Q&A with Missouri-based Jimmie Bratcher, inspired by the knowledge that his music could speak to all kinds of audiences

"I understand that “The Spirit” is the God-breathed identity that all of us have been uniquely given. Music can be one of the expressions that we use to communicate how we have been affected by The Spirit. The meaning of life is knowing and experiencing the Love that God has for us all and sharing that love with all that we meet."

Jimmie Bratcher: The Music Power of Love

Jimmie Bratcher’s passion for raw-but-exacting electric guitar sounds began in the ’60s when he fell under the spell of Eric Clapton, his first six-string hero. As a kid, Bratcher developed eclectic taste, culled from his large musical family, who would have sprawling jam sessions at frequent get-togethers in his native Kansas City. Bratcher caught on to Albert King, B.B. King, and more blues greats, and developed as a player in a series of bands that never quite took off. As Bratcher began gaining a toehold as a musician in his early 20s, drugs and alcohol also had their grips on him. In 1997 Bratcher’s son Jason got him a Fender Telecaster as a gift. Bratcher wrote an inspirational blues shuffle called ‘Can’t Get Over It’ that’s still part of his setlist. He began practicing again but eschewed learning others’ licks in favor of developing his own brand of bare-knuckled virtuosity that embraces a picking style employing both a plectrum and fingers and developing guitar sounds that blend growling tones and clearly articulated notes. Three years later, as his collection of original tunes grew, he transitioned out of the pastoral ministry and began his current traveling ministry. He took his electric guitar on the road.

(Photo: Jimmie Bratcher)

Inspired by the knowledge that his music could speak to all kinds of audiences, Bratcher made up for lost time as a musician. He has recorded twelve albums and two live DVDs, touring a mix of churches, clubs, and prisons — alternately preaching and performing, which both require interchangeable audience-grabbing abilities. Rev. Jimmie Bratcher's 13th album FAR ENOUGH (Release Day: May 12, 2023), has stories and songs are a captivation exploration that takes you on a journey deep into the heart of each song. The songs of Far Enough are all stories about some hard-hitting issues that are very emotionally charged that will speak directly to the heart of all who hear them.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues, Gospel, and Rock music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I will borrow a line from the most famous gospel song ever written, Amazing Grace. "Was blind but now I see". Gospel-based music opened my eyes to a new world that brought about a radical transformation in my life. It opened my eyes to see “love” in ways that have affected every area of my life in powerful ways and for that, I am eternally grateful. When I found gospel music ("the good news"), in the blues again my eyes and ears were opened to a new world, the "good news" in the blues. There are some emotions that can only be expressed with deep loud emotional expressions and rock music opened my eyes to that expression. Combine gospel, blues & rock together and it creates a very powerful platform for expression, and I love all three. 

What characterizes your music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

Music is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. It reaches into the heart and has the power to mark a moment and emotion in time that burns into our memory and our hearts. Music can take you back in time to the moment when you first heard the song and the emotions you felt, and give you hope for the future at the same time. My creative drive comes from the desire to express my life experiences mainly the love that has shaped my life. Expressing that love is where my creative drive come from.

What moment changed your life the most? What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

My faith and my family, which you can read about in detail in one of the many books I’ve written. One of my biggest highlights is happening at the moment. I will soon be 69 years old and I just finished what I believe is the best music I have ever created. I say that for all who think that they are too old, which is nonsense. My wife Sherri tells me that when I hit 70 I will go to a whole "nuther level" of cool. So look out there’s more to come. I’m not planning on quitting any time soon!

"Music is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. It reaches into the heart and has the power to mark a moment and emotion in time that burns into our memory and our hearts. Music can take you back in time to the moment when you first heard the song and the emotions you felt, and give you hope for the future at the same time." (Photo: Jimmie Bratcher)

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

We still have all of the blues music from the past at our fingertips so I don't miss them because they’re just a few clicks away. My fear for the future is that we don't embrace it. So many fantastic artists are making great music right now, I try to find them and encourage them as much as possible. I buy their albums or go to a show, post on their social media, whatever I can do to encourage them. Yes, they may not be making traditional blues music yet the root of the blues is so very apparent. I don’t want to miss the present, or the future, gazing only at the past.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

I believe that music is one of the most powerful cultural forces on the planet for good or bad. I hope I’m making the good kind of music that is having an impact specifically on those who have little or no hope. Every year I play in many prisons, in front of thousands of inmates. I hope that I can sing or share something with them that helps them to see value in themselves, and that they would have hope for a different future. That is the contribution that I desire to make to our culture. Taking hope to the hopeless, light into dark places, and showing that love conquers all.

What would you say characterizes Missouri blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes?

Kansas City, Missouri where I live, has a very vibrant music scene and always has. From the jazz clubs of the 1900s, which produced, artists like Charlie Parker, Jay McShan, and Big Joe Turner, to the present crop of great blues musicians like Samantha Fish, Danielle Nichole, and many, many others, to the popular TV show winners of The Voice & American Idol, David Cook & Tate Stevens. The music scene in KC is as hot as the BBQ!

"We still have all of the blues music from the past at our fingertips so I don't miss them because they’re just a few clicks away."

(Photo: Jimmie Bratcher)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Three words, START & DON’T QUIT. 23 years ago when I was just starting this phase of my life I read a blog about getting started in the music business and the writer's advice was to START. He said, “Don’t think about the size of the crowd or the money, just start playing everywhere that will have you. And don’t quit.” I’m inspired to see Buddy Guy, still touring at 86 years young. When people say I’m too old I tell them I wrote this line about getting old in my song, “When I Fall Apart”. “Watch me go up in flames when I fall apart.” I plan on continuing to burn as red-hot as possible for as long as possible. Why not?

John Coltrane said "My music is the spiritual expression of what I am...". How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?

I understand that “The Spirit” is the God-breathed identity that all of us have been uniquely given. Music can be one of the expressions that we use to communicate how we have been affected by The Spirit. The meaning of life is knowing and experiencing the Love that God has for us all and sharing that love with all that we meet.

Jimmie Bratcher - Home

Views: 164

Comments are closed for this blog post

social media

Members

© 2024   Created by Music Network by Michael Limnios.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service