Local guitarist releases album

A recent party at Big Mountain Coffee Company in Helena celebrated the release of Chelsea guitarist Todd Brasher’s CD “Church Hymnal,” which was recorded with a single six string bass played in a solo setting.

No other instruments or tracks were used for the recording, Brasher said.

“Many people don’t realize how versatile the bass, particularly the six string bass, is,” Brasher said.

He explained that the six string bass is a regular electric bass with an added high-pitched string and an added low-pitched string.

The neck, pickups and bridge are all wider to accommodate the extra strings.

The result, he said, “is an instrument with a very broad range that lends itself to many musical possibilities.”

Brasher said when he was young he began humming bass lines with his grandmother — “Mama” Dot Bradley, a member of the Chelsea Trio — while listening to Southern Gospel music. Then his father Bill Brasher and an uncle showed him things on the guitar, and he took guitar lessons for a while.

But his main early education came from his grandmother and playing in church, he said.

He was around 12 when he began playing bass. Later, he played drums in the high school band and, presently, he sometimes plays keyboard at his home church, Chelsea Church of God.

But his true instrument is six string bass, he told me.

Brasher and his cousin Kendrick Wallace, who plays drums and sings, have a two-man band, “The Rockslides,” which plays at churches and other venues.

They cover a lot of genres, he said.

Brasher said he’s been very fortunate to play with the very best jazz, R&B, bluegrass and gospel musicians who are “as good as anybody anywhere.”

“The more I play, and the more people I play with, the more I learn. It’s all about a process. You never quit learning, or realizing how much you don’t know,” he said.

At the release party, Brasher played tunes from the recording, and his aunt Denise Wallace, who also sang with the Chelsea Trio, sang a few hymns, which they arranged.

Anyone who has never heard Todd Brasher play, will be amazed when first hearing how many different sounds one man can get from one guitar.

The CD can be purchased at several bookstores in the area or from his Web site http://www.toddbrasher.com.

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e–mail at ssnivens@bellsouth.net.