THE LAST FLIGHT OUT is the unlikely pairing of veteran player “Gunny” Jeff Norman and the spirited singer-songwriter Julia Bryan. Here’s how it all started…
Gunny had just spent 20 years in the Marines, and now settling in Colorado, would finally have the opportunity to record all the music he’d been putting together during two decades of moving around. Picking up a part time delivery job just to keep from bein’ called lazy, he would meet his new co-worker Anna, who upon discovering he was a self-professed songwriter, felt the need to brag about her talented sister, Julia. Days later Anna would hand him a homemade CD of this Julia person singing along with her acoustic guitar to serve as proof. Obliged to give at least a cursory listen, it was immediately clear that there was indeed a special emotive quality of the voice he was hearing... lilting, soulful, and honest… one he could swear he had sometimes heard in his head when doing his own songwriting.
On the other side of the world was Julia, fulfilling a second year of non-profit work in Uganda. There she had witnessed first-hand how music, was the only true universal language. For both amusement and to deal with the loneliness of being 8,100 miles away from home, she found sanctuary in her songwriting. This isolated experience would both make her much worldlier than her 22 years, and drain her… coming back to the states would prove to be a difficult transition.
Their lives would collide two years later on one summer night at a Chili’s when Julia, having recently moved back to Colorado, by sheer chance, waited on Gunny and his wife Marcie. Julia looked enough like her sister Anna that Gunny guessed she just might be the one with the distinctive voice he remembered so well… his suspicions were confirmed, and he handed Julia his phone number on the way out.
Months would pass until Julia would find a use for that number, calling to see if Gunny would accompany her on guitar at Anna’s upcoming wedding. Working together proved not only painless, but even enjoyable. Julia provided a re-motivating spark to Gunny’s songwriting and the unconditional friendship extended by Gunny and Marcie would ground Julia. Now a team, they got busy recording the songs Julia had written in Africa, Gunny’s stash of tunes, and started co-writing new material together. The 30-year age difference somehow facilitated a unique musical partnership and a signature sound resulting from merging modern and classic styles… the disparity between their ages and backgrounds proved to be fertile ground, as opposed to the train wreck one would anticipate.
Within eight months they’d go from their first coffee house gig together to experiencing all the panic and indescribable excitement of looking up at 10,000 seats from the legendary stage at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Five years, countless gigs and 3 CD’s later they still haven’t killed each other, and whether unplugged or with the band, the serendipitous pairing of The Last Flight Out continues to make for one hell of a ride.