We all look upon the music of the 60’s and 70’s with a sense of fond nostalgia. The Peace and Love Generation, Civil Rights, a world that sought the dream to end war and coexist in harmony. There were many great artists that espoused the images of a place where the lion may lay down with the lamb. In my youth I listened to the music of Joan Baez, Odetta, Janis Ian, Joni Mitchell, and Carol King. There was always something soothing and calming about the sound of the female folk singer, like a lullaby, or a mother’s lament, stories of better days. The female folk singer played a very important role in this musical era of social revolution. Even though there were male artists that would compose songs of a similar nature, it did not hit the soul such as the woman’s softer touch.
Fast forward to the present, the songs of revolution are still heard today - on the radio, or our digital audio devices, at the café’s, or in the concert halls where the old vanguard come to play to those who saw them in their youth. But what of the youth and peace searching people of today? Who will sing to them their call to march on Washington or City Hall, to social change?
Who will be their voice?
Enter into the light of a new day Brooke Branning, a soft voiced and kind eyed woman who wants to bring her song to those that would listen. Brooke Branning is a singer / songwriter who speaks to today’s conscientious and socially minded person. Brooke has been performing for audiences large and small all around California for many years, working towards her present material; she has taken the sound of the movement and made it her own. Her delicate playing technique and elegance of style is fully evident and undeniable. Brooke is a person who sees life as means to help others, and it is by this service to others she fulfills herself.
As a woman of great spirituality, she believes that it is through the experiences of her life she has developed real empathy for others. To feel the emotions of others is a rare talent, a gift, and sometimes a curse. Brooke Branning feels her music; she feels the words form within the music flowing from her, and then shares the feelings through her creative vision. Her essence and her love for life are transformational. “To see people in pain has always made me want to help out, to raise people up and give them hope”. To Brooke, there is nothing that cannot be done if we all stand as one, and one by one we can all stand together.
For the past 30 years Brooke has been creating her music. The release of her album, titled “It’s Not Too Late” is a collection of songs from that period in her life that, as she states, “was a time of personal development and enrichment”. Her growth as an artist and as a human being shows in the songs and composure of “It’s Not Too Late”: warm, alluring tones and ambient textures, perfectly juxtaposed to words that stay with you and make you think. Music is her passion, and as she looks to create her next album, she plans on selling her business, going into the studio and begin work on the new project exclusively.
The album “It’s Not Too Late” offers us a view into the creative mind of Brooke Branning, which is strongly tethered to her heart and soul. Where some of the songs on her CD are very straight forward, some are mysterious. One such piece on the album that has been etched into my thoughts is “Breakfast with Buddha”, which may seem like a pleasant devotional, but is in fact performed with deep rooted purpose. Upon closely listening, we learn of a devotion to faith that people are risking and sometimes losing their lives for. “Breakfast with Buddha” is a witness in verse to the dilemma of the Buddhist Monks of Tibet, whom have been tormented, persecuted, and hunted down for their beliefs. “It’s Not Too Late” is an audio expose, revealing to the listener the errors of man’s ways, his follies and what could potentially be our salvation. These are the subjects that Brooke finds important to write music and verse about. She wants to provoke others to stand with her, against the modern plagues and rally the people together.
For a people united is far stronger than a few.
At 50, Brook says she is now “peaking”, and feels now is the best time for her to move forward with her music in a stronger sense, with urgency, direction and with great focus. “There are some that peak at 20 or thirty, but now at 50 I have so much more to offer”.
Brooke told me of her past, times of little money and of struggles, but she did not strike me as one who dwelled in the sadness or misery of a dark past; instead, she “took the knocks and lumps” to create a bright future for herself and possibly others. Brooke has decided to dedicate her life and work to charitable service, playing many fundraisers, donating the proceeds from her events and working with others in public service.
Brooke said she had a problem with stage fright, but overcame it to become an artist that could give back to a world that has given her so much. “The gift that I have been given as a songwriter and performer has convinced me this is what I was meant to do. My songwriting has deepened over the years, and my quest for awakening has given me the ability to look at life and then frame it in my music, and get my message out”.
When finishing our interview, Brooke mentioned that she is particularly fond of the “Open Mic” nights and various small club events that gather together the artists of the Central Coast. “We are surrounded by so many wonderful artists, and I have sat in with some, played with others, and enjoy their company”. After a laugh she added, “I often think I’ll be asked to join the stage and wind up playing all night long”. Brooke Branning is focused on writing and gathering 50 new songs, planning to release a new, 2nd album by 2014 and then her 3rd album for release in 2015. “I really want to bring my music across all platforms and reach as many people as possible”.
To follow Brooke Branning’s progress, get her album and watch her videos, go to her website at http://www.brookebranning.com, Brooke will post news and events as they are scheduled. If you get to see her play, or get to hear her music, remember she is looking back at you, enjoying your life and existence as much as you may be enjoying hers.
We are as one together, and together we are never alone.