An Interview with Brett Dennen

A few months ago were were pleasantly surprised when an email from Brett Dennen and his partner, Kristina Jackson, popped up in our inbox asking if we'd like to partner with Brett and provide Trail Butter to the attendees of Camp Dennen. Um, Yes!

What's Camp Dennen? Camp Dennen is an inspiring and engaging weekend ( x 2) of community, adventure, creativity, and growth alongside Brett in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. 

And if you haven't listened to Brett's library of music, you are missing out. He is an incredibly talented musician, singer/songwriter, artist, father, partner, outdoor enthusiast and just plain awesome human being. 

Following the conclusion of Camp Dennen - we thought it would be pretty special to share a little bit about Brett with our audience. Below you'll find answers from Brett on a variety of topics we sent his way.

He's so cool - and now by (nutritional) association - we're pretty sure that makes us cool, too. Right?!

While on tour, what foods/snacks do you enjoy in order to maintain energy to put on a great performance day after day?

I'm a snacker when I'm on tour. I'd rather go to a grocery store than a restaurant so I can stock up. I have snacks in my day bag, in the car, on the bus, and in my suitcase. I usually have nuts. Cashews or almonds, sometimes macadamias. Lots of fruit. Whatever is in seasons and then on top of that I always buy blueberries and citrus. I think my all time favorite fruit is a good old plain navel orange. Sometimes I buy some salami because it keeps without refrigeration. If I go out for a meal I always go for a salad with chicken on it. It might be my only chance to get some fresh greens. I rarely go out for breakfast or coffee. I'll always have tea that I can make in the hotel and I'm fine with fruit and nuts in the morning.

Do you believe there is  a correlation between what you are consuming and how you play on stage?

Oh for sure.  If I were to eat fettuccine alfredo before a show I'd be lethargic and sniffly. If I eat a dozen oysters and a salad before a show, it will be the best concert of the tour. No joke.

Trail Butter was flattered to be included as a 'camp snack' at the most recent Camp Dennen event. What inspired you to bring people together for Camp Dennen? How do you select which partners to reach out to?

I grew up going to summer camp in the mountains. It's been a huge part of my life and I wish everyone could have experienced that. When you're away from the attachments from your regular life and in the wild all day, it changes you. Letting go of things and tuning into nature is good for your soul and strengthens you. It's more inspiring than anything else I can think of. The outdoors is full of magic and wonder. 

So, that's why we started Camp Dennen. We're trying to bring that experience to my fans and build a community.

As for partners, it is important to work with folks and companies who have the same excitement for the outdoors. We stay away from brands that might have a negative impact on the experience, and that could be subtle but it's an impact.  We stick with brands who are positive and grounded in connecting people with what they provide in a loving way.

Can you briefly describe the Camp Dennen experience for our readers? 

It is a four day experience centered around community and nature.  There are hikes, art classes, communal meals, yoga, campfires, lots of music and all throughout we have a theme of getting to know ourselves deeper.  We use the retreat as a reason to explore who we are without all the stuff at home like jobs and stress and what not.  We have been keeping it pretty small.  Around twenty attendees and 4 or 5 staff.  The intimacy of it has been perfect but we're considering making it a little bigger.

How has the outdoors inspired your work (music/art) if at all?

I always get Ideas for songs when I'm outside.  I think it's just the rhythm of nature.  When I'm present in nature ideas just pop into my head.

What are your preferred outdoor activities? 

I love hiking, backpacking, camping, skiing, and surfing but most of all I just like doing nothing. I like to swim in cold water and then just sit there and stare at it.

Do you have a favorite hike in general?

I won't tell you the best hike in the world, I'll keep that a secret but I will tell you that it is somewhere in the Emigrant Wilderness in Stanislaus National Forest, California.

What upcoming events do you have planned that people should check out?

The family and I are heading to Europe next week.  I have 8 shows to play over there but we are extending the trip to make it a travel vacation also.  It will be a lot of bouncing around but we're all really excited.

Now that you've tried all Trail Butter products - what do you like most?!

Salted Brownie Peanut Butter!!! Those disappeared the fastest. They disappeared into my belly. Maple Syrup & Sea Salt Almond Butter Granola!!  With or without milk.  Either way.  At camp I ate it with coconut yogurt.  I recommend it highly.

What musicians have inspired you historically?

My biggest heroes are Paul Simon and Van Morrison. I could listen to only them for the rest of my life. Two very different artists and writers with unique voices and so much to say.

Who are you listening to right now?

I really like this guy that I just discovered called Bobby Alu.  Island vibes.  Good songs.  Really positive and mellow, but groovy.

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