Shea Bramer's Blue decade
by Greg Hartman
“I know that we learned to forgive each other/ Will we ever learn to forgive ourselves?” A question asked by many when things go wrong and encapsulated over meandering piano on Shea Bramer's “The Letter”. The song is about 9 years old and a fitting question for someone trying to figure out where they fit in the lives of others. It, along with 11 other original tracks make up his new album, Blue.
For the past 15 years Shea Bramer has been a regular in the Grand Valley music scene. His first band, Autumn's Chase, introduced Shea's soaring piano and vocals, along with a healthy dose of guitar based rock and roll. After that group broke up, Shea worked in several projects that never seemed to last more than a few months until he and Kellen Micheal collaborated to form The Shift. Along with Steve McGarry on drums, the group became one of the largest draws in the valley. Once that project had run its course, Shea struck out on his own performing both solo and recently with a few backup musicians.
Through those years, especially the past 10, there was not always an outlet for new ideas or new songs. Songs like “The Letter” and the album's opening track “Only” mark important points of self reflection and discovery in the last decade. Lyrically, Bramer wrestles with a decade of aspiration, success, and the occasional self doubt. The title track “Blue” is a reflection on how often he plays away from home, up to 10 shows a week during the summer, and what brings him back home. Thankfully, Shea's wide eyed optimism keeps the songs from be dragged down and the lessons he learned are either a shared milestone or a hint on how to move forward in tough times.
Musically, Blue struggles only in being nailed down into a genre. There are influences ranging from Country, R&B, Gospel, and pop music both modern and traditional. Those influences change with each song and occasionally within the same song. Shea welcomed members of his band to help fill out the sound, with Thomas O'Conor providing guitar and drums and McKaelynn Becker playing bass. Niqi Bramer provides backing vocals on several tracks as well, which is especially poignant when the lyrics wander towards looking for love. It is as if Shea is reaching back to his past doubts and telling his younger self that it will all work out.
Blue is now available through sheabramermusic.com, as well as a 5 song original holiday EP that was performed during the Grand Junction downtown tree lighting. Shea can be seen performing New Year's Eve at The Local, as well as several other lounge shows around the valley.