For Pacific Northwest folk musician Brian Stai, the beauty is in the basics. For as long as he can remember, Stai’s artistic inspiration grew from the intimacy of storytelling in one of the most vulnerable ways: a live performance, with just him and the guitar.
Why keep it so simple? Stai says, “I have always been drawn to the idea of a song being stripped down to the bare bones, just a singer and a guitar. I like that timeless feel a song can have when sung unplugged and written in a way that is very approachable… [it’s not the] dramatized or exaggerated depiction of life, it’s real stories about real people who were doing their best to make a good life for themselves.”
Stai’s music will appeal to fans of authentic, no-frills folk storytellers like Woody Guthrie or early Bob Dylan. He approaches each tune with the goal of painting a lyric picture for the listener to get lost in. An exploration of his roots, “Train Rollin’” tells the story of his great-grandfather’s immigration from Norway to America, risking everything he knew in search of something more.
Perhaps it is fitting that a meditation on leaving the familiar would signal a time for his own artistic growth. As Stai prepares to head into the studio to record new music, he reflects, “my music is developing into a fuller sound. At first it had to be just me and my guitar and now I am seeing the beauty of collaboration and how other instruments can give my lyrics a springboard and foundation.”
It seems in his personal story, only time will tell what change new characters will bring.