Canadian country star Brett Kissel sings the praises of hunting

Alberta-born country music star Brett Kissel in concert

While the global pandemic has created many challenges and hardships over the past year and a half, some people have had some good come out of the otherwise bad situation. At least that’s the case for Juno Award-winning country star Brett Kissel, who launched a new TV show on fishing, hunting and music this past March. The singer-songwriter says he came up with the idea for Backwoods Backstage after spending so much time ice fishing near his family’s farm outside of St. Paul, Alberta.

Kissel, who normally lives in Nashville, Tennessee, moved with his wife and three children to the farm shortly after the first lockdown in March 2020. “At the beginning of all this, I had a genuine identity crisis because if you take the microphone from out of my hand and the stage from under my feet, I wonder who I really am,” he says. “There were a lot of ups and downs, a true roller coaster of emotions. I’ve had to find my self-worth and try to figure out exactly who I am.”

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Since he was unable to tour, 31-year-old Kissel says he took a lot of time to reflect on his next steps, as well as fish and hunt with his extended family. “As I spent more time out in the bush, in the stillness and the silence, I figured that my truest identity is actually being an artist and an entertainer, but also a guy who loves the country lifestyle,” he says. “And with that comes hunting and fishing.”

As Kissel ice fished with his uncle, he says he started thinking about making videos of his fishing and hunting adventures. Soon the idea for Backwoods Backstage was born, giving Kissel a way to connect with his fans by showing them what he’s doing in the music world, then bringing them outdoors. “Because of the pandemic, I was able to branch out and come up with something like this,” he says. “It went from a pretty sad and dark time to a very exciting time for me.”

We caught up with Kissel by phone this past summer at his farm to learn more about his new TV show (now appearing on the Sportsman Channel Canada), and what draws him to the outdoors. And as a bonus, he also shared 10 of his proven deer- and waterfowl-hunting tips…