Arts and Entertainment

Folk singer-songwriter has life's stories to tell


The Mirror

Brad Warren believes everyone has a good story.

The singer-songwriter will bring musical storytelling (folk) to the stage in the final performance of this year’s Summer Sounds at the Beach concert series next Wednesday in a one-hour concert starting at 7 p.m. at Steel Lake Park.

Admission is free. In case of rain, the show will be relocated to Klahanee Lake Community Center, 33901 Ninth Ave. S.

Musical storytelling is no different from other kinds of storytelling, Warren said, adding he uses music to help people find stories within their own lives.

He explained there are songs of rebellion, songs of love, songs of struggle –– all of which are exciting stories.

“Look for the stories that aren’t necessarily heroic in nature,’ Warren said, such as “when people reach life decisions, irreversible choices. If it’s reversible, then it’s not a good story.”

He said some stories come from the perspectives people do not tend to think about. “How do the people who are driving truck bombs see themselves?” he asked as an example.

Stories are even found in seemingly everyday events, such as a mother whose car breaks down, he related.

Warren explained that he grew up “soaked” in music. Raised in a musical family in Boston, Mass. and Portland, Ore., his first experience making music was when he was 3 years old and his father taught him to play “Summertime.”

Music “kindled” for him as a teenager, said Warren. At 18, he had been writing music for five years and was working as a journalist when he did a profile on Jack Miller, an old Wobbly organizer (member of the Industrial Workers of the World union movement). Warren later took this meeting and wrote “The House that Jack Built,” a song about Miller organizing the rights of the working people and the struggles they encountered. Struggle, he said, is a matter of how much is at stake and you want it bad enough.

Warren discussed how Miller told him, “‘You are living in the world Jack built,’” and he realized the truth in those words. The struggles of those before him –– including his parents –– helped him with his place in the world, he said.

He also told Warren, “‘You’re here to help people tell their stories,’” and Warren has taken those words and done what he said.

In 2000, Warren released a CD, “Company Might Come.”

Warren said his music shows people their lives are worth telling (and singing) about. They are songs about life.

His performance will finish up the seven-week Summer Sounds at the Beach concert series that also included jazz and blues by Dock Town, reggae by Clinton Fearon, dance/funk by Party Safari, contemporary Americana by Perry Sampley, traditional children’s music by Patrick Daugherty, and country rock/rock and roll by Raucous.

The events were sponsored by Federal Way’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.

News intern Trisha McMahoh:

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