DIARY - 31 JULY 2007 - MIKE BRADY INTERVIEW
BRADY SINGS FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY
been a doctor/ or I could have made a stand/ I ain't got a penny to bless
myself/ cos I just like singing with the band." - Singing With
The Band - Mike Brady
Melbourne song doctor Mike Brady recorded third album Country To
Country in Nashville it was a bucolic boomerang of sorts.
The pop icon and jingle wizard's teenage rock band The Hearsemen,
who emerged in 1963, featured a pedal steel guitarist.
That was two years before Brady made his name with MPD after landing
in Australia in 1959 from Croydon in England.
So it was no surprise Brady hired Mark Moffatt - ex-pedal steel player
for Melbourne progressive country pioneers Saltbush - to produce.
Moffatt produced Australian artists diverse as Mondo Rock, Sharon
O'Neill, Richard Clapton, Tim Finn, Renee Geyer, Shane Howard and
Former Saltbush manager Barry Coburn lured Moffatt to Nashville in
the eighties as an in-house producer for his publishing company Ten
work included demos for latter day Georgian superstar Alan Jackson in
the era when Coburn managed Jackson and launched him to international
And, of course, demos of songs penned by fellow expatriate Australasian
Keith Urban before and after he sang for his supper with The Ranch.
Moffatt, who had pop hits here with The Monitors, also produced Stacey
Earle - sister of seven times wed Texan born troubadour Steve Earle -
and Rachel Warwick.
"Mark and I worked together many years ago on an album with Paul
Norton and I sang backing vocals on Stuck On You," Brady told
Nu Country TV.
"I worked with him on and off and he invited me to Nashville to record.
I dreamed of it for years and sent him songs. He's a good producer, great
guitarist and plays dobro as well as anyone in that town. He put together
an A list of musicians."
They included pedal steel guitarists Scotty Sanders and Bruce C Bouton,
fiddler Rob Hajacos and drummer Tommy Hardin.
"What they put into sessions was more than I expected. To work at
that level is pretty daunting. I haven't been nervous for a recording
session for 20 years. My hands were trembling. Tommy had 23 snare drums
delivered in two road cases. Mark and Rob also played on the new album
he produced for John Swan of Swanee."
OCEAN ROAD SONG RETREAT
playing down the road a bit/ with Fogerty tonight/ they talked like he
was sacred/ and call by he just might." - Willie Came Here Once
- Mike Brady
wrote most of the 12 songs near Lorne in Victoria.
"I wrote most in my little Great Ocean Road hideaway near Lorne,"
"In Melbourne my phone rings all the time. I recorded some vocals
in my studio and some of it at my next-door neighbour's place. He
has a studio - we call it Harry's Joint. I also did some recording
with my brother Doug at his Port Melbourne studio."
His song sources are diverse - a Charleville truckie inspired Sixty-Two
"I was out in the bush near Charleville a few years ago,"
were about 20 truckies, all friendly guys. I said to one guy 'where do
you drive?' He said 'I go six days west and then six days back.' I said
'it must be lonely, do you have a family. He said 'yes, I have a wife.'
He then tapped his truck and said 'this old girl don't answer back.'
That song wrote itself."
But it was a flirtation with the devil's drop - booze - that fuelled Two
Or Three For Me.
The song is one of two accompanied by a video clip shot in Melbourne and
featured on Nu Country TV.
"When I was younger, I did have a battle with the grog," Brady
told Sue Jarvis in Capital News.
"In the end, I drank away my family. The pressures of life on the
road tend to lead you to drink too much."
But it was a bar in the Nashville hotel where Brady stayed during recording
that was the locale for Willie Came Here Once.
"The hotel I was staying at had a writers' bar," Brady recalled.
"The barman said 'Willie might call by tonight.' The other guy said
'well, he came in 1974, he's due to call in again. He's playing down the
road with Fogerty.' It wasn't just down the road - it was over 200 miles
away in Greensboro in Tennessee. That song wrote itself."
you cut me down with your friendly fire/ straight through the heart like
a razor wire." - Friendly Fire - Mike Brady
explored diverse shades of love from the joyous Country Girl to
faded, jaded passion of Me And You, optimism of When It's Raining
to the ruptured romance of Friendly Fire, Let It Ride and I'm
Just A Man.
"I have been in love a few times," Brady confessed of the source
of songs such as Friendly Fire that also has a video shown on Nu
"Most of the songs are pretty personal. I like telling stories -
most I have a strong connection to, broken relationships. I hope I have
paid my respects - I have only been officially been married once. I'm
still in training. I have four fantastic kids - all have a crack at writing.
Eldest son Christian is an Irish traditional singer, Michael and Daisy
play piano and Ben is a bassist. In the film clips my brother Rob plays
guitar and Ben is on bass. It's a fair family connection - a bagel of
Bradys, not the Brady bunch."
Brady also wrote Say It While You Can as a tribute to his father
and a message to son Michael, 12.
Mike plans to utilise TV as surrogate radio and perform at country and
folk festivals to promote his album.
"I'm looking at festivals," say Brady who has gigs booked in
Tamworth and Arnhem Land.
"It's hard because I'm typecast for my footy songs. But in country
you have to be able to know your way around an instrument and sing a bit.
When I grew up country music was a normal part of pop radio. These days
music on radio is fragmented."
Brady, known for classic icons such as Up There Cazaly and One
Day In September, also included one song from that idiom.
True Value Of A Friend was originally written as a theme song for
STILL SINGING WITH THE BAND
me an old time Cadillac/ I managed to pay the rent/ I know my old lady
loves me/ but I don't know where she went." - Singing With The
Band - Mike Brady.
finale Singing With The Band - oldest song on the disc - is
torn from the back pages of his 40 plus years on the road.
It was originally written for the TV show, Solo 1, starring Paul Cronin
and performed by Glenn Shorrock.
"I write for fun but love singing with the band," Brady
"That's real life, playing down the road for 15 years with the
same guys. I'll know it's time to give up when it's not exciting any
more. I'm even rehearsing with a younger band now.
There's something about sitting with guys in band, going out and playing
to a decent audience. It's a tribute to all bands and the whole music
lifestyle. I don't get as excited about my advertising career."
Brady's prowess in advertising that enables him to donate his talent to
charity and his labour of love - country music.
Despite country being a staple of mainstream radio from Brady's arrival
here in 1959 and through the sixties, seventies and eighties, the corporate
commercial chains have long since banned it.
Artists such as Dixie Chicks and Urban leap the commercial radio moat
during tours when their promoters flood the chains with big advertising
But once the tour tide recedes so does the airplay - the farce reached
a climax when on-air DJS suggested listeners call Nova programmers when
Lee Kernaghan's ninth album Spirit Of The Bush was boycotted despite
topping sales charts.
But that won't deter the energies of Brady who is already working on a
new disc with songs about the Great Ocean Road.
Shock Records distributes Country To Country.
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