CHUCK BRODSKY & JUSTIN FARREN
Wednesday, January 16, 7:00pm
Odd Fellows Lodge
212 Spring St, Nevada City, CA
$20 general admission
$30 premium seating
Tickets online or at the BriarPatch Food Coop – 530-272-5333
“This guy will simply knock you out…a font of great songwriting…someone you want to get to know if you consider yourself a fan of Americana but wish a lot of the songwriting had that certain something extra.” – Midwest Record
“Chuck Brodsky can sing, fingerpick, and strum with the best of ’em…a storyteller, and a riveting one at that… an underlying tone of warmth and compassion runs through all his carefully observed narratives.” – Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Chuck Brodsky is a storyteller, songwriter, troubadour, and a modern day bard. With only his acoustic guitar and his voice he’ll draw you in with genuine, down-to-earth warmth and his quirky, finely crafted songs. Using wit and irony, set to haunting melodies, he tells the stories of oddball and underdog characters through his syncopated guitar strumming or sweet finger-picking.
His songs celebrate the goodness in people—the eccentric, holy, profound, courageous, inspiring, and the beautiful. They poke fun at what needs to be poked, and sometimes they challenge. They’re sworn to tell the truth.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, a very young Chuck fell in love with the piano. Despite taking lessons, he still managed to teach himself how to play. Years later, on his first day of university orientation, he saw two guys playing guitars. He soon got one of his own, transferred out of the university and into the school of life.
Influenced by Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Lowell George, John Hartford, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Greg Brown, The Rolling Stones, and Nic Jones, Chuck started writing songs in a style that is very much his own, yet pays homage to the traditions.
After hitchhiking to San Francisco and singing weekly at the Tattoo Rose Cafe’s open mic, Chuck spent a few years singing for tips on the streets of Europe, and worked as a fruit picker back in the USA. In the late 1980’s, he began performing in small coffeehouses around the San Francisco Bay Area. Winning the “Emerging Songwriter Award” at the Napa Valley Folk Festival in 1992, the following year he was warmly embraced at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas.
For the past 23 years, Chuck has performed at festivals and in concerts all across the USA, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, England, Israel, Lithuania, Latvia, Wales, and the Shetland Islands of Scotland.
Since 1995, each of his ten albums has been critically acclaimed; most recently his 2013 release The Baseball Ballads 2, which was named to MOJO Magazine’s top ten list of Folk albums for 2014. Four of his early cds were produced in Atlanta by Kristian Bush of Sugarland, while his most recent four studio recordings were produced in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, by J.P. Cormier. His March 2015 release, Tell Tale Heart, is self-produced and was recorded in Asheville NC.
Chuck’s passion for our National Pastime and its colorful, offbeat characters is evident in his two albums full of Baseball tales. Such characters as the first white man to play in the Negro Leagues, a pitcher who threw a no-hitter while high on LSD, a catcher who was also a spy during World War II, a base-runner who cost his team the pennant by not touching a base, The Clown Prince of Baseball, and Chuck’s favorite player from his childhood who was booed by the hometown fans. Chuck Brodsky has performed three times at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and 20 of his celebrated Baseball story songs have been enshrined in the Hall’s sound recording library. His beloved Philadelphia Phillies featured his song “Whitey & Harry” and an interview with Chuck in the documentary about their legendary Hall of Fame player and broadcaster, Richie Ashburn.
The 2003 Sony Pictures film “Radio” featured a cameo appearance by Chuck and his closing title track. “Moe Berg: The Song” can be heard in the film “Jews and Baseball,” which aired on the PBS Network.
Kathy Mattea’s recording of his “We Are Each Other’s Angels” is the closing track in the 1998 film “Dear Mr. Goodlife,” and eleven of Chuck’s songs appear in the 2011 film “The Deposition.”
His song “Blow ’em Away” recorded by David Wilcox, and many others, also appears on the Christine Lavin produced “Laugh Tracks” and has been a long time favorite of the Dr. Demento show.
“…an incredibly original artist with a lot of verve and energy, and a terrific guitarist.” – Folk Stage Chicago
“I was thrilled to hear Justin Farren at a folk music conference a couple years ago. He is an incredibly original artist with a lot of verve and energy, and a terrific guitarist. He will absolutely charm you with the strange humor and cleverness of his lyrics.” – Rich Warren, Folk Stage Chicago
Justin Farren was raised on the outskirts of Sacramento. Riding bikes up dirt hills with his brother and the neighbor kids. He was always a person of intense focus.
The story goes that he learned to read at three, and ride a motorized dirt bike at four. But legends are common in his family, from grand larcenist to circus perfomer ancestors and a solo pilot grandma.
Justin was the lead shot putter at his school, and had a perfect basketball shot. He loved sports, football, soccer, basketball, and hoped to play professionally one day.
Then, there was a bend in the road when his brother decided they should start a band. Justin got a bass and his brother a guitar. They bought a book of basic chords, and Justin switched lanes. His master focus shifted from sports to songs and, since then, songs have been what mattered most. He learned albums by ear from start to finish, it was the real beginning of ‘doing it yourself’ for what became a do it yourself man.
At 15, he bought Yellow, the truck of his life. He rebuilt the engine, twice. (The first time it burst into flames.) This is just one example of how he became an independent, stable person well before his peers. In truth, Justin seems to be aging in reverse, younger and younger as the years pass. He is way more likely to toilet paper a house now than he ever was as a kid.
Justin wanted to record albums, so he became a recording engineer. Justin wanted his own house, so he built it from the ground up. Justin wanted to work for himself, so he took his house building knowledge and became a handyman extraordinaire. Really, he’s like what many of us may think of our grandparents: Intense, hardworking, autonomous, highly skilled in their pursuits.
Which leads us back to songwriting. He looks at a song in a multidimensional way, but the end result is enchanting, and feels effortless. Justin plays a cheap guitar, but is often asked about its tone.
Justin lives a humble life in small house in the most working class part of town. Still driving old Yellow, and wearing mostly previously owned clothes. He lives abundantly, he eats real food, and plays music with his favorite people.