Brave Combo Makes Sounds of the Hollow

It always intrigues me how artists come up with names for their works. So, of course when Brave Combo released Sounds of the Hollow this month, I dashed off an email to leader Carl Finch to find out how they arrived at that name. Sounds of the Hollow is an album of passion and variety, demonstrating our passion for variety, says Carl. The song list includes polkas, cumbias, rumbas, a waltz, a twist, a tango, and even more disparate styles. This is also the first official Brave Combo recording to feature the group's newest member, and musical powerhouse, Ginny Mac on accordion.

How did you come up with the name for the album? Carl: The title has a couple of meanings, actually, but mainly I have this new theory that music doesn't come from anywhere. It just started one day and kept evolving, with people inserting their own ideas, which can all be traced to nothing, eventually. No one can claim anything, in a way. It's just a mysterious force. A hollow is like anti-matter. It's a void. A song is something from nothing, but then becomes a part of the nothing. This is also another BC album of variety, not just a polka album or latin album or strict dance album.

How many Brave Combo albums are there? Carl: I don't know because there are foreign releases that have different configurations of songs, there are weird little compilations of our music in different places. There are some things in Japan, for instance, that are not available here, at all; two albums totally in Japanese of just Japanese music. But I would guess that there are probably between 40-50 albums out there, maybe a few more. I know there are some BC releases I don't have and many compilations we're on that I've never even seen or heard.

Is Sounds of the Hollow Brave Combo's best ever? Carl: I try not to think in terms of good/bad, right/wrong, best/worst. Things just are. Striving to live that way is what led me to polka music and, ultimately, made me want to stand up for polka music. I will say that Brave Combo's current sound is unique to the band and Sounds of the Hollow faithfully captures how we are right now. I'm biased, but I think it's a great album. And, for what it's worth, at all of our CD Release parties in the next few months, we will be selling it for only $5. So, in terms of that price, it's a masterpiece, well worth it. So, everyone should try to see us between now and when the September polka season kicks in. Can't guarantee we will be selling them for less than $10 by the time West Fest comes around.

How did the collaboration with Ginny Mac come about? Carl: Ginny has been a fan and friend of Brave Combo since she was 14. When our trumpet player, Danny, decided he didn't want to travel as much, we thought about what instrument should come in, especially since Danny was still going to play about half of the gigs with us; things like Ennis and Westfest, for sure. I had been jamming on accordion with one of Ginny's bands for a couple of years, just as a fun thing and one day I asked her to come over and play through some things with Brave Combo. Everything just clicked. We had to have a full-on powerhouse to fill Danny's shoes and that's just what she is. We did a gig in Denton a few weeks ago at The Arts and Jazz Festival and had Ginny and Danny, both, plus Danny Jerabek from Wisonsin (Copperbox button-box/trombonist) and Joe Cripps, our long-time percussionist. It was quite a sound. Danny and I have just finished a polka album under the name The Nice Musics. We hope to have it in a tangible form by polka season or before.

Brave Combo will be at the National Polka Festival in Ennis on Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27 and at Dosey Doe's in The Woodlands on Thursday, May 31.

Polka on BC!