Brad Layher
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Brad Layher

Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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Shut That Boy Up (2002)



Brad Layher’s intimate, nuanced vocal style is the perfect vehicle for his introspective, multilayered songs. His self-penned albums capture the soul-baring, we’re-in-this-together feeling of his live shows. Brad doesn’t just entertain his audiences, he engages them and embraces them with his warmth. He’s like the older brother sharing his view of the world around us and within us with a questioning younger sibling.

“I believe that music should inspire,” Brad says. “When I’m writing, the songs come from the changes going on in my life or changes going on around me. People continually come up to me after a show and tell me how much a certain song meant to them because they’re going through this or that in their life. You talk about real life and people are going to relate to that.”

“Real life” is a hallmark of Brad’s lyric creations. Some can be dark and some bring a light to dark places. Songs like “Tinman” from his debut album, "Shut That Boy Up" convey the yearning for intimacy that connects with his listeners.

Growing up in East Tennessee, Brad was influenced by a number of singer/songwriters such as Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, Del Amitiri and Patti Griffin. Although he didn’t pick up a guitar until he was a senior in high school, he was soon making up for lost time.

“I started writing really bad songs as a way to practice.” Brad says with a laugh.

When he started college at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, he became a leader for Younglife, an organization that goes into high schools to hang out with the kids and offer inspiration. It was in that organization, at meetings and camps, that Brad began to play in front of people. He met Ryan Long and the band Alathea through Younglife and was invited to join the group. They played coffee houses, church picnics, “anyplace that would have us,” according to Brad. He also played four seasons with a quirky Christmas group, The Appalachian Quartet, led by producer Michael Aukofer, and through Michael met Christian artist Mitch McVicker. (“Most people know Mitch as the other guy in the wreck that killed Christian artist Rich Mullins.”)

Brad switched schools and graduated from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville in 1999 with a degree in Civil Engineering. The next day, he moved to Nashville and began playing with Mitch McVicker. Over the next six years, the band traveled to 49 out of 50 states and played about 100 shows a year.

About three years ago, Brad began to focus on his solo career and seriously buckled down to write songs. He recorded his first solo CD, Shut That Boy Up, in 2002. Brad found a voice in the Americana genre, singing about topics that everybody faces in their lives.

“We don’t live a sugar-coated life, so why pretend and write sugar-coated songs?” Brad says. “Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a little sugar, but you can’t live on cookies.”

He started opening for Mitch and then joined the band as guitar player. It was through this experience that Brad began to find his own style as a solo entertainer, and the feedback from his audiences enhanced that development.

Today, Brad Layher is continuing to develop both his unique writing style and his live performance chops. He is currently working on a new CD project and is excited about getting on the road to share the new songs with his growing fan base.