I’m saddened to report the passing of local Lucerne Valley musician and patron of the folk music arts, Carolyn Russell on July 21, 2019 at the age of 85.  She was born July 17, 1934 in Crosby, North Dakota.

Carolyn Russell was well known for her contra dances in Garden Grove California, and for her many notorious house concerts featuring such as Alasdair Fraizer, Mary McCaslin, Bryan Bowers and many more. She later played a pivotal role in quietly championing the resurgence of such legendary Cajun musicians as Wilford LeTour, Edgar LeDay, and most recently Joe Fontenot.

She had a brilliant and a sly wit, and will remain the epitome of the term “grass roots community”, and to speak of her as a “true renaissance woman” is and always will be an understatement.

Below is a collection of our correspondence over the years that I unearthed from memory lane, or my garage, whatever came first.   I hope others will add to this and join me in admitting that life seems a little dumb without Carolyn, though her memory will give us ample inspiration to persevere.

Patrick and Holle Brayer / Ontario CA

Carolyn Russel guitar.jpg 

 to Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer 10-06-00

Carolyn / Thanks for the note / I see a documentary coming on concerning the artist formerly known as Ted Mastin / I should have known the day I met him when he told me that he once worked on the H. R. Pufnstuf children’s show what we were getting ourselves into / Anyway, I had some great and memorable times with him and Alice, and cite them as the people most likely to drop you off in Houston Texas long enough to spend your entire pay check on an accordion exactly like Flaco Jimenez played (Hohner Corona III) / I’m doing some research today on painting a picture of my region through the palette of post-war independent country music record labels / Searching for info on “Sage and Sand Records”

tex carman town hall party.jpg

I have an old 78 by Jenks “Tex” Carman on that label and it’s great / He was a Native American, played the slide guitar, sometimes would perform in an Indian headdress, and was a regular on the TV program Townhall Party, which also stared Freddy Hart and Joe and Rose Lee Maphis / I was once told by pawnshop owner Woody Hix in Fontana that he remembered Carman one time falling drunk off a stage in mid performance in Jenk’s aunt’s tavern in Fontana (later called Loretta’s) / He is now historically considered the Andy Kaufman of country music / Let me know if you know anything on the subject / I’m finding that when writing about the area that it is important in the fact that this music, like the ashtray, is overlooked, and for another thing it is really great and creative music / In looking at all the interesting styles surfacing at the time, be-bop, cool jazz, jump blues and the rackety r & b, that the honkytonk sound was more universal and wide spread because it didn’t depend on the urban environment solely for its fuel, making it more of “the peoples music” / That’s why when hearing the great R&B and blues singers talking about their influences, they strangely (or maybe not so strangely) site country music / Anyway, always looking for new mind altering angles to freshen the find / Let me know what you think

Here’s a link to a history of The Town Hall Party.


some reference books that I use: “The Working Man’s Blues: Country Music in California” by Gerald W. Haslam is very good / I also have the book “Definitive Country” by Barry McCloud / Do you have “Finding Her Voice: The Saga of Women In Country Music”? / It’s godhead

from upland, braya

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Enoch Feroten (Ted Mastin);  Musician / Photographer (Riverside CA)


(To Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer 01-17-2001)

Caro /

Great to see you yesterday in the town of beans / I apologize for it being such a dumb place / The guys at one of the labels I’m on have been trying to get me to play that place for a while / Just shows you how off the beam some people can be / if I was lookin’ out for people I’d protect them from that stuff / Anywho, it was great to see you and I look forward to the Mary McCrackin (Mary McCaslin) casa concerto / You zoomed away so quickly that I didn’t get a chance to offer you a place to stay for the night / In the future you are always welcome, even though sway back animals are most likely a’waiting for you and looking impatiently at their watches / Is the fiddle album out? / Also, notice that I did Mary’s San Bernardino Waltzon my noise volume 43

Soon / Brayer

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Mary McCaslin: Singer Songwriter (San Bernardino-Muscoy CA)


(To Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer Feb. 2001)

Carolyn (Russell)

Thanks for your note / Was so sorry to miss the new years shindig / Please write a story explaining it and shoot it to my face here / I stayed in and ate sushi and drank beer all the way from Holland / Just finished volume 36 entitled “The Picket Fence of Mirrors”/ It was kind of the Simeon fellow to play my little song on his radio program / Got an e-mail from Acoustic Guitar Magazine yesterday / The editor says that they are interested in doing a piece on a guy named me on behest of my dear friend Ben Harper

Am doing research on local inland empire music history lately / Do you have any unsung hero input? / Do you know anything about a steel guitarist by the name of Glen Ross Campbell / He played for a psychedelic band called The Misunderstood in the 60′ and then one called Juicy Lucy in the 70’s / Historically we seem to be in a certain steel guitar vortex out here, that with David Lindley, Chris Darrow, Ben Harper, and Campbell / Some other angles I have are, bluegrass music (which I know a little about), a doo-wop group from Berdoo called The Pentagons / Randy Rhoades (San Bernardino heavy metal lead guitarist w/ Ozzy Osborn), who died when his plane ran smack dab into the band’s bus, Sammy Hagar (Fontana boy) of Van Halen / If you have anything to add let me know

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Glenn Ross Campbell: Steel Guitar (Riverside CA)

As far as recording your civilian war group, my multi-track recorder only does four tracks at a time, so unless you want to do a live recording I’m out

I’m looking for Native American fiddle music lately / Do you have anything? / I’m aware of the “Wood That Sings”compilation from the Smithsonian, and the San Xavier Fiddle Band (Canyon Records) / From what I’ve heard so far they mainly adapt polkas and white fiddle tunes / I want to hear them adapt traditional red music / Do you have any input into that? / Glad you’re making custom tooled saddles for sway back horses / Maybe you can make a leather upholstery for my fender tweed with a tooled likeness of Joaquin Murphy arm wrestling the Pope / Glad to hear that you’re on the case!

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The numerous necks of Joaquin Murphy and the Pope blessing a Lloyd Green Sho-Bud


(To Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer 10-03-2001)

carolyn / 10-03-2001

Thanks for the nice letter / It was great to see you at the Harvey House Concert in Redlands and have my back up against a brick trolley barn / it means a lot to have a few people out in the audience that are in the know to project my failings towards / not that the young fellows that just want you to hear them blow the harmonica lousy afterwards /  then they tell you how much you influenced them / “hey, I didn’t make you a lousy harmonica player, but those are nice mukluks you’re wearing” / I’m sure it was somehow their mom’s fault / life is just this entertaining! / your concert schedule looks great, you should get the Nobel (or noble) Peace Prize for luring such greats out into a spiritual meth-lab terrain / I saw the article on the gator lady in Cuba in Acoustic Guitar Magazine / The Graham guy is a gem, and that darn Sauber is just a genius with a bale of hay in his voice / Reading a book called “29 palms”, which you might want to check out at the library / It doesn’t make your area look too good murder-wise, but the lady describes and historicalizes pretty good to make it a worthwhile reference book / Thanks for your concern over my music ever finding a place for itself, if you weren’t doing such an inspirational job I might be more concerned about what you might do for my humble dog and pony show / You, Dot and Bill Harris, and The Penny University Ingros are the only bright spots historically in inspiring anyone towards what I call zen-folk, which has created an army of nice people for me to meet and eventually scare / I’m starting to blather as well as sweat / talk soon

(find attached a photograph of Clarence White and John York in 1969) / PB

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From Carolyn Russell to Patrick Brayer 10-05-2001

Some time I must connect you with one of my oldest friends, Bob Blair.  He has a pretty hysterical story about his Grandpaw’s old mistress.  I remember his being told by some old lady in Brea who was about 90 at the time, about her watching Bob’s Grandpaw and this fancy lady “…swappin’ spit…” in the open garage while Grandma either watched soaps or listened to Burritt Wheeler on the radio upstairs.  Grandpaw eventually died and the fancy lady, who may have become his wife after Grandma died (I don’t remember) took up with a slick pomade-haired Puerto Rican guy named Victor who was 1/3 her age, quite a bit younger than her son. By this time she and the slick-haired PR guy Victor lived in Palm Springs.  She would come to visit her old neighbors in Brea occasionally, chauffeured in a long black limo by Victor, who wore chauffeur drag.  She had, it seems, bought him a business. Time passed, and Bob pretty much forgot about her and the whole thing, until one day another neighbor of his came flying out of her house as he passed by, to tell him that the fancy lady and Victor had both been murdered in Palm Springs.  Bob and I retell the story to each other once in a while and get weak laughing all over again.  Best, C.


(From Patrick Brayer to Carolyn Russell 11-07-2001)

Care-Oh / Thanks for the sand jesus (slash) Jim Morrison pics / You’ve got a good eye for when the real deal comes along and you underplay your greatness in a good way / Just drinkin’ martinis and eatin’ potato chips and watchin’ Dan Tyminski win country music song of the year on the tele o’vision / he’s the character that sung my version of the corn that wouldn’t hoe boys on Alison Krauss’ latest CD / Just returned from the Hollywood meets Brayer adventure with the Kim Fowley revue / He produced Alley Oop when he was 18 and created the all-girl group The Runaways with Joan Jett, not to mention writing songs with Cat Stevens, Warren Zevon, and of course, Kiss (ouch) / On top of that he’s just a real interesting character who looks a lot like the world’s largest thermometer in Baker / Anywho, thanks for the images, here’s a CD cover that I created to convince David Dickey (The Father of Berdoo-Grass) to do a recording of his songwriting before he totally loses sight of his hearing / My best


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David Dickey (above) Kim Fowley (below)



(From Carolyn Russell to Patrick Brayer 05-29-2002)

I’d like one the size your original was and will appreciate the higher resolution.

We had the Riders of the Purple Sage while you were gone, I guess.  Over a hundred people, so we did it in the front yard with the sky turning colors and going dark behind their music.  It couldn’t have been more dramatic.  I have an idea old Buck won’t be performing as much in the future.  He had a very uncomfortable hip and had to quit about 10 minutes into the second set. They had done a nooner in Banning the same day, and, since he is coming up on 80, it was a bit much for him.

I don’t know if you remember Betty Glasser.  She was very much the reason I started putting on dances or concerts, either one. She had a major stroke, was in hospital 10 days, then died.  On her 8th day her husband phoned me and said she wasn’t getting any better, so I got four other of her oldest music friends together and we met at the hospital and sang three songs for her, then left, so as to not cause her a visiting problem because her level of energy was very low.  So this last weekend has been involved in memorials to her, one at the Saturday night Living Tradition dance, and the next day, at her home with her husband, children and step children, cousins, etc. from Chicago and New Jersey. She was a big time supporter of traditional music in New Jersey, and when she and I went backstage at a David Bromberg concert a few years ago, he reminded her that his first child had been conceived on her front lawn.


(David Bromberg / photo: Jim Mcguire)

I have finally gotten the computer and whatever else needed gear to make CDs, so I am soon (when I learn how to run the damned thing) going to begin putting LPs on CD format.  Then I guess I’ll learn how to do e-bay stuff and market some of these fine old records. Best, C.


(To Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer 07-06-2002)

Caro / Thanks for the note concerning my dumb hat / The banjo icon, Pat Cloud, and myself were tooling around the Ontario Mills mall like a couple of old ladies sweating from bingo when we saw a booth that would put anything on a hat for $16 / He got one that said Kumo, which is “cloud” in Japanese, while I opted for a more egotistical utilitarian model, Brayer Archives “how the west was juan” / You could get one that says, The Carochives of Lucerne Valley / It felt good coming out into the sunshine with my new hat and a fresh copy of the autobiography of Sonny Barger from the cut-out bookshop. Barger was the president of the Oakland chapter of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, and was a member of the Fontana chapter when they originated in 1948.

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Sonny Barger

Presently working in a play about The Penny University / I’m playing the part of Tracy Schwartz of The New Lost City Ramblers / Dave Dickey is playing Seeger / It’s community theater to the hilt / The guys have their sons playing them as kids, and the guy has his wife playing his sister, I guess so he can be in love with her legally / So if you made a movie about the making, and the odd cross of potential drama on the sidelines, you might have something / Which would be especially rich if the play were really bad / Anyway it’s good to see all the guys / I’m filling in for Dave’s brother in-law whose wife had a seizure, and now I have the monumental task of playing Dave’s brother in-law playing Tracy Schwartz / But it has reminded me how good the Ramblers really were, and I don’t believe anyone has nailed that genre better since / The bad part is that they are sending a tape of the show to Mike Seeger / I’m still to this day looking for a corner of the music business where a shred of dignity might me hiding / as you can see I don’t have gigs, I just have predicaments / “Appearing live in predicament (my name here)” / On the opening night John and Alia Ingro who ran The Penny came / I could see the questions in both their eyes, because the guy who played John looked more like Fred Flinstone and the lady who played Alia looked like, Leave It To Beaver’s mom / I didn’t know what to tell him, I just shrugged telling them both that I modeled the Starvation Cafe after the Penny University, only I backed off at the point when it started looking like someone might write a play about it /  I hope this finds you well / let me know if you find any interesting advertising ashtrays in the junk shops out there in the cactus sticks / Gotta run / My best


Penny University Poster.jpg


(from Carolyn Russell to Patrick Brayer 07-14-2002)

First of all, your Pats project seems a good one, unfortunately Paulson is dead, I think of the disappointment of not having been elected president for the 15th time.  A guy can only have so much hope, you know.  One of the natural choices would seem to be, since you’ve got Cloud, Sky. Then you could look through the weather maps and Indian Reservations and figure out how many more possibilities there are.  Ought to be some rainwaters.

I been sicker’n a dog for since last Monday.  Haven’t done one of these ever before, alternating sweats and chills.  I slept day and night for the first two days and by Friday got well enough to attempt a shower, which I did, and it wiped me out for the rest of the day. I got on the scale today and found that I had lost 8 pounds.

The project.  There is, 13 miles from my house, a wonderful piece of property, roughly 22 acres, which is a privately held gold claim.  Property is a loose term, in this case designating privately owned buildings on Government land. Several people owned the claim under several different names. The people who took it over in 1927 built two houses, several out-buildings, and a stamping mill.  There are 2 places above the houses where a stream flows out of the hill.  I fell in total love with the place and was in a position to deal with the owner, who sure enough has tax records to prove it’s his.  He is also so pissed at the Government agencies that he would just love for them to do what they say they are going to do.  Then I started talking with the BLM and the Forest Service, who say it can be used only for mining and they no longer allow mining and they’re going to come out with bulldozers and push it all over. In a way, I kind of hope they do push it all down–the owner claims to have Wrigley connections and he is waiting to come at them with a whole shitload of fancy pants uptown lawyers. I was having hallucinations of the big house being made into a pleasant sleeping place and the other one being a cookhouse.  The stamping mill would be a perfect studio.  I started contact with some old Forest Service guy which was, when we first talked, hostile but he wound up saying that he’d have given anything to know me 8 years ago.  The Forest Service around here and I guess nation-wide are batting 100% in bad decisions, and I’m not going to pursue it further.

I’m going to include one photo.  I’ve never spent the night there, but I’ve watched the sun go down from the front porch of the big house.  I think to camp overnight would even make me write poetry. –be nice if you and Chris cooperated on something.  This is not on a road for Papa’s car, much too low and elegant.  I could loan you mine.  Best, C.


(from Carolyn Russell to Patrick Brayer 09-05-2002)

I plan to get there, but I seem to have destroyed the piece you sent, while I was attempting to send it to someone else…would you mind sending me another copy so I know where to go?  I hope you will have a few copies of the less well circulated of your work for sale.  I have the ones you had at the last concert I attended.

I’ve been thinking about you ever since I found out about the Fontana/Lucerne Valley connection.  We have these community meetings where various people who have an interest in keeping the citizenry from uprising come and speak, the most recent being Doug Shumway of Mitsubishi Cement, up the hill from our place and making ugly marks on our mountains.  Shumway told of the creation, by Henry Kaiser, of the steel mill in Fontana.  He originally wanted to build it in Long Beach, but was told by the then WWII war department that it had to be out of the reach of Japanese warship long guns.  Or, a distance of 27 miles or more inland.  That’s how he came to put it in Fontana.  He then began to cast around for a good limestone source, needed for processing steel, and found it in Lucerne Valley.  You see, our meeting each other was fate.  We couldn’t have done otherwise.

The weather has unexpectedly turned decent, having given us 106F to 112F for most of the summer.  It would be a nice time of year to see the petroglyphs.

Best, Carolyn

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Hernry J. Kaiser and grandson, avant-garde guitarist Henry Kaiser


(from Carolyn Russell to Patrick Brayer  12-03-2003)

Hi Brayers–It looks as if our party is going to be a great event –lotta interest from musicians who’ve heard about it from others.  I think if you were to come, you wouldn’t be disappointed. Bring sleeping bags, or get a room at the Ace Motel (760) 248-7524, which you’d need to reserve early.

Mention it to Chris Darrow, as well.  Not much (none if you don’t come) bluegrass represented, but a lot of old-time and I think some Cajun as well. I’ll send you a flier on how to get here if you are interested.  Jane’s been out for a concert.  It’s possible to get here from there.

The photo is of Maybellene the mule, she’s 19 months old, been here a couple of months.  She’s very bright and inventive.  I looked out the window one day and saw her trying to dig a hole for the dogs to escape their yard.

Best, Carolyn


(To Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer 01-24-2004)

Carolyn /

Thanks for the directions of the directions / Looking forward / Went to the Vic Jahn memorial today in Fontana / Saw Keith and Rusty McNeil and the Ingros who ran the Penny University / I don’t know if you remembered Vic Jahn / He was the king of the campfire harmonica, and also built the hardwood stage for the original Starvation Café, a community center that was once rabbit experiment station / I made some CDs of him of which I recorded in Fontana in the 90’s but I gave them all away at the memorial / But as the coincidences were flying someone mentioned that they were scattering his ashes the next day (25th) in Lucerne where his namesake nephew resides / So I thought I would at least run it by you (McCaslin might even have fond memories of Vic), here’s the directions I was given:

18-thru Lucerne / stop sign / keep go / 23mi on right / A frame / 10AM

am digging around for cousin Lyle / soon


Vic Jahn and his father in the Jurupa Hills below Fontana (grape vineyards behind).

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(To Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer 01-29-2004)

caro /

thanks a ton for the mc caslin venture / me and the bride went on a hunt for Hedy West stuff and drew an internet CD blank / What a sin! / We have the self-titled Hedy West Vangard LP / Do you have others? / I think you might should have a copy of the Vic Jahn work that I spoke of / It was recorded at my dad’s in Fontana in the mid 90’s / I will include a pasted letter to a songwriter friend of mine in, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico / It tells a little about our adventures in Pioneertown, just after leaving your ranch and mules at sunset / Your work is of the highest order / Soon / Patrick of Brayer


Daniel / (Dan Bern)

just getting back to you regarding your kind note concerning the most modern noise of Goodbye in Regulation/ Almost no one has kind words to say about my present stuff, but I’m sure you know that dilemma / Folks sometimes can’t move beyond the moment that made them like you in the first place, and the fact that they ever liked anything makes it harder to grab them by the lapels / I always have liked my upwards to be onwards / I see the stuff as no more than sketch demos of some cosmic outfit that I could never describe in any other way than to just hand the CD over / I guess what it boils down to is that I like writing the songs a lot more than I do working all day to perfect the bass and the pretend conga part / And so it goes

Had a strange weekend out in the desert / Went out to see Mary McCaslin in Lucerne Valley / I grew up listening to her in a coffee house in San Bernardino called The Penny University / I did a cover of her San Bernardino Waltzon the regulation project / She did this kind of a house concert on a ranch there with mules, we visited a while and then my wife and I went to spend the night at the Pioneertown Motel / It was a town that was built to film western movies in the 40’s / Just to give you an idea about the place, we checked in and I went back to the office and told the lady that I think we have the wrong room because there’s five slim fasts, a 40 ounce Bud Lite, and a big hunk of meat in our refrigerator, and oh yea, there’s a clown costume in the closet / Then she says matter-of-factly, oh no, that’s ours, we have a weird system of over flow here / They will also loan you the VHS movies to play that were filmed there (check out Barbara Stanwyck in Jeopardy) / we didn’t get around to that, there was a silent Valentino movie on TCM / I did drink the beer, but I saved the meat just in case some prospector gave me a black eye later / after we checked out the next afternoon we went off for breakfast at a little cafe in the town of Yucca / Sitting across from us over our chicken fried steak and eggs is no other than Victoria Williams and her Nighthawk dusted husband Mark Olson / I had never met them before, and actually hadn’t thought of them since Pearl Jam and all those guys were doing that benefit CD for her medical bills / We talked some about Fast Folk Magazine (both being alumni, like yourself), then I warned her about the clown costumes at the Pioneer Motel / Her husband got cranky with a political grimace when she invited us over, so we just backed out, went to a coffee house down the street (where they were playing her CD), then walked across the street to look at some antique shit, where they were playing a song I wrote on the radio (not an everyday occurrence) / It’s like an onslaught of coincidence or like me taking so long to get back to you on your kind compliment / I think when people say nice things that, the way I’m wired, it just doesn’t seem real, and I immediately put it more in the dream area / but as I always almost say, if it wasn’t for dreams why would we even bother to imagine reality / That’ll give you something to chew on

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(Barbara Stanwyck and Ralph Meeker in a movie still from the 1953 film Jeopardy, which was filmed in Pioneer Town.)

Anywho, keep me posted as to what all you’re a doin’, a playin’, and a conjerin’ / soon

your pal,patrick of brayer

upland, ca

Dan Bern: Singer/Songwriter (Truth or Concequences New Mexico)


(To Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer (02-25-2004)

caro /

Thanks a ton for the Charles Portis book / I’m absolutely loving it / You always know the right place for the right stuff / They should give awards for that kind of thing / Like introducing people that should meet / Doing a lot of mixing today (hopefully) / Got the machine full of new noir cinematic song (for whom I’m not sure) / I think I got into the mind frame some twenty years ago or so that all of this is not for this lifetime / It fits together more philosophically that way also / I enjoy when people appreciate it, but of course that is a little embarrassing also, and, or, distracting from the original intent, and if the songs can make a little money while they’re sitting around waiting for me to die, well that’s fine to / But it is the art and state of writing that I truly enjoy, and the fact that it along the way has introduced me to such luminaries as yourself


Charles Portis: Novelist

Am working on the first draft of a collection of short stories I presently call The Fonta Files (Fonta being the gang member slang for Fontana) / I’ll share a bit of it when it shapes up a little / Find attached a photo of me and Ben Harper that a guy and France sent me / I don’t know what it documents other than I shouldn’t wear white pants / Well I got mixing and Portis reading to do, so I’m booked / I hope this finds you well and in control of the desert / soon

Patrick of Brayer

Upland, CA


(To Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer 09-06-2004)

caro /

Hope this finds you well / Still unpacking boxes at the new pad in Claremont / While unpacking one the oral biography of V. Lysle Olston fell out at me / I think I thought that I gave it back to thou, but here it is safe in the inland empire / I could mail it if you want, or just hang onto it for when we next meet

The bride is back at school and I’m sorting out my studio for my next project, maybe return to the writing of The Fonta Files, a collection of short stories based in Fontana / have you been out to any of the shindigs out at Pioneer Town / The lady from Concrete Blonde (I had never heard of them either, but apparently they’re big) bought the town and they are putting in recording facilities and are also putting on concerts in the saloon / Check them out on-line / I know Victoria Williams has played recently, as well as Daniel Lanois, and Cracker / I talked to Victoria in a cafe in Yucca just after the McCaslin concert at your ranch / I was telling her about your series out there and she was really excited about the idea of doing something like that, then her boyfriend got all grumpy and I began to pity her life from there on out / I think she would be someone that would really get your deal and possibly bring new energy to your work as you build an audience base beyond just lonely people who dream of zithers

it’s too hot in this room / talk soon

your pal,

Patrick Brayer


carolyn / 11-25-2008

thanks for the Lawrence Downes article.  In the hands of a good writer we are all Ry Cooder.

Got a message from Bryan Bowers / He is looking forward to his desert trek to deep Mohave con Russell

Yes, we are expecting a wee one in early FebruaryWhat un-expecting infant wouldn’t want to have me for a dad

We just moved into a ranch house in Ontario CA / I hope you can come for a visit soon

Beginning to piece my studio back together / Three fireplaces (bring matches)

Three Mexican restaurants in walking distance and finally no oil men in the White House.

best for now / Brajer

here’s a sonogram of our daughter waving a hand to ya, to be named for my mother, Eleanore

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(from Patrick Brayer to Carolyn Russell 09-17-2010)

Auntie Caro / 09-17-2010

It was as usual wonderful to be in your presence last night at the accordion raising to celebrate a lifetime achievement honor and a house burning in the same night was big. The autoharp was of course the perfect gift from the perfect friend. As Eleanore gets more travel worthy you will be the chosen one to introduce her to the desert.  I hope you can come and visit our quasi-ranch here in Ontario when you’re next blowing through our neck

Clue me in on the latest drama with ya when you get a moment, and any new projects folding or unfolding

Our best to the best

The Brayers of Wrongtario

Hey, art is art / I just try to stay out of the way

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(From Carolyn Russell to Patrick Brayer 05-16-2013)

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(ashtray I gifted to Carolyn as a house warming)

Wow, thank you!   When I saw your name I had hope that you might be doing one in Claremont, but I love the photos anyway.   Bryan (Bowers) is looking well, which is kind of miraculous considering all the heart stuff he’s had.  I don’t know what I might have said about my recent past–I had fusion of cervical # 3,4,5, and 6 spinal column parts, in other words, my neck, a couple of months ago. So now I’m all put together with titanium bars and screws of unknown metal.  I’m not doing concerts any more, and so have time now to get to some other concerts.  I bought a house in Apple Valley, which we will be moving into when all the construction is done. I hope we can get in some time this year, but maybe not.  It involves moving horses, chickens, woodworking tools, tractor, and everything in our not well organized house.  Several months ago I went through all my records and culled the ones I could live without.  I sold a little over 2000, still have 3000 left. I also sold my double B flat tuba, and a chaplain’s field organ.  I am having a couple of shipping containers placed for permanent storage. The house is in an old part of Apple Valley on 15 acres, has its own well.  It, despite being 9 minutes from highway 18 in Apple Valley, has a feel of remoteness about it.  When we ever get moved we’ll have you out for dinner sometime.  You won’t want to bring your pop’s classic car, though, because the last mile of travel is very bumpy.  Let me know when you are doing a concert.  Love, C.


Bryan Bowers: Musician/Songwriter (member of the Autoharp Hall of Fame) Sedro Woolley WA


(To Carolyn Russell from Patrick Brayer 05-16-2013)

Caro /

Thanks for getting back / Titanium, I thought only Wonder Woman had that.

Coincidentally, and, or, psychically, I just got an ashtray from Apple Valley.

Am doing a gig at The Fret House on June 8 with Chris Darrow, and Robb Strandlund. We’re going to pretend like songwriting is actually an acceptable craft.

Keep us abreast of your desertness.

Your pal,

Patrick of Brayer

PBPh Darrow Strandlund Caprice Classic.jpg

Robb Strandlund and Chris Darrow: Studio Nadine / Claremont CA

(Photo by Patrick Brayer)

Below is the autoharp that Carolyn gave our daughter upon her birth in 2009.  It was then autographed by Bryan Bowers, which reads:

For my sweetheart of the autoharp, the lovely Eleanore who never will duck down in the car in the years to come so that her friends won’t see her with her dad, cause she’ll always be proud to be seen with him, your pal now and in the years to come / Bryan Bowers AKA Uncle Edna

PBPh 2014 Bowers autographed autoharp Edna.jpg

Here’s a link to some articles in The Los Angels Times that speak of some of Carolyn Russels work.