In our stepping back to gain a better view, Patrick Brayer has seemed to have spent as much time shadow boxing his way in diversion from fame, as he has chiseling any day to day placement for himself in the present day annals of contemporary songsmithing. Brayer’s associations, collaborations, and influence upon such historically embedded artists as, Alison Krauss, Alan Jackson, Ben Harper, Stuart Duncan, Chris Darrow, Darol Anger, Atreyu, John York, and Michael Hedges are tales well documented and that can’t be denied without equal creativity. But that is just the mere residue of a life’s work, it is not the work itself. On this current site we hope to educate an audience to the inner workings of a craftsman, a master of lo-fi composition, and a talent that welled up from the life of one who was raised up from a hard scrabble existence by simple people of both West Virginian, and Slovene origins.
Settling in the steelmill town of Fontana California in the year of 1958, Brayer’s earliest memories are of his egg ranch surroundings, the dirt parking lot honky tonks, and the African American drill teams of the Northern Fontana foothills. Brayer wrote its dank history on a series of Gibson Hummingbirds, Martin D41’s, and Gretsch Rancher guitars like no other Fontanan before him, not Sammy Hagar, not Joseph Wambaugh, nor Shelton Brooks. He came of age romanticizing the ‘depression-like Icarus falling’ of the Kaiser Steelmill, and the eventual Altamont embarrassment of the town’s Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club origins.
If his attributes tell an interesting story of a new wave of American Music, then his lyrics tell of a more perfectly articulated confession of what is good and honest about growing up, and there and then, as a life’s calling, making the mythology of his surroundings as real and with blood flowing as is feasibly possible, and then by the end of every song always visualizing a way back home with more heart than pen.
It will be our job here to supply you with the raw facts concerning the meanderings of a poetic life, and a guide through the fifty odd volumes of his recorded works, The Secret Hits of Patrick Brayer. Brayer’s involvement in this web arena will be only to profile the influences on him, which he believes to be a story of a grander importance, and in his mind if it opens up a dialogue on the craft of a song-written dimension, it will pay its own way, regardless of how shabby, through the eye of his world’s world.
What we believe to be the most interesting aspect of this web-collaboration, one between the artist and the critic, will be the balanced pull between our focus on his inner work, and his every cooperative attempt to lean us elsewhere towards his outside world.
Ivory Jackson / The Fontucky Mind Museum / (Curator)