Frankie Picasso interviews Danny Brooks and his wife Lil Debi, musicians who have been active in prison ministry for the past 24 years.
Danny has been in the music business since 1971 having played in blues, country, hard rock and rhythm and blues bands. While he sounds like was born in Memphis, he was actually made in Canada and has a southern soul. He once played a song with Brownie McGee who told him, “Son, ‘fo a white boy, you sho’ ’nuff have a suntan on the inside.”
Today, Debi and Danny are transplanted snowbirds living in Llano, Texas. That’s how Danny became a Texassippi Soul Man playing a musical blend that sounds like southern rock, soul, blues/jazz and gospel all wrapped up in a unique bundle of sound. Danny was first introduced to ministry when his father took him and his siblings to the street corners of Toronto and had them recite scripture verses. At the tender age of 15, Danny’s father gave him a choice: “Give up the devils music or get out of the house.” Danny chose to leave the bosom of his family and set off to find his music and his own way in the world.
Says Danny, a rough life and a ‘season of rebellion’ found him not only on the wrong side of the law, but on the wrong side of his talent and life.As it was with so many young musicians during the ’70s and ’80s, the drug culture captured Danny’s attention and he found himself addicted to drugs and alcohol. He also went to prison to pay for the crimes he committed to pay for his habit. It was during this time spent in prison that Danny attributes honing his skill in writing music.
In 1987, just 3 months from being released from the Donwood Institute in Toronto where he was treated for alcohol and drug addiction, Danny found his faith and giving credit where it is due, Lil Miss Debi, sho’ nuf had a lil bit to do with his recovery and letting Jesus in his heart.
In 1991, was a pivotal year for Danny. Not only did he become involved in Prison Ministry but he was also nominated for his first Juno Award for Most Promising Male Vocalist.
Danny has been blessed with talent, a distinctive voice, and an aptitude as a born story teller. This is evident not only through his lyrics, but when speaking to an audience. Danny is the real deal: There is not a pretentious bone in his body, and this is what captures the attention and hearts of those who see him perform over and over again.
Performing and speaking in prisons, rehabs and halfway houses has become an important part of who Danny Brooks has become. Whenever and where ever Danny tours, it is imperative that at least one of the above facilities is on the tour. Giving back to communities in this way allows him to share his story and impart hope.
Here is a snippet of lyrics from one of Danny’s songs, “You’re the Best Thing About Me!”:
“You took me by the hand, you helped me stand
Filled a canyon hole inside this man
Gave me the courage to be all I could be
Today you’re still the best thing about me
Yea, you’ll always be the best thing ”
Their forthcoming album, This World is not your Friend is available for pre-sale.
For more info: www.dannybrooksmusic.com