"I first picked up my father's Stella Harmony 6-string when I was six," he says. "A few years later—a good while before turntables became musical instruments—I turned a Chet Atkins record by hand to learn Yakety Axe note-by-note. I still have the guitar, even though some dear soul at UPS drove a forklift through it several years ago…the culmination to an extremely uphill stint in L.A. It was that experience, though, that helped wring out my first song, 'Lord, Girl'…I still need to record that one."
Bret Mosley's critically-acclaimed debut album Light & Blood was released in Dec '07 on Woodstock MusicWorks, and hailed as "a heart-felt masterpiece" by NeuFutur Magazine. The album's thirteen tracks were recorded over a two-day span in March '07 by Pete Caigan (Bad Brains, Tony Levin) at Flymax Studio in Woodstock, NY. The record was mixed by Grammy-nominated engineer Roman Klun (Sarah McLachlan, Joan Osborne, Spin Doctors). Every track was performed live with no overdubs or punch-ins.
The result is at once lean and lush...a smoldering confessional work...soulful Americana laced with a driving groove. Light & Blood's SRO release party at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock was listed in the Top 5 Live Shows of 2007 by New York's Times-Record—just behind Jack Ingram, Ted Nugent, Queen Latifah and Bob Dylan.
"My music career is the culmination of a fairly common path," he jokes, "before making that first record, I did the usual things: ranch hand, linebacker, fur trapper, ballet dancer, stockbroker, actor, computer programmer, Pilates instructor & art handler…in that order. But, I’ve been touring for the past six years, and most of the time it somehow seems like the only thing I've ever done…I'm a lifer and I’m so grateful."
Just after the release of Light & Blood, Mosley was playing a downtown NYC show. The venerated, archetypal musician’s musician Jerry Joseph was in attendance. That changed the whole game for Bret.
“I met Jerry and sat in with him onstage later that night…I was just starting to go ‘all-in’ with my music at that point. Something happened with Jerry that I had sought my whole life…somebody said, ‘This is Bret and he’s with me. He’s coming to the party.’ That never happened in my athletic career, my corporate pursuits…and especially not in my shmactor (acting) endeavors. Jerry has invited me to tour and record with him off and on ever since. He opened up the entire U.S. to me as a touring artist.”
In 2008, Bret recorded and released Charge with Jerry Joseph and Steve Drizos on Joseph’s Cosmo Sex School label.
Mosley now tours tirelessly across the U.S.—200+ dates per year—since the album's release and enthusiastic reception. His unreservedly original, deeply authentic sound has garnered an audience ranging from cowhands to bankers, from rastas to cops. Bret played on the NYC subway for 10 years before making his first record, where a fan listening to him play on a station platform once told him he was dead center between Hank Williams, Sr. and The Ohio Players.
His style is often described as the intersection of unlikely opposite ends of a musical spectrum. With signature idiosyncratic intensity, Mosley grooves the folk and makes it pop. He funks up the soul of the blues.
Rarely could an artist be said to transcend, yet include, the most raw and real elements of hill country blues, roots rock, folk, soul and rap. Nevertheless—with bone-deep authenticity—that’s exactly what Bret Mosley does, wrestling deftly with longing, belonging, and world-weariness...on the way home to hope & grace.
He has opened for George Porter, Jr., Trombone Shorty, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, the Subdudes, Patterson Hood, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Jackie Greene, Good Enough For Good Times, Junior Brown, Donavon Frankenreiter, Jackie Greene, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Kaki King, Kelly Joe Phelps, et al—comparisons have included Chris Whitley, Xavier Rudd, Richie Havens, Van Morrison, Ben Harper and Taj Mahal.
Mosley's latest release, X-ING is out October 29, 2013 on his own Out Of The Park Records. That same week, he begins production on his next recording project at Quarter After Blue Studios in Oxford, MS.
He's a first-born, left-handed, Leo Sun/Leo Ascending/Aquarius Moon, Metal Ox, Texan-by-birth, part-Neanderthal son of the desert of predominantly Scottish descent. He's lived at well over 70 addresses, but all of his stuff has been in storage for a few years now.
He comes home about 200 nights a year, usually between 10pm and 2am…and sings.