Musicians go to great lengths in order to tell a story but most not as far as Cincinnati’s own Daniel Bayer, or as he’s known – My Brother The Bear. More so than probably any other genre, folk music is based on storytelling, and Bayer understands that. His songs feel authentic and real because they are. Bayer’s lived a lot of life in his years and it shows in his remarkably honest lyrics and songs.
What type of kid where you? Scholar, athlete, musician?
Growing up I was sort of into everything. Mt family was firmly grounded in music and we would always have sing-a-longs and jamborees at holidays. I played sports in High School, was in the Choir and did fairly well in the books. I guess I got along with all the different groups of people, but never really stuck to one in particular.
I understand you had a bit of an unorthodox remedy for writer’s block by joining the Army. Tell us a bit about what went into that decision.
I was trying to work and make music in Cincinnati after having dropped out of college and in 2005 it all just came to a head. I decided that spending too much time in bars playing songs was making my writing very one dimensional. It was also not very good for my health or my quality of life. I actually went to the recruiting station to join the Navy, but the guy was out to lunch so I joined the Army instead. It gave me a chance to get out and see the world, meet new people and learn about myself and life in order to gain a bit of perspective.
How do you feel your experience in the military has influenced your music?
Like I said before, I found a bit of perspective in the military. In the 6 years I was in I was deployed twice, got married, got divorced, moved a bunch and all those things kind of became a story of someone's life that I pull from for my music. I write very autobiographically, but sometimes the character in the song isn't meant to be "me" per-se. Sometimes my songs are "what-if" type scenarios where a guy like me is reacting to a situation I have never been in.
Your travels eventually led you back to Cincinnati, what was it about the city or music scene that drew you back?
Family and Friends. I realized from being away for so long that home is where you keep your family and friends. It was great being away and I will always be a bit of a wanderer (I am writing this right now from the shores of Lake Michigan.) But I think I needed to leave home and my friends and family in order to really appreciate them.
Any new and exciting projects on the horizon?
Plans for an expansion of the act. Adding more musicians etc. There are also things in the works about a new album for next summer.
As a returning artist for Whispering Beard, what are you most looking forward to this year?
The Beardos! I have never been to a gathering of people that are so welcoming and willing to have a good time. This will be my 3rd year at the festival and every year I get so excited to see all the friends that I have made over the years.