Yellow Brick Road Elton John Experience performs Sunday, Nov. 5 in the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Mohegan Sun/Khoi Ton

When tragedy — like the mass shooting — hits Maine, it’s time to come together and bring whatever aid we can to the folks in Lewiston where they lost 18 of their friends and neighbors as well as the feeling of security and safety. When I learned about a concert happening at the Snow Pond Center for the Performing Arts in Sidney on Friday, December 15, to benefit those people, I just had to do my small part to alert you readers about it. The headlining act is none other than Maine’s own Yellow Brick Road — A Tribute to Elton John, and seeing I’ve been chatting with the founder and leader of this band Gerald Brann ever since his very first gig, it seemed only right and proper to reconnect with him to learn what’s been happening with his group lately.

Q: When I saw that you were doing a show to benefit the folks in Lewiston, I wanted to reach out and contact you once more … I believe in that cause and want to support it with this interview.
Brann: I appreciate that, I appreciate that a lot. It’s a good cause and I’m uniquely positioned where I have the ear of people, and anyone that has that kind of favor in their life has an obligation to help out when they can and I see this as an opportunity to be able to do just that.

Q: Definitely, and like you said, if you’ve got the platform to do anything to help, you are almost obligated.
Brann: Yeah, I think it really is, or should be.

Q: I agree wholeheartedly, but I’ve got to ask: How are things going with you now?
Brann: Oh, it’s just been crazy and as the band goes, it’s been insane, it seems to just grow exponentially and I feel very fortunate to be on this ride and experiencing the things that we’re getting. I mean, we’ll go do a show and then we sit around afterwards and look at each other and say, “Wow, this is what you always dreamed about when you were playing air guitar as a kid in front of the TV … this is the kind of thing you wanted to do!” I mean, now we’re playing in front of an audience with 7,000-plus people that are all screaming — you’re playing an arena or you’re playing a festival and it’s just amazing … it’s amazing.

Q: It sounds like you’re really happy and satisfied with where you are and what you’re doing.
Brann: It’s funny because there’s a degree of selfishness in there in that I really, really enjoy it, ya know? I think the thing I like most is the fact that all these other people are enjoying it because that interaction with the crowd — when they’re freaking out and everything — it just makes the energy that much crazier for you onstage … it makes that experience much more special.

Q: I’ve always likened it to a closed tape loop: the more you give out, the more you get back and the more you get back, the more you can give out.
Brann: (Laughter) Alright, exactly … that’s it!


Q: Now you’re playing this show a little north of Lewiston, right?
Brann: It’s going to be at the Snow Pond Center for the Performing Arts in Sidney, Maine.

Q: That’s wild, I was just pushing them with the Don Campbell Band’s Christmas show. Is this your first time performing there?
Brann: No, we’ve played the indoors venue three times now and this last summer we got to perform out in the outside concert area with the full symphony backing us up, and that was pretty amazing.

Q: Oh, my goodness, that must have been incredible!
Brann: That entire set-up is pretty incredible, and as its reputation grows, because it is pretty new, I think it’s going to be an amazing contribution to music in the area, seeing a concert there will be great, it already is!

Q: Now, concerning your show, are you constantly adding new Elton John tunes to your repertoire?
Brann: During our down time I’ll take a look at the list and I like to rotate and bring in a couple of new tunes that are either being revisited or ones we haven’t played at all. There are so many to choose from, it’s ridiculous, so we have to bring in a couple of songs each year just to keep it fresh for us and so that the people who come out on a regular basis are hearing some new things — keep it interesting for them, as well.

Q: And that’s the thing, if it gets boring for you that can inadvertently be passed on to the audiences, too.
Brann: (Chuckle) Well, fortunately, the nature of the show, and the way that we approach it, is a live concert tribute where we’re not just regurgitating songs off the albums, we are playing it the way, ideally, that Elton and his band would perform it live in a concert situation, which is going to be affected by the crowd. Some stuff’s improvised and so there’s a degree of freshness every single time we play, but it’s nice to bring in some new songs.

Q: Cool, just out of curiosity, how long have you been doing this?
Brann: Well, I think we’re actually approaching our 22nd year soon. That this is our 21st year of this act is just insane, and the area that we travel and perform in has grown and grown and grown. Where it was so neat to get a gig in New York early on, now New York is just a part of our regular travel schedule along with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, in fact, this part of the United States is kind of home base. Now we’re venturing out to Florida and Georgia and Maryland and Idaho and Tennessee and Michigan, we’re going all over the place now, there’s no end, we’re actually playing right through the winter this year.

Q: Is there anything more you’d like to share about the Snow Pond show, seeing its coming right up?
Brann: I’d like to mention that we’re performing at this event and we’re grateful to be a part of it, but we were asked to perform at it so it’s not our show, per se. This is being organized by Dean Parker and his band, Wolf River, which is also performing just before ours — it’s a very, very good band. And I would definitely be remiss if I didn’t mention Krista Johnson from Snow Pond Center for the Performing Arts, who was integral to setting this thing up. She’s super helpful, super knowledgeable and she’s been very, very good. And Brad Truman, who we’ve worked with numerous times, is doing the sound and lighting, he’s fantastic, and he’s coming in to help and do all of that so we’re very grateful for him, as well.

Q: Is there anything, Gerald that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Brann: Just that this is a very important cause and we’re there because something tragic has happened to our family in the state of Maine … and at these times, this is when we need to get together and help each other out, and this is a fantastic opportunity to be able to do that!

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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