53.6 F

Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Famed baseball storyteller Chuck Brodsky to perform

Famed singer-songwriter and storyteller Chuck Brodsky will be performing Jan. 16 at Bill Wagman’s House at 1350 Monarch Lane in Davis at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door.

Brodsky, born and raised in Philadelphia, began his career performing in San Francisco coffee shops and busking across Europe during the late 1980s. Over the last 20 years, Brodsky has released 10 albums and toured North America and Europe extensively.

However, it is Brodsky’s incorporation of baseball and many of its eccentric characters into his songs that has brought him critical acclaim. As a result, 18 of his baseball story songs have been enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame sound recording library.

MUSE spoke with Brodsky and asked him about his approach to writing music, why he loves baseball and his future as a musician.

MUSE: How would you describe your approach to music and what do you think separates you from other folk musicians?

CB: My approach to music is very organic I think. I don’t mean to sound smug, but music isn’t a career for me as much as it’s my calling. It’s a craft. Something I take great pride in. I’m not really in the business of music. I love songwriting and I love performing too much. The goal for me when writing a song is just to please myself on an artistic level and the goal when doing a concert is to feel connected with everybody while doing something I love doing. That’s it right there. I can’t really speak for other musicians, as far as what they might strive for, or how they might define success, but for me it’s never been about trying to reach some level of fame or some great big number of sales. That’s all good, but it’s not healthy to have those things be your focus. I like to keep it only about trying to reach people, having some fun, telling some stories worthy of telling, making some good music … it’s like being unleashed. It’s something I’m grateful that I get to do. I’m an independent musician who’d love to have a manager and a booking agent, but since I don’t, I do those jobs myself, make all my own arrangements, drive myself around, and then when I show up at the gig … that’s when I get to let it just be about the music.

How did your signature style of combining folk music and baseball come to develop over the years?

It happened completely by accident. I was a little bit unsure about playing my first baseball song. I thought people would find a song about sports to be trite. I was surprised people liked it so much when I started to sing it. When I wrote a second baseball song I noticed I was often being referred to as the guy who writes baseball songs, and that was just after two of them. By the time I’d written my third baseball song it occurred to me I might continue writing them until one day I had enough to fill an entire CD of them. I did ultimately release The Baseball Ballads. I kept writing more baseball songs, and a few months ago I released the follow up CD, The Baseball Ballads 2.

Why do you find baseball and its role as America’s national pastime so intriguing?

I think baseball is something that most people are probably exposed to at some point in their lives in one way or another. It’s something almost universally shared by fathers or by mothers with their children, playing catch in the backyard, following the favorite team together, going out to the ballpark — something a lot of people can relate to. It’s all been just a great big tremendous amount of fun, writing and singing about baseball. It’s taught me just how beloved baseball really is, by old and young, rich and poor, people of all colors, male or female. On a cultural level, I think baseball is an incredibly rich and colorful treasure trove of folklore. There have been so many great characters through the years, some of mythic proportions — the heroes, the goats, the winners, the losers, the goofballs — while generations of fans have lived and died with their teams.

How and why do you choose the stories that you tell?

It starts with me being touched by a story, whether it be one told to me face to face, or one I come across in a newspaper or magazine article, or even a photo that catches my eye and provokes me to imagining something very real. I look for stories that lift your spirit, or make you feel you’re not alone in your troubles, stories of people doing kind things, stories of the good examples we can be to others. I look for stories that are unique and worthy of telling, or I try to give voice to somebody else who has something profound to say but not a way of saying it. It might sound hokey, but it’s true… a lot of the best stories seem to find me.

What are does the future hold for you career and how do you see yourself developing as an artist?

 I think as an artist my songwriting keeps getting better and better, and I think my performances do too. I’d mostly just like for that to continue. I plan to continue touring throughout North America, Europe and elsewhere, hopefully for many more years. I’d like to play my songs for as many people along the way as I can. I’d like to send as many of them home happy and satisfied as I possibly can. That’s what I see as realistic. That’s all I can really control. I’m alive. I’m doing it better than I’ve ever done it. Anything beyond that is gravy. Continuing to be able to make my living as a performer and songwriter, being able to continue making records, is all a great privilege that I really don’t take for granted. My career goal is to keep on going, try to hang onto my integrity in a world that celebrates the phony and joyously make my way until my dying day.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here