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Brad Cole / Bio

"I am part of the human condition. It's an amazingly brilliant and totally crazy place to be. Emotions I see in you and me, hard to articulate and understand, so often lost in transmission, this is what moves me. The combustion between you and me and the world we live in, the falling down and the rising up, that's what moves me and that's what you will find here."

Brad Cole has just released his third solo album, Down The Line. Recorded in Nashville, the album captures a soulful Americana sound—the product of late night jams and soaking up his host city’s country roots.

Roots Music Report has named "Down The Line" one of the Top 20 Roots Americana records for 2013.

Compared to Cole’s previous albums, Exile (2010) and Highway 200 (2008), Down The Line is a quiet record, abundant with space. “I think it’s a reflection of being able to empty a lot of the noise from my head and run directly with what my muse was giving me,” says Cole. “It addresses the emotions of being uprooted and unstable, but somehow a message of hope prevails.”

The last 12 months have been fruitful for Cole, playing over 100 shows and sharing the stage with great artists like Dan Navarro, Ellis Paul, Lisa Loeb, Shovels and Rope, Amy Speace and Chris Stapleton. In addition, Cole was awarded:

*Songwriter Universe selects “Come Home” as WINNER for Best Song Of The Month for February 2013

*Down the Line’s “Butterfly” was awarded “finalist” honors in the 13th Annual Great American Songwriting Contest.

*Exile’s lead track, “Come Home” was named as a “top 10 finalist” in the prestigious 2011 Great Lakes Songwriting Competition.

*2012 Mountain Stage NewSong Regional Finalist

*2012 NERFA (Folk Alliance North East) Quad Showcase.

*2013 FARM Official Showcase Artist

Cole's influences are far and wide. "My Dad filled my childhood with Jazz records:, Louie Prima, Nat King Cole, Ella, Oscar, Miles, Sinatra: standards and showtunes. Then my older brother and sister returned from college with all the Motown and rock classics, of course they were not classics yet. I loved listening to George Duke and Return to Forever but never felt I could play that way. Then Marley, Bunny, LJK, and Ska took over whatever pop radio had to offer and I started a reggae band with some friends. But what I think really had the biggest impact on me as a writer were the women of the last 20 years: Patty Griffin, Ammie Mann, Lucinda, Shawn Colvin to name a few. My heart and soul are with Mavis Staples, Betty Lavette and Bonnie Raitt."

Stylistic comparisons fall between John Hiatt and John Mayer but Cole uniquely delivers his own soulful slice of Americana with a groove.

For years, Cole has been a fixture on the Chicago music scene sharing the stage with such greats as Uncle Tupelo and Smashing Pumpkins. Cole led several Chicago based bands including Treatment, The Second Story and toured with NYC-based The Subscribers. Along with singer-songwriter Jeff Libman, Cole is co-founder of acoustic/soul collective known as Check With Lucy. Cole is a longtime member of Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music’s monthly “Songwriters Forum” and has done a series of residences in Chicago dubbed “Acoustic Circus”.

Currently, based in New York City, Cole tours extensively with band or as a solo acoustic performer.


“Some performers seem born to command a stage. Something in the stance; an easy, relaxed, but assured presence. We probably missed the years it took to develop that command, but the performer’s execution gives the appearance of it always having been there. That’s how it is with singer/songwriter Brad Cole. His voice has a sharp, unerring, laserlike quality, homing in on those uneasy truths most of us evade.” - Richard Cuccaro – Acoustic Live Magazine

“Top 20 Roots/Country Americana albums for 2013” for Down the Line – Roots Music Report

"Wonderful...!" - Americana Gazette

"Brad Cole is a veteran from Chicago but a fresh voice on the New York music scene, with a collection of well-crafted songs with universal appeal." - John Platt - WFUV

"Brad takes a bit of rock - pop - alt - country and smooths it over with an incredibly listenable voice -- you don't need anything more."

-Val Haller, owner/founder Valslist.com

“Brad Cole sings bluesy Americana. Smart, sad, playful and ponderous: vulnerability and raw honesty seep through his songs.” – Ann Marie Cannata, The Buttonwood Tree

"Tuneful and uplifting, Brad Cole embodies the best of the pop/rock songwriting tradition and is immediately familiar without ever becoming formulaic." —Illinois Entertainer

"Solid, well crafted songs, Brad's voice is excellent" - Lilli Kuzma – WDCB Radio

"Brad Cole is an intelligent craftsman who writes songs from the head AND the heart. As a songwriter, he has a knack for absorbing and reflecting his environment, whether it be Chicago, Nashville or New York." - Joltin Joe Pszonek, WMSC-FM, Montclair, NJ

General Info

Band Members
Brad Cole lead vocals and guitar, Craig Akin upright Bass, Philip Sterk Pedal Steel Guitar, Ross Pederson Drums
Artist Name
Brad Cole
Home Page
Active Since
Americana / Folk Rock / Singer/Songwriter

Contact Info

New York, NY

Similar Artists

  • John Mayer
  • John Hiatt
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • Patty Griffin