Today we're going to get to know Darrin Bradbury. In Todd Snider's recent book, "I Never Met a Story I Didn't Like," Todd recalls some advice he received in his early days as a songwriter:
"If you want to be a better songwriter and you always want to be getting better at making up songs, you've got to keep your life in a situation where you can pack up every single thing you own in the whole world inside of fifteen minutes and be moved out of wherever you are. And, if you keep your life in a situation where that kinda shit happens to you every once in a while and you are forced to execute that maneuver, I can't promise you a good life, but you will always be getting better at making up songs."
Darrin has been doing exactly that starting well before Todd's book came out. I can't say that I've heard any of his pre-nomadic songs, but the stuff I have heard is damn good. His previous group, "Big Wilson River," averaged 125 shows a year and went on indefinite hiatus last May after a five year run. After that, Darrin toured the country in his gray 2006 Ford Focus and eventually "settled" in East Nashville, meaning he sleeps on friends' couches and Wal-Mart parking lots more often in Nashville than he does anywhere else.
Darrin left the veganism and chiropractors in his home state of New Jersey, although his Birkenstock's somehow found their way to Nashville. He claims not to be a songwriter, that he simply puts himself into interesting situations and then just "writes the shit down." There's a little more to it than that. His keen observation and insight turn the most inane minutiae of daily life into songs that range from mournful to humorous often within the same track. If I had to compare him to any other songwriters, the two that come to mind are Townes van Zandt and John Prine. I've never had the pleasure of making that comparison in an article before and I don't make it lightly.
By now, you're probably thinking to yourself, "This guy sounds great. How can I hear his music?" He recently recorded a Daytrotter session, and posts regularly to Bandcamp, where he recently had a #1 selling album. The recordings are great, but you need to see him live. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to do so this Wednesday (10/8) at the basement from 5-7pm. He also has a standing residence with Tim Carroll at Fran's Eastside Tavern every Wednesday from 9pm to midnight. -Jared Godar