- 2016 New Song Songwriting and Performance Competition at Lincoln Center Finalist
- 2015 Great American Song Contest WINNER
- 2014 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Finalist
- 2014 Folk Alliance Official Showcase Performer
- 2012 Mountain Stage NewSong Regional Finalist
From the EP "Cole Nakoa & Treacher", recorded live with producer Clay Holley's studio, video by Aaron Cassara
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE)
Bossa Blue presents: A Tribute to the James Taylor Songbook
Bossa Blue re-imagines The James Taylor Songbook with a bossa nova twist! See their Nashville debut @ City Winery on February 16th.
Award winning singer-songwriter and band leader Brad Cole’s most recent project, Bossa Blue, has created quite a buzz with their multi-genre mash-ups of contemporary and classic rock tunes. Their latest endeavor is their new set of James Taylor songs infused with bossa nova rhythms, Samba grooves and intriguing vocal interplay. Hear the classics remixed like you have never heard them before.
Buy Tickets Here
The opening set will feature Bossa Blue’s tribute to the James Taylor songbook followed by a set of selections from the band’s eclectic hit list which includes contemporary and classic rock tunes that run the gambit from Radiohead to The Beatles, from The Killers to Joni Mitchel
Four albums into his solo career, Brad Cole decided to switch things up a bit.
“To some degree, I’m kind of over myself a little bit,” he laughs. “I’ve been running around as a singer-songwriter for many years now and it’s gone really well.”
But Cole’s mojo was working toward a different direction. Meet Bossa Blue.
“His project was born out of a very particular geeked-out passion I have for Bossa and the artistic world that was basically the early 1960s to the early 1970s,” Cole said. “I’m unapologetically in that space. And what I do as a singer-songwriter is a little bit there, but this is my excuse to go there stylistically and completely do things the way I want to do them musically.”
On Oct. 4, Bossa Blue will begin a weekly residency at Caffe Vivaldi in New York City, playing two sets every Wednesday night for a month. The gigs will not only see the band play the covers that have already been thrilling audiences, but the first set on Oct. 11 and Oct. 25 will see them perform selections from the James Taylor songbook.
“We have radically changed a lot of them, some of them not so radically,” he said of the 14 Taylor selections. “But the components of melody, structure and rhythm and the arrangement of the vocal, we have taken a lot of liberties with these songs.”
When Cole talks of these songs and his new project, you can hear the excitement in his voice, and it’s genuine.
“It’s been great,” he said. “It is certainly a guilty pleasure for me with some of these songs, and some of them are just a huge challenge. But we want the challenge. This gets me out of bed every morning and I want to put time into this on stage and manage a band to do all this. It’s so worth it on many levels.”
And while it isn’t the easiest process in the world to take some classics like Bruce Springsteen’s “Brilliant Disguise,” Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and The Killers’ “When You Were Young” and put them in a whole new musical light, Cole and company don’t just pull it off, but in some cases (and I’m not naming names), they surpass the originals.
“Honestly, I get both opinions,” Cole said. “The people who get it are knocked out, and I think they get the idea of let’s renew. And there are some people who don’t want to stray away. The analogy is that nobody will make chicken soup better than your mother. So if you’re gonna try to do chicken soup like my mom, it better be spot on. But if you want to add chorizo and do something sexy and make it different, well, the world is full of both kinds of people.”
If you’re of the group that believes only mom can make good chicken soup, Bossa Blue does deserve your ears without any pre-existing biases. If you do that, it’s impossible not to be taken in. And along the way, Cole has been taken in by a batch of songwriters that he appreciates in a new way.
“Expressing myself in that area means that I’m opening up some doors that I really wasn’t going through as a singer-songwriter, probably just because of habit,” he said. “So I’m pushing myself more melodically, more from a range standpoint, and I’m very intimate with the structure and the lyric behind these tunes, especially the James Taylor ones that I’ve become uber intimate with in terms of the storytelling. But where it’s really affecting me is opening up other arrangements that I wasn’t really doing and opening up a melodic range that I’ve noticed in my own playing and my current writing, and that’s the best gift an artist can get.”
Now he’s giving that gift back to the listeners.
“Some people care about branding, I don’t really care about that,” Cole said. “I’m just trying to make some music that’s good.”
Bossa Blue begins its residency at Caffe Vivaldi in NYC on October 4. For more information, click here
For more information on Bossa Blue, click here
New York, NY – September 13, 2017. Bossa Blue, led by acclaimed singer-songwriter Brad Cole, performs a unique stylistic blend of Bossa/Samba, Cool Jazz, Dub, Soul and Blues interpretations of the songs that have become the soundtrack to our lives.
Beginning on Wednesday, October 4 at 7:30PM EDT, Bossa Blue will be holding a weekly residency at Caffe Vivaldi, 32 Jones Street, New York, NY. Caffe Vivaldi is a small, romantic listening room that has stood the test of time as a venue for live music in Greenwich Village.
On Wednesday, October 4 and Wednesday, October 18, Bossa Blue will be performing two full sets interpreting rock and pop classics. Brad Cole will be accompanied by an extraordinary group of players that includes Sarah Kervin, Andy Mac, Julia Adamy, Georgia Weber plus special guests.
On Wednesday, October 11 and Wednesday, October 25, Bossa Blue (Brad Cole, Sarah Kervin, Andy Mac, Julia Adamy, Georgia Weber and special guests) will be performing two full sets with the first set dedicated to The James Taylor Songbook.
“All great things make a comeback. Or at least, they should. In terms of great music, nothing strikes the heart...more than jazz, and nothing inspires artist Brad Cole more than old school, jazz-inspired, bossa nova. Looking for an outlet to explore the sounds of bossa nova, Cole started Bossa Blue, a smoky quartet covering a wide range of classic rock tunes and jazz standards” -Listen Live and Local
“[Brad Cole’s] ‘Lay It Down’ masterfully takes listeners from the familiar spaces of reflective, lyric-driven folk music to the expansive reaches of bossa nova jazz. It’s a beautiful album.” -No Depression
All great things make a comeback. Or at least, they should. In terms of great music, nothing strikes the heart of Chicagoans more than jazz, and nothing inspires artist Brad Cole more than old school, jazz-inspired, Bossa nova. Looking for an outlet to explore the sounds of Bossa nova, Cole started Bossa Blue, a smoky quartet covering a wide range of classic rock tunes and jazz standards every Wednesday in April at The Hideout.
The music industry is no new beast for Cole. As a seasoned musician with strong followings in Chicago, Nashville and New York, Cole has spent many years exploring various genres such as rock, reggae and Americana; and has done so successfully. But as Cole explains after his first residency performance with Bossa Blue, to be truly successful, one has to push boundaries and not shy away from the unexpected.
LLL: Most of your professional music career is based in rock and Americana. What drove you to start a Bossa nova band?
Brad Cole: I basically grew up listening to jazz, mostly an influence from my parents. I really liked it, but when I started playing music, I didn’t really play jazz. I started in a reggae band. I fronted a number of rock bands in Chicago. When I got back at it full time [about 2010], it’s been more of an Americana thing. The jazz thing never really went away. It was a matter of getting back to it for me. I’m very much of an old school Bossa fan. There’s this certain very raw thing in the old stuff in the 60s when it kind of migrated to the States with the jazz scene, and that sound captured me. It’s what I like to do on my own, but I never really felt it was what I was going to do to make a living. I spent a lot of years as a songwriter and that’s kind of been where my head is at. The singer-songwriter thing was fine. I’ve written a lot of songs I am proud of, but I am a Bossa-file. I’m a reggae-file. I am a low-key old soul, old New Orleans’ guy. That’s really what I care for. It’s nice because it’s simple music but it moves. It’s a cool thing. I like that. I like the movement.
LLL: How is Bossa Blue different than your previous projects?
BC: This is a little bit of a different animal because it’s a little bit of a different crowd. It’s a little less intense about listening [to] all the lyrics. It’s about finding something friendly that flows. A lot of these tunes are familiar to people. They’re classic rock covers and a couple of the jazz tunes. I think it’s easier on the listener, and I think it’s super fun, [which is] really the point. What I do as a singer-songwriter is super fun but pretty serious. With a cover song, you got to ask, “what are you doing for the song”, “what does the song do for you”, and “what will the song do for the audience?” You look at these things to help you filter ideas for songs. What does it do for me as a performer? Is the audience going to get off on it? Can we really do something interesting with the song? I, like everybody else, like Bruce Springsteen, but I don’t need to be another white guy doing a Bruce Springsteen song. To me, there are two sides to every story. For example, the Bruce Springsteen song [Brilliant Disguise], when you look at the lyrics, you realize there’s a very dark and bitter infidelity theme in that song. It’s huge and it’s ugly. So, when I really focused on the tune, I felt it was better as a duet.
LLL: You’ll be playing The Hideout every Wednesday in April at 6:00 p.m. Do you plan on sticking to the same set every night?
BC: We are probably going to add in a few different things. I think we are going to take what we think is working, continue with those and then filter in a few more. We have a big list of stuff we want to get to. This venue is very kind. It’s good people. It’s a good vibe. It’s kind of a low key gig so we can try stuff out and see how it all feels. I am a little bit less concerned about filling the room and more about doing cool shit. A year from now we’ll be something different. I think we’re going to be doing more formal shows. Recording is kind of like at the bottom of the list. If I think that radio is interested in what I do, we’ll make a record, but making a record of all cover songs, that’s not on the top of the list. After this month, we’re going to be doing some formal video shoots, so if someone wants to listen to us, it’s going to have to be on YouTube, or on our websites, or at a show.
LLL: You have a pretty extensive touring background. Any advice for upcoming bands in terms of touring or growing as a musician in general?
BC: No matter who you are or how talented you are, there’s risk and there’s not a lot of money in [touring]. That means, if you are a big consumer, you got to check that at the door and be about what you do as an artist. If you’re a music school person, you’re going to find work. If you want to get on the road, it’s a little bit of a different story. My idea is to do things really well. If you make an album, make a great fucking album. If you do a video, do a great fucking video. And you have to hustle. There’s no break. I think the other advice is to find a community of musicians. In terms of touring, it’s really important. When I go to a town and open for somebody who’s got a bigger following than me, that really helps a lot. Therefore, being in the musical community helps a great deal.
LLL: Aside from Bossa Blue, do you have any other musical aspirations you’d like to pursue?
BC: I like Lupe Fiasco. If I could talk Lupe into doing a song with me, that would blow my mind. For me to have an opportunity to work with Lupe or Chance [the Rapper], that would be the shit. I co-produce my records, so I got a lot of tracks. If you listen to what I do instrumentally, I think it’s pretty awesome. I have certain feelings that go along with some of these tracks and I would like to get that stuff trafficked in their direction. Plus, I’m a very passionate campaigner against gun-violence. I’ve written a little bit about that, so for me, to get my tracks to those guys who really care, that would be really great for me. Whatever is contrasting and unexpected, [how can] we do that? The sooner we can fuck things up, the better.
Bossa Blue will be performing every Wednesday in April at The Hideout at 6:00 p.m.
For Immediate Release:
Award winning Singer-songwriter Brad Cole has done it again, this time being chosen out of thousands of hopefuls to appear at the legendary Lincoln Center NYC in the NewSong Music Contest for their Annual Songwriting & Performance Event. Hosted by WFUV's John Platt, the show will take place in the David Rubinstein Auditorium on Saturday, December 10th at at 7pm. Admission is free to the public.
Acoustic Live Magazine said it best stating, “Cole's voice has a sharp, unerring, laser like quality, homing in on those uneasy truths most of us evade.”
Brad is one of twelve New Song finalists, each of which will be performing at the Lincoln Center gathering. An esteemed panel of music industry judges will select a winner from this diverse and talented field on the spot.
Musically there are lots of good things cooking for 2016. For the first half of the year, we our building out two tours. One of which is the "Lay It Down" Record Release Tour, featuring the core band from the record and some surprise guests. We are confirming Nashville, Chicago, NYC and Washington DC for sometime this April. Next is the Swing Low Tour 2016that will start in May around Boston work down the East Coast to NC...Read More
Man, what a ride this life is. I just returned home from a four week West by Southwest tour. I came home inspired, invigorated, hungry for more and yes - tired. I came home to my little family, my neighborhood grocery store, my espresso maker and my bed. It must have been how Bilbo felt returning to the Shire.Read More