Brad Hooper

BETHEL — Bethel-based musician Brad Hooper gets his inspiration from a small twist of a phrase that could be said by anyone. From there, he can turn it into a hook, and the rest is a process that could take years. Although he lives in Albany, he works three to four shows a week in Bethel, two times a month at the Bethel Inn, and at Naples every Sunday.

However, before he was working nearly full-time as a musician, he was a 12-year-old kid with his first guitar, listening to his parents sing in the kitchen. When he was 17 years old, he bought a guitar with his own money, and later on made a CD.

His first CD was raw, he says, but his second CD had more of his ideas articulated. This was when he met his producer, online, who taught him the process of writing and rewriting until the song was perfect. Hooper jokes that they worked together online from Portland to Portland (Maine to Oregon).

When asked about his song, “Memories and Mileage,” an almost country-like tune with a bit of Maine, bit of city-swag, and a lot of imagery, he says he was inspired by a twist of a phrase. He had a friend years ago who was angry at their boss for micromanaging them. The friend said, “don’t worry about the mule, just load the cart.” That inspired the phrase, “memories and millage,” which is about an elderly couple, one of whom has Alzheimer’s, and about how, in the end, all we have are our memories. Life is simple, Hooper says, regarding the message of the song.

Following this, he says he has 10 years sober from alcohol.

Hooper used to work for the Advertiser Democrat for 18 years in production, doing graphic arts. However, in 2009, he broke into the music scene.

Raising himself on country music, he became used to the storytelling aspect of the genre. It stuck with him with his own lyrical writing.

Hooper was born in Illinois. However, his entire family, for generations, all came from Maine. His parents were both from Bethel. Every summer, he came to Maine. When he was 20-years-old, and had been in motorcycle accident, his family and he moved to Maine and stayed.

Music has offered him some flexibility in his life, he says, a way to turn around the words, and give them back to people. Analyzing his lyrics, they appear simple upfront, but there are multifaceted layers weaved throughout.

“Some memories are just bound to get more mileage,” Hooper sings.

And whether or not you agree, there is something to be said about anyone using their mileage to chase their dream.

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