Let's face it, 2014 has been a hard year for a lot of people... As long time readers of this blog know, Ear to the Ground took a bit of a hiatus during the first part of year so that I could deal with some shit. When I came back, I declared it the beginning of Ear to the Ground v2.1 and I haven't look back since. When it came time to decide upon a Band of the Year (keep in mind for me "Band" has always been a term used for both Bands and Solo Artists - whether or not they have a band) the choice stood out like a sore thumb and there really wasn't a choice to be made. So, congratulations are in order for Mr. Darrin Bradbury currently of East Nashville, Tennessee!
A little history... So I can't find this anywhere, but I think back in 2012 Don Ryan suggested I check out some friends of his called Big Wilson River, and anyway, in July of that year they were one of my Featured Artists of the Month. Darrin was the front man of that band, but I really didn't get to know him that well. Flash forward to November 2013, and I get a missive from the esteemed New Jersey music scene personality David Horton who informs me that one Darrin Bradbury was making the move to Nashville and that I should take good care of him.
It touched base with Darrin, but we didn't get a chance to meet, and then he embarked on a massive tour, and I got embroiled in my beginning of the year situations... anyway, in the meantime, I downloaded some of his music, and he has a lot out there, and he soon began making frequent appearances in the Morning Shuffle - including a run during the spring and summer where there was a Darrin Bradbury song or two or three in the shuffle everyday for a couple of weeks. The shuffle did it, but I was perfectly fine with it. His songs were original and often funny, and they had some of the most amazing turns of phrases that I have ever heard.
Since August of this year, I think I have seen Darrin play live at least a million times or more.. okay maybe a slight exaggeration, but one average I see him two or three times a week, and I have not once gotten tired of seeing him. (Although our friend James and I did decide that four times in a week is about all we can handle - you have to know your limits.) I especially love seeing a new audience hear his songs for the first time.
As important for me as the music has been the friendship that has grown and the important part he has played in this new beginning for me. I have met so many great musicians/songwriters and friends through him.
But, this isn't a Friend of the Year award.... What has been most amazing has been seeing Darrin through hard work, determination, and force of personality become a virtual fixture in a very crowded and talented East Nashville music scene. A quick check of his Bandcamp page shows he released four albums in 2014 (two were collections of Demos that were good enough to be called albums in my book), he has been featured by Daytrotter, American Songwriter Magazine, and as you read about here first a review of his album Motel Oatmeal was featured by No Depression. Not bad at all...
I could go on for a little bit more before I got distracted and started naming items on my desk and then started misquoting Shakespeare... but I'll leave you with the music of Mr. Darrin Bradbury - the Ear to the Ground Band of the Year for 2014. Oh yeah, and as of right now he has a band... an awesome band, a Super-High band that features Tim Carroll on guitar, Cameron Carrus on upright bass, and David Strayer on drums. Look for an amazing new album in 2015.