In the urban driven entertainment business, in the American Idol/Survivor/Joe Millionaire world we live in, when a singer songwriter gets a break of any kind, it's news. And since news per se is a little hard to generate in a scene as insulated and self-contained as folk music, breaks can sometimes have far reaching effects. They can instantly lead to better gigs, become a permanent part of someone's dossier, and a topic for discussion among the players, the business element, and the ardent fans.
When I heard from the grapevine that the upcoming major film release, Radio, was to feature a tune by the same name on the same subject by folk singer Chuck Brodsky, it brought a smile to my face. Though I didn't know him personally, we'd met a time or two, and he was friends of friends, to understate the matter. So I checked into doing an interview with the artist, and looked forward to getting to know him a little, and getting the lowdown on how a really good folk singer got a break.
It's all over the telly, so I'm sure you've seen the commercials for this new movie with Ed Harris and Cuba Gooding, Radio. It tells the story of a relationship between an Anderson, SC, football coach named Harold Jones and a mentally challenged African American youth named James Robert Kennedy, aka Radio. I haven't seen it yet, but it looks like a real tearjerker--critics are giving it a hard time and the fans are coming in droves. It was #3 this week, ironically behind Scary Movie III and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and in front of the amazing Mystic River. Did 13 mill on the first weekend.
Anyhow, the story first appeared in a Gary Smith article for Sports Illustrated in the mid-nineties. The article caught the attention of filmmaker Mike Tollin and songwriter Chuck Brodsky. The rest is presently becoming history. We'll leave the other details for Chuck to relate in the following interview, taped a few days before the movie came out. A helluva nice guy, soft spoken and humorous, felt like I'd known him all my life. He's from Philly, after all. His casual and down home manner belie his greatness, but the clips tell the tale, so check them out. In fact, we include clips from all three of Chuck's Red House Records releases. Keep in mind also that he's self released a new CD of baseball songs that can be purchased through the artist's website. continue to interview