needs to be reminded of
the power of COVID-19 to knock the best laid plans to the ground.
found myself kicked to the ground by the virus with minimal symptoms
and a two-week
isolation period that had me questioning my life up to this point. But
virus is behind me and back doing what feels normal. Another fellow who
come to understand the power of our current pandemic to level hopes and
is singer songwriter BRAD HELLER. In late 2019, HELLER had released his
album THE SENTENCE to a string of promising reviews and an eagerness to
road in the Spring of 2020. Unfortunately, a mysterious virus from
China began seizing
the headlines and little by little the already shaky infrastructure of
music industry found itself paralyzed by social distancing measures to
the spread of Coronavirus. Oh, and let’s not forget one of the nastiest
elections of all time. Despite not being able to tour, HELLER has
keep the album in eyes of the public through positive critical notices
music video for the album’s single ETERNAL GARDEN. At the end of
2020, music critics were laying the usual hossannahs on BRUCE
SPRINGSTEEN's latest offering A LETTER TO YOU and deservedly so.
However, HELLER is a singer songwriter cut from the same blue collar
cloth as SPRINGSTEEN and has tons to say about the fragile
human condition in these uncertain times.
ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with BRAD HELLER over the phone
at the start of the 2021. Here is how the interview went.
Your album THE SENTENCE has come out at a
very cahllanging time. Describe what it has been like to keep promoting
the album despite the hit to the music industry because of the
It's been quite a challenge
actually. I released THE SENTENCE back in mid-August of 2019 and just
as I was
getting ready to get to touring for it in 2020, the pandemic happened
changed everything. Before you knew it, no one was able to tour. Even
of the touring coming to a halt, we've managed to keep the album and
on people's radars with some music videos and the album has managed to
great reviews in spite of everything that has been going on.
What other plans do you have for getting
this album out there for people to listen to?
We're going to continue to
push the album this year. We're going to continue pushing the album
midway through this year. We have a series of one-off shows lined up.
tentative because who knows how long this pandemic is going to last and
knows when people are going to be able to gather again and see a show.
haven't given up on promoting this album. However, I am going to be
back into the studio to finally start work on the follow up album.
OUT THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR THE SINGLE ETERNAL
How is this album different from your
previous album AMERICAN BURDEN?
Just like I was telling you at
the top of the interview that Albuquerque and Tucson are sister cities.
SENTENCE is like a sister record to my previous album AMERICAN BURDEN.
that album was more political in tone, THE SENTENCE comes from a more
place. A lot of the material was inspired by loss and personal tragedy.
What songwriters helped you in finding your
own voice as a songwriter?
Well, I grew up on music from
guys like NEIL YOUNG, JOHN FOGERTY and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN where the
music had to
be relevant and when music is relevant, it can apply to any moment in
still resonate with people. That's what I try to do as a songwriter.
I understand that you are working on music
for new album. What is inspiring this new music and how will it be
different from THE SENTENCE?
The music I'm working on for
the upcoming album is inspired by more social issues. There is no way
writing about stuff like that. In 2020 I lost a couple of jobs so the
the working man is going to find its way into this new music. I love
into the storytelling. Sure it gets kind of dark but I use melody and
roll to keep it lively.
At what point did mid music-making become
the thing that your were going to make a living at?
I'd love to say that it was
always with me but truthfully I was a late bloomer when it came to
music. I was
always an athletic kid growing up and when I was in college I played
baseball. So I had this athletic career that was really taking off yet
enjoyed music and enjoyed the craft of it. I didn’t really get into
making until I was in my early thirties.
Describe the songwriting process for you.
How do you go about it?
Sometimes it starts with a
melody. Sometimes it’s a chord progression, lyrics or just a theme. I’m
and I usually find that the best time for me to write is late at night.
There is a definite proletariat feel to the
music of this album. Where does that come from?
With my music I try to be the
proponent of the underdog just like SPRINGSTEEN or NEIL YOUNG were with
music. There is just a wealth of material you can mine when you take
approach and you address themes like class, race and gender. Songs like
have weight and they mean something.
You are solo artist but you've got a
backing band called THE FUSTICS.
THE FUSTICS are my road band.
It’s a quartet of guys. The music is all mine and these guys are there
the sound out for live shows. They are all guys that live here in North
Carolina. These guys are long time friends and long time bandmates.
What songs off of the album have you the
most excited to get people to hear and why?
I really love the title track.
It’s very similar to another song on the album called GONE which has
western feel. Another song I really like off of the album is THE RUNNER
has this strong Mexican motif. The song is about smuggling humans.
ETERNAL SEASON is a great choice for a
single and music video!
ETERNAL SEASON is a song about
living forever. It was supposed to be the title of the record. I wrote
I was on the road and heading to Memphis. I wrote the song piece by
it’s got this nice WILCO sound.
Another song that sticks out for me is
THE GARDEN TREE is the last
song on the alum and it’s about a dream sequence about this tree that
planted in Arizona. It’s about my father who was a surgeon by trade but
really into horticulture and how he tended this tree over the years.
the album THE SENTENCE, what is the
big idea? What do you want a listener to come away with after they hear
it? That what
they are listening
to is music that is coming from a thoughtful songwriter. As a
songwriter I want
to take people on a journey. I want people to come away from this album
thinking that they have been on a good journey and that the music was
rian Lush is a music
professional and entrepreneur. In 2005 he launched the
site Rockwired.com to help promote new music artists in conjunction
with the weekly radio show Rockwired Live which aired on KTSTFM.COM
from 2005 - 2009. In 2010 He launched the daily podcast series
Rockwired Radio Profiles which features exclusive interviews and music.
He has also developed and produced the online radio shows Jazzed and
Blue - Profiles in Blues and Jazz, Aboriginal Sounds - A Celebration of
American Indian and First Nations Music, The Rockwired Rock N Roll
Mixtape Show and The Rockwired Artist of the Month Showcase. In 2012,
Brian Lush and his company Rockwired Media LLC launched the monthly
digital online publication Rockwired Magazine. The magazine attracts
over 75,000 readers a month and shows
no signs of stopping. Rockwired Magazine also bares the distinction
of being the first American Indian-owned rock magazine. Brian Lush is
an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Brian Lush's background
in music journalism, radio and podcast hosting, podcast production, web
design, publicity, advertising sales, social media and online
marketing, strategic editorial planning and branding have all made
Rockwired a name that is trusted and respected throughout the
independent music industry.