Today, August 30th, 2021 would’ve been my old friend and music partner Brad Parkers birthday. We lost him about a year ago, much too soon! I’ve had many friends, buddies and acquaintances in my life. But Brad was the one who taught me the most about basic music theory, how to produce songs properly, gave me many tips on writing songs and more. We both have a mutual friend, Gary Young. Gary is also one of my best friends in life and in the music biz. Gary is the one who taught me how to have more fun with the music, not take it or life so seriously. He’s always telling me to “relax” and “lighten up”. Little bit of an inside joke there 😂. Between the three of us, we were either The Three Caballaros or The The Stooges. It varied depending on the day or night lol.
Back to Brad Parker for now. Brad was the first musician that that I got to play backup keyboards for in the early 1980’s. That in itself made my musical life take a wonderful turn. It taught me that even though I was always the front man when doing my own solo shows, I enjoyed being the ‘back-up guy’ equally as much if not more. I especially liked being a part of Brads songwriting process. He was a fabulous guitar player, fiddle player and could play a few other instruments as well as sing. Brad had this uncanny ability to take the simplest of tunes – mainly country tunes as he was a country music singer / songwriter / player – and turn them into these magnificent finished product songs. Whether they had just a solo acoustic guitar or a barrage of accompanying instruments, it didn’t matter. They were always top notch.
One of the terms I came up with for that style of creative song writing was a “Chevy Nova.” For those of you youngsters that don’t know what a Chevy Nova was, it was a very basic but solid car that us kids (and some adults) could build upon to make a hot race car. The car had a basic but sold proven engine, body, suspension etc.. etc… But after you built it up, you had this fabulous street hot rod. Brad’s songs were like that – simple basic foundation but could be built up or turned into something wonderful. I was already writing when I met and teamed up with Brad. But I learned from that Chevy Nova concept and subsequently wrote a lot of my stuff like that especially when I started really getting into my solo piano and instrumental writing back in the late 1990’s.
Today, I wanted to share this song I wrote for and in honor of Brad Parker on one of my latest albums about half a year ago or so. I called it, “White Mountain Sunset (Remembering Brad)”. The tune is definitely a “Chevy Nova” in that it has only two instruments in there: a piano and a violin or country fiddle sounding stringed instrument. The tune is also extremely simple just like the “Chevy Novas” Brad used to write.
So when you listen to this, picture a country music boy playing his fiddle while watching the sunset over the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire, Brad’s home.
Brad, I hope you’ve got a great band going up there in Heaven old buddy. I miss you. Gary and I both miss ya’! And for that matter, so does everyone you’ve ever touched with your music. Signed with whimsy, “Neil Diamond” 😜