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Benefit concert: Charlie Brannon, local musician and Vietnam veteran

There are people who hear music in their heads and then spend the better part of their lives trying to get it out or at least get it under control.

Charlie Brannon is one of those people. He has always heard music in his head but thought, as many people do, that it was just a current obsession looping in his head. Yet when he picked up a guitar and began to play whatever it was that was causing the “noise” in his head, he became calm and he was able to focus and transform the “noise” to music on the guitar or banjo or mandolin (the latter is his most favorite).

It was in Vietnam that he first picked up a guitar, wanting to jump onto the revolution that was taking place in contemporary music at the time, and wanting to be someplace other than the jungles of Southeast Asia, those were very turbulent times very much like the times today. Music played a key part in maintaining Charlie’s sanity during those times and continues to do so today. To Charlie music is all about playing, about participating with others in the playing, about love and peace and harmony and happiness, about being with family and friends. It was not/is not about super egos and pushing and shoving for a place on stage or winning a contest. Consequently he has spent the better part of his adult years just being “in the music.”

“Teaching is a blessing,” says Charlie and he teaches and shares music with anyone who approaches him. And it was in Pagosa Springs where he came twenty years ago to build a house, that he found a home not only in a beautiful place but one where he found many a kindred spirit.

Charlie is one of those guys who can build anything and is always in a state of starting to build something, modify something, or draw up plans of something to build. And when he is not building something for someone else, he is always working on his own place. Just ask his wife, she is forever shuffling things around to accommodate the “new” idea. And, to correct a statement I made last week, the decision for them to move here was a dream they both had of moving to the mountains which, when they met, they found they shared.

“It was like walking into each other’s dream,” says Judy.

Over the years Charlie has developed a compound made up of a home, an instrument making/repair shop), a carpentry shop, and a storage room with music room above, among things. His current project, his dream house on top of a hill he has purchased, already has a road, a building pad, a tree house, a pond, an outside stage.

Charlie has recently been diagnosed with lymphoma deep in the brain (probably a result of exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam). So, on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 5, a group of friends and musicians are putting on “Charlie’s Bands and Loose Musicians,” a benefit concert to help Charlie and his family in this struggle against cancer.

Eight bands are lined up to play — Lead Foot Ruthie, String Theory, The Flying Elmos, Groove Kitchen, The Humdingers, Shane Lane and The On the Edge Band, Rockola and Elmo Chesterhazy and The Milky Way.

The show starts at 1 p.m. with back-to-back bands followed by an open jam at 4. All you musicians who have jammed with or want to jam with Charlie, bring your instruments!

A $5 donation is requested at the door, which includes a chance on the door prize (blue denim quilt made by Designs by Dolly of Pagosa Springs) that will be drawn at 4 p.m. There will also be a silent auction of local arts, products and services throughout the afternoon, with final bids collected at 4:30 p.m.

The concert is being held at Dorothy’s Restaurante, 120 CR 600 (Piedra Road). Dorothy will have the restaurant and bar open for cash customers. Donations are also accepted at Bank of Colorado, Charlie Brannon Medical Fund.