Sad News !
In 2011, I was hit by an as-yet-undiagnosed neurological condition (similar to MS) that has me too shaky to play music and to blind to teach, read, or drive.
I sleep about 16 hours out of every 24. I've seen a slew of doctors and even spent ten days at the Mayo Clinic, but so far nobody can figure out what I've got. Even an aggressive course of steriods did no good. We have a few tricks still up our sleeve and will be trying them soon.
Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts, and I'll let you know if the situation improves.
Best to all,
A special dedication to Ralph Federicks, the secret hero of all these songs.
Who taught me that art should move you here, here, and here, and who taught me to say 'pee' instead of 'piss', and best of all, who taught me that sons should do their best to imitate their mothers but never quite succeed.
Thank you Honey !
Over the past 15 years Brady has been quietly building a solid reputation as a songwriter's songwriter. His moving, literate, and often humorous songs have been compared to those of Paul Simon, Nick Drake, and Joni Mitchell. Acoustic Guitar magazine's Elizabeth Papapetrou calls his 1998 debut After You "one of the ten best contemporary folk CD's of the 1990s." Cville Weekly music critic Keith Morris called Brady's 2003 release Manalapan "a fully realized, mature album . . . the most subtly poetic, skillfully crafted and all-inclusively human stuff I've heard in years." Named for a tiny south Florida snorkelers' destination, Manalapan extends the emotional landscape of the earlier album with a new series of character-driven stories set off by innovative arrangements of strings, horns, and guitars.
Brady's newest album, so few things (2010) continues to meditate on love, friendship, and American history with twelve songs that deliver the lingering dramatic impact of fine short stories or one-act plays. Among them are "Wild Nights" (his setting of a poem by Emily Dickinson, draped in horns reminiscent of Chet Baker), "Daniel" (in the voice of a gay soldier about to ship out to Iraq), "As You Were" (about an Irish officer at the Battle of Fredericksburg in the Civil War), and "Everywhere" (a ballad tracing a proud man's sad passage into humility). A year and a half in the making, so few things is lofted by Earnhart's own guitar and voice and by inspired guest performances on cello (Rebecca Maxon and Andrew Gabbert), trumpet (John D'earth), baritone sax (Bobby Read), drums (Todd Wellons), upright and electric bass (Bob Bowen and Randall Pharr), fiddle (Cleek Schrey), and tabla (Nitin Tripathi). Co-producer Paul Curreri (who also plays electric guitar on "As You Were") and Devon Sproule add atmospheric background vocals.
Brady's song "Gargoyle" won the gold medal in the folk category of the 2002
Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest and appears on Charlottesville radio
station WNRN's Station Break. Acoustic duo Nickeltown's
cover of "After You" is included in NPR station WMRA's compilation CD
In the Shadow of the Blue Ridge. ("Get Right Back" and "Arlington" from
the new CD are due out soon on sequels to these collections.) In June 2002, "Car Repair" aired on NPR's CarTalk. Three Earnhart performances appear on King of My Living Room, a live singer-songwriter showcase released in 2001.
A proud member of the City
Salvage Records label (along with Paul Curreri, Andy Friedman, Devon Sproule, and Matt Curreri), Brady is a 2002 Mountain Stage New Song Festival finalist and has performed at such venues as Starr Hill, Acoustic Charlottesville, Acoustic Muse, the Shenandoah Coffeehouse Series, and the Florida Folk Festival, as well as pubs, bookstores, and coffeehouses throughout the eastern U.S.
After receiving an MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa, Brady began writing songs seriously in 1989. In 1992 he went back to school once again and got a PhD in English Literature at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. While he was there, he caught the attention of several local singer-songwriters. Two of them, Browning Porter and Jeff Romano of Nickeltown ended up performing and recording some of his songs (check out "Tide by Tide" and "After You" on their CD Presto Change-O). Jeff ended up engineering and co-producing all three of Brady's CD's .
Brady has taught creative writing to elementary school students, English as a
Second Language in Spain, and (currently) American literature and creative writing at the University of Mary Washington
in Fredericksburg, VA.
Manalapan (City Salvage), the second full-length album by Brady Earnhart
is so brilliant and wondrous that it's almost unfair to write about any
other CDs in the same column. Earnhart is first and foremost a poet (he
received an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa) and his lyrics
have a sophistication and sensitivity that is rare in the contemporary
queer music scene. . . While I don't know in what order he writes his
songs, lyrics or music first, the outcome is perfection. The music and
the words are ideally suited to each other. Earnhart's vocals and
acoustic guitar are supplemented by Gina Pezzoli's cello on the title
track, while Kris Curran's French horn shines through on "I Just Want
More." The backing vocals on "Arlington" give it an early Simon &
Garfunkel zest. I cannot recommend this disc strongly enough.
--Gregg Shapiro, writing for the Windy City Times and Bay Area Reporter
Brady Earnhart is an acoustic troubadour who writes with a wry lyrical touch that belies the depths of the wellsprings into which he taps. He will beguile with a playful melody, then pop you upside the head with a stunning truth or a dizzying emotional memory.
--Dave Drummond, Music Help Web
I'm one of those media types. I produce two radio shows geared toward GLBT listeners, and consequently often get preview copies sent to me by the artists. The past couple weeks have been particularly bountiful, as I have received 8 to 10 new discs. I get through about one a day.
I have found the new Brady Earnhart CD, Manalapan, to be patently unfair to the others. I've been playing it over and over for four or five days now, can't seem to take it out of the player.
I am very impressed and think it's a marvel of songwriting, singing and production. While artists hate comparisons, it makes me think of a young Paul Simon, only much smarter and more sophisticated, with lyrics that paint full scenarios that pull you in.
I highly recommend this CD.
--JD Doyle, producer of Queer Music Heritage on KPFT-fm, Houston, and
co-producer of Audiofile, heard monthly on This Way Out.
For my long-distance, twenty-minute interview with JD Doyle, click here.
Manalapan... where Brady Earnhart spent time snorkeling and the title of
his second album, a surprisingly breezy meditation on longing, love, and
trying to "see back to where I started" even when the water gets murky.
Earnhart's impeccable lyrics abound with telling details, humor, and
poignant revelations. Characters emerge fully realized ("Good Night
Friday Night"). Some Whitman letters inspire perhaps the best song ever
born out of a doctoral thesis.
Earnhart understands how to use his
gentle voice to bring an unlikely combination of strength and melancholy
to folk ("Arlington"), a James Taylor like anthem ("Get Right Back"),
and rock ("Hot Red Car"). Manalapan... dive in.
--David Kleiner of Minor 7th
From fine poet and old friend Forrest Gander:
"Brady Earnhart can intimate with heartrending subtlety the
psychological tensions that attend friendship and love, 'the
questions I was not supposed to ask.' The best songs of
Manalapan only pass through your ears to break open at your
core where they stir up a strange response at once painful and
For full article click here
and scroll to the bottom of Forrest's review of killer singer-songwriter
Vic Chesnutt's new record.
Brady Earnhart, After You. With his feet firmly planted in traditional folk, songwriter Brady Earnhart has fashioned a distinctive and poetic writing style. His understated guitar and breathy
voice are warm and inviting, drawing the listener into the open- hearted
smile of his words. It's a wry smile, expressing a keen-edged, slightly
oddball perspective that somehow remains welcoming. Sparse, tastefully
played and arranged cello, upright bass, mandolin, accordion, fiddle,
banjo, lead guitar, keyboards, and percussion highlight the beauty of
the songs. There is a touch of John Martyn in Earnhart's relaxed style,
which only aids in making his work accessible. A truly outstanding debut album.
Brady Earnhart must be a stubborn guy, in the most complimentary sense . . . Earnhart is an American original in the folk troubador tradition. His debut album, After You, is a gorgeous collection of his own diverse compositions and two unusual covers.
Earnhart's voice is warm and mellow, in the James Taylor mold, if a little bit rough around the edges. It isn't a showpiece, but it lets the subtlety and beauty of his lyrics and melodies shine. He nimbly accompanies himself on guitar, with sparkling accents provided by banjo, mandolin, and cello.
One song, "Something about Him," is an explicitly gay love song and lament for a dead high school friend who kills himself after having sex with the singer. This edgy and potentially mawkish material is handled with sensitivity and skill.
He may be in the tradition of the folk troubador, but don't be fooled -- Earnhart is singing art songs. Like the work of Stephen Foster or Aaron Copland, this work has a native American beauty. Years from now, singers with classically trained voices are likely to be singing some of these songs, like "Stephen Crane" or "After You" or the effortlessly gorgeous "Time Was." The latter tune is a perfect gem distinguished by the purity of its melody and the simultaneous clarity and depth of its lyric. A rueful and fresh statement about lost love --- "the dream that ran so deeply it still bound me after I awoke" -- it has something of the same resilience expressed in the album's dedication: "To those rocks I really should have slipped off of crossing the river."
Only a likeable, stubborn guy could toast such treacherous rocks.
Earnhart's songs may well be the most subtly poetic,
skillfully crafted and all-inclusively human stuff I've heard
in years . . . Manalapan is a fully realized, mature album .
. . Each song is like a scene from a play . . . Incredible
stuff. The February 28 show brought this internal landscape
alive, and, yes, you could've heard the proverbial pin drop
during the performance of every song.
--Keith Morris, C-ville Weekly (March 11, 2003)
Brady Earnhart is a gifted dude whose tunes can be found on Nickeltown's Presto
Change-o and on his own CD After You. It's definitely a sign
of accomplishment when your peers are rushing into the studio to record
your work. Earnhart's stuff is worthy. He's a clever lyricist who turns
used-up phrases into fresh poetry and delivers them with a sweet and
mellow voice . . . Brady makes sentiments that might seem trivial elsewhere
respectable. And there's always some clever twist. One tune humorously
ponders the possibility that a long-term affair would have been better
had it remained just an honest one-night stand. Another, "King
of my Living Room," propounds the virtues of successlessness, the
protagonist proclaiming "No big ol' lights on Saturday night / Have made me
a bit of who I am" . . . Have a close listen to After You and see if you can tell me why this guy should have a day job.
--Cripsy Duck, C-ville Weekly, 11/07/99
When I first heard Brady Earnhart's CD After You, I couldn't take
it out of my CD player. The songs are personal. The songs are
compelling. They take you to a place where emotion meets love and
compassion. They speak of things common in the human experience. And
there's poetry in them. Brady is one of the best songwriters I've
heard in years! When I hear him play a song, it makes me want to go
and thank him for having written it.
Creator And Former Host of 91.9---WNRN's Acoustic Sunrise