Hailing from Barrie, Ontario, Kansas Stone consists of core members and long-time friends Brian Harwood and Matt Davey. They are a high-energy country band that fuels off of many different styles and delivers a sound that ranges from old and new country, blues, and rock. This duo is also known for their catchy melodies and well-crafted original songs. Kansas Stone’s single, “Blaze of Nothing,” was nominated for the Music Video of the Year award at the 2019 Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) Awards.
Brian John Harwood has also had success as a solo artist. He’s a skilled songwriter as well as a singer/musician with a unique sound. His passion for whatever he does is off the charts stellar. In July, he released his latest single and video (feat. Clayton Bellamy) “Make You Mine.” It’s a fun tune with an upbeat track that puts a really different spin on a love song. The video is so great to watch. These two together will definitely bring a smile to your face.
Now, on to the interview I had with Brian John Harwood, via email. This was a great opportunity for me, through Canadian Beats, to chat with Harwood about this time in his life, as an artist and man, and more. Check out my questions and his answers. You will enjoy what you read.
Let’s chat about you and charity events …
You recently were a part of the Barrie Tornado Relief concert (your hometown) and are on stage for the upcoming Country Cares concert being held on September 11. How does it feel to be part of a group of artists performing at charity events to raise monies for such great causes?
It feels amazing to be able to use my music for good. I will always jump at the chance to help out any way I can.
What was it like hosting the after-party at the Barrie Tornado Relief concert, to help raise money for the families affected by the Barrie tornado?
I saw firsthand the damage the tornado caused to so many people in my neighbourhood, I just wanted to do anything I could to help, so I started planning this event. It feels really good that I could help out my community and I thank everyone that helped make the day possible.
Do these platforms tie in to who you are as artists? Are your fundamental beliefs the same as these organizations’ own mission and their fundraising efforts? If not, how does it differ?
Yes, absolutely I feel they all tie in together. I would not play or support something I do not believe in. I feel it’s good to always be yourself and be true to who you are.
How do you choose which charity gigs to do?
Like I said before, I choose the charities I believe in and the ones that are important to me. I love my community and just want to see it thrive.
Any event is enhanced by live music. It lifts the atmosphere of the crowd. How is the atmosphere different at a charity gig vs. a regular gig?
Live music is live music … it doesn’t make a difference if it’s five people or 5,000 people, I still put on the best show that I can and hopefully leaving a smile on someone’s face.
The Blue Mountain Country Cares concert presented by Countryfest Productions to benefit Unison on September 11 includes ten country bands on one stage. What a day that will be. Can you tell a bit about this event and why you want to be a part of it?
I am a big supporter of Union Benevolent Fund. They are there to help the industry that I love and hold close to my heart. I recently wrote a song called “Together We’re Strong” and was able to donate $15K to Unison at this year’s CMA Ontario awards. Anything I can do to help Unison or our music industry, I am first in line.
What’s it like for you to open for The Road Hammers, knowing that you and Jason McCoy are good friends?
It’s still a dream come true every time I get to share the stage with Jason. It’s been great becoming close friends over the years but I still look up to him and he is still one of my influences in music, so even though we are friends I am still in the front row watching his shows like I’m just a fan.
All info for The Blue Mountain Country Cares concert can be found at: www.snapd.com/countrycares
Let’s chat about your single, “Change’” feat. Ches Anthony that was released everywhere on August 20.
Can you tell us how this song came about and what it means to you?
Well, it started when I asked Ches to come write a song a few years ago. I had an idea about letting people know that it’s never too late to change and as soon as Ches, Matt Davey and myself sat down, the song came out pretty quickly.
Who produced “Change”?
Ches Anthony produced the track.
Did you record this single in a studio or did any part of it have to be done remotely?
We actually had this song recorded before Covid hit so we recorded together in person. We just waiting for the write time to put it out.
How and why did you choose Ches Anthony to collaborate with you on it?
Not only is Ches a good friend of ours he is one of Canada’s best vocalists and I’ve wanted to do a song with him since the first time I heard him sing. That’s a big check of the wish list.
What do you hope people take away from this song?
I just want people to know that it’s never too late to turn your life around and make a change. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget and you just feel stuck but you can always change.
“Change” is available on all digital platforms, so download it, save it or stream it.
Now, Brian, on to something a little more personal, and random …
I read that not only are you a singer-songwriter with Kansas Stone but you are also a solo artist. Being in a band is great but some artists hope for something more personal. Is this the reason why you chose to also be a solo artist?
Honestly, I just started writing songs that were more personal to me and a different style than my band, Kansas Stone. When the pandemic hit it just gave me the alone time to write more on my own. It was the perfect time to release solo music when Kansas Stone was taking a bit of a Covid break.
Do you find you get the same kind of encouragement being a solo artist vs. being in a band?
I am really grateful for all the support I get for both the solo project and Kansas Stone. I thank everyone for their love and support.
What are the advantages and the disadvantages between the two?
Honestly, I love doing them both and am just lucky to have the opportunity to do both.
You have twins on the way. Congratulations. You’re going to be a dad in October. What is that feeling like, to become a family man?
Thank you. I have always wanted to be a dad. It’s gonna be a big change but I am more than ready.
How will you adjust to being a dad with your music career and vice versa?
I have the most amazing wife and support team around me. I will be able to still release music and be a great father. I’m so excited.
Can you tell us your Top 3 ‘selfish’ things to do in your personal time? Or, the things you’d like to try to make your Top 3 in the next year?
Playing baseball with my dog Lincoln, taking a sauna once a day, and going for all-you-can-eat sushi.
What song (any song) best represents you, or your attitude to life?
That is a hard question and I’m sure it changes a lot, but right now in my life, it’s probably the song “Homegrown” by Zac Brown Band.
With all the many social media platforms that exist today telling the world your life story, is there anything about each of you that would be of interest to your fans; something that they couldn’t find on your own social network or even Google?
Not really. I am an open book when it comes to my life and music journey. My Instagram is a daily blog of my life. I use it as a photo album I can look back at and remember the good times.
Last, but certainly not least, if you can have one thing that your fans could remember about you, what would it be?
That I chased my dreams and never let anything stop me.
Hi all. I’m Nanci Dagg. I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and have lived my entire life here. There is nothing I like better than supporting local artists followed by supporting Canadian artists. Although I was a classic rock gal, my go to genre is country. Something about this music that just makes me feel great. I can be found at most country music concerts and shows (from someone’s house to really large venues) taking lots of pictures. Music and photography are two of my passions. Add to this mix, writing about artists, well let’s say, life doesn’t get better than this.