Tell us the brief history of your band or musical career. I started playing at 12 when my dad traded a 1958 Desoto for my first real guitar and amp that I still use today. I had a gap of 18 years while I raised my kids and pursued my calling to the ministry. In 2000 I restarted my music, writing and recording. I just completed my 13th album.
Who are your musical and non-musical influences? My biggest influence as a guitar player is Eric Clapton. I heard The Howlin Wolf London Sessions and I was hooked. As a minister I hope that my biggest influence is obvious! It's Jesus!
What album has had the greatest impact on your life as a musician? The Howlin Wolf London Sessions
Is there a particular song that has resonated with you for a long time? Axis Bold As Love Jimi Hendrix
What’s your favorite accomplishment as a musician thus far? Our 2021 album “I’m Hungry” peaked at #3 and spent 7 weeks in the top 10.
Tell me about your favorite performance in your career.
Playing at a homeless encampment.
What's the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you? I read a blog article about how to make it in the music business. The advise of the writer was one word. START! Don’t worry about money, just start playing your instrument for anyone who will listen.
What's new in the recording of your music? I record most of my guitars and some of my vocals at home.
How has your music changed over the years? I hope it’s gotten better.
What inspires you to write the music you write? A deadline. I just don’t finish anything until I know that I have a deadline looming. Actually I am writing all the time I just don't finish anything until I have a deadline.
What made you want to play the instrument you play? My dad played guitar he was my inspiration.
How does your latest album differ from any of your others in the past?
This is the first album that I've used strings on and several of the songs have a full horn section. I also played less on this album than on some of my others. I felt that the songs and the stories that they tell were the stars. I wrote a companion book for this album that makes it unique. The album/CD is packaged in the book. How are you continuing to grow musically?
When you get to my age I am trying to just continue, but I do want to grow as well. After Covid hit and I was not singing as much I felt the need to begin vocal lessons. They really helped me with the new album.
Are there any musicians who inspire you that are not famous? What qualities do you admire about them?
I love guys like Jack Pearson, Johnny Neel, and Dylan Thomas that are all super musicians that fly under the radar. Folks like that really inspire me.
Describe your worst performance. What did you learn from this experience?
We played at a venue and they were not prepared for us, I mean it was the worst ever. So rather than complaining the entire band decided to see how we could serve the venue. We kept our attitudes good, smiled a lot, laughed a lot, and did one of our best performances. A few years later the owner called and asked if I would give them another chance, which we accepted. That gig opened the door for some of the biggest gigs we've played to date.
Tell me what your first music teacher was like. What lessons did you learn from them that you still use today?
I learned to play by ear so I guess I am my first teacher. So the lesson I would give myself today is to learn music theory and take lessons!
If you could play anywhere or with anyone in the world, where or with who would it be?
I would love to play a gig and The Overton Park Shell in Memphis.
If you could change anything about the music industry today, what would it be?
I would like to see a return to physical media and that artists, songwriters, etc would be paid for the recordings they produce. I love having access to streaming platforms until it comes to their payment structure.
What are your biggest obstacles as a musician? Booking and marketing
What do you think the best aspects of the music business are? The people.
What strengths do you have that you believe make you the musician you are? I haven't quit yet.
Do you have any weaknesses that you're actively working to improve on?
Yes, I am working on the self-condemning voices in my head that are always wrong.
Describe your favorite and least favorite part about being a musician.
The people and the music are my favorites. I really don't have a least favorite part. Do you have any anxiety about performing live?
I used to but now I tell the crowd that if they hear me make a mistake, that it's not a mistake, it's jazz.
If you had to choose one... live performance or studio work, which do you prefer and why? I would choose to play live although I love both.
What do you think about online music sharing?
I like it. I just wish it would play the bills.
Describe your creative process when you write new music.
I write pieces and parts of songs all the time. When I have a deadline I review the pieces and parts and see if they still burn in my heart. If they do I will finish them. An old preacher taught me this about preaching and it applies to music. "If it don't burn in you, it won't burn in them."
Other than being a musician, what was your dream job growing up?
Being a musician is all I've ever wanted to be.
Give us some advice for new musicians just starting out in the industry. The same advice that I received, START.
What is your favorite piece of gear and why?
It changes daily.
How do you prepare for your performances and recording work?
I do my best to be prepared. For live stuff, I make sure my gear is working and for recording, all the logistics are in place.
What does your practice routine consist of?
Writing new material and rehearsing old material.
What do you like most about your new album?
I love every part of it. Mostly the people that worked with me and then the songs.
What artists do you enjoy listening to nowadays? Bros Landreth, Paul Carrack, Mateo
How do you promote your band and shows?
Online, we hired PR for the album.
What is the best way to stay updated on current news; gigs, releases, etc. jimmiebratcher.com
Anything you would like to share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums? Our album release party is May 12 at the legendary Knuckleheads in Kansas City, MO
What's next for your band?
We have a June tour of Kansas Prisons.