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Build it Forward in Heritage Hills

November 25, 2010

Country star to help build Cochrane homes

November 9, 2010 (Cochrane Eagle)
By: Rachel Maclean

Paul Brandt

One of Alberta’s favourite country music stars took to Cochrane’s downtown Oct. 29 as he filmed a promotion for his upcoming Country Music Television (CMT) show called Build it Forward, set to air next spring.

The seven-episode documentary series, under the direction of Water Valley filmmaker Eppo Eerkes, follows Brandt as he helps seven families who feel the sting of poverty build new homes.

Brandt, who doesn’t live far from Cochrane, said he was really moved after watching a reality home makeover show for a family in need with his wife Liz and thought it would be neat to do that type of show.

He was still in the process of recording his new CD Now, which is due out in 2011, when he was contacted by CMT and asked to do a show on building houses for impoverished families.

“It was just too much of a coincidence,” said Brandt, but he had one condition — they had to start in Alberta.

He said they are now just finalizing their family choices, which include two Cochrane families who will get new homes in the Heritage Hills area.

“I’m really excited about it, especially because it’s my hometown,” said Brandt, adding he also feels the project sums up values that are embedded in Albertans that he sings about in his song “Alberta Bound.”

“That’s what I love about Alberta,” he said.

Paul Brandt walks down Second Avenue in Cochrane as a film crew, including Water Valley’s Eppo Eerkes, shoots a promotion for his upcoming project called Build it Forward, a TV show for Country Music Television that will track Brandt as his crew helps to build new homes for seven Alberta families — including two from Cochrane. The families will also help “build it forward” by heading down to Haiti to build homes for families in poverty. Photos by Rachel Maclean

“We are not all here just to make a quick buck. . . . We are good neighbours who like to help out.

Those are the roots that towns like Cochrane were built on, so it’s the perfect province to start in.”

Brandt said the twist of the show, however, is that the families will have to “build it forward” and travel elsewhere in the world to build a home for a family who needs one.

He said they are hoping to travel to Haiti. Brandt would like to see the show go across Canada, and said it’s made possible with help from local developers and charities.

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See also: Build it Forward Foundation