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Songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Charlie Bruber has been holding down the bass chair in some of the Twin Cities most in-demand acts for the better part of a decade. With drummer and long-time collaborator Murphy Janssen in tow, he’s stepping into the spotlight both as a solo artist and as one half of production duo Charlie.Murphy. Behind the mic for the first time, 2022 will see him release his most personal and sophisticated music yet. Though he mentions a who's-who of Twin Cities musicians as mentors, Charlie cites his mother as the biggest influence on his musical persona. It was she who first shaped his wide ranging influences (“From Aaron Copland to Joni Mitchell”), signed him up for piano lessons at an early age, and eventually bought him the acoustic guitar that would inspire his foray into songwriting. But it was on the bass that he first made his mark on the local scene, recording albums and touring the world with groups like Davina and the Vagabonds, TABAH, and Black Market Brass (of which he is still an active member), sharing the stage with artists from Mavis Staples to Robert Glasper, and performing at historic venues from Minneapolis’ First Ave to Copenhagen’s La Fontaine Jazz Club. Surrounded by such a rich community, Charlie opened his recording studio 8VB in the summer of 2019, giving him and his collaborators a home base at which to experiment and explore. His wide experience and deep relationships across the scene (not to mention 24/7 studio access) led to Initial Gain, Charlie.Murphy’s first release, featuring appearances by titan Twin Cities musicians like PaviElle French, Cameron Kinghorn, and Humbird. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Charlie adapted. Developing a long-distance workflow with Janssen (who had recently moved to Seattle), the two continued to write music, this time with Charlie stepping up as singer. This collaboration, with the help of engineer Jason McGlone, yielded the crop of songs to be released one per month through the second half of 2022. His skills as a writer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist are on full display here, with Charlie’s signature bass playing providing a succinct yet melodic foundation for the tracks. From the psychedelic sounds of “Four Loves” and “I’m in a Band” to the grooves and riffs of “Spire” and “Weakest Link,” he pays homage to classic influences like Hiroshi Sato and Pink Floyd while reflecting on the struggle to find one's voice in an age of social media and information over-saturation. Though dark in tone, “there is a continuous theme of love and empathy throughout,” he writes. With these new songs ready to go, Charlie is already hard at work on new material with the usual suspects. With the return of live music, he is looking forward to debuting a live band, eventually hoping to head back into the studio to record a full length record in a more collaborative “in-the-room” environment. Despite the opportunity (to put it generously) to work uninterrupted and alone that the pandemic afforded him, Charlie is ready to get back to doing what he does best: making good music, in a room, with good friends. So far, it’s worked out pretty well.

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