Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The year in review… The very last live rendition of Me and Mrs. Jones by the original artist Billy Paul”)

This past year had some great moments, but it also had some sad ones. One of the greatest songs ever recorded (“Me and Mrs. Jones”) lost the original artist who made that song so great. Billy Paul was one of the most considerate and complimentary artists you would ever meet. He was always receptive to talking to everyone. I remember him joking just about all the way down on a 10 hour flight to Brazil. He had stories about him, Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone and Richard Pryor all hanging together. In fact, he had stories about everything. He was a good friend, and it was an honor and privilege to perform (and tour) with him. This past  year Billy Paul died at the age of 80. This video clip is the very “LAST” rendition of “Me and Mrs. Jones” performed by him, because he died soon after. I had the honor of performing with him on “this very last live version of the song (I am the only one playing guitar next to him).” You can tell that his health was not great on this clip, but Billy was not going to get cheated out of life. He sang it the way he always knew how to sing it, and that is what made him so special. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this with you today. Thanks again to Billy Paul for allowing me to be a small part of his career. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Classic song performed last night at my Wednesday night open mic events”)

At my “Wednesday Night Grand Slam” we have “so much fun.” Last night it was “packed” with people. There were some really awesome singers last night as well. When I originally started this event it was done with the purpose of “keeping live music alive.” Many places that I knew of depended on people bringing their CD’s to sing or karaoke events. For this thing here I have a live band and we will often take requests ( of course, your request has a better chance of being played if you drop some money into our tip jar). People come out from all over to be a part of our event and it has really done well. I host this event and I try to make it as fun as possible for everyone. Last night was great, and unfortunately I cannot show all the great talent that we had, so instead I will just share one with you for today. This lady’s name is Adrienne, and she usually does slow ballads, but last night she decided to kick out a classic hit. Yours truly (Brett Jolly) actually gets a small bass solo in this song as well. In case you are wondering I am the one with the red bass guitar with the open shirt sporting the message “Quit Work Make Music” on my t-shirt underneath. If you are ever in our area (Philadelphia-Darby area) on a Wednesday Night looking for something to do, you might want to head out to see us at the Crab Tavern (201 North Macdade Blvd in Darby, PA). Hope to see you, and for today here is a small sample of what we do. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Reflecting back”)

A new year is upon us, and I can’t help but think about some of the things that transpired for me over this past year. One of my most notable positive events was not planned, but seemed to work out perfectly. I was performing each Sunday at a popular church here in Philadelphia. I had been there faithfully for 8 years. The people there were beautiful and I loved being there, but through the years we had several different musical directors coming in. The one thing about musical directors is that each has his own different style of leadership. While I highly respected the ideals of the last one we often had conflicts that just couldn’t be resolved, so after 8 years God said it was time for me to leave the church I so loved serving. The great thing is that God didn’t have me wait long at all for me to find a new church home. For about a month I was sitting home on Sundays (and it felt so weird not having to wake up and go) but after only a few weeks I got a call from another musical director who previously left that same church and was ministering someplace else. He wanted to know if I was available to do his church each Sunday. This was a blessing that I didn’t see coming, but nevertheless it was a blessing that was well needed. When I first went to the interview it felt very different (but I have never had an interview yet that I didn’t feel confident about). I told them my credentials and everything seemed to work out perfectly. Now I am happy again being part of a music ministry that has welcomed me with open arms. The reason I am writing about this today is because while change may bring about uncertainty in our lives sometimes change is often vital. Until we get to the point where we can venture into something different we will never get the chance to grow. I may not have gotten what I wanted, but I surely got what I needed. Sometimes it is not about what you do, but rather about “how you feel” about what you do. If you can’t feel the blessing of where you are and what you are doing, then it may be time to re-think and re-evaluate your situation. It would be nice if you can do something that makes you happy. Now I can honestly say I am… Going into the new year I expect to continue to seek out any blessings that are coming my way, and I aim to get the most out of life. I sincerely hope you will do the same. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


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Norman Connors, Brett Jolly and Benny Barksdale


Norman Connors Benny and Brett

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Music star in the Industry: Blessing or Curse?”)

Yesterday I posted a story on George Michael, the excellent singer who died and never really felt comfortable with the music industry. He had it all, or did he? When you think of it, how many other great stars struggled with issues while dealing with fame? Marvin Gaye’s life may have been great onstage, but his life problems were well chronicled with drugs, depression, and even his divorce. The good thing is that Marvin’s music showcased everything he felt and all that energy was re-channeled into his hits. Amy Winehouse was a walking drug time bomb. The people who managed her knew about her addictions and probably could have ordered her to get help (but of course, she never got it). She died a victim to her own demons. The same could also be said for Whitney Houston. Her life went from the very top to the very bottom and I just can’t imagine that no one could help her (or even offer). Her people had to know about it. How could they not? Years ago, Phyllis Hyman suffered from depression and drug use. I played for her memorial service and it was so sad, because people seemed to struggle trying to say good things about her. How is it that someone on top of the music world could have so many problems dealing with life? Many of us have probably wished we could have been recording stars, but considering what has happened to a lot of them would we still feel the same way now? One thing I have deduced is that wealth and fame do not necessarily guarantee happiness. If it did, then why have all these people struggled and suffered? Rick James died from drug overdose. Janis Joplin died from overdose. Bob Marley died from overdose. Jimi Hendrix died from overdose. What feels unfathomable to me is that 2 of the greatest stars ever (who both were extreme heath nuts) died the same way. Michael Jackson “seemingly” died from an accidental drug overdose and Prince died the same way. Does that seem “too coincidental” to you? With all of this happening why does it feel like in order to be a pop star you practically have to “sell your soul to the devil?” I have been a part of the industry for a while, even though I have only played for some of those who were headliners. While it is easy to wish you could be them, we don’t really know what they have to contend with whenever they come “offstage.” I do know that whenever one of these celebrities dies “someone who owns the rights to the music gets paid royally.” Maybe there is a story there…. On second thought… maybe not… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


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Teddy Pendergrass and Brett Jolly in concert


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“George Michael”)

On Christmas Day we lost yet another music icon, and that was George Michael. While his music was worth all the honors and accolades, it was his life that warranted  the most attention. He was one of those artists who seemed troubled by the industry while never feeling quite comfortable  with it. He probably could have sold millions “based on his looks alone.” Women (and men) marveled at how good looking he was. He now joins James Brown as “celebrities who actually died on Christmas Day.” I loved 2 of his songs. One was “Careless Whisper” and my favorite was a song entitled “Kissing a fool.” I actually posted it this past year as one of my favorite tunes. Unfortunately I never got the chance to work with him, but it would have been an honor to do so. It was said that he died peacefully in his sleep. Since I don’t know much about him I will simply invite you to check out this article/link to find out more. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer:

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Red Bass Guitar photo shoot of Belinda”)

Belinda has been featured before, but she is a really good model and worthy of another round. I met her at a fashion event that I was hired to do photography for. She has a great demeanor for modeling and we happened to find a very good day (and a great place) to shoot pictures. As you can see for yourself, the results came out really nice. Happy Holidays to everyone and I just hope that whatever you do it is fun and peaceful. Thanks and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer:bass-bel-1abel-10abel-8a


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“If I could give one gift to everyone in the world”)

The holidays are coming up (Depending on what you celebrate they may already be here) and this should be a time for people to exhibit love from your heart. As with every holiday, you should get the most out of it when you invest the most into it. I already know I am blessed, and I could honestly say that if I got nothing I would still be “very” happy. However, the other day I was wondering about something. If I could give one particular gift (real or imagined) to everyone in the world, what would that gift be? The imaginary gift I would give would probably be the “ability to see.” No, I am not talking about regular eyesight, but rather the ability to see “beyond the surface.” Can you imagine how we would feel about someone if we could actually “visualize the love in his or her heart?” Can you imagine being able to see the thoughts of someone who was troubled enough to want to commit random acts of violence? How about the ability to see the good in man beyond the color of his skin?  Imagine being able to see the abuse that someone may have endured during his or her life and being able to deliver that one hug to stop that person from “going over the edge.” This kind of sight might be more beneficial “with your eyes closed.” We often concern ourselves with what’s on the outside. We judge people by their deeds and not necessarily the “thought behind the deeds.” We often stereotype people based on what we have learned as opposed to what we experience. We take the time to criticize without even attempting to realize. While our regular ability to see could be considered one of our greatest blessings it can also be the one thing that causes our greatest deficiencies. We base a lot of our behavior on what we see. However, for most of us our sight is only limited to what we perceive externally. Real love shouldn’t depend on a person’s physically attributes, but rather the content of what they have inside. If I could give an imaginary gift like that to everyone in the world I would gladly do so. Then maybe there would be less discrimination, second guessing, racism, and even terrorism. There are people in this world who are in need of help, and our problem is that even when we see them we still can’t see them… I hope we all can at least make that effort to try… Just that act alone might make all the difference… “One love” is more than just a statement. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.


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Olivia Newton John, Brett Jolly and musical director Amy Skyy before a concert

Olivia Newton John and Brett Jolly

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Getting that urge to write songs again”)

Being an artist has been so fulfilling for me. When someone does what he or she loves to do for a living then in most cases it is not even considered work. I keep busy (and I do a lot). Many times  my interests will turn to whatever happens to motivate me at that moment. Yesterday I actually had time to work on some music and it felt really good. Writing music takes creativity and ingenuity. Most times when putting a song together I have to have some sort of “out of body” experience so that I can imagine myself as someone else listening to my own music. I don’t want to write music that only I like. I want to do music that others will like as well. It is important to make sure you don’t overcrowd a song with too many instruments. It is important to make sure that the vocals are clear enough for people to hear the lyrics. It is important to make sure the tempo of the song is “just right” so it doesn’t sound rushed. It is also important to make sure that your song has it’s own “identity” established. Now I am feeling that urge again. I would love to produce music for me as well as others. The beautiful thing about technology is that I can write/record/produce a song for “anyone” without he or she having to be here with me. If you happen to live in another part of the world but need music written and your voice recorded then you might want to email me at You might be surprised at how simple it is. The results can be emailed back to you and you can make any changes you like. I have been disenchanted with the new style of music that seems to lack substance. The quality of a lot of it feels “weak” to me. I treasure the analogue recordings of the past that the industry seems to have abandoned for a quicker cheaper product. I would love to bring great sounding music back, but it will involve some deep planning, marketing and involvement. Usually after the New Year musician’s schedules tend to die down a little bit and I should have more freedom. Then I should have time to not only work on the material of others but also put my own new CD together. I believe it is about time to go for it again. I will keep you updated on my progress. I will also need to shoot videos for my music as well. I am excited. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I would like to wish you the very best that life has to offer.


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Brett Jolly onstage with Lalah Hathaway and Kim Burrell

Lalah Hathaway and Kim Burell

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The rise again of terrorism”)

“The process of Peace.” The recent murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey has been labeled by President Putin as an act of terror designed to thwart peace talks for Syria. While this was truly a cowardly act, should we consider this as a sign of what’s to come? Tensions are boiling from the East and the West for different reasons and the world atmosphere just doesn’t seem as calm and peaceful as it used to be. I realize that on a global scale this incident may not rank as high as some others, but does the world feel like a safer place when things like this happen? Terrorists are people on a mission to disrupt continuity for their own causes. Some (if not most) are “willing to die” to make their points known. When a man or woman is willing to give his or her life to inflict harm on others then that is truly an act of hate. My question is, “What could provoke someone to take hatred to such an extreme?” Behavior is learned. It is taught. The people who set out to bring chaos do so because they were taught the ways of violence. Why would someone teach others to commit acts of death and injury? Most times these people are doing so in “retaliation” for what they feel someone else has either done to them (or to someone close to them). The concept of “an eye for an eye” is real in a lot of minds. In their minds others are the terrorists. When someone commits a random act of violence against innocents it rarely ever makes any governing body bow down. If anything, they will get motivated to “step up” their efforts to increase attacks against those who committed the infractions against them. “Violence for violence… the pathway to world destruction…” On a planet where we all need each other to survive we choose to kill each other instead, and yet we still claim to be the more intellectually superior species on this planet. In some instances terrorism can also be a “cry for help.” Anyone who is willing to kill himself to send a message he will never hear the result of is engaging in “desperate behavior.” Most of those who are dedicated must feel that their lives are already over. The only difference is that they choose the time and place when they want it to  end (and how many people they plan to take with them). It doesn’t have to be this way. It would be nice if we had a “world gateway” where minds of differing opinions could meet up to share what they feel with others. Sometimes just being able to express your feelings could make the difference in all of us. The art of language and communication can be “really powerful” whenever we are willing to engage in it. Recently in Berlin a truck plowed into a crowd at a Christmas market, killing 12 and wounding 50. Here is the link to that story:

Death is decisive, final and permanent. It never opens up the doors of communication and often destroys our chances. Just like violence can be taught, so can the concepts of peace… No one can undo the wrongs of the past. Only when minds want to start from the present moment will we ever have a chance of making peace last. War is not a show of strength, but rather a recognition of weakness. The real test of superiority comes from realizing our own vulnerabilities and imperfections and not allowing emotions to dictate our actions. There is such a thing as an “intelligent fight.” In war there are no winners…only survivors… I have a fear that the next few years will bring about much more turmoil than the world needs. Somehow it feels as though this is only the beginning. No one man can save us, but collectively we can make a difference… Peace doesn’t start with you, or with me… It starts with “us…” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
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Stevie Wonder and Brett Jolly


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Brett Jolly singing a Rick James song”)

This is a video of the Brett Jolly Experience performing 2 songs in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The first song is a classic by Rick James entitled “Give it to me baby” and the lead singer for it is Brett Jolly. The second song is a tune by James Brown entitled “Get up like a sex machine” and the lead singer on that is Stan Brisbon. The place is Kelsey’s in Atlantic City. Hope you enjoy. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.