Episode 16: Chuck Brodsky

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When Chuck Brodsky was 21, he made a decision that he was going to follow his passion to become a songwriter who tells stories that matter. He hitchhiked from his hometown in Philadelphia to San Francisco and never looked back.

I’ve been wanting to chat with Chuck for a long time. His songs have always held my attention because of their raw, honest, straightforward storytelling. His style is very much his own, but based on some early heros, like Bob Dylan, and his ability to weave great long narratives into music.

We talked a lot about craft here, about how you can write a song that isn’t about you, but clearly describes who you are.  About paying attention and being mindful of the little moments that are important, and have an impact.  To essentially just be who you are, for your own sake, and not to fit into a pre-designed mold that you might expect others to expect from you.

Busking in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1985

Unfortunately, there was a lot we never really got to chat about in this episode. There is just so much to talk about, and so little time.  I really don’t often have an idea of how these chats will go, so the way they happen is very organic.  Consequently, large elements of careers are left out, like Chuck’s yearly tours to Ireland that he leads,  the ever growing collection of baseball ballads and his performances and inclusion in multiple baseball halls of fame (including National and Cincinnati), as well as being inducted last year into the Philly Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. I also didn’t get to ask Chuck about the inclusion of “Bill & Annie” in an episode for the insanely popular podcast “Welcome to Nightvale.”  I suppose you’ll just have to get to know him, too.   I’m going to attempt to steer you in the right direction to get a real sense of the kind of songwriter Chuck is.

I suppose a good place to start would be with the songs you heard and the ones we talked about on the episode.

(click on the ‘bc’ to check out the entire album, as well as all of his albums, on bandcamp)

As well as the ones we made quick reference to:

There are likely some I forgot to include, but here is a great start!  Spend a day and just catch up on Chuck’s collection of songs, and then follow him over at Facebook or Twitter to find out where he’ll be next.  Of course his website is always a good place to park it too.  You know, park it, like you would on a plush chair on the freeway.