Wednesday, September 4, 2019

PREMIERE: Bradford Loomis -- "Rambling Man"

If I had a nickle for every time I've heard the phrase "the new Nashville" since starting this blog, I wouldn't need a day job. But if I had a dollar for every time the phrase was apt, well, I'm still working the 9 to 5. Bradford Loomis' new track "Rambling Man" imports some Seattle grunge into his Americana, making for a stadium-worthy country production. It's a song that is triumphant and sorely necessary: the story of someone waking up to what's around them.

Loomis has earned the grit on "Rambling Man." After losing his job and his home in the Recession, Loomis also had to support his wife through a mysterious illness as well as his father with early-onset Alzheimer's. These experiences brought Loomis back to music after a ten-year hiatus, and the scene has welcomed him with open arms. You may recognize Loomis' voice from his duo with Beth Whitney: Banner Days. On his second full-length solo album, Where the Light Ends, Loomis looks to a brighter future. The album will be out on October 11th.

Photo: Tony Hammons
 How did you come to write this song? Is it about you or about someone else? What inspired it?

When my friend Shelly Moore and I sat down to write this, I was telling her about my fathers diagnosis of Alzheimer's and how that got me thinking about the legacy that we leave. I have found myself asking, "Am I making the most of my time here on Earth?" I have come to the realization that I have no idea where this life will take me, but I want to enjoy the journey. I want that journey or the time that I'm given to be meaningful and make others lives better. I'm working towards that.

How did this song come together in the studio? Was it easy, or did it require a number of takes to get it the way you wanted it?

Oh man, it was so much fun. Mark Alvis, my drummer, and Brandon Bee, the album producer, came up with some amazing parts for the rhythm section. The way the rhythm pattern shifts from the verse to that syncopated beat in the chorus is my favorite part of the song. It's an amazing experience to watch gifted musicians take a song you wrote in directions you hadn't imagined. It's a beautiful surrender. And it gives the song a chance to really come alive.

Your press materials talk about some of the difficulties that life threw at you and how overcoming them made you a stronger person and shaped your music. How do you think losing your job, your home, and having your wife be sick (all at the same time) informed how you approach songwriting? Do you still mine that difficult time for your songwriting? 

Well, for one, I doubt that I would have had the courage to pick up music again if not for the adversity. It lit a fire that was both logistic (we needed to pay the bills and music was something I could do on the side) and soul nourishing. It gave me an outlet to deal with what we were going through. And through that, I found that we were not alone. We are uniquely wired for narrative. The songs that were tending to my wounds told powerful stories of hard times struggled through. It gave me hope and the means to tell my stories and the stories of my family. I still come back to those timed in my writing. There is an unfortunate universality in suffering. We can all relate to it at some point. The key for me is always looking for the light. Hope seems to always get us through.

You moved from Seattle to Nashville, which is not only a big geographic move, but also probably a bit of a cultural shift too. Do you feel that you fit better in Nashville than you did in Seattle as a musician and performer? How has it been for you to be part of the bustling Nashville music scene? 

You know, I think I do. I don't know that Washington will ever stop feeling like home, but Nashville definitely does now. The people have been so kind and welcoming. Nashville is built around music and the people who make it. It's an electric city that knows the value that creators bring to a city. It's pretty amazing. Seattle is beautiful and has a great scene filled with loving people, but the city has made it hard for creators to live there. They aren't valued. It's a shame. I've always stood out wherever I go. It's the nature of looking like I do I guess, but it's different here. It's felt like a good thing so far. And my favorite thing is that people are so open to collaboration here in Nashville. It makes it much easier to find and build community.

Where the Light Ends will be released on October 11th. "Rambling Man" will be available wherever you find your music on September 6th. 

Bradford Loomis -- Facebook, Twitter, Spotify

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