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Playing for God: faith, music and the blues

June 20, 2019

When Eric Braun bought his first electric guitar at the age of fifteen it changed his life.

Eric was born in Stirling and has lived in Lethbridge most of his life. His music started with his family. His father played guitar, and his mother sang. He wanted to learn guitar since he was young. His first electric guitar was a Fender Telecaster. He was self-taught and learned to play by ear. He has been in his church’s worship team for ten years, and is now compiling a new album while also working as a Worship Arts intern at Evangelical Free Church of Lethbridge. Eric has an incredible and unique voice matched by his expertise with the electric guitar, and has branded his band name Eric Braun.

When he started out, Eric wanted to play country music and took inspiration from Brad Paisley. As a kid, Eric only liked blues music, and as he played he rediscovered Stephen Ray Vaughan. Vaughan is one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues in the 1980s. He is commonly known as one of the greatest guitar players of all time. Vaughan’s style had a huge influence on Eric’s music.

When he was eighteen he joined the E-free worship team. “Actually,” he admits, “once I started playing at church, that’s when I grew a lot as a musician.” He stepped into another genre and moved away from solo playing. He played almost every week, but was quiet and reserved. “I would always hold back when playing on Sunday mornings… I was worried it would come across like it was about me instead of about God.” Ken Dosso, the worship leader at E-free, took him aside and told him something he’ll never forget: “if you’re holding back because you’re worried about what people think about you, it’s still about you. Just use the gift that God gave you.” Since then, he has allowed his music to become a way to express God.

Eric Braun is in a secular genre, and Eric says, “[my band] doesn’t play worship music… but, [I’ve] realized that you can still use the gift for God.” He has one recorded album, and has played at various local venues and music festivals. His next album is inspired by John Mayer, and Eric says you can expect something upbeat. His band’s next performance will be at the Hydro Lounge in the water tower, July fifth and sixth, 8:00 p.m. to midnight. During his summer break from internship he has a full schedule of gigs ahead, and also looks forward to his second year as an intern.