In the competitive, diverse realm of Austin music, there are many key players who push the dial and help musicians progress to the next level. Brandon DeMaris is one of those players. As a music industry professional with well over a decade of experience in talent buying and concert production through his events company, DeMaris Entertainment, his formidable involvement in launching music nonprofit Black Fret, and the MusiCares Sober Jam, DeMaris has become a staple in the Live Music Capital of the World. What many don’t know is that DeMaris is, and has been throughout the majority of his life, a professionally trained musician. Before heading to Berklee College of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Professional Music with a dual focus in Music Business/Management and Drum Set Performance, DeMaris had ambitions of becoming a career musician and dedicating his life to his art. However, after graduating from college, the reality of the world, the competitive nature of the industry and the necessity of making a living made him push his dream aside.
DeMaris spent the next decade establishing himself as one of top music event production experts in Austin and focused on helping other musicians get in front of the right audiences that would help them excel in their careers. Throughout this time, DeMaris was writing music and using songwriting as a form of therapy and as an outlet for self-expression. In time, he came to the realization that if he wanted to bring his music out of the dark, he would need to invite others into his creative process and share his music with the world.
“At my heart-center, I’m a singer-songwriter, but most of the artists I have been influenced by are in bands,” said DeMaris. “Ryan Adams had Whiskey Town, Jeff Tweedy had Uncle Tupelo and now Wilco; even my favorite Bob Dylan record is Planet Waves where he’s backed by ‘The Band.’ I knew if I was going to take my music to the next level I’d need to invite other musicians into my artistic process. It seemed like the best way to do that was to make a record.”
Now, DeMaris has emerged from his role behind the stage and is ready to release his album Brave Bones as Brandon Wayne DeMaris, singer and songwriter with a full band.
ABOUT THE ALBUM...
Brave Bones is an album recorded during a thirteen-day tracking period over the course of four months at Same Sky Productions in East Austin that has been eight years in the making, with DeMaris focusing on songwriting throughout the course of that time. The record and recording process were a true labor of love, passion, and devotion on the part of many influential musicians and industry professionals in town including Dave Madden on bass, electric and acoustic guitar, piano, organ, and background vocals; David Messier on drums and background vocals; Andre Cantave on electric guitar, and of course Brandon Wayne DeMaris on lead vocals and acoustic guitar.
“The very first time I sat down with Dave Madden and the crew at Same Sky Productions, I suggested that we co-produce this record together as if we were a band and that’s exactly what we did,” said DeMaris. Coincidentally, all four of the key musicians on the record have a meaningful connection to Boston. Madden and DeMaris met there while attending Berklee College of Music and even made the move to Austin together in 2004. Madden went on to pursue his career as a professional musician and DeMaris started on his path in music business management and talent booking. It was Madden who encouraged DeMaris all the while to pursue his artistry and was the impetus for meeting with David Messier and Andre Cantave of Same Sky Productions, both of whom are originally from Boston where they founded Same Sky in 1999 and eventually moved the operation to Austin a decade later.
Brave Bones was heavily influenced by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, sonically, thematically, and stylistically. “In the studio, we started by talking about our influences and it became very obvious that there was one artist who stood out among them all and that was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers,” said DeMaris. “We used their music and style as a sound template throughout the entire recording process.” Much like Tom Petty and his music, each track on Brave Bones is a bare-all testament to DeMaris’ willingness to share his innermost feelings about his own journey and as a reaction to the world around us.
“My songs are rich with emotional depth and written from the heart with lyrical themes about facing fear, seeking hope in a place of darkness, and outright owning that you are beautiful and perfect just the way you are!”
In addition to the core band, the album also features some guest appearances from Austin-based artists. Akina Adderley contributes background vocals and sings on “We All Need Hope,” Grace Pettis performs background vocals throughout the record, and Adam Countryman plays mandolin and electric guitar throughout the record. Interestingly enough, while DeMaris considers his co-producers as “the band,” there will be a different group of musicians performing the music live for his album release show at Antone’s Nightclub on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Also on the bill that night are Austin-based artists Clark Twain, Ray Prim, and Donovan Keith. The album will be officially released on Friday, April 5, 2019.