the zenland empire newslettuce
fall 2002

photograph: mark takeuchi

However quietly and privately Patrick Brayer has worked, he has had an undoubtedly profound influence on such great artists as Alison Krauss, Michael Hedges, Ben Harper, John Doe, Darol Anger, and Stuart Duncan, to list a few.  After hearing the new reissue of Patrick Brayer’s Catholic and Western Fabuli, co-produced with the legendary Ben Harper, I shared my feelings with the thirty year song veteran.  My prediction was that songwriting as it stands would never be the same, he replied with a grin saved for all rhetorical questions:

“I am deeply indebted to the process of songwriting in that it gives me a hands-on glimpse at one of the greatest realities of all, that being that the only true innovations that we ever do in life, we do in solitaire.  Through the things that we do in public we can only celebrate what we do in private”

The year 2002 finds Brayer hard at work deep within the walls of The Upland Mind Museum in Southern California’s Inland Empire completing volume 41 of his Secret Hits, "The Razor Dirt of Darkness", due out in the fall. 

Alison Krauss, for her resent album New Favorite, included Patrick Brayer's slide guitar arrangement (from secret hits volume 30) of the traditional Appalachian tune, "The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn”, with fretless kingpin Jerry Douglas doing the Hawaiian sliding honors and Dan Tyminski (country music vocalist of the year) doing the vocal. 

This year also marks the reissue of Brayer’s, Bourbon as a Second Language, originally recorded live at The Bottom Line in New York City in 1995.  The reissue is produced by Smithsonian Folkway Recordings and is titled Fast Folk: A Community of Singers & Songwriters.  The collection teams Brayer with such others greats as Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Stever Forbert, and David Van Ronk. 

On the heels of the new CD for Inland Emperor Records, Brayer went on the road with Ben Harper, working Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco, as well as The Gorge Amphitheater in Washington State.  Brayer also made a surprise appearance with one of his songwriting heroes, Richard Stekol, in May at The Marine Room in Laguna Beach, with Greg Leisz on steel guitar.

I believe Brayer said it best in his psychedelic liner notes to Darol Anger and Mike Marshall’s latest CD, At Home and on the Range, when he said “you can’t throw a light upon the darkness, and expect to see the darkness better”

Ivory Jackson
The Upland Mind Museum
The Brayer Archives

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