The Early Years
Born in Corvallis, Oregon in August of ‘89 no one could have imagined the impact music would have on the life of Brady Goss. Before he was two years old the Goss family moved across the state, following their dreams of owning and operating a grocery store, and to the small rural mountain town of Wallowa, Oregon.
Moving frequently as a youngster, Brady says the only thing he really recollects of his many early childhood homes was “where the piano was located.” As a toddler, Brady would investigate the relationship between the left and right hands, as he sat along side his father Mike who often played the piano from written music.
“Even at that early age, you could see the interest and enthusiasm for the instrument” says his Dad, as he and Brady recalled how Mike played songs such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “Pretty Woman”, and “Chantilly Lace” with Brady sitting alongside on the bench watching intently. However, the real shocker came one day when Mike was playing “Sea Cruise” a fifties Rock N Roll classic from an old song book.
A light had apparently switched on though Brady was only about 4 years old at the time. When the song was over, Brady looked at Mike and simply said “can I see it now?” as if it were a toy everybody could play with and it was his turn. To the shocked amazement of both parents, Mike and Becky, he played the melody flawlessly with just his right hand.
Even more remarkable was that by the time his Dad arrived home from work that same evening, Brady was eager to show them the left hand accompaniment he had worked into that same song. Brady’s Mom and Dad were shocked to see how natural it was. “It was the moment we knew something really special was going on” says Mike. While he continued to watch his Dad play day after day and week after week, Brady sharpened his skills at the same pace. He was definitely in love with the piano and particularly with the soulful styling of Jerry Lee Lewis.
The Influence of Jerry Lee Lewis
To say that Brady was brought up under the influence of Jerry Lee Lewis’s music would be an understatement. Since watching Jerry Lee play “Great Balls Of Fire” on a black and white television in the late fifties, Mike Goss had been a diehard fan. Collecting vinyl, 8 tracks, cassettes, videos, and CD’s.
You name it, Mike had it. What Brady and Mike are passionate about and that others might not know is that Jerry Lee was not only an aggressive, showy, piano playing wild man, but one of the most creative keyboard musicians of his time. From Country, to Jazz, to Rock N Roll, his diversity and creativity was fertile ground for Brady’s young musical mind.
Amongst Mike’s vast collection of Jerry Lee Lewis (AKA The Killer) material was a video tape from 1983 entitled Jerry Lee Lewis Live. Recorded at the Hamersmith Odeon, In London England, Brady states, “It’s the best I have ever seen Jerry perform. The concert was high energy, the piano was up front, the keyboard camera angle was absolutely perfect, and the vocals were outstanding.”
Brady had that Jerry Lee Lewis performance on 24/7. “I put that video on when I went to sleep, I played the piano to it, I recorded it onto a cassette and listened to it in the car…..as I mowed the lawn… doing anything and everything. It was my way of studying” Brady says. Almost everything he learned in the early years was on that tape.
Learning His Own Way
What few piano lessons Brady had, they were usually short lived. Brady, forever the improviser, just forged ahead on his own and in his own way. His Mom Becky says “It was about the second grade when Mike would count down the days until the first piano lesson” Mike recalls how much Brady dreaded the idea of taking real lessons. Brady says he had an “attention deficit disorder” when it came to structured piano lessons.
He could play the music relatively well as written the first time thru, but once he had the melody in his head he would just play it his own way. “To fancy it up” Brady warmly says with a grin as he recalls that he eventually would just forget to practice it note for note as written and instead just have fun.
After two more piano teachers and many dollars had been spent trying to rein Brady in, a brutally honest teacher just said “this is a waste of our time, and your money. I can’t teach him” So while his parents saved money, Brady was just relieved to not have to take lessons anymore. However, the most important result was that the creativity in Brady’s piano was finally set free.
The Development of an Entertainer
Through his teen years Brady was further influenced by such greats as; The Eagles, John Mayer, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Hank Williams, and of course Jerry Lee Lewis. Brady says he never really practiced, he just played for fun.
He would often be heard responding to queries about why a young boy would be so passionate about the piano with a very definitive remark. “It’s what I do” and with that mindset Goss has since taken the piano by storm. Early in his developing years, Brady would play for hire as a solo instrumental piano performer.
He would just jam away while people surrounded him looking in awe at his key speed and fun love of the music. But unfortunately, it was little more than the novelty act of a phenomenal, piano playing youngster. Thinking he was sure to eventually outgrow it, his dad, brothers, and everyone around him knew there had to be more.
Mike especially stressed the importance of singing in today’s musical culture. All with good intentions they pressured him to sing too, but Brady would never agree to do it back then. He just felt uncomfortable singing in front anyone, even close friends and family.
They all wondered how that could be even though he was such a natural on stage with the piano. Finally, when he was around 16 and knowing it was an undisputable argument, Brady gave a hint to his Dad about the future. He said “Dad, quit bugging me about it. I will sing when I’m ready.
I am almost ready but I want it to be after baseball season is over, and school is out.” Finally, one day that summer after working all day at his summer job on a ranch, Brady headed to Janis Carper’s home studio just up the road in Enterprise, Oregon. Janis is a close friend who recorded and produced one of his first instrumental albums, and later his current album “Brady Goss I’m With The Band”
With quiet anticipation Janis, Brady, and Mike set up the keyboard in the studio, and for the first time a microphone in front of Brady’s face. The first song Brady ever sang to other than himself, was to a stunned crowd of two. (Janis & Mike) It was Gene Vincent’s “Be Bop Alula” and was recorded live with the piano. Similar to that 1983 Jerry Lee Lewis Video that Brady had watched so many times, when he finally sang too, it was nothing short of incredible.
Janis later recalled that she told him “Dang it Brady…you have been holding out on us” While Mike admits that with the head phones on he didn’t even think it was his son and asked who it was. Thinking at the time that they had played a joke on him dubbing in some one else.
Within days, Brady was playing some new gigs not only with his already impressive and unique improvisional style of piano, but now adding some truly remarkable vocals. With three previous instrumental recordings behind him, Brady next released “The Singing Sessions”
His first album with vocals. To everyone’s surprise the small release was soon sold out. Brady’s 2008 release “Brady Goss I’m With The Band” was much more complex. First inspired as his senior project for high school, it was self produced, recorded, and developed with the help of Janis Carper and several fantastic musicians recording tracks for the full production CD.
Far and away exceeding any expectations, CD’s sales have been brisk as fans realize the quality and entertainment level that Brady Goss brings in his live shows is effectively captured within it.
Beyond His Music
Growing up in the small town of Wallowa, Oregon, Brady was not lacking for other things to do. Asked in an interview about what he did outside of music, Brady responded with “I’m just a regular kid, I guess”.
Not only does the character and class of this young man reflect the values he represents about small town America, but certainly are the result of a great family, living in a great community to raise kids.
Brady enjoyed the opportunities of that small community and probably knew everyone, not only in town, but for miles around. By now Brady had become pretty well known through out Wallowa County and he particularly enjoyed visiting with and playing for the elderly. On numerous occasions he entertained the residents of local assisted care facilities.
Their smiles and laughter were very inspiring to him while he played classics that brought back memories of days gone by. He was a good student and was mentioned frequently by teachers and coaches as being a real pleasure to work with. In football Brady was recognized by a vote of the league coaches, as an all league offensive lineman. Not something you would expect from a kid his classmates simply called “Piano Man”.
However, baseball was more his game and in three years as a varsity pitcher he threw effectively against every batting line-up in the league. Described as a high accuracy, off-speed thrower with one nasty curveball, Brady loved baseball and thought of it as a “thinking man’s game.”
Another place Brady spent an enormous amount of time as a teen was Highview Ranch. Located 18 miles up the road near Enterprise where they raise Registered and Commercial Angus cattle. Working summers and weekends, Brady still occasionally helps out to this day. Owner Jeff Parker describes Brady as “The best employee I have ever had”.
The constant responsibility and outdoor work appealed to Brady and he learned many aspects of the ranch like feeding, irrigation, fencing, and equipment operation. Yet it was his rare savvy ability to understand and master working with cattle that really got his boss’s attention.
“Brady learned modern day cattle handling skills equal to that of seasoned veterans with decades of experience. He will always be a part of my ranch history and will always be welcome here” Says Jeff.
“Brady has developed from a great kid into a fine young man who will make a positive contribution to society in what ever effort he chooses in life.” It just happened that he was born to play music.
Brady’s goal to further advance his skills as an entertainer is well underway. He has recently been entertaining fans around the Northwest full time and is steadily and consistently rising to new levels of musical achievement.
Although others may marvel at his success, Brady is just having fun. He is also working hard on exciting new original material for a future album, so stay tuned. For now catch a live show or pick up his current CD. Brady Goss has definitely got a rare talent, so hang on and enjoy the ride.