Charlie Brannon arrived in Pagosa Springs in the early ’90s to help a guy build a house and when he found a quiet little mountain town situated in a beautiful setting with a deep interest in music, a group of bluegrass devotees, a budding folk festival and a bunch of Southern California transplants (they were into rock) he wondered about the possibility of moving here.
It took awhile to convince his wife that moving far away from Southern California, away from family and friends, away from the beach and the desert and the gardens and into the wild Rocky Mountains was a good idea, but convince her he did. He came first, and she later, after he refurbished the house he bought and into which she refused to set a foot until he made some changes. He made them.
It was in Vietnam when Charlie first picked up a guitar and began to play, and he continues to play. Music means different things to different people, and for Charlie music means peace and love and sanity . When he picked up that guitar while serving in Vietnam and started to play he found a home for a tortured mind and an aching heart and thoroughly delighted that inner kid who remains always a part of him, the guy who hears music in his head, particularly the rock music of the mid ’60s that blew the doors off the constraints on music as it caught up with the realities of that time.
Charlie is a string man — guitar, mandolin, bass, banjo, violin, viola, etc. And he is a high energy rock singer — telling it like it is.
He loves being in the music, playing, practicing, teaching, learning, workin’ it out, talkin’ it.
And he writes songs, just a few that I’ve heard but they are jewels, funny, heartfelt.
But the coolest thing about Charlie is his love of sharing music with others. You can play music alone, Charlie says, but playing with others is magical, and sharing that magic may well be his karma. He is never too busy to lend a hand, fix an instrument, work out the harmonies, flame the spark detected in searching eyes.
Over the years he has played in many bands (we just missed him in our neighborhood in San Diego in the early ’90s). Here in Pagosa he plays in at least four bands: Lead Foot Ruthie, String Theory, The Humdingers and Elmo Chesterhazy and the Milky Way. He is always jamming with someone, always encouraging someone, turning someone onto a song, an instrument, sharing the stage. Bluegrass strums his heart and rock strokes the soul.
Now it is our turn to share with Charlie as on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 5, a group of friends and musicians are putting on “Charlie’s Bands and Loose Musicians”, a benefit concert for Charlie and his family to help them in his battle against cancer.
Eight bands are lined up to play (see the lineup in display ad) along with solo acts starting at 1 p.m. An open jam starts at 4 and goes to 5.
A $5 donation can be made at the door, which includes a chance for the door prize (blue denim quilt made by Designs by Dolly of Pagosa Springs) that will be drawn at 4 p.m. There will also be a silent auction of local arts, products and services throughout the afternoon with final bids collected at 4:30.
The concert is being held at Dorothy’s Restaurante, 120 CR 600 (Piedra Road), and Dorothy will have the restaurant and bar open for cash customers. Donations are also accepted at Bank of Colorado, Charlie Brannon Medical Fund.