I went out on a limb with this 11 Questions with someone who said that although they didn’t live here, they felt like they did and planned on moving here soon. Well, after listening to the finely-crafted narrative songwriting of American artist Michael Braunfeld, I’m sure glad I did. And after reading his answers, I’m sure that you too will agree that he knows Music City rather well. And after hearing his new LP, “Driver,” I’m also sure that you will agree that it’s time for Nashville to get to better know him as well.
Michael has a few records already under his belt, having released the first when he was only 16, and he calls his band The Boneyard Hounds. Listen to my favorite song from the new record, “Maline,” which will introduce you to his great storytelling songs and fine band.
Thanks Michael for opening up to us about your love for our city. We look forward to seeing you at the Bluebird on July 28 and later in the year during Americanafest in September. Need a good realtor?
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I’m from Philadelphia and still reside there. I do spend an awful lot of time here writing, performing and just hanging out. We’re currently looking for a place to call home in Nashville. Why? The writing, performing and hanging out. The music scene here inspires me so much. Great writers, great pickers, and great friends all cheering each other on. I’ve just always really loved this city.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
The first record I ever bought with my own money was Love Will Turn You Around by Kenny Rogers on cassette tape! I bought it for the title track which was featured in the film Six Pack. I ordered it through some mail order catalogue (That’s an 80’s thing, kids), and it marked the beginning of a long-running admiration for the work of Thom Schuyler. The last record was Purgatory by Tyler Childers which was digital. What a fantastic album!
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
I grew up being dragged to concerts at coffeehouses and festivals. The first show that I remember thinking “Wow, I’m at a concert” was the Commodores. I recently opened for Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives. After my set, I snuck up to the balcony with a buddy and just watched and enjoyed the show. I’d be hard-pressed to name another act out there that rivals the talent and work ethic of that outfit. If that show doesn’t count since I was on the bill, then the last show that I paid a cover charge for was Daniel Donato. Man, that guy can play the guitar.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
8th & Roast for coffee. I’ll also happily hit Fox’s Donut Den or Five Daughters Bakery, though, admittedly, the coffee is just a plus. Five Points for pizza. Great. Now I’m hungry and I need caffeine.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Seriously? That’s not an easy question to answer. I think I may have to go with Together at the Bluebird Cafe. Three of my favorite songwriters, Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, and Guy Clark in the round with Emmylou Harris on harmonies. I wish I could have been there for that one.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Dino’s. No question. Dino’s for hot fries, bourbon, and a Yazoo Pale Ale.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Ben De La Cour, Clint Alphin, and Jaimee Harris. Jaimee is from Austin but she spends enough time here. If I can be local for this interview, I’m going to count her in as well. If they couldn’t make it, then Jason Isbell, Mary Gauthier, and Lori McKenna.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
The Bluebird Cafe. It’s magic every single time, just looking at the 8X10’s of heroes and some friends on the walls and just breathing all that history in. I know it gets a bad rap around town these days but here’s the thing. Hundreds of people line up every night to see as-yet unknown songwriters with acoustic instruments. They listen. They laugh. They cry. They buy merch. That’s a good thing. Plus, NSAI does good work for songwriters. Like I said, it’s magic every single time. And I still miss the heck out of The Family Wash.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
Matt Harlan, a great songwriter from Houston.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
We’re hard at work promoting Driver and have some full band shows with The Boneyard Hounds coming up. Those are always fun. I’ve got enough songs for a couple of albums and I’m looking forward to having some time to get back to writing.