between you and the song, you know that can stop everything and own you.

Hearing Time on Tuesday night at The Great Hall was the end to a wonderful evening. One that brought laughs, excitement, cheers, and tears to the intimate crowd.

Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

More Photos from of Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Marcus Hummon, and Levi Hummon at the CMA Songwriter Series, Toronto

Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Jessica Mitchell CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Dean Brody CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell and Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Jessica Mitchell and Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Levi Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Dean Brody, Jessica Mitchell, Levi Hummon and Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Levi and Marcus Hummon CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall Empty Chairs under blue lights - CMA Songwriters Session at Toronto's The Great Hall

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