decker.
Gig Seeker Pro

decker.

Sedona, Arizona, United States | INDIE

Sedona, Arizona, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Folk

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

Music

Press


There are only a handful of bands that can claim to have been risen from the dead. Decker (a.k.a. decker.) is one of them. Brandon Decker and company suffered a near-fatal rollover accident en route to Santa Cruz, Calif., while touring last summer.

While most band members walked away, singer-guitarist Kelly Cole was ejected from the van. She broke her neck and was Medivaced to the nearest hospital. It was a miracle she survived.

Not only did Cole recover, but she eventually rejoined the band after they retreated to their homes in Sedona, Ariz. As Decker describes it, they were changed people and their newest album reflects that.

Slider is richly drawn psychedelic folk rock.

Anyone familiar with Decker already knows that the Arizona band is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Brandon Decker. He founded it in 2009 and over the short course of five years, the lineup has seen its share of change before settling with Decker, Cole (vocals, guitar), Bryant Vazquez (bass), Mike Leibowitz (drums), and Dan Allmond (guitar). Sam Cavanaugh also guests on the album.

While the lineup is the same on Slider, the band has changed for other reasons. The music is richer and more dynamic, not nearly as loose as some earlier outings. They sound more cohesive as a group, possibly brought closer with a newfound appreciation for their collaboration. The songwriting is also some of their best ever, heartfelt and reflective despite only one song with any connection to the crash.

In The Van was penned while the band was driving to SxSW in Austin, a few months before the crash. Singing the song still haunts Decker, especially because he says that there is an eerie, prophetic quality to the lyrics. There is some symbolism in the song that fits, especially a few words sung by Cole.

But perhaps even more haunting than the In The Van is Killing Me, a slow burn anti-ballad that captures the crumble of a destructive relationship. It's painful and bittersweet, with every effort between two people becoming one more thing to despise. The sense of quiet desperation is apparent throughout.

Although Killing Me is the slowest folk-rocker in their arsenal, it still represents a sound that the band has taken to calling psychedelic desert folk. Like many of their songs, it has the harmonies and structure of folk, melodic spaciousness of psychedelic, and survival despite hardship associated with the desert.

As both a comparison and contrast, check out the album opener, Speak In Tongues. The track has a restrained upbeat bluegrass boogie tempo while retaining many of those other qualities for texture and tone. There is a hint of Southern swamp country in the tune too, but even that is emblazoned with a dry crispness then seems to draw out of Sedona.

Other standout tracks include the lyric-driven authentic plead of Weight Of Gold Pt. 1, the big drawling funk of Shadow Days, and the dusty country rock groove of Weight Of Gold Pt. 2, and the deliciously complex and dreary Robes Of A Profit. But even with these standouts, there is a case to made for owning the album.

Sure there are a few areas where the album slows to a crawl on tracks like Blowhard, but then the band punches up sections of such songs to make them feel essential to their music. Even Interluder, which is a psychedelic minute-and-a-half stitch of instrumental noise, lends something to the band's most memorable album to date. Give it a spin in its entirety. - Liquid [Hip]


decker. is a very interesting and somewhat mysterious musical presence. Some of you might smirk at my reference above to “murderesque Americana,” but the type of emotional response that decker. provides with Slider is like that of rediscovering old murder ballads with a decidedly modern twist. Essentially, Brandon Decker’s songwriting is an evolved and trippy brand of folk music that feels decidedly borne from the red rocks surrounding his home in Sedona, Arizona.
From start to finish, decker’s very distinct sound feels taiilor-made for a Coen Bros. Western. Dark, atmospheric and uncomfortably honest, this type of balladry is a rarity among modern folk offerings. Brandon Decker’s piercing vocals sound downright primitive at times, and evoke comparisons to Jack White and Andrew Wood (Mother Love Bone - RIP). If this type of vocal performance and original sound weren’t enough, this is only enhanced with intensity by an often naked acoustic instrument arrangement and sparse melody line.
The aptly titled “Speak in Tongues” opens the album and wisely sets the tone for what is truly an interesting ride. “Shadow Days” is also a standout, pushing the boundaries of folk with plaintive electric guitar and an intensely captivating vocal track. The placement of “Blowhard” directly after it offers a slight turn toward a more soulful Decker. Lyrically, it’s a compelling tale of isolation, blame, regret and all those emotions that inform our dark underbellies.
“Weight in Gold, Pts. 1 & 2” provide a great bookend for some of the darker moments on the album. These two songs, in particular, show yet another subtle strength with Decker’s songwriting - use of repeated elements, themes and instrumentation. The placement of harmonies throughout the release, but especially in “Killing Me” and “Cotton, Jane Doe” provide power and added intensity to already weighty material. Closing track “Robes of a Prophet” seems to wind down to the spot where “Speak in Tongues” began, a climactic and satisfying end to the listener’s journey through Slider.
What decker. accomplishes with this release is very simple: by combining the elements of classic folk with vivid lyrical imagery, they’ve branded themselves a distinct new sound all their own. This is not a quick-shot listen, or a record that provides clear-cut singles. This is for the patient listener, the one who likes their music tiptoeing with purpose in the dark places in the mind. Definitely not for the weak-hearted, or easily spooked. But what a find. Somewhere deep in the red rocks, decker. is making music that matters. - Indie-Music.com


You only get one life to live on this Earth. Now I know some of you probably read that and thought to yourself “well duh, thanks Captain Obvious.” But for Sedona-based psych-folk rock group decker., their time here almost came to a sudden and tragic end when, as chronicled extensively in the local press, a tire blew out on the I-5 while on their way to a gig in Los Angeles, jackknifing their trailer and catapulting them across the interstate. Not only did this result in the destruction of nearly all their gear, but it left vocalist Kelly Cole hospitalized in critical condition and with a broken neck. And it nearly destroyed their will to continue on as a band.

“I couldn’t even listen to music for like two days, anything,” vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Brandon Decker said in a promo video for their new album, Slider. “I felt like music had done this to us, or something. And I wasn’t sure, and I didn’t care. And then the first time I saw Kelly, she was like ‘we’re doing this.’” And thank God they decided to continue, for not only did the aftermath of the crash show what a tight-knit, supportive and resilient music community we have in the state of Arizona, but we are now blessed with an album that fully embodies the unique, hypnotic, and full-bodied sound of decker. like none of their previous records have done before.

So what is the decker. sound exactly? Well the common consensus amongst the decker/local music faithful is that they just sound like Arizona, their tunes serving as a perfect soundtrack for cruising through the red rocks of Sedona or for driving that long straight stretch of the I-10 through nothing but barren desert on the way to California. They seamlessly take the melodies, harmonies and song structures of classic folk music and inject it with the sounds of vintage Haight-Ashbury psychedelica (think Grateful Dead circa Anthem of the Sun and Crown of Creation-era Jefferson Airplane), all while adding an alternative/blues rock undercurrent that gives the music its distinct edge. Who knows why this mix of sounds and genres creates such a vivid picture of the Arizona landscape, but these images come to mind right from the ominous finger-picking of the first track. “Speak in Tongues” just feels like the perfect opening music to a classic spaghetti western film, so perfect you can’t help but imagine a cowboy riding through a landscape of towering saguaros and rolling tumbleweeds, all while getting the feeling that shit’s about to go down as the guitar echoes gently in the distance. And then, out of nowhere…BA BOOM! Two pounding drums hit you like an upper-cut and immediately grab your attention like no other opening track I’ve heard in quite some time. “Tongues” really shows that they are true masters of dynamics, knowing when to hold back and when to unleash the full band for maximum effect, so that by the time Brandon and Kelly sing “I can fly” over a wall of distorted fuzz, you feel like you’re flying with them.


It’s this skilled use of ebb and flow that makes their epic tracks so captivating and hypnotic. After an “Interluder” filled with rolling percussion and psychedelic guitar straight out of Electric Ladyland, the softly-plucked guitar of “Weight in Gold, Pt. 1” emerges from the feedback, with thumping toms and cascading cymbal rolls following close behind. “Oh, you got a whole lot of nerve/you made a mess of it all” Decker sings, and after a snappy burst tambourine and Byrds-esque guitar, the song morphs into a haunting, lap steel-laced country dirge of a coda that builds and builds until it feels like the music is carrying you upward into the heavens. And then as the song fades, you wish it wasn’t over so soon…only to realize that the song is 6:30 in length.

Before you even have a chance to come down from the spellbinding coda of “Weight in Gold Pt. 1,” the thumping bass on ‘Shadow Days” grabs hold of you and refuses to let go. The band’s sheer gift of dynamics is really on display here, as the band contrasts a plodding funk groove in the verses (driven by Brandon and Kelly’s chant-like vocal and lead guitar that sounds like a siren wailing in the distance) with a chorus that’s all out grunge rock straight out of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy. It also brings front and center the deft and fluid fretwork of Bryant Vazquez, who throughout the record is like the bass-playing equivalent of George Harrison: every note is important, not a single one wasted or frivolous. Then, after what sounds like a brief few seconds of backmasking, the first chords of “Blowhard” ring out, revealing what is quite simply one of the most beautiful melodies on the entire album. Yet it also features some of its most vengeful and spiteful lyrics as well, chronicling the end of a bitter relationship that was doomed from the start (“the ship was always sinking,” Brandon sings). It sounds like Otis Redding if he was really pissed off, decided to write the most heartbreaking soul ballad he could (right down - Echo Cloud


A near-fatal car accident would set most bands back months, maybe years. Arizona-based trio decker. pulled through the experience and released their fourth album just six months later. The gritty folk-rock band is led by Brandon Decker, whose first album, Long Days, debuted in 2009. Four albums in four years may seem like a lot, but Decker has been piling up praise with every new release.

With the help of a Kickstarter campaign and some faithful fans, decker. released Slider on February 26. The opening track “Speak in Tongues” is the band’s own “Come Together,” gradually gaining momentum but delivering the same steady amount of soul throughout the tune. Decker’s desert twang is driven by the heavy drumbeat. A pulsating bass and acoustic guitar remain simple in the background, but the combination of these basic elements deliver a strong start for a promising album.

The sound decker. has crafted for Slider is an impressive anomaly. From the psychedelic “Interluder” to the drawling “Shadow Days” to Decker’s yowl on “Weight in Gold Pt. 2,” decker. will have you scratching your head if you try to nail down their genre. Don’t get tripped up trying to place them--just close your eyes and soak it in and you might find your subconscious self in their desert. The southern influence has a heavy hand throughout the record, with most of the songs traveling at a slow but powerful pace. Decker’s old-soul voice may be the one that inspired every `90s alt-rocker to feverishly organize a reunion tour a few years ago. At times, his tone is so impassioned it’s androgynous, such as on the heart-wrenching “Blowhard.”

While decker.’s sound covers more than a few bases, their lyrics are on a more straightforward track. Decker begs for honesty throughout the album, completely unashamed (and rightfully so). On Slider’s first single, “Weight in Gold Pt. 1,” he asks a question most men wouldn’t have the balls to ask: “In my final hour, won’t you stay with me / despite my indignity, despite my wounded knee? / In my final hour, say a prayer for me / for some sort of impunity for all my blasphemy.” His brazen nature is prominent down to the last track, “Robes of a Prophet,” where he sings: “I have been foolish and I have been bold / I have been selfish and I have been spoiled / But I am not rotten and you are not God / I am not poison and you are not flawed.”

Perhaps the standout on Slider is the simplest song of all: “In the Van,” a comfortingly eerie duet between Decker and vocalist Kelly Cole, accompanied by basic guitar strums and later, on a deeper vocal overlapping it all. The State Radioesque tune was written on the road, a few short months before the band’s van blew a tire and caused the horrific accident that nearly killed Cole. The hauntingly lovely song is a departure from the rest of the album, but the lo-fi recording and vocal layering are far from out of place on Slider.

With the state of music today, Slider’s timing couldn’t be more perfect. You won’t find any auto-tune on this record. After listening the whole way through, it’s safe to say that Brandon Decker has probably never even heard of “dubstep.” Instead, he has brought his band together to deliver heartfelt, purely human thoughts on top of an intuitive depiction of true-blue music. - Grateful Web


There is a special place in my soul reserved for the songs of outlaw storytellers. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings (concurrently the Highwaymen) and Merle Haggard all speak to me in profoundly moving ways. Their themes vacillate from mournful, ostracized instrospection to seething, embittered rage and the occasional tender sentiment. What impresses me about the genre is there is no wasted energy in the compositions. Every word feels purposeful; every note useful— not ornate or showy. The music is nourishing, not just some flashy appetizer to titillate the senses. It’s a quality not present in much of today’s music. Thus, when a group possessing these constitutions arises I take notice.

In the great state of Arizona, my homeland, there is no lack for artists who claim to have a “country” spirit. The landscape is littered with dive-bars, their stages displaying the latest juke-box approximations posing as bands. You have to dig a little deeper to discover music with a pedigree—material with deep-set roots. Often times, you simply come up with dust. Occasionally, though, you’ll uncover a band like decker. (No, I’m not a piss-poor typist/ editor, the lower-case and period are a part of their name).

decker. originally began as the brainchild of Sedona, AZ singer-songwriter Brandon Decker. Since the release of the project’s debut album, Long Days, in 2009, the group has expanded and contracted, evolving into the album's lineup of Brandon Decker (Songwriter, Vocals, Guitar), Kelly Cole (Vocals, Guitar, Percussion), Bryant Vazquez (Bass), Mike Leibowitz (Drums) and Sam Cavanaugh (Trumpet, Percussion, Vocals). The material from this current incarnation's 2013 release, Slider (due out 2/26), certainly attests to a distinct growth in the group's dynamic, songwriting and subsequent sound.

There is a beautiful union of blues, bluegrass and folk elements that help create a distinct feel for the tunes on Slider. Funk and psychedelia are prevalent pieces in the overall texturing of the tone as well, making their music a rather unique concoction. The composite is chalk-full of variety, with all pieces working together in equal measure. In fact, I feel that decker. does for folk what The White Stripes did for delta-blues... it's an excellent modernization of a genre.

A group with an acoustic focus' inclusion of slide-guitar often imbues them with a southern feel, but decker.’s compositions feel grittier and more folk-rock oriented than the glimmering superficiality of contemporary country. At moments the folksy storytelling aspects, augmented by the ethereal electric slides and wafting, haunting vocal harmonies, evoke the Fleet Foxes' eponymous album. Even so, the grittier compositions like, “Shadow Days,” and, “Cotton, Jane Doe,” cause the sultry, southwestern psychedelia that is the mainstay of decker.’s sound to feel like smoke billowing from a fire. It goes a long way to creating an diverse, undulating feel to the tone of the record.

If we look at music as a vessel, most contemporary tunes feel like freshly painted speedboats that race and roar. decker.'s sounds are more akin to a makeshift log-raft drifting lazily in the boggy marshes of the Louisiana bayou. Their songs are deliberate, paced and progress in a leisurely fashion, unburdened by the typical promptings of conventionality. Slider is a moody record, overflowing with character. None of the rough edges are smoothed. The performances feel organic; the compositions inspired, not merely orchestrated. This is a quality sorely lacking in most modern albums.

The music is not the only unique aspect of the songs, either. The lyrics are florid and verbose, metaphysical and moving. The term Dylan-esque is bandied around too often, but Decker’s phrasing has a very striking similarity to Mr. Dylan in many passages of his lengthy, flowing poetry. The writing is purposeful as well, and it shows in the orchestration of the songs. I will allude to this in my description of the song, "The Van," during the interview.

To my ears, Slider is a record certainly in keeping with the spirit of the outlaw storyteller tradition. It’s an insightful, well-crafted piece of new-Americana that will find a definite spot in your regular rotation. You'll do well to grab a copy the instant you're able.

Seeing as Mr. Decker is so adept at spinning stories, we asked him to weave a few yarns for us to give some insight into the creation of this record. Enjoy, kickers!

AmpKicker: I want to take a moment to first thank you for your submission, and secondly to thank you for taking the time to speak to us and our readers. It’s immensely appreciated.

Let’s start by having you introduce yourself and your role in decker. to our readers.


Well, my name is Brandon Decker and I started this mess. You only get me tonight. I have many roles The band has seen many members but our strongest core ever, and currently presiding, is myself, Kelly Cole, Bryant Vazquez, and Micha - Ampkicker


Twenty-Twelve was a rough year for decker., but 2013 is looking up. There aren’t many bands that can handle having their world turned upside down, but decker. did it gracefully and successfully. The psychedelic desert folk band from Sedona was on tour last fall when their van rolled over, resulting in severe injuries and staggering medical costs. Yet here they are, seven months later, with a new album and tour on the horizon.
Front man Brandon Decker says everyone is doing well, mentally and physically, post-accident. Band mate and singer Kelly Cole suffered the brunt of the injuries after being thrown from the van during the accident, but she is out of her neck brace and playing guitar for the band.
Even though they’ve been tossed around, it seems decker. can’t be stopped and Decker credits the band’s unity.
“I think we’re the most focused, musically and artistically, that we’ve ever been,” he says. “Decker. has always been me and whoever was playing with, [but now] we’re a consistent, core group of friends.”
Decker. is having a massive album release show in Tempe this week and will be sharing the stage with friends that came to their aid after tragedy struck. Decker says the support from the Phoenix music scene was incredible.
A big boost of support also came from fans who gave to the band’s Kickstarter page. Decker. raised over $8,000, which is more than double what they hoped to gather in order to finish their latest album. One of the seemingly outlandish rewards on their Kickstarter campaign allowed for a fan to name the album if they gave $5,000, and shockingly enough someone did.
“It’s called Slider,” says Decker. “The person who donated was a quadriplegic with Lou Gehrig's disease and we were never able to get in touch with him again but we were advised his nickname was Slider, so we named it after him. I like it.”
Decker says Slider is the band’s best work yet and attributes it to their work’s cohesiveness. They wrote the album in four weeks after coming home from SXSW and are now eager to share it with fans in Arizona and across the country. Not long after their release party, decker. will head out on tour, which includes a stop at SXSW. However, Decker says touring will be a little bit different this time.
“I don’t think ‘scared’ is the word, but I think, y’know, how when you’re a kid and your parents are over-protective and they tell you they’re just older and wiser than you? I think we’re definitely precautious,” he says.
Decker says he couldn’t be prouder of the new album, calling the songs his children.
“When we started touring it was just kind of like, ‘Woo-hoo! Let’s go party and play some music.’ There’s a wildness that comes with being in your 20s and playing music on the road, but now I think we’re a little more goal oriented. The point of being on the road is to dance to music,” he says. - College Times


The scene is abuzz with anticipation for the latest decker. release. Fans will not be disappointed. Slider might be decker.'s best album to date. Considering Decker himself won our 2011 award for Songwriter of the Year, that's really saying something. I wouldn't be surprised to learn Brandon Decker traded his soul at the crossroads for the ability to craft compelling album after compelling album. Nor would I be surprised to learn he knew how to call in such a trade at the crossroads given the mystical aura his music carries across. I feel bad for everyone not in the press who has to wait for the official release on Feb. 26th to hear the entire album. Suckers. At least, you can enjoy some sneak peeks from the album compliments of the decker. gang here.
- Yab Yum Music


“You’ll get used to it,” he says, lips wrapped around the business end of the device extending from the dashboard like a state-issued saxophone. One mighty blow, lights flash and whir, the Volvo station wagon turns over and we’re off.

Brandon Decker—singer-songwriter, band manager, father and server (in no particular order)—is one of the hardest working men I have ever met. As the creative force behind the Sedona based-band decker., he is not only risking the welfare of himself and his small family with the hopes that his music will take off, he is writing and singing about it for fans to hear—vulnerability in its purest form. Luckily for him, more and more people are tuning in.

“A lot of people for whatever reason haven’t found something they care about as much as I do about this, so I just feel grateful to have that. I feel grateful to get to share it with people and I feel grateful that people are starting to be receptive to it,” Decker says, and it’s evident. Having just moved to Cornville, outside of Sedona, Decker is making the trip up Highway 89 to pick up his bassist, Bryant Vazquez, and a journalist (me) for a small gig at Oak Creek Brewing Co. in Sedona.

There are a handful of aging spiritualists, apathetic tourists and a bartender for an audience and the free bar food and beer do little to fill the tank for the trip back to Flagstaff, but they are all moot points in justifying the labor of love.

The gig is more an open rehearsal for the band to hone their live presentation of their fourth and newest album, Slider, their upcoming tour to promote the album, and the release show in Flagstaff on March 9. The songs on Slider are the intimate musings of a sentimental cowboy, or as Decker puts it with a laugh, “We write desert music, whatever that means. I don’t think we’ve ever tried to write anything that didn’t just sound like bar music.”

Whatever kind of music they write, it’s captivating to watch them perform it in this desert bar. Decker’s music carries heavy emotional baggage. On the album’s opener “Speak in Tongues” he sings: “I’m stitches torn, I’m lovers scorned and I’m out of breath/I’m meat for worms, I’m leaves that turned and I’m dead at best.”

“I believe that this album has a lot of special moments on it—musically and emotionally, and in writing the album what we wanted to do was be more melodic and musical,” Decker says. “On the last albums we didn’t want to pass the 3:45 mark with any of the songs, definitely not more than 4 minutes. With Slider we let the songs take the time they need to breathe and I think it worked well.”

The press release Decker wrote with his publicist to promote the album describes his music as “raw and honest” and as an album that speaks mostly to heartbreak and the rejuvenation of the spirit; it’s no surprise that the 32-year-old Denver native is no stranger to set back.

Not long before the final touches were being made on Slider the band’s van and trailer rolled over while on tour in California ejecting member Kelly Cole from the car and breaking a bone in her neck.

“There’s no doubt it redefined us,” Decker says. “And seeing Kelly deal with the tragedy with such grace was really inspiring.”

Musically, Slider carries the foreboding tones of looming tragedy, like a soundtrack to a lonesome, dark highway making it impossible to dismiss the tragic accident from the album—despite the fact that the album came first.

“I think there are a lot of misconceptions about that,” Decker says. Prophetic? “Well … we are vessels.”

For the first time since the accident, Cole is performing without her neck brace, playing most of the lead guitar riffs and harmonizing with Decker. Her vocal role in the band is a key element in the duality of the music—all at once bitter and sweet, broken but on the mend. Her notes resonate with the trepidation of unfamiliarity, but it is obvious her passion for the music runs deeper than the few practices she has had in the newer role.

“Brandon just asked me to start playing the lead riffs and I’ve been practicing really hard on them,” she explains.

What is most infectious about decker. is the group’s collective charisma. Onstage bassist Bryant Vazquez is calm and reserved, yet plays with an eloquent disposition. Offstage we chat about indie bands and Tom Waits and low-fi recording, but mostly about Tom Waits.

Drummer Sam Cavanaugh is a rhythmic foundation for the band and he even has an odd resemblance to a young Max Weinberg. His distaste for Mumford and Sons parallels his obsession with the drums, almost. He plays with vigor and a stoic energy.

But it is Brandon Decker’s ability to compassionately manage his band that belies the fact that he is actually a father of a young boy—an obvious blessing that adds an element of immediacy to his work as a struggling musician.

“It’s a challenge, that’s for sure. My account is overdrawn as we speak,” he quips with a laugh. “If I didn’t have my son though, - Flagstaff Live


Sedona-based songwriter Brandon Decker bounced around the Sail Inn like a pinball, shaking hands, raising drinks, and grooving intently to the lineup of bands dueling between two stages. Decker's a humble enough guy, but it was impossible to deny: Last night was his night. The broad smile under his cowboy mustache proved he knew it. The festival-style lineup -- featuring everything from wiry blues rock to electro pop -- was assembled to help celebrate the release of his band's brand new album, Slider.

ut Decker and decker. have two very different vibes. Whereas Decker's calm and unassuming, decker. is a stomping, gospel-fried rock 'n' roll unit. Decker was joined by guitarist/vocalist Kelly Cole, bassist Bryant Vazquez, guitarist Dan Allmond, and drummer Michael Leibowitz last night, performing songs from the new album. With a cowboy boot on a tambourine, Decker led the band into a snarling rendition of "Speak in Tongues," Slider's country noir opener.

The band's intensity, its ability to tap into spooky Old Testament terror as well as pastoral Verde River amble, is what sets it apart from the ever-crowded indie folk populace. Plenty of young songwriters are content to sing about trains and "the good o'l days;" decker. explores darker (but no less traditional) folk themes: murder, damnation, and solitude.
It's a lyrical stance shared with Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, and Neko Case far more than fashionable moppets like Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers, and the band's undercurrent of darkness assures that only the most adventurous Starbucks music supervisor would ever slide the band into rotation over the coffee grinders.

Which isn't to say that decker. isn't pretty, or that the combo doesn't get pop music. "Weight in Gold Pt. 1' showcased a polished balladeer side of Decker's composition, and on "Shadow Days," Cole and Decker traded terse R&B moans and skeletal blues durning the verses before breaking into a chorus that recalled classic '90s indie. It's sort of mashup of The Staples Singers with The Breeders (an iffy proposition, sure, but it works).

Bassist Vazquez is the band's secret weapon. With his own band, Vagabond Gods, he explores loud rock 'n' roll, and he brings guts to decker. as well. Locking in with Leibowitz, he gave the songs a rhythmic thrust, anchoring the ethereal melodies when needed and pushing the songs into aggressive territory when called to.

"We're all on the same page musically, and, personally, I've never been as close to proud on the other three [records] as I am on this one," Decker said when Troy Farah interviewed him for Up on the Sun. Speaking with Decker last night, he admitted that he was even closer to proud about Slider. He has every reason to be. The album feels like the work of a real music unit, and it captures the live dynamic showed off onstage at the Sail Inn last night. A lot of great bands played last night, but the evening belonged to decker., and Decker and co. stepped up to the plate like they knew it did. - Phoenix New Times


His name is Brandon Decker, and he's a folk singer-songwriter from Sedona, Ariz. Musically, he goes by decker. Yes, with all lowercase letters. That, however, isn't a sign that his music is small, or that it fades into the background. As evidenced by his latest studio disc, 2010's "Long as the Night," Decker crafts dramatic, emotionally enveloping songs rendered all the more raw and powerful because they are acoustic-based. His sound has been dubbed "psychedelic-pirate-folk-white-boy-gospel." Strangely enough, you can actually hear the psychedelic textures, the gospel overtones and the folk-rock foundation.

There is a free-flowing sonic vibe at the core of the compositions, particularly on "The Serpent Speaks" and "We Used to Sing." This is Decker's second CD, a follow-up to 2009's "Long Days." He and a mandolinist, accordionist, and a percussionist will perform tracks from both albums during a Prophet Bar show that also features sets by Two Bears and a Panda, Kali Kennedy, 15 Past Midnight, and Monsters of Men Now. - Dallas Morning News


Brandon Decker was a local music revelation for me in 2011. While he's been recording tunes for years, the Sedona-based balladeer didn't hit my radar until six months ago. Recording as decker., he writes the kind of bluesy acoustic tunes that bear the comforting feeling of songs you've known forever. This songwriter has said that “Every song is a prayer,” and his songs hold the beauty of some divinity in every note. broken belts, broken bones, his newest EP, is out now on Mescal Porch Records.
- Yab Yum Music


Apache Lake Music Festival has grown leaps and bounds since its launch in 2010. The festival now spans three days and features nearly twice as many bands as last year's installment, Arizona's beloved local music fest has continued to expand in size and scope in no time at all.

The event's roots may lay in the bygone Jeromeatherapy event, but now scores of music lovers will make the short trek to "rough it" in a setting even more Western than that ghost town, Apache Lake's Apache Lake Resort and Marina, where festival goers have the option of booking a room for more "civilized" accommodations, or camping out under the stars as Valley favorites such as The Sugar Thieves, Dry River Yacht Club, Banana Gun, Japhy's Descent, and more, rock out across three different stages from Thursday, October 11, until Saturday, October 13. In all, 50 bands will grace an indoor, outdoor and acoustic stage set up at host site.

If necessity truly is the mother of all invention, this year's stacked lineup and extra day prove that festivals like these are something the music community needs as much as wants. Here are five must-see acts to catch while you're getting your patchouli stink on.

Doctor Bones:

Don't let bassist Jesse Pruitt fool you with his long hair and grizzly beard. These Tempe-natives resonate more like an '80s flashback party than they do a hippie dance circle. The quintet draws on staple new wave and punk rock influences like The Talking Heads, Joy Division, and Dead Kennedys to formulate a mixture that is undeniably catchy. They pride themselves on delivering performances with enough energy to satisfy the most insatiable of appetites.

Doctor Bones performs on Thursday, October 11, on the indoor stage.


decker.
The Sedona-based folk ensemble narrowly escaped tragedy in August when their van flipped over while on tour in California. Percussionist/vocalist Kelly Cole was badly injured when she was ejected from the vehicle, but fortunately her bandmates surfaced unscathed, and Cole continues to recover today. With the accident behind them, frontman Brandon Decker and the rest of the band have plenty to celebrate as they move forward with their music. Self-described as, "acoustic-based psychedelic Americana," the group is currently working on a follow up to their stellar third record, Broken Belts, Broken Bones. Fans of Leonard Cohen's lyrical depth and Tom Waits grit should get a kick out of their set.

Decker. performs on Friday, October 20, on the outside stage.

Super Stereo
One of the great things about the ALMF is that you get to sample all sorts of sounds. Electro-pop players Super Stereo received some pretty choice exposure last year after having their music aired on MTV and television shows like The Real L Word thanks in large part to their catchy rhythms and dance grooves. This performance-based quintet will appeal to carefree dancers who can't get enough of bouncy beats and spectacular synths.

Super Stereo performs on Friday, October 11, on the indoor stage. - Village Voice Media - Phoenix New Times


For more than 100 years, the Orpheum Theater has sat at the same location, on a street named after the aspen trees that paint the autumn mountains red, yellow and orange.

It has seen silent and foreign films, rock stars and independent strummers alike and has entertained generations of Flagstaff families. It closed in the late 1990s and was quickly remodeled and reopened in 2002. That was 10 years ago. Today the theater is celebrating its decade-long rebirth by acknowledging the community that supports it on their backs with a string of open houses and free events.

“We’ve been doing a couple free shows up to this point, but this is a good opportunity to really open our doors; that’s why we’re calling it the Orpheum Open House,” Charles Smith explains. Smith is the co-owner and operator of the theater as well as a practicing physician, which doesn’t leave much time for sleep. “From the Orpheum’s perspective, you know, if you’re a fan of music it’s a privilege to find something that you really like and be able to share it with other people.”

He’s speaking specifically of He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister, a psychedelic-folk group from Los Angeles fronted by Robert Kolar and his sister Rachel. Smith caught them in Chicago last year and was immediately struck with their live energy and soulful retort.

“We want to give folk more of an edgy, kinda experimental element while still keeping that pop sensibility to our songwriting,” Robert Kolar explains. They draw parallels, both sonically and stylistically with contemporaries Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, along with what Kolar calls trajectories set off from the same bohemian punk influences.

“I definitely grew up and started in the punk realm,” he says. “My first bands were all punk bands. And then Rachel is much more influenced by country and pop, so we keep it balanced.”

With a punk-rock spirit and a country soul, HMBSMS carve their niche on a vintage sound that is simmering all over the country.

“There’s a community in L.A. with bands like this,” Kolar says. “Tommy Sandy Claws, Spindrift, and a band called Restaurant who are all doing a twist on folk and rockabilly and really incorporating a modern twist on an old sound.”

The Tempe-based Dry River Yacht Club flex the same musical muscles. They create a simultaneously dark and funky atmosphere with avant-trashcan percussion paired with instruments like bassoons, clarinets and a tuba. It’s a gypsy dance party in a cowboy bar.

Or, as percussionist Henri Benard sees it: “A gypsy, western, pirate, folk-rock-type of thing.”

The nine-piece outfit has a high-energy atmosphere that they’re excited to bring to the Orpheum for the first time.

“Flagstaff’s music community is super inviting,” Bernard says. “When we go to Flagstaff the kids get down, they want to hippie out and enjoy themselves and they’re always ready for new music.”

But the open house is good for the musicians as well.

“The struggle as an independent is trying to push forward on the business end while always keeping the art number one,” says Brandon Decker, the creative mind behind Sedona-based folk outfit decker. His band recently survived a van rollover in California, but will still be playing tonight at the Orpheum. “If you think of it as, ‘You gotta’ serve the music with integrity’ you pick and choose your battles. There are places where we can play and make $500 but it won’t be as rewarding as this one. Mostly we’d like to see the touring band make some money so they can keep touring.”

As a promoter of live music, Smith agrees. “You know, we’re feeling good about our place in the community and it feels good to be able to give back. As far as I’m concerned if we didn’t make a penny it would still be a success. At the same time, we are giving folks a chance to see music that they might not have taken the time to see. That’s good for us and that’s good for the bands that rely on performance as a major portion of their income.” - Flagstaff Live


For more than 100 years, the Orpheum Theater has sat at the same location, on a street named after the aspen trees that paint the autumn mountains red, yellow and orange.

It has seen silent and foreign films, rock stars and independent strummers alike and has entertained generations of Flagstaff families. It closed in the late 1990s and was quickly remodeled and reopened in 2002. That was 10 years ago. Today the theater is celebrating its decade-long rebirth by acknowledging the community that supports it on their backs with a string of open houses and free events.

“We’ve been doing a couple free shows up to this point, but this is a good opportunity to really open our doors; that’s why we’re calling it the Orpheum Open House,” Charles Smith explains. Smith is the co-owner and operator of the theater as well as a practicing physician, which doesn’t leave much time for sleep. “From the Orpheum’s perspective, you know, if you’re a fan of music it’s a privilege to find something that you really like and be able to share it with other people.”

He’s speaking specifically of He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister, a psychedelic-folk group from Los Angeles fronted by Robert Kolar and his sister Rachel. Smith caught them in Chicago last year and was immediately struck with their live energy and soulful retort.

“We want to give folk more of an edgy, kinda experimental element while still keeping that pop sensibility to our songwriting,” Robert Kolar explains. They draw parallels, both sonically and stylistically with contemporaries Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, along with what Kolar calls trajectories set off from the same bohemian punk influences.

“I definitely grew up and started in the punk realm,” he says. “My first bands were all punk bands. And then Rachel is much more influenced by country and pop, so we keep it balanced.”

With a punk-rock spirit and a country soul, HMBSMS carve their niche on a vintage sound that is simmering all over the country.

“There’s a community in L.A. with bands like this,” Kolar says. “Tommy Sandy Claws, Spindrift, and a band called Restaurant who are all doing a twist on folk and rockabilly and really incorporating a modern twist on an old sound.”

The Tempe-based Dry River Yacht Club flex the same musical muscles. They create a simultaneously dark and funky atmosphere with avant-trashcan percussion paired with instruments like bassoons, clarinets and a tuba. It’s a gypsy dance party in a cowboy bar.

Or, as percussionist Henri Benard sees it: “A gypsy, western, pirate, folk-rock-type of thing.”

The nine-piece outfit has a high-energy atmosphere that they’re excited to bring to the Orpheum for the first time.

“Flagstaff’s music community is super inviting,” Bernard says. “When we go to Flagstaff the kids get down, they want to hippie out and enjoy themselves and they’re always ready for new music.”

But the open house is good for the musicians as well.

“The struggle as an independent is trying to push forward on the business end while always keeping the art number one,” says Brandon Decker, the creative mind behind Sedona-based folk outfit decker. His band recently survived a van rollover in California, but will still be playing tonight at the Orpheum. “If you think of it as, ‘You gotta’ serve the music with integrity’ you pick and choose your battles. There are places where we can play and make $500 but it won’t be as rewarding as this one. Mostly we’d like to see the touring band make some money so they can keep touring.”

As a promoter of live music, Smith agrees. “You know, we’re feeling good about our place in the community and it feels good to be able to give back. As far as I’m concerned if we didn’t make a penny it would still be a success. At the same time, we are giving folks a chance to see music that they might not have taken the time to see. That’s good for us and that’s good for the bands that rely on performance as a major portion of their income.” - Flagstaff Live


When you spend as much time on the road as songwriter Brandon Decker does, you begin to feel at home on it.

The Sedona-based musician and bandmates in Americana outfit decker. have spent countless hours on Southwest highways, promoting their brand of blissed-out desert folk in a "new" 1999 Toyota Sienna.

The band has settled into a comfortable life on the road, so en route to Santa Cruz, California, on the night of August 17, no one felt the need to question the travel situation until guitarist Bryant Vazquez noticed something wrong with the U-Haul trailer in tow.

A tire flew, the van rolled several times, and everything went black. Decker's eyes were open the entire time, as he tried to grasp what was happening. When the dust finally settled, vocalist/percussionist Kelly Cole was missing. She had been sleeping soundly but was ejected from the van, which settled mere feet from oncoming traffic on Interstate 5.

"We rolled several times, and as soon as we stopped, we realized Kelly wasn't in the van. It was just horrifying," Decker says. "I don't want to get into details, out of respect, but I will say it did not look good at all. I've been through some crazy shit in my life. [I've] had guns pulled on me in bank robberies and other situations, overdoses, a lot of crazy stuff, but the first five minutes after we stopped rolling were the most terrifying moments of my life."

When medical personnel arrived, they kept the band away from Cole in order to minimize panic. She was airlifted to a nearby hospital, and, miraculously, she was alive. A fractured C-2 vertebrae and bulging discs in her lower back will keep Cole in a cervical collar for about three months. She'll require some physical therapy, too. Drumming is out of the question for now and singing is a matter of comfort, but Cole considers herself "incredibly lucky," considering what could have happened.

"Everything happened so fast that I really could not process it," Cole says. "Before I knew it, I was in a trauma center in Fresno, on pain meds, alone, and in shock. Once the guys came to visit me the next day, the main feeling was just gratitude that we were all alive."

Decker and his band have been careful not to exploit the publicity they received in the days following the crash. He initially was reluctant to give an interview to New Times and has been cautious when mentioning the accident on the band's Facebook page, trying to focus only on showing gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of support from local musicians and fans.

But there are musical matters to attend to, and the band has been ceaselessly prolific in the past few months. Before the crash, the band started a Kickstarter project to fund the production of its fourth album, set to be finished September 27 ("barring some sort of disaster") and released early next year, Decker says. Of course, the crash's resulting medical expenses, hotel bills, and broken equipment are factoring into the cost of the album. If the band reaches its $3,800 fund-raising goal and not a dime less, he'd be ecstatic, he says.

The upcoming record feels like a debut, in many ways. Though Decker remains the band's primary songwriter, the new album is the first to feature a solidified lineup, swapping out "hired guns" for permanent players. Decker feels it will expand on the sound of his haunting third release, Broken Belts, Broken Bones (2011) but will feature a fleshed-out sound, one that's more personal and conversational than his solo recordings.

The cemented cast of players isn't the only change in Decker's life. He recently became a father, something that has taught him a lot about patience.

"I know I speak for all of us when I say we couldn't be prouder of this record, but we are in no rush to release it. We are definitely excited to put it out, but in the past, I've just finished it and put it out as quickly as possible. We are going to give it some time to give it its best chance of being heard," Decker says. "That's not ego; it's just justice. It is something really special — all the more so now — and we want to give it its best chance. When someone makes something and truly believes in it, I think they want as many people as possible to see the creation and have an experience with it as well. It's just due diligence, I guess."

Decker is no stranger to the Phoenix music scene, even though he makes his home more than a hundred miles away. Aside from playing Valley shows, he helped organize this June's Oak Creek Music Festival, where bands from Phoenix and Sedona gathered for a free, one-day romp on the red rocks. It was no surprise when local musicians wanted to give back — though Decker has been moved by the outpouring of support.

Megyn Neff of Tempe Gypsy rockers Dry River Yacht Club saw the recent success of local music benefits like Hollywood Alley's effort to help owner Ross Wincek with medical bills after he suffered from a stroke earlier this year. She contacted DR - Village Voice Media


Sedona, AZ is nothing if not a fascinating destination. In addition to celebrity snow birds, its residents include some of the most striking rock formations in North America, numerous centers for new age spirituality, and decker. I came for the jetting red rocks. However, I postponed the ride back to Phoenix because of Brandon Decker. His effortless, soulful croon boasts a magnetic appeal. The accompanying instrumentation wraps around you like gentle winds. Decker’s folk melodies are interpreted through a hazy psychedelic filter that produces warm, personal songs.

I’ve been lucky enough to hear the songs take on distinct personalities over the course of a couple intimate live shows. Broken Belts, Broken Bones, captures a meditative lyricism powered by a layered acoustic drive. The bonus track, ‘Princess of the Cups/Judas Kiss’, recorded live in Seattle, is an aching love song that remains in your bones even after the song is done. – Jeremy Schaefer - Sun on the Sand Blog


Sedona, AZ is nothing if not a fascinating destination. In addition to celebrity snow birds, its residents include some of the most striking rock formations in North America, numerous centers for new age spirituality, and decker. I came for the jetting red rocks. However, I postponed the ride back to Phoenix because of Brandon Decker. His effortless, soulful croon boasts a magnetic appeal. The accompanying instrumentation wraps around you like gentle winds. Decker’s folk melodies are interpreted through a hazy psychedelic filter that produces warm, personal songs.

I’ve been lucky enough to hear the songs take on distinct personalities over the course of a couple intimate live shows. Broken Belts, Broken Bones, captures a meditative lyricism powered by a layered acoustic drive. The bonus track, ‘Princess of the Cups/Judas Kiss’, recorded live in Seattle, is an aching love song that remains in your bones even after the song is done. – Jeremy Schaefer - Sun on the Sand Blog


Echo Cloud caught up with Brandon Decker to talk about the upcoming SXSW tour and where Decker stands currently. Check out the results below!
EC: Can you give us a little history and background on Decker? When/where/why you started.
Decker: Decker I guess officially started when I put out my first album Long Days in 2009. I had moved up to Sedona from Phoenix in 2008 and started recording the record and it was basically just me with the help of a few musicians here and there. There was no band at first. As soon as the album came out I went on tour with two friends, a cello player and mandolin player and we did a 7 week run of the western US. Post-that tour I came home and started the second album. The band has always had rotating members, ranging from just me to a nine-piece at points. A few in the present lineup have been around for a while (Sam Cavanaugh on keys/trumpet/vocals and Phillip Robbins on guitar, they’ve both gone on many tours with me), and I hope that the band is solidifying more.
EC: What are you most proud of as a band and/or artist?
Decker: I’m most proud of the fact that I haven’t quit. Suffering for your art can me quite maddening at times but I’ve stayed the course and continued to work harder. That said, everything has continued to have an upward trajectory as of now and I’m quite proud of that as well.
EC: Who are your band members and what roles do they play?
Decker: Right now the band is myself, Sam Cavanaugh on keys, trumpet, vocals, Kelly Cole on vocals, Phillip Robbins on guitar, Bryant Vazquez on bass, and Henri Benard on percussion. The role they play is to enhance my music with their musicality and energy.
EC: Any special plans for SXSW? New songs, equipment, etc.?
Decker: Plans for SXSW are to play hard, music-wise and fun-wise. Want to have good shows and watch good music and meet good people.
EC: Have you played SXSW before? What do you hope to accomplish for the SXSW tour?
Decker: This is our first SXSW. We simply want to go down there and play real well.
EC: How do you find inspiration for your music?
Decker: Life and sincerity are my inspiration for making music.
EC: Who are some of your favorite AZ bands? Who are some of your favorite national or international bands or favorite music?
Decker: 7. My favorite AZ bands are DRYC, Field Tripp, I respect Laura greatly. I enjoyed many from down in the valley at GumptionFest that I had never seen before like Mergence and Banana Gun. I’m quite excited to see many of the other Phx/Tempe bands I’ve never seen before like Future Loves.
I’m fortunate enough to have played with most of the bands I listen to. There’s a gentlemen Adam Faucett out of Arkansas who will be down there, whom I love and respect. Deer Tick, Cotton Jones, Wesley Hartley. Portishead seems to have been on the stereo alot lately as well as AA Bondy.
EC: What are you currently working on, or focused on? (tour, writing music, recording, playing gigs)
Decker: I’m always focused on the whole deal I think – writing, recording, performing and promoting. As in independent there is a lot of work to do as you know. That said, since the release of the last album we’ve been on a hard push with quite a few shows and post the next two tours I have coming up (Austin and LA) I will be taking somewhat of a break to start the fourth album.
EC: Tell us a little bit about Brandon Decker as a person. You favorite random personal quirky fact: your favorite: color/ice cream/album/food/activity outside music/hero/cause/quote etc.
Decker: As a person I am insane, more than some less than others. I am obsessed with loyalty and word and motivating myself into getting the most out of life.
Keep up with Decker and all of your other favorite Arizona bands by visiting our Calendar. You can hear Decker on the music page right here on Echo Cloud. - Echo Cloud Productions


Holy festival season, Batman.

We're two weeks away from the craziest confluence of big festivals I've ever seen. There's Coachella (weekend one) in Indio, California, Country Thunder in Florence, Arizona, and McDowell Mountain Music Festival at the Compound Grill in Phoenix. Pretty much every spectrum of music is covered, but only that last one, MMMF has the local Arizona connection covered, via the Creamy Radio Stage.

"Being an Arizona-based band, it's no secret McDowell Mountain Music Festival is tops in the Valley for the festivals," says Brandon Decker of Prescott-based indie-folk band decker. in a press release from the folks at Creamy Radio. Since 2003, Creamy Radio has pimped local music via the net, and this is the seventh year they've partnered with MMMF to showcase local music at the festival.

While acts like the Carolina Chocolate Drops Dark Star Orchestra, Galactic, and more will be jamming on the main stage, the Creamy Radio Stage brings a similar vibe to the interior of the Compound Grill, with the loose-limbed psych pop of Tempe favorites Future Loves Past, the funky stylings of Quick Henry, and the rustic, indie-folk of decker.

"Every year we look for the next big local acts," says station Manager Derek Grimme. "Plus, we get to see artists from our stage often graduate to the main stage." - Village Voice Media


The Sedona, Ariz.-based singer/ songwriter/guitarist Brandon Decker doesn’t mind using a do-ityourself approach. In fact, he prefers it.

“I delivered my son myself,” Decker said, calling from his home last week. “Cohen — named after Leonard Cohen — is 8 months old now, but it was a remarkable experience, seeing him come into this world. We got a midwife, had candles lit all over the house, had Leonard Cohen music on in the background. … It was really a soothing, kind of romantic experience versus a chaotic situation.”

A crowd pleaser, Decker has made three albums, played more than 250 gigs traveling 50,000-plus miles in his Dodge Caravan across the States, and performed for free in cafes, farmers’ markets and on the streets.

“As an independent artist, you spend a lot of time on the road, cultivating your fan base and expanding your networking circle, which is what we have done the last two and a half years,” he said. “When my band and I toured behind our second album (2010’s “Long as the Night”), we’d walk around downtown in any given city and people would start following us around, buy the CDs and come to the shows. This generated a lot of press buzz.”

Decker’s rootsy folk, country and rock ’n’ roll style evokes the feel of Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and some of Jack White’s work. But Decker is no copyist. “My music has nothing if not sincere. I look at songwriting as an art of putting yourself out on the table, being human.”

He added, “What we’ve been honing at lately is doing strategic attacks every month, such as farming specific markets, mostly cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix and Denver. This month’s focus will be a trip to Austin to hit South by Southwest.”

On the way to the renowned Texas music festival, Decker will make a stop in Albuquerque, when he and his band will play Low Spirits on Sunday. “The ideal for every show is to play with good bands that I respect, not just on a musical level, but also on a personal level. We’ve received a lot of support from local group Red Light Cameras, who plays the same night as us.” - Albuquerque Journal


The air is crisp and blowing freely down the crowded streets of downtown Santa Cruz. A hint of ocean breeze is mixing with the surrounding aromas emanating from eateries nestled about in every nook and cranny provided. Several scraggly sycamores line the street, growing just slightly aside from the hustle and bustle of shopping pedestrians. A car alarm is ringing in the distance, people are laughing up and down the sidewalk while the feint sound of acoustic guitars battle to be heard above it all. The Sedona, AZ band decker is busking on the corner of Cooper Street and Pacific Avenue, and they demand to be heard.

decker, a five-piece band composed of: PJ, Henri, Bryant, Sam, and Brandon have nested underneath a large sycamore, ready to play their brand of resonating rock n’ roll for the shopping masses. This display of public performing is known as “busking” and what better place to do it than downtown Santa Cruz on a busy Friday afternoon.



Forty-Eight hours and hundreds of miles prior to the streets of Santa Cruz, Decker was crammed inside a Toyota Sienna; riding the I-40 West out of Flagstaff in the wee early morning, racing the sun westward with a handful of McDonald’s and towing a rented U-Haul closely behind them. The man behind the wheel of the USS Sienna, the captain, is Brandon Decker. Brandon serves as the lead vocalist, guitarist, booking agent, public relations, business man, and songwriter of decker.



Today Brandon is the band’s ambassador in a concrete land of consumerism. decker began busking on a corner shared with two young Greenpeace volunteers; who looked more like dirty models from an Urban Outfitters fall catalog than the dirty hippies you would normally see chained to heavy machinery. Brandon, a petite man with a guitar strapped to his back, walks up and asks the Greenpeace youth if the band could set up on their tiny sidewalk island. Brandon speaks straight forward but politely from behind a shaggy mustache and dark tinted aviator sunglasses. The Greenpeace kids can’t help but agree with the nice man covered in tattoos who just wants to play songs for everyone.



The band, looking like a gypsy caravan, with their arms full of guitars, drums, bags and a trumpet begin to unload. One of the three guitarists today is PJ, who interestingly enough looks like a young Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam but is not what “PJ” actually stands for. PJ has thick brown curly hair that matches a light brown beard, and compared to the others in decker, PJ has a laid back but casual flannel essence; his acoustic guitar’s shiny, neat appearance reflecting his own.

The final acoustic guitar today is played by Bryant Vazquez, a thin man with dark brown hair and a dark beard. Whereas PJ’s appearance reflects his guitar’s appearance, so does Bryant’s appearance to his guitar; wearing a faded white t-shirt that was once a brighter hue of white, and dark blue jeans that are rolled up above two road-worn brown boots that look more like a carpenter’s than a musician’s. Bryant’s guitar is also well-traveled and is missing a peg that a shoulder strap would normally attach to. Bryant plays sitting down on a dinged up brown metal chair while PJ who has a bright red strap, and a peg, that allows him to play upright. PJ would normally don his electric guitar and Bryant, an electric bass on stage.

PJ, Bryant, and Brandon lift their guitars and begin tuning while Sam drops his bags and picks up a trumpet. Sam is the quieter member of decker. Traversing the highways of the past forty-eight hours, Sam spent most of his time sleeping in the front passenger seat of the USS Sienna while the rest of the band laughed and talked of tours past and of the streets of Santa Cruz. His baggy blue jeans are stained from heavy use and have a frayed hole below the left front pocket. A dark, brownish-red jacket covers a red shirt layered over a white shirt and leads up to a scruffy beard that sits beneath a pair of dark sunglasses. Sam’s quiet demeanor and unkempt appearance are pulled together perfectly as soon as he picks up his trumpet.

Now if Sam is the quiet musician in decker then the person next to him setting a drum tom on the sidewalk, the one with the curly brown mohawk, sideburns, and goatee is the easily the loudest; Henri is by far the most fun person to have around in any given situation and he knows it. Henri plays drums for a living, working at a music conservatory in Phoenix, Arizona giving drum lessons to tomorrow’s aspiring. He is also the drummer for local Phoenix favorite The Dry River Yacht Club as well as decker; and probably the most energetic of the group.



With their stage set, decker begins to crank the handle, and their music begins to dance. People are flowing out of the stores onto the sidewalk, some walk by, some stop to take notice, and some don’t break stride, too focused on overpriced faded jeans with holes in all the right places. However, decker is also in their own world, - 1121 South.net


The life of a musician is easily perceived by envious non-musicians as downright dreamy: a life of endless travel, becoming acquainted with beautiful, strange and important personalities, playing at festivals in hip locations, and oozing with a natural talent that just can’t help itself.

But the musician usually understands the day-to-day much differently: long days on the road and long nights in random venues, balancing being away and being a family man, working hard for the money to produce albums, and constantly exploring ways to improve a signature sound.

One local musician has managed to meld both worlds of the working musician. Meet Brandon Decker, who simply goes by decker. Based out of Sedona, he’s hard-working, self-financing and a tad cynical, but soon he’ll be sitting pretty in the driver’s seat of his van on his way to play two different showcases at the coveted South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.

Decker’s music often rings like a soundtrack for a contemporary, edgy western film as his albums are composed of ballads, dramas and dusty ditties. Decker has multiple tracks that sing of religious motifs like a sort of white-boy gospel, repenting in a psychedelic and unorthodox manner. He also laments of life and relationships with a pinch of grit.

Vocally he possesses a similar timbre to an adolescent Neil Young or that of the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy. When backed by a band, the resulting sound includes the pounding piano, trumpet, accordion, mandolin, harmonica, brushed percussion and rolling guitar shared by indie-folk and alt-country genres.

Decker says Ryan Adams’ first album, Heartbreaker, was a significant influence and his first introduction to alt-country. He also lists alternative groups Deer Tick, Cotton Jones and a lesser-known Wesley Hartley as his current personal favorites, but, like any apprentice of a trade, Decker explains that studying a vast library of music is just as important as listening to it superficially.

“We all listen to music for different reasons, but I kind of listen in two ways,” Decker says. “I listen to music that immediately is emotionally impactful to me; but then I listen to a much broader span of music just to listen to how they record it, and what instruments they use, and how they layer it, and what kind of effects they put in there.”

As for his own songs, Decker hopes they situate with his listeners in some way, but is very casual about not having exaggerated expectations.

“You know, I don’t like the Beatles. And I’m kind of embarrassed about that,” he says. “I don’t necessarily dislike the Beatles but they don’t emotionally resonate with me. My point is that everybody is not going to like everything they hear, so I don’t expect too much. But I think a lot of people do emotionally connect with my music and I think once you can get that, then you’re on to something.”

Originally from Denver, Colo., Decker lived in Dallas, Louisville, Ky., St. Louis and Los Angeles before landing in Flagstaff as an undergrad at Northern Arizona University.

“When I was 15 or 16 I played bass, you know, played Nirvana songs,” Decker says. “Then when I went to college I started strumming acoustic and sang songs to girls to try and impress them.”

After graduating, he bounced from Flagstaff to Phoenix to Sedona, and surprisingly found more of a nurturing environment in Sedona than in Phoenix. Settled in Sedona by August 2008, Decker started working on his first album, Long Days, and started touring.

Now the gadabout is planting more solid roots as one of Sedona’s own, currently building a recording studio as an addition to his house. After touring extensively in support of his first two albums in 2009 and 2010, and after booking acts for a music festival in Sedona, Decker expanded his working circle of other bands and musicians, granting him the means to record with an array of artists and better organize tours by sharing venues with them.

With some networking, Decker bonded with Flagstaff musician Bryant Vazquez of the Vagabond Gods, who introduced him to the music scene in Flagstaff. Vazquez now plays as a member of Decker’s studio and touring band.

“Where I’m at, which is the ground level stages of being a musician—I mean, I’ve made a lot of progress and it’s a lot of work—but I won’t be on ‘Letterman’ in the six months or anything,” Decker explains. “It’s important to have these friends. You have to work with like-minded people. You have to be able to trade shows in other towns. There’s no other feasible way that I can really be cultivating a fanbase in Seattle, for instance.”

Decker says he was 25 years old when he started to take music and songwriting seriously. Now 31, he seems to be at a significant turning point. Not only is he a new dad, but the days of being on the road for long, continuous stints of time and playing shows no matter the cost are behind him.

“Playing to three people and not making any money, w - Flagstaff Live


Brandon Decker, who has been performing and recording as decker. (all lower case and punctuated), delivered his newborn son in his kitchen shortly after returning home from a tour. I wish, for the woman who birthed this child in a room she will prepare food in, that this wasn’t such a good metaphor for his music; which is as romantic, dramatic, intense, primitive and harrowing as a birth in a kitchen in Arizona (technically, this is a simile). Broken Belts, Broken Bones creates its own furrow somewhere between Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska and Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator) with mandolins, sparse accompaniment, narcotic tempos and stray harmonies (I will say that the sing-along “Porch Choir” reminds me of a Steinbeckian “Sun is Out” by the Apples in Stereo). Like Sigur Ros or Woody Guthrie, decker.’s music begs to be compared to the geography from whence it came. Broken Belts, Broken Bones’ sparseness recalls the open, eternal spaces the American frontier once possessed. (Mescal Porch Records) - Performer Magazine


Brandon Decker, who has been performing and recording as decker. (all lower case and punctuated), delivered his newborn son in his kitchen shortly after returning home from a tour. I wish, for the woman who birthed this child in a room she will prepare food in, that this wasn’t such a good metaphor for his music; which is as romantic, dramatic, intense, primitive and harrowing as a birth in a kitchen in Arizona (technically, this is a simile). Broken Belts, Broken Bones creates its own furrow somewhere between Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska and Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator) with mandolins, sparse accompaniment, narcotic tempos and stray harmonies (I will say that the sing-along “Porch Choir” reminds me of a Steinbeckian “Sun is Out” by the Apples in Stereo). Like Sigur Ros or Woody Guthrie, decker.’s music begs to be compared to the geography from whence it came. Broken Belts, Broken Bones’ sparseness recalls the open, eternal spaces the American frontier once possessed. (Mescal Porch Records) - Performer Magazine


Brandon Decker, who has been performing and recording as decker. (all lower case and punctuated), delivered his newborn son in his kitchen shortly after returning home from a tour. I wish, for the woman who birthed this child in a room she will prepare food in, that this wasn’t such a good metaphor for his music; which is as romantic, dramatic, intense, primitive and harrowing as a birth in a kitchen in Arizona (technically, this is a simile). Broken Belts, Broken Bones creates its own furrow somewhere between Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska and Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator) with mandolins, sparse accompaniment, narcotic tempos and stray harmonies (I will say that the sing-along “Porch Choir” reminds me of a Steinbeckian “Sun is Out” by the Apples in Stereo). Like Sigur Ros or Woody Guthrie, decker.’s music begs to be compared to the geography from whence it came. Broken Belts, Broken Bones’ sparseness recalls the open, eternal spaces the American frontier once possessed. (Mescal Porch Records) - Performer Magazine


The music of Brandon Decker, who records as decker. has proven to be a pleasant surprise. Primarily based in Sedona, an area known more for snoozy New Age, smooth jazz, and coffeehouse folk, Decker's third record, Broken Belts, Broken Bones doesn't sound unlike something you might hear over the sound of your espresso being made, but there's enough grit, creeping unease, and lyrical darkness on the record to appeal to fans of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen as much as fans of The Swell Season or Damien Rice.
I spoke with Decker while he was grabbing some coffee in Oak Creek Canyon. Decker is a bit of an rambler; he's temporarily relocated to Flagstaff, lived and gigged in Phoenix with his old band, A Vacant Night Sky, and has toured the West Coast will his full band. We discussed his record, the "big three" topics, and his impressions of the Phoenix music scene.
Up on the Sun: A lot of singer/songwriter records really bore me. The "dude with an acoustic guitar" is tough to pull off. That's why I like Broken Belts, Broken Bones -- there's a lot of orchestration.

Brandon Decker: I do all the arrangements, not to toot my own horn. But one thing I'm really looking forward to is making another album. Every time I've made an album, I've kind of sessioned out different people. But the band I have now, a seven-piece, we've really solidified. We're going to start a new album in January. I'm really looking forward to it. [The band is] tight, we've played a bunch of shows. The guys have been some some extensive tours with me, and it's finally shaping into the sound I'm desiring: more psychedelic and more band-oriented. Relying less on me and more on a band...the next one is going to be awesome. Broken Belts, Broken Bones features some great players -- my drummer, Ed Barattini played with Richie Havens and Stanley Jordan.

Some of the press has likened you to folk singers like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt. Is that the kind of stuff you actually listen to?

I do. I definitely have always had - I dunno, what came first the chicken or the egg - but ever since I started writing songs guitar has always been my true limit. I've played guitar 14 years, and I finally feel like I'm starting to get somewhere with it. In my younger years I was listening to Mars Volta and At the Drive In, and I've always liked more complex constructs, but what my guitar playing required was more Neil Young-type compositions.

My interests cross all genres. I love the folk, and with my second album, Long as the Night, I was listening to a lot of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, The Band, Townes Van Zandt, stuff like that. Stuff with a rustic, old-timey feel. I want my music to be modern, and not emulate anybody. I want my songs to be a cross section of all the things I listen to. It's like a puzzle, every piece that impacts you.

Your BandCamp page lists one of your genres as "white-boy gospel." Is that a part of things, too?

A lot of that developed live. I got into the idea of these harmonies, breakdowns with clapping, kind of chanting, and that was definitely inspired by negro spirituals. Not that I was specifically listening to a lot of that. I kind of started steering away from the white-boy gospel description [after seeing it in press], because it gives people this religious connotation that might scare some people off. I'm not religious. I'm definitely agnostic. I don't have anything against religioun, but I don't want to pigeonhole myself into that.

It's easy for people to confuse the shared religious language most Americans have an innate understanding for expressions of belief. In folk music, those are common metaphors. You sing "Wretch like these," on the record, and have a song called "Judas Kiss." That's just terminology people understand.

I'm sure if we were in India, it would be different. For me, music has always been really personal. I had a treacherous in in my younger life; my teens and early 20s were remarkably fucked up. There's no way for me to separate that from my music. That's why my music deals with salvation, redemption. When you get into that, that kind of language just kind of flows. I read an article where Sam Beam from Iron and Wine said his songs were about love, God, and sex, what else is is there to really write about? [Laughs]

You've been playing more in Phoenix, opening up shows for bands like Deer Tick.

It's been a long crack, trying to break through and get good shows. I just feel like the Phoenix music scene is different from when I lived down there [in 2008]. It used to be there were two or three bands that had a draw. Most bands had a hard time getting a draw, no matter who they were, how good they were, or where [they were playing]. Now it seems like there's packed shows, artists supporting artists, sharing fan bases.

You're playing Psyko Steven's Christmas show with Sunorus and Bad Cactus Brass Band. Any chance you'll play some Christmas songs?

Naw. [Laughs] That's not re - Village Voice Media - Phoenix New Times


Brandon Decker relocated to Sedona three years ago to find room for his thoughts, music, and songwriting. In that time, he has toured relentlessly, with his ensemble band Decker and issued three releases on his own Mescal Porch Records.

His most recent release is a seven-song EP called 'Broken Belts, Broken Bones' and, as with the previous releases of "Long Days' and 'Long as the Night,' it is once again brilliant soul-searching music that explores the conflicts of his own mind and heart in a tight Americana format that defies genre pigeonholing.

Decker is not quite folk, not quite country - perhaps "acoustic roots rock" would describe this inspiring blend of music that Brandon Decker seems to be able to continually produce. This is the kind of music that you want to take with you on a hike or a drive north. This is music to enjoy in the wilderness - comforting, satisfying music to mellow out your mind on days when you might be trapped in your busy city life and just need a few minutes to get away.

His records are like a soul-soothing country breeze blowing through your consciousness, and his live show is an amazing spectacle featuring somewhere between seven and 10 people on stage, creating an anachronistic atmosphere that transports you from your current time in space. Be sure to catch him at the Yucca Tap Room December 17. - Java Magazine


The “melancholy duo” of Brandon Decker and Nanci McDonald will bring their soulful sound from Northern Arizona to Arroyo Grande as part of the release tour for Decker’s freshman CD, “Long Days.”

Decker will bring his seven-week, five-state West Coast tour to SLO Down Pub for a 7 p.m. performance Thursday with cellist Nanci McDonald.

A virtual one-man band, Decker plays harmonica, tambourine and guitar as he sings in a one-of-a-kind voice that at times draws upon the sounds of Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon.

McDonald is an experienced classical cellist who adds depth and emotion to his music.

Their vocals intermix with a nearly doo-wop style of songwriting bearing a ubiquitous sense of despair, crafting a sound that not only fills a room but also brings a feel of the album to a live performance.

Decker said “Long Days” is a musical narrative of redemption structured around an autobiographical framework, with poignant lyrics and rich musical layers.

It was entirely written and recorded in Sedona, Ariz., in collaboration with a bevy of area artists and Arizona independent label Mescal Porch Records.

The tracks are mainly acoustic-driven, but synthesizers and multilayered harmonies add depth to the music.

Some of the 11 tracks are catchy and infectious, while others are heartfelt and gripping. Despite an overarching tone of hopelessness and despair, a kind of tragic, Quixotic optimism pervades the songs.

Influences from Tom Waits to Portishead and Neil Young to P.J. Harvey can be heard throughout the album.

Read more: http://santamariatimes.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/article_2aa2fb72-f823-11de-9c90-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1d0jSyqNj
- Santa Maria Times


Prayer has always been interesting to me. I'm an atheist, but the idea of putting faith in something unseen has always had a certain romance to it, in my mind. On long as the night, Brandon Decker (recording as “decker.”) sings songs framed as prayers. According to his website, religion is not the point of his songs so I think he also sees the romantic side of such deep suffering.
Decker, out of Sedona, characterizes these songs as “white boy gospel,” and the term fits. On top of the prayer-like aspects (religious images abound, as do pleading vocals), the music pulls from the nascent country and rock found at revival meetings. These songs would fit in at either your bar or your local tent revival.

Long as the night is not a throwaway folk album. I must admit, I was frustrated with the music on first listen. Decker doesn't shy away from serious topics in his songs, and all the lyrics about the meaning of life were just too much for my internet-addled attention-span.

Repeat listens make long as the night really shine. They reveal the Tom Waits jazziness of “Sun, Shine In” and and the Dylan-esque ramble of “Bleedin' Blisters.” The heavy lyrics show their timelessness again and again. The “Lord, light my way” on album opener “Western Hymnal” is as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago.

Decker exorcises demons on this album. Although we may not know their nature, we all know their presence. This purging is something we all face, whether through song, therapy or prayer.

Long as the night is a folk/rock/gospel hybrid with deep roots in the perils of the human condition. With a new EP being released in October, there is sure to be more catharsis on the way.

Don't miss it. We all need a little exorcism once in a while. - Yab Yum Music


Creative types have long been drawn to Sedona, Ariz., for inspiration. Perhaps it’s the beautiful red rock formations glowing orange in the sun that set the backdrop for creative thought. Or maybe it’s the spiritual aspect that some claim surrounds the area. Or maybe it’s a little more vague than that.

Brandon Decker headed to Sedona after attending college in Phoenix in a quest to clear his head and sort his thoughts. The result was his debut album, Long Days, a gritty acoustic retelling of life, relationships, and redemption.

“I guess I’ve had an interesting life,” Decker explained. “It’s kind of like my cathartic dealing with different experiences.”

The album was entirely written and recorded in Sedona in collaboration with several local artists and an Arizona independent label, Mescal Porch Records.

The tracks are mostly acoustic-driven and have been dubbed “folk grunge,” but the addition of synthesizers and multi-layered harmonies lends greater musical depth.

With a degree in philosophy, Decker explores life experiences and a somewhat troubled youth, resulting in songs that are real and lyrics that are gripping.

“As a kid, I moved a lot. I always had this gypsy-type lifestyle or something like that,” Decker said. “I’m 29. When I was 24, I sort of put my life behind me and really started writing songs.”

Definitely heartfelt, the tunes don’t come from a dark place. They’re catchy at times, often gripping, and always soulful, with influences from Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and PJ Harvey.

“At first glance, it seems a little dark, but it’s my exploration of the way life is and what it can be,” Decker said.

Decker will be taking his work on the road as he embarks on a seven-week tour from San Diego to Seattle in support of the album’s release. He’ll be performing as a duo with Nanci McDonald, whom he met shortly after completing the recording of Long Days. The duo found an instant musical bond, creating a unique, melancholy sound.

During their live performances, McDonald provides cello and vocals to Decker’s lead vocals, guitar, and harmonica.

Decker said in every song, he’s taking a moment and trying to work through it honestly. The sincerity shows through in his performances.

“What we do is we try to capture the vibe of the album,” he said. “It’s really heartfelt music.” - Santa Maria Sun


If winter weather doesn't interfere, Brandon Decker will be hitting the streets of Amarillo on Sunday, playing his indie folk songs for any and all passersby.

"I believe in my music, and I want it to be heard by as many people as I can," the Arizona-based musician said.

The outdoor performances are intended to garner attention for Decker's evening show, scheduled for 9 p.m. Sunday at The 806, 2812 S.W. Sixth Ave. It will be his first Amarillo concert.

The musician, who performs simply as Decker, labels his music as "psychedelic-pirate-folk-rock-whiteboy-gospel."

Led by Decker's raspy yet soulful vocals, the music incorporates guitars, percussion, horns, accordion, tambourine, harmonica and more.

"It's a sound that you haven't heard before," he said.

The musician released his debut album, "Long Days," in 2009. He released an eight-song sophomore project, "Long as the Night," in October.

The songs, which were composed in about six weeks, contain a certain "heartfelt sincerity" about them, Decker said.

"There's no pretense to the music," he said. "I sing about the way I see life."

Since the album's release, Decker has been touring nearly nonstop.

He has concerts planned nearly every day through mid-April.

Decker currently is on the road with two fellow musicians.

Whether it's on the sidewalk or the stage, the frontman said he wants audiences to enjoy music made by passionate artists.

"Every performance is sincere," he said. "I hope audiences are impacted by what they hear and have fun listening."
- Amarillo Globe


Broken Belts, Broken Bones, the new release from decker., is an album about work. Its cover bears the image of a pack mule, and the title brings to mind hours of breaking rocks in a blistering sun.

But the work the album concerns itself with is not the hard labor of chain gangs, but the hard work that goes into falling asleep. Trying to calm down despite the insistence of twelve different thoughts to be heard at the same time. The title of the first track, “Notes From a Night With No Sleep,” could describe the whole album.

“Tied on my shoes tight today/to keep my shoes just walking straight,” Brandon Decker sings on the aforementioned track. As the album progresses, we get insomniac confusion such as “I'm scared like a dog,” “Save me,” and “You can't save a wretch like me.” The speaker is trying to find the right path. It's a search we all make, and Decker does a good job of bringing it into song without falling into absurd sentimentality.

The musicianship on this release goes a long way in keeping the album away from that sentimentality. Decker's Americana tunes are so well-crafted that any worries about lyrical content go out the window. Fiddles and sleepy honky-tonk piano bolster an acoustic guitar in arrangements that are immediately comforting in their warm melancholy.

Broken Belts, Broken Bones is an album about the work of being human. And like your favorite person, it may not be perfect, but its presence will always make you feel good. - Yab Yum Music


New millennium folk singers have a deeper treasure trove to dig through than their traditional counterparts.

It's as natural for a young folk singer today to borrow from the genres of garage-band grunge and European techno-pop as it is for the traditionalist to blend elements of gospel and blues into a sound that is uniquely folk.

A perfect case in point is Sedona's Brandon Decker, who professionally, and quite simply, goes by Decker. He's a folk singer in the tradition of Guthrie, Dylan and Townes Van Zandt. But he's not so locked into tradition that he will shy away from using horns, orchestra bells and Al Kooper-like organ riffs to accent and punctuate his music.

What Decker does, and precisely how he does it, can best be summed up on his newest CD release "Long as the Night." It's his second CD in as many years and shows amazing progress both lyrically and in terms of his understanding of the recording process.

With a vocal texture that's on par with Rod Stewart and Jack White and musical arrangements that fit each song like a glove, there is a lot to like about Decker's "Long as the Night."

But more than anything, and in the end what is always most important, the lasting impression of this CD is some of the most soul-baring songwriting you will ever hear. "Long as the Night" is not a collection of songs, but rather a singular collective statement. "You don't notice that while you are doing it, but when we were listening back to the final recording, I was very proud of the cohesiveness of the whole unit. I felt like there is definite subject matter links," said Decker. "I think it's because I wrote all of them in a two- to three-month span and that's where I was in life, so the songs really do all complement each other."

Biblical themes run deep on "Long as the Night." Decker wears his heart on his sleeve as he sings about doubt, temptation, sin, repentance, hope and redemption. "I think this whole album ended up being about the 'walk in the desert' theme from religion, especially the Abrahamic faiths. A lot of what kept coming up to me when writing was things like serpent, temptation, floods and rain, and trying to see the light," said Decker. "A lot of what I was writing was that I turned 30 this year and it's that push into manhood. Not manhood as a man but the next level of existence. How that came across to me and what kept coming up in my mind was things like Moses in the desert in exile and Jesus as he went out before he began preaching and the chants and hymns of the slaves."

In "We Used to Sing" for example, Decker metaphorically refers to Jesus' battle with Satan in the wilderness and the admonition that "man does not live by bread alone." The song, said Decker, "is probably as biblical as anything on the album ... Many of my songs start as this kind of breath of prayer and that's how this started ... Again, I was real focused on the walk in the desert and biblical themes like faith and transformation."

In "Western Hymnal," Decker delivers a psalm-like prayer for the sinner's soul. "I just wanted one of those songs like the old spirituals. When David Vincent Mills came over, he gave it this spaghetti western feel and I knew it would be the album opener because it had this riding-into-town-on-your-horse feeling. It's worth noting that David Vincent Mills, as much as anyone, saved this album. I hit a point where I was so down on myself and my music that I was pondering giving up. He came over one night and started laying piano and organ tracks down and the whole thing was invigorated. I am most grateful to him for that."

Perhaps the best song on the CD is "Bleeding Blisters." Life can throw you a lot of curve balls. The only thing that keeps you swinging is hope. Decker is adamant in this song that hope is the only thing that keeps you going. "Yea, and I hope ... and again, will I hope."

In Decker's case, when comparing this CD to his debut album from a year ago ("Long Days"), his improved vocal prowess is as evident as his growth as a songwriter. "I have learned how to use my voice better," he explained. "I think I'm still getting there in terms of finding my voice, but songs take a life of their own and what you try to do is corral yourself to answer them ... I really feel like I finally got the click this year. I don't know what happened, maybe it's just enough attempts at doing it, but now I know I can play and my songs are worth hearing and I want them to be heard."

As he did a year ago following the release of "Long Days," Decker will soon hit the road with 19 shows in as many days in 17 cities and five states. "I have to get it out there," he said. "I'm my manager, booking agent, promoter, web designer, and record label. I've spent the last year and a half working every second I can ... to pay for it and ... working on this launch."

He'll hit the road with a stripped-down band that will include Sam Cavanaugh, Matt Howey and Christian Jerman. In the st - Verde News


Call it nervous energy, restlessness or a single-minded obsession.

Or, you can simply call it Brandon Decker.

When he's not working one of two jobs or experiencing the newfound joys of fatherhood, Brandon Decker most likely is doing something that's advancing his musical career. Even during 15-minute breaks during solo performances throughout Sedona and the Verde Valley, Decker can be found hunched over his ever-present laptop computer. Whether he's updating his music website blog, sending out press releases for upcoming shows, booking gigs all up and down the West Coast or filing away ideas for new songs, Decker is the proverbial rolling stone.

He'll never slow down enough to gather moss.

He will release his newest CD Oct. 7 -- his third in 24 months - and with it comes a whirling dervish of promotional efforts.

"Just more," is how Decker explains the promotion of his music. "More shows. Better shows. Sending it out to everyone: radio, blogs, magazines, and everything. I really believe things are close. It's not so much about this album getting out there, as all of it. I have three albums of material in the last two years that just need to get out. That's a time-consuming process, but I'm ready. I'm sending off probably 25-50 albums a week and another larger set of emails. It will get out there. And if this one doesn't hit the mark, there's more tours and more albums to come."

Following the release of last year's outstanding CD "Long as the Night," Decker promoted the album by performing 99 shows in 5 months.

Officially scheduled shows, that is.



Click "play" to hear Notes From A Night With No Sleep.

>Free QuickTime player required to hear this audio clip



"This doesn't include the 200-plus, at least, street performances we gave," said Decker. "We played the set sometimes five or 10 times a day, no kidding, at points, especially on the West Coast. I'm starting to understand performing more, I think."

The newest CD is titled "Broken Belts, Broken Bones." The album was basically conceived while on the road doing shows to promote "Long as the Night."

"These were songs we performed on the road, that I wrote on the road, and came home and just wanted to get out, quickly," said Decker. "The point of the album was rawness and capturing it. After the long production of "Long as the Night" I wanted something more organic and quick. It is not THE album. I'm working on that already. But this album was not heavy on the studio trickery. That's a plus. It's true-to-form Decker."

Sedona's David Vincent Mills has played keyboards on the last two Decker CDs and he agrees this new CD is very much like hearing Decker in a live setting. "This is not as produced as the last one," explained Mills. "It's very much a live sound."

But more than that, said Mills, this new CD offers ample evidence of an ever-growing maturity and confidence that Decker has in himself.

"More than anything it's his self-confidence," explained Mills. "He's done two new CDs in the past year and has toured more than 100 dates. He's done just tons of gigs and that has given him so much more confidence in his ability to connect to the audience. It's an accumulation of everything. Brandon has stayed true to himself musically. He's found that place where he can connect with the audience without selling himself out."
- Verde News


Discography

Long Days (2009)
Long as the Night (2010)
Broken Belts, Broken Bones (2011)
Slider (2013)

'Killing Me', 'Cotton, Jane Doe', 'Weight in Gold Pt. 1' and 'Speak in Tongues' have received airplay on AAA, CMJ, and internet radio.

Photos

Bio

Rising from the dust of a near-fatal rollover accident while on tour in California last summer, Decker has completed their fourth record in as many years and has holed up in their red rock home of Sedona, AZ to prepare for a February 2013 nationwide launch for the new album, Slider.

Since the 2009 release of the band's debut album Long Days, the band has scrapped and grown, played hundreds of dates across the US and released two more albums (2010's Long as the Night and 2011's Broken Belts, Broken Bones) all the while refining their psychedelic desert folk sound.

Soldiering through the near-calamity, the band is a now tight unit of melody, atmosphere and space; not merely the brainchild of songwriter Brandon Decker.

Slider's release marks a newer, more complex sound for the band - think Beck's "Sea Change' meets The White Stripes meets The Arcade Fire. Decker crafts songs which find profundity in their naked sincerity. Not quite rock, not quite folk, the acoustic-based psychedelic Americana balladry draws upon a variety of influences; from Leonard Cohen to Tom Waits, from Cat Power to PJ Harvey. Yet in the end, his music is unique and uniquely him, and that is the offering.