Daily Discovery: Michael Braunfeld, “Over There”

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ARTIST: Michael Braunfeld

SONG: “Over There”

BIRTHDATE: April 12, 1975

HOMETOWN: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

CURRENT LOCATION: Philadelphia. I also spend quite a bit of time in Nashville these days, writing and performing.

AMBITIONS: Writing honest, heartfelt songs that matter and that mean something to people … and being the best father and husband I can be to my family.     

TURN-OFFS: Ignorance, arrogance, disingenuousness, and selfishness. 

TURN-ONS: Intelligence, humility, authenticity, selflessness, courage and a good sense of humor.  And my beautiful wife, Alexis.

DREAM GIG: Headlining the Ryman Auditorium.

FAVORITE LYRIC: “To Live is to Fly” by Townes Van Zandt.  The whole song.  

CRAZIEST PERSON I KNOW: My six-year-old daughter.  She’s half tomboy, half princess and equal parts actress, stand up comedienne and singer. She’s also a total drama queen and you never know if you’ll get tears or a tirade.  She is fearless.  I hope she stays that way.    

SONG I WISH I WROTE: “Last Day of the Last Furlough” by Bill Morrissey.

5 PEOPLE I’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH: Mary Gauthier, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Sturgill Simpson, and my mother, who passed away in 2013. Was I supposed to mention my wife and children here?

MY FAVORITE CONCERT EXPERIENCE: From the stage, my first show at The Bluebird Cafe.  From the seats, watching Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and Robert Earl Keen together in a roadhouse on November 10, 1990.

I WROTE THIS SONG: In 2011 after over a decade of not playing, performing or writing. The seeds of the theme came to me and I picked up a guitar. Upon finishing the first verse, I began to cry. The labor was difficult and the emotion overcame me. I wrote and edited all afternoon until I had the first real song I’d written in almost twelve years. My wife returned home from running errands to find me, still in tears, with the lyrics in my hand. She asked me what was wrong and I explained that I had written a song. She thought that was just swell. I told her that I could not do it again. It hurt too much. But “Over There” led the way for me. It opened the floodgates and scores of new songs came pouring out.  In the four years since I’ve been playing the song, I can’t count the number of times that a member of our Armed Services, a Veteran, a relative of someone in harm’s way, or an audience member with no connection to the military, has come up to me after a show and told me how much the song meant to them. That is what this is all about. The song has since gone on to receive a bit of airplay and helped me to return to the stage as a performing songwriter and, for sure, that has been nice. “Over There” has been good to me. But it is what it has meant to others that matters most. In the end, that is why we do what we do.