Saturday, June 16, 2012

If You Think Seasick Steve Is Too Highfalutin', Try Brushy. He's Keepin' It Real With One String


Andrew Chin a.k.a. Brushy One String is the son of the late great Freddie McKay, one of Jamaica's most renowned artists. Like his father, Brushy has reached the hearts of many through the power of original song, fascinating audiences since he was a child with only ONE GUITAR STRING! Established in Jamaica where he is revered by both young and old, financial success and professional management have eluded Brushy. With a soulful voice and infectious guitar melodies, Brushy‚ 'soothes souls and rough hearts' as he continues to perform in Jamaica without a record of his own to sell. -United Reggae

I recall a long time ago, when I still lived in Los Angeles, my older brother answered an ad in the local indie paper looking for musicians, and I tagged along. It was in a very sketchy part of town, and I wondered if the car would still be there when we returned to where it was parked.

The fellow answered the door wearing an outfit you couldn't reproduce without diving in a Goodwill box. A cross between pajamas and clown motley. All the details about the guy's appearance that weren't average-y were actively bad. He was shortish, his face was as pockmarked as any Dark Ages smallpox survivor, his hair was wild and falling out at the same time. His teeth were a three-hundred-year-old graveyard.

He apologized that all he had was a Spanish guitar to accompany himself, one that had obviously been used to dig a drainage canal before he owned it.  He'd given up trying to keep anything better in his crash pad, as anything even remotely valuable would get stolen on a roughly twice-weekly schedule. If he was home when he was robbed he'd have to hand it to them; if he was out they'd just take it or break it. His entire life's work was in a spiral bound notebook of the kind purchased by mothers and ignored by schoolchildren. He carried it around with him like an oxygen tank.

It was the foulest looking sheaf of documents I've ever seen. It looked like he ate off it and slept in it. He opened it up to a page, scrawled runes with chord changes peppered over the top. He had a singing voice somewhere between meh and unpleasant.

Every song in that book was fantastic. We were transfixed by him. He'd get bored a quarter way through one number, and then after a fit of speed-flipping he'd find another one and start in and we'd be entranced again. He was like the love-child of Cole Porter and Professor Irwin Corey.

I knew in my heart that every single page in that book could win a Grammy or sell a million copies or cure cancer or at the very least explain the meaning of life in a fashion that would make Thomas Aquinas look like Benny Hill. And I also knew, immediately, that no one would ever hear any of them.

2 comments:

Leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thud said...

Ta for another little enlightenment.