Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weekly Artist Profile: Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley, at the tender age of 62, is finally releasing his debut album. Within this debut, 62 years of pain and hardship are raveled together to create the most emotional release of the year.

He was born in Gainesville, Florida and raised on the streets of Brooklyn. After seeing James Brown in concert, Bradley was inspired to make music and entertain just like the Godfather. The seeds were planted but not yet allowed to grow due to his life situation. Bradley soon left Brooklyn as a part of the Job Corps program, ending up in Bar Harbor, ME where he learned to cook and formed his first band. The band was short-lived however, as most of the members were drafted into the Vietnam War. Bradley then spent a period of time working as a chef at a mental hospital near Poughkeepsie and then hitchhiked through Canada and Alaska, ending up in California. He worked the next 20 years as a chef on the left coast and spent most of his free-time playing any gig he could find. After, 20 years of service, Bradley was laid off from his job and ended up back in Brooklyn. Bradley's musical career started to take off as he performed under the name "Black Velvet" at local clubs. However, just as things started to look up for Bradley, his resolve was tested once again as his brother was shot and killed by his own son, Bradley's nephew. Over the next 11 years, Bradley kept working and finally, after 62 years, he's released the brilliant No Time For Dreaming.

In this album, he channels all that he's endured throughout his life and pours his heart out over the course of this 43-minute album. Listening to this album is a truly transcendent experience as you feel every sinew of pain and sorrow. After the jump, you can listen to 3 tracks off of his debut album and also watch two live videos of performance for KEXP radio.

Charles Bradley by Dunham Records

Check out his myspace page for more music and tour dates! He's playing Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn for free on July 26th for all of you city dwellers.

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