Friday, June 5, 2009

Stephen Bruton

Stephen Bruton

I first heard Stephen Bruton play in 1971 at The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, PA. I was 16 years old. I can't remember if he was backing up Kristofferson or Geoff Muldaur that first time because I was so taken with him — the poetry of his guitar and the beauty of his physical presence. It was as if an angel had stopped in to pick up the guitar for prayer. I was thoroughly smitten and came back every show that weekend to hear him play. One snowy night, I brought him a rose. We sat together through the second act one show but I have no recollection of who that might have been, only of Stephen's hand running up and down my leg. Yep, he was a honey and I wanted to hear him play guitar every chance I had. And every time he came to town, I made sure that I was there. I used to watch most guitarists I admired like a hawk to see what they did with their fingers. Stephen, I just listened to.

Decades later, I was driving into Boston between Alewife Parkway and Memorial Drive when a song came on the radio. The singer sounded familiar but I just couldn't place him. I was so struck by the song that I pulled off near Mount Auburn Cemetery to listen till the end. Dave Palmeter announced that it was Stephen Bruton from a new CD. I found a copy of nothing but the truth (a great album) as soon as I could and learned that song. It was one of the few songs by another writer that I worked into my sets. Here it is for you to hear —

Under the Horizon

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped for lunch in Ventura, California and was sitting outside waiting for my sandwich, reading the local paper. That's when I came across Stephen's obituary.

I'm so grateful that I was able to hear him play over those weekends at the dawn of his career. He made real magic with his guitar.

Here's a bonus track from the same album, fitting for parting thoughts —

Trip Around the Sun

Stephen Bruton's on myspace

1 comment:

Leena said...

Hello Susan!
I was looking at my old blogger blogs and find out, that you are publishing again!
Hm - I was 1971 29 years old and I had 6 years old son and 4 years old dughter, my father died as 55 years old. . . . no time for music then :)
But plenty of time after that also for music.
I wish all the best for you!

Our trip was fine and I have been publishing some photos here: