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CHUCK BRODSKY

Chuck Brodsky's visit to the Downpatrick Folk Club last year was one of the most memorable musical events we've experienced for a long time and he performed brilliant versions of songs from his four excellent CD releases.

"......like Prine only funnier !"
-Down Recorder

Brodsky, a modern day troubadour who has inherited the mantle of Woody Guthrie, is neither a crusading hippy evangelist nor a revolutionary poet. His songs express a deep humanitarian concern for how society treats the individual but don't preach at us. The lyrics are wonderful vignettes of human struggles, often narratives of real lives and events, some based on his first hand experiences and personal relationships. And he's terribly funny!

"What tales this singer-songwriter from Philadelphia has...With insight and good humor, he has taken these life experiences and distilled them into old fashioned story songs brimming with wit and compassion."
-New York Times

Chuck's subjects range from humorous redneck stories to baseball memories to protest songs whose chief weapon is a gentle wit. He's probably best known for the road rage anthem "Blow 'Em Away" which has already been covered by several other artists. He's not only a great and important songwriter but also a warm and wonderful entertainer. Take you chance when he comes round your way.

CHUCK BRODSKY - His Career

With arresting songwriting, groove-oriented guitar playing, and a soulful, compassionate voice, Chuck Brodsky quickly became a fixture on the national acoustic music scene. In 1992 he won the Emerging Songwriter Award at the Napa Valley Folk Festival in California. His debut CD, A Fingerpainter's Murals (Waterbug Records, 1995) was a critical favorite with its collection of vividly rendered stories--from a farmer losing his land ("Acre by Acre") to a washed-up pitcher trying to hold on a little longer ("Lefty"). But the song that cemented Brodsky's reputation as a funny and trenchant songwriter was "Blow 'em Away," a delightfully nasty blues about a pistol-packing commuter. The radio tip sheet The Maverick Report named it "Song of the Year," and it made its way onto a number of compilation albums, including Dr. Demento's "Basement Tapes. Singer-songwriter David Wilcox made the song one of the highlights of his concerts and recorded it on his 1996 live album, East Asheville Hardware. Chuck was invited to perform at New York's Bottom Line as part of their prestigious "Required Listening" series. He was also invited by Christine Lavin to contribute a cut to Shanachie's 1996 "Laugh Tracks" album. His songs appear on a number of other compilation CDs, including three Fast Folk discs, two of The Leak Magazine's CDs, two "American Impressionist Songwriters" CDs, and four "Diamond Cuts" albums of baseball songs.

"Down-to-earth lyrics about ordinary folk sung in an often jocular, and always entertaining style...He may be compassionate, but thereís always at least a modicum of black humour somewhere along the line to keep his audiences on their toes"
--The Jerusalem Post

With arresting songwriting, groove-oriented guitar playing, and a soulful, compassionate voice, Chuck Brodsky quickly became a fixture on the national acoustic music scene. In 1992 he won the Emerging Songwriter Award at the Napa Valley Folk Festival in California. His debut CD, A Fingerpainter's Murals (Waterbug Records, 1995) was a critical favorite with its collection of vividly rendered stories--from a farmer losing his land ("Acre by Acre") to a washed-up pitcher trying to hold on a little longer ("Lefty"). But the song that cemented Brodsky's reputation as a funny and trenchant songwriter was "Blow 'em Away," a delightfully nasty blues about a pistol-packing commuter. The radio tip sheet The Maverick Report named it "Song of the Year," and it made its way onto a number of compilation albums, including Dr. Demento's "Basement Tapes. Singer-songwriter David Wilcox made the song one of the highlights of his concerts and recorded it on his 1996 live album, East Asheville Hardware. Chuck was invited to perform at New York's Bottom Line as part of their prestigious "Required Listening" series. He was also invited by Christine Lavin to contribute a cut to Shanachie's 1996 "Laugh Tracks" album. His songs appear on a number of other compilation CDs, including three Fast Folk discs, two of The Leak Magazine's CDs, two "American Impressionist Songwriters" CDs, and four "Diamond Cuts" albums of baseball songs.

Chuck grew up in the Philadelphia area. As a teenager he worked at a legendary folk club, The Main Point, where he was introduced to a lot of great songwriters and performers (such as bluesman George Gritzbach and Steve Forbert). Others who influenced Chuck include Bob Dylan, Nic Jones, Jackson Browne, David Massengill, and further toward the literary side, Mark Twain. They say that to tell great stories you have to live an adventurous life. It's a tip that Chuck Brodsky took to heart. In 1981, he took his guitar and hitchhiked to California. Heís worked as a migrant fruit picker, driven an ice cream truck, labored on an Israeli Kibbutz, worked for a book distributor, was a bank courier (until he lost a check for ten million), and spent two years streetsinging in Europe. In the process, Chuck learned what all great writers know--that the best stories are the little things in the lives of everyday people who are trying to muddle through with some grace. Chuck's great gift as a writer is to infuse these stories with humanity and humor, and to make them resonate profoundly with his listeners.

"One of the finest singer-songwriters in America. There are a lot of good ones, but when it comes to the really great ones it boils down to a select few- heís one of them"
--Larry Gross - Mountain Stage (National Public Radio)

In 1996, Chuck (who now lives near Asheville, North Carolina) signed with Red House Records and released Letters in the Dirt, introducing us to great characters such as a roadside peach vendor still wondering after thirty years if he married the right woman ("Bill & Annie"), and the first white baseball player in the Negro Leagues ("The Ballad of Eddie Klepp"). The album earned critical raves, and articles about Chuck and his characters appeared all over the country. His 1998 release, Radio, was even more widely acclaimed for its great stabs at our laughable culture, like "The Come Here's & the Been Here's," "Our Gods," and "On Christmas I Got Nothing." For a three month period shortly after its release Radio was the 3rd most frequently played album on Americana stations nationwide, according to The Gavin Report.

"Amazingly sensitive...finely honed songs...Wonderfully real...Songwriter extraordinaire...from the touching to the darkly humorous...In a grand tradition that runs from Guthrie through Dylan, Prine, and even Greg Brown, Brodsky has an endearingly personal approach to music."
--East Bay Express (Berkeley, CA)

Chuck's touring has broadened to include Canada, Ireland, and Israel. Heís played such prestigious festivals as the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Strawberry Music Festival (CA), the Kerrville Folk Festival (TX) and the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and has twice given concerts at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Heís been a guest on nationally syndicated radio programs such as Mountain Stage, Acoustic Cafe, and River City Folk. Kathy Mattea recorded his song "We Are Each Otherís Angels" (from "A Fingerpainter's Murals") for a 1998 independent film entitled "Dear Mr. Goodlife." Sara Hickman also recorded the song for her childrenís album "Newborn" and for her "Spiritual Appliances" album. Chuckís song "Radio" was used by NFL Films for a national broadcast on ESPN about a man with Down's Syndrome who is adored by his whole community.

"He is an extroadinary talent in my opinion. I would place him in the Dylan-Guthrie-Prine league without question. His lyrics are drawn from the lives of everyday people and his acoustic guitar playing is quite amazing."

--BBC Belfast (Tony McAuley)

Last of the Old Time, Brodskyís third album for Red House (his fourth CD overall) was released in the Summer of 2000. Chuck continues to tour full-time, building a loyal following wherever he plays. His down to earth presence, touching storytelling, and his dry, barb-witted social commentary bring both tears and laughter to the listener...often during the course of the very same song. The San Francisco Bay Guardian describes him as "A genuine troubadour with no soap box, no urban boho contentions, and a few axes to grind," adding that " Brodsky picks and grins with the best of the Woody and Rambliní Jack descendants."