Brad Yoder believes musical success should be measured in more than just the obvious ways. Being voted in the top three slots multiple times since 2002 for “Best Acoustic/Solo Artist” by Pittsburgh City Paper readers is great; playing Poughkeepsie, New York, and having a college freshman from Los Angeles request songs she’s only heard via Internet downloads is actually cooler. Just as tangible in terms of success are the pieces of original art on Brad’s walls created by supporters and inspired by specific songs, and the many “gig guest books” full of appreciative comments from 10+ years of live shows.
Acknowledged by Pittsburgh Magazine as “ruling the Pittsburgh coffeehouse scene,” Brad logs over 150 performances annually, playing colleges, cafés, churches, festivals, First Nights, and even the zoo. Brad has opened for a diverse range of artists, including Erin McKeown, Tegan & Sara, the Cowboy Junkies, Lucy Kaplansky, Carrie Newcomer, the Vigilantes of Love, Emmylou Harris, Robyn Hitchcock, Ellis Paul, and Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel, plus played the second stage for David Gray, Peter Paul & Mary, and Steve Earle/Jackson Browne.
Along the way, Brad has sold over 7,000 copies of five self-released CDs, including Excellent Trouble (2010), Someday or Never (2007), Used (2002), Talk to Total Strangers (1999), and his 1997 debut disc, Best Sunday Heart. Songs from these recordings have been featured on CBS’s “NUMB3RS,” NPR’s “Car Talk,” the ABC Family Network’s “Beautiful People,” “Dawson’s Creek” 5th season DVD, and as part of the Pittsburgh Regional History Center’s 9-11 Memorial Exhibit.
Brad has also led workshops at over 30 different colleges and universities on “Exploring Songwriting” and other topics including performance, and creative choices for working artists, encouraging student songwriters to find their own unique voices.
The addition of the dynamic upright and fretless bass-playing of Jason Rafalak (plus mandolin and vocal harmonies) has added a new level of excitement and arrangement possibilities to Brad’s live performances. Since their debut at the 2005 Three Rivers Arts Festival, Brad and Jason have been steadily building buzz in Pittsburgh and beyond, playing as widely as Connecticut, Virginia, New York, Philadelphia, and Minnesota.
It’s Brad’s unique mix of humorous, poetic, political, funky and edgy original songs, covering a musical range from folk to indie rock (with unexpected musical and lyrical twists), that has earned him a loyal following ranging from kids in single digits through retirees.