The Bret Harte Breakers
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The Bret Harte Breakers

Band Folk Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Bret Harte Breakers"

Monica Topping For the Times-Standard

The Bret Harte Breakers are a community of happenstance. The Arcata band's founding members, Wick Prichard and Joe LaManna, met while working at an outdoor school in the Stockton area. The two jokingly swap jabs about their home states of Georgia and Missouri, respectively ("He always feels a little out of place because Missouri looks a lot like Georgia, but of course, it's not Georgia," says Prichard, a native of the Peach State, about LaManna).

After singing silly science camp songs about slugs and worms for hundreds of fifth graders, LaManna had the idea to move up to Humboldt, for school. Prichard and his girlfriend were close on his heels and they all moved into a house behind the Arcata Co-op that is known to have housed one famous writer, Bret Harte. They call it the Bret Harte house, but that's not to be confused with the Journalism department office on the Humboldt State University campus, of the same name.

Long before Prichard moved to Arcata, he had actually heard of Harte, through a book of short stories his father had brought back after a trip to the west coast, while Prichard was in high school. It was that familiarity that led to the band calling itself the Bret Harte Breakers (besides, who doesn't like the play on words?).

The band started small, with Prichard on guitar and vocals, LaManna on banjo, cello, occasional guitar and vocals, their roommate Brett Vivyan on guitar and former roommate Jay Forbes, now of Strix Vega, on drums. Late last year, as the band played outside during November's Arts Arcata, they met Gena Trimarco, who showed up with friends to dance to the band's music. By the end of the set, one of Trimarco's friends asked the band if they would play her birthday party the following month and they agreed. Shortly thereafter, Trimarco and her friends ran into Prichard and LaManna once again and another friend of Trimarco's told LaManna that she played the fiddle, and she became a member almost instantaneously.

On the band's second practice with Trimarco, they were joined by mandolin player (and recovering bass player) Rob Fowler, who lives upstairs from the fiddle player. Drummer Daven Tyler came across the group on local Craigslist listings.

The Bret Harte Breakers play a number of original tunes, plus covers from Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Peter Rown, amongst others. Their motto: "No genre, lots of instruments, music is fun." They've even been known to take cover requests at shows, bringing audience members in to sing, when they don't know they words.

In a live setting, the Bret Harte Breakers can be anywhere from one-to-six members, but Prichard hopes to institute a policy of a minimum of three members at a time; the pressure is a little bit less, that way.

The Bret Harte Breakers can be found at Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville this Saturday, June 6, at 9 p.m. They'll be back at Six Rivers on the Fourth of July.

(c) 2009 Times-Standard. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc. - Times-Standard


Wednesday Night (Album - released 2010). 13 original songs soon to be available and streaming on CDBaby, iTunes, eMusic, and a host of other online music venue. CD also available for purchase.



The Bret Harte Breakers play many instruments to create a folk-acoustic sound on top of an electric bass and solid drum beat. The end result defies any genera, but we like to call it acoustic folk-rock. We combine elements of bluegrass, rock, african, funk, folk, blues, and soul in ways you've never heard before. We're proudly named after gold-rush author, Bret Harte, who was run out of Arcata after criticizing a massacre of native americans in the late 1800s. His good friend, Mark Twain, described him as the best guest and the worst guest. Inspired by this spirit of rebellion and integrity, the Bret Harte Breakers have wowed crowds all over Northern California and Oregon. We just had our big album release show at Humbrews in Arcata. We've received radio airplay of our CD and are very interested in playing and putting our music out there. Please listen to our music to see what we're all about. Lots of instruments. Music is fun.