Brian McElrath “…Workin’ like a workin’ man do”
Born here, raised everywhere; a local man’s process we’re living his dream.
What part of First Coast do you reside now and how long have you lived there?
I am a long time beaches resident currently living in South Jacksonville Beach.
When did you know you had an interest in music?
When I was eight years old my older brother received a nylon string guitar as a gift from my parents. He also had a 45 RPM vinyl record of “Rumble” by Link Wray. After learning the D, E, and B chords in the song and being able to play along with the song I was hooked.
Did you start with any specific instrument and migrate to other instruments?
I began learning music with formal drum lessons in a music store that was once on First Street. I made my first drum for my coffee can with some BBs in the bottom and use the plastic lid as the drum head. I graduated to a little wooden practice pad but never owned an actual snare drum. I eased into the acoustic guitar and then into the electric guitar a little later.
Are you currently in a band (or bands)?
I am not currently in a band. I am completely devoted to the recording process I create at home for eventual distribution independently.
Who is your favorite musician or what musician influenced you the most?
Stevie Wonder and Marty Stuart received my overall favorite musicians votes followed by Kenny Vaughan, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, The Beatles, Blackberry Smoke, and The Pine Box Dwellers out of Waycross, Georgia. As for influence, Robert Cray still stands tall. His approach to playing his Hardtail Stratocaster is one I try to emulate when playing my own hardtail Strat.
When switch over to the Les Paul I lean in a bit on the Dicky and Duane.
Are there any specific memories or highlights of your career that you would like to tell us about?!
Playing Main Stage at the Beaches Pavillion in 2012 in the first incarnation of The Black Cat Bones. We had a tight band with some good songs and everyone played well. The stage sound was horrific with a low roar rumbling that stage from too much sub bass mix. We essentially played on visual clues and ESP. So much is the fate of the “sound-check band but I didn’t care, I was having a blast!
What area bands or musicians are at the top of your list to go out to hear?
My lifestyle is one that doesn’t leave much room for after dark activities so I don’t “get out much”. I do enjoy listening to the recently formed band Flo-J that has my dear friend 55Mike Ireland providing the 6 string sounds of the band.
Do you have a favorite venue that you enjoy playing locally?
I don’t have a specific one but any venue that has a real stage gets my vote.
Do you have any gigs coming up to tell our readers about?
No gigs coming up by choice.
What is the best way for musicians to network?
This answer will surprise you but I’m going to say anything but Facebook. The reasons are numerous but I find the many bands using it end up being part of a mutual admiration society that rarely gets shared past the friend network. Obviously it works for many people but not for me. It might even be essential for working bands but I tend to label them as “Facebook Bands” that are quasi- professional and I will leave it at that.
Are there any local venue owners/managers that you would like to rave about?!
Because live music is an afterthought in the mind of a restaurateur I’m not rave about any bar or restaurant in the 904 that I have ever been in. A place like the Blue Jay Listening Room sounds like the right idea though.
If you had a question you would like to ask another musician what would it be?
I would like to ask the late, great jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery about his rendition of the Henry Mancini classic, Dreamsville”.
Is there anything else that you want to tell everyone?
Because of his talent, love of music, and sheer niceness, any article about local music and musicians would not be complete without the mention of the late Mr. Denton Elkins as a truly shining star. He left a big hole in Jacksonville and his loss will always be felt by those that knew him or saw his incredible versatility and expertise he displayed in his craft.