Held in Challis, Idaho in August, the Braun Brothers Reunion is three days of music featuring esteemed artists from the Texas, Americana and Red Dirt scenes. This year, the BBR will be held from August 11-13th and will feature sixteen plus artists, including Cody Canada and The Departed, performing on an outdoor stage in a truly breathtaking setting. In our continuing series featuring some of the artists at this year's festival, Cody Canada very graciously agreed to talk about the festival, his friendship with the Brauns and more.
The BBR has been going on for quite some time, how many years have you been a part of it?
We were trying to figure that out. I want to say this is ten, nine or ten.
In addition to being extremely good friends with the Brauns, what keeps you coming back and makes the BBR special to you?
A long time ago, I went to see Robert Earl Keen’s Texas Uprising with Robert Earl, Reckless and Steve Earle. I went to see Steve because I had never seen him before, but then I saw Reckless and thought, “Holy shit, we’re not alone.” Until then, I thought we were all alone playing this music that we were playing, but when we saw Reckless we saw another band doing the same thing we were. I started following them around, going to all of their shows and got to be good buddies with them. When we did a show in Idaho, they invited us to their house on our day off, we met their folks and the next thing you know, we got a gig. Outside of my blood family and my road family, they are family. They treat us like gold and I’d do anything for them.
Someone recently mentioned to me that in this business you can’t be friends with everyone and when you make these close friendships, you really cherish them. It seems like that’s what you have with them.
In this business, actually in anything unfortunately, there are people that use other people and you have to watch your back. We learned from the get go that these guys support you no matter what and they have your back no matter what. I love their love for music and their etiquette. They don’t pick up a guitar and play somewhere just because they know somebody, they work their asses off. They do it the way that I always thought that it should be done and I think that’s how we clicked.
It’s very special to have a friendship like that.
With ten or so years at the BBR, has it changed at all over the years?
It’s changed crowd-wise in that it’s gotten bigger of course, but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, and I’m pretty sure won’t change, because Muzzie and the boys won’t let it happen. I remember a few years ago, I can’t remember who was playing, but we were sitting out on the lawn watching and Rodney Crowell was right in the middle of the crowd watching too and even though everybody knew who he was, nobody bugged him. Nobody wanted to bother him and that is so rare because usually when somebody is out there having a beer and watching the show people are coming up to them wanting pictures and stuff. There’s a time and place for that kind of thing and the people there respect the time and place code.
They’re incredibly respectful. They also seem, to me, to be a very attentive, music-loving audience.
Yep, they are. You know one year they had a street party the day before we got there and Geoff Hill [RRB] got hit in the head with a bottle, which is a very typical thing to do in Texas – it’s starting to die down but once upon a time people always had to throw a beer and I just don’t understand that. So it started to leak up there and Muzzie shut it down. He said this is not the way this is supposed to happen and he made the policy very strict: no cans or bottles and he took it out of the street and up to the golf course [where it is now]. But yeah, the crowd there pays attention. At a lot of these outdoor festivals, they just want people to show up, spend money and get drunk. And that’s not the Brauns. They want people to come and experience something. And on that last day, they want people to start planning for next year. They want you to come back and discover new music. And that’s another good thing about the BBR - when Ragweed was up there nine years ago, there were people who didn’t know who we were, and now we have people from that festival that we’ll have forever because Muzzie, by having us there, said hey check these guys out.
That’s one of the things I like too, that there may be someone you don’t know, but go away loving. Is there anyone in this year’s line-up that you don’t know?
No (laughing). I’m really glad though to see Jonathan Tyler coming for it. I’ve been friends with Jonathan for many years, but because he’s California-based we don’t get to run in the same circles as we used to. I know most of the folks who are there to see the music somehow find out about the good acts, but there are also some who aren’t computer savvy or iTunes savvy and they’ll be seeing him for the first time and I’m happy for that.
And he’ll walk away with fans he’ll have forever.
Another thing about the BBR is that it’s such a family-friendly event. Do you bring your kids?
You know, every year we tell Joann [Braun] that we’re going to bring them and we never do. We do so much with our kids, but the BBR is around the beginning of the school year so it’s tough – we don’t want to get yelled at (laughing). Dierks is ten and Willy [who is named after Willy Braun] is eight and although eight is big, there’s a big difference between eight and ten. Willy is still a little boy, the baby of the family and he gets bored, but Dierks, he’s to the point now where I have him on the road with me. He wants to go out, learn and work. So I think we’ll probably do one more year without them and then they’ll both be ready.
Are the boys interested in following Dad’s footsteps?
They really are. They both sing and take guitar lessons and are working towards playing guitar on stage with me. Right now though, Willy is into acting. Wade [Bowen] is my brother-in-law and his boys are exactly the same age so they're really close and tend to do a lot of the same things together. And Dierks, he just fell more in love with music after last year when we went to concert after concert. So he's in that in-between stage...and I know exactly what is going to happen: he’s going to hit one riff on the guitar and it’ll all be over (laughing).
And do they write as well, as Willy is given a writing credit on “You Aint The Boss Of Me” from HIPPIELOVEPUNK?
A few years ago he and Dierks were swimming and he got pissed off at him. He’s scared of the water and Dierks was, not making fun of him because that’s a big no-no in our house, but he was taunting him. Willy said to him, “You’re not the boss of me, don’t tell me what to do.” And I told him, “That’s actually a really good line for a song.” He was screaming it at his brother just the way it is in the chorus. I was like, “Buddy, you just wrote your first song.”
That’s awesome. “All Nighter” from HIPPIELOVEPUNK recently reached #1 on the Texas charts. The album was released a year and a half ago, are you working on anything new?
We’re in the process of doing an album with Jeremy [bassist for Departed], who is a hell of a singer. He has been wanting to do a full-length record with just him singing and so we’re going to do this country cover record of country stuff before 1972 for his grandma. We kicked around some ideas for band names, but to keep the confusion down, we are just going to have it be Jeremy Plato and The Departed. So it will be us, Jamie Lin Wilson singing some vocals, Cody Angel [Jason Boland and the Stragglers] on steel and Cody [Braun] on fiddle. We start recording next week, so look for it to come out October/November. It’s really a labor of love.
As for me, I always wanted to release a record a year, but this year I’m taking a break - which is something I’ve seen people like Reckless, who took two and a half years from their last record, do. I’m not the kind of writer who writes all the time. I write when it’s necessary, when it’s time to make a record, because I don’t want to write a song and then forget about it. Right now, I don’t want to rush anything. I’m just taking my time.
Cody Canada and The Departed will play the BBR August 12th
For more information visit their official website
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For all of the information on the 2016 Braun Brothers Reunion, held August 11-13, including tickets, lodging, the full line-up and much more, visit the official website
Tickets are available as follows:
One Day Pass $50
Two Day Pass (Fri & Sat ONLY) $76.30
Three Day Pass $114.30
Kids age 5 and under get in FREE
Kids age 6-12 $15
Kids tickets are only available at gate, day of show.