While he’ll tell you he’s from Nebraska, Brainard was raised in an Air Force family that moved around a lot. Along the way, he acquired an affinity for music, and he’s never looked back. After a year of college, he was invited to audition as a guitarist for the the prestigious U.S. Air Force band, and went on to serve active duty for five years at Offutt AFB NE.
After his service to the military, Dave’s natural ear for music, combined with a Midwestern, hard-working ethic, landed him in Nashville to pursue a songwriting career. Within a couple years of setting foot in Music City, he was signed to his first publishing deal with Balmur Corus. A few cuts later, Dave went on to sign with Big Picture Entertainment where he wrote for famed producer, Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson/ Zac Brown Band).
Dave has achieved songwriting success with cuts by Brooks & Dunn, Neal McCoy, Sammy Kershaw, Ricochet (to name a few), as well as his most recent hit with Hunter Hayes, “Everyone’s Got Someone But Me,” a duet with Jason Mraz, which ran up the charts.
Dave is a self-taught producer who started in the demo business, working with hit songwriters like Chris Tompkins, Steven Dale Jones, Mark D. Sanders, Skip Ewing, Rory Bourke (among others) and a famous Country music underdog – Jamey Johnson, producing They Call Me Country, the album that kick-started Johnson’s career.
Dave’s unique style has also earned critical praise for his work with longtime friend Ray Scott, whose signature sound, writes Country Weekly’s Bob Paxman, “renders real country music in a unique, world-weary way.”
“I still believe in making a great album,” Dave explains. “When working with a truly inspired artist, I’m all about helping their story unfold.”
Those stories have unfolded great success for Dave, including producing albums for Jerrod Niemann (including the #1 hit “Lover Lover” and the top five “What Do You Want”) and earning him a Grammy nomination for Brandy Clark’s acclaimed album, 12 Stories.
“12 Stories is one of those rare albums whose every song is worth hearing,” said NPR’s Ken Tucker. “Every one is that striking, that textured and finely detailed… smoothly crafted, emotionally rough compositions.”
Clark says of her collaboration with Dave, “In a world where we are in a singles driven market, Dave Brainard makes records. That is why I wanted to work with him… he really makes albums that are a complete piece of art.”
Dave is currently making his art with several dynamic, new artists with stories to tell, including Sunny Sweeney, Jamie Kent, Jenny Tolman, Drew Kennedy, Apollo’s Crown and others.3