A Little Biographical

Making A Beautiful Catastrophe

A Beautiful Catastrophe

It has become a beautiful catastrophe. What should I expect when I reached out to Dave with a handful of songs?   I had played these songs a few times around Seattle before the pandemic shut down all live music.  A few weeks later, I would be sitting with Jonathan at London Bridge Studios working through pre-production and geeking out on the very studio where some of my favorite music was recorded – Pearl Jam’s Ten, Alice and Chains’ Dirt, and Blind Melon.   I was sitting in the room and seeing the piano that Mother Love Bone used on Chloe Dancer. It was like taking a walk back through Seattle music history.   So many great artists have walked through these doors. Melissa Etheridge, Brandi Carlisle, and Dave Matthews are just a few to grace this studio.   I couldn’t quite believe that I would soon be sitting down and plugging into that same infamous Neve 8048. I would be pouring out my soul in a place where so much history has been made.

As of this writing, we are a week out from the first day of tracking. The final pre-production sketches are coming together.   We are working out a few details on We Get Together and Spectacular Monster. The tracks are coming together nicely.   We have most of the session players picked out for the record and they are fantastic. I am super excited to have a chance to play with these amazing musicians.   A Beautiful Catastrophe is all starting to come together so fast – I never expected to get to this stage. 

So, why make an album?   

So many of these ideas have been floating around in my head for years, including Cocoon and Beautiful Catastrophe.   These songs have been gnawing away at my head and asking to be let out.   Both of these songs are autobiographical and explain the reason for putting all this down on vinyl (or digital).    I have recently undergone a number of personal transformations, just like the one I describe in Cocoon.   I feel that I have locked my soul away while I pursued more “practical” careers.  These careers have provided well materially, but left me very hollow inside, much like the shell of the Cocoon itself.   When the pandemic hit, it forced a level of self-reflection that I had not experienced before. It was a bit of a rebirth.    Music is and always has been my passion, my outlet, and my source of inspiration.   

Much of the pandemic itself was also a beautiful catastrophe.   It was a tragic loss of life on a massive scale. It also forced all of us to reconcile what and even who was important in our lives.  For a brief time, we stopped elevating materialism and celebrity as the most treasured parts of our society. Instead, we started elevating the nurses, teachers, doctors, and stay at home parents – the true heroes in our society.   It was a mass awakening on an unprecedented scale.  Let’s hope some of these values remain long after the tragic loss that drove us to these new conclusions.   

Making A Beautiful Catastrophe
Making A Beautiful Catastrophe

What’s Next for Astral Jukebox?

It was against this backdrop that I decided I could no longer stay contented working in roles helping the rich get richer.   Instead, I want to use music to give back.  What are my goals for this album? First, I want to bring some of the same joy to others that I have experienced listening to music over the years.  Second, I want to use music to help raise awareness that will help make this world a better place.   So, even before I had reached out to Dave and told him about the songs, I had already decided that this album would be used to help. It would be more than just great music for people to listen to. A Beautiful Catastrophe was going to make a difference.   I am looking forward to the next steps in this journey. This is a journey towards personal change and a journey through an amazing musical experience.   

Brett Heron

Brett Heron

Astral Jukebox is the primary creative outlet for songwriter / composer / arranger Brett Heron. He is a musician, vocalist, husband, father, activist, nature lover, and all-around lover of life with a deep-rooted passion for music (and a little mischief.)  Now a new native of Seattle, Brett is wandering about playing rock and roll for all who will listen. If you are catch the light just right, you might find him busking down at Pike Place Market or the Seattle waterfront.

Who Is Brett Heron?

Heron’s youth was steeped in music, be it 70’s roots rock, outlaw country, classic soul, gospel or jazz.  Heron was always active in music; he began playing piano at age ten and writing originals at thirteen. Brett played percussion in junior high and high school. He spent much of his early years in bands playing everything from Jimi Hendrix to the Smashing Pumpkins.   While accepted into the University of Arkansas music program on scholarship, Brett ended up pursuing a degree in financial management and putting a music career on hold for a time.  

In 2013, Heron restarted his music career with a gig at a local dueling piano bar – Willy D’s.  The bar owner was a long-time pianist with the Mel Tillis’ Orchestra. He brought on Heron as a mentee.  It was during this time that he began writing more earnestly. Heron moved to Seattle in 2015 to work for Amazon Music, developing emerging music markets around the world. He had the opportunity to travel extensively through Europe, Asia, and Latin America. This experience further cemented his love for global music and culture. 

During this time, he connected with the vibrant Seattle music scene and local artists with a like-minded vision for creativity and passion for music. Heron formed a band and was in the process of writing a record when the global pandemic hit. Like much of the world, he put everything on hold.   

Brett Heron
Brett Heron recording vocals

Throwing It All Away

Yet, reward rarely comes without risk. In 2021 Heron abandoned a career to pursue what, in hindsight, had been his personal avocation all along.  A Beautiful Catastrophe was recorded at London Bridge Studios in Seattle with producers Jonathan Plum (Candlebox), Eric Lliavois (Surfer Blood), and Geoff Ott (Tobias the Owl). The record features drummer Ben Smith and bassist Andy Stoller of the iconic Heart, and Kathy Moore (Brandi Carlisle) on guitar. Heron is holding down the fort on acoustic guitar and keys.

Thematically, A Beautiful Catastrophe is an earnest reminder that life is fleeting, and we should all strive to live and love to the fullest each day. Heron is rededicating his life to bringing people closer to the music he has loved for so long. As our guide, we will explore the sonic textures that make this world a diverse, beautiful, and exciting adventure waiting to be experienced.