One-man band captures a big crowd at Silly Market
Brian Ernst closes his eyes and concentrates on his guitar riff. The timing has to be split-second perfect when he taps the looping pedal with his bare foot. Then he quickly picks up another instrument, hits the pedal again and the two sounds begin to intertwine. Then he swings his mike over to a large African drum, picks up the same rhythm, touches the pedal and leans over to blow a few notes on a didgeridoo.
Ernst is in constant motion and after a minute or two, so is his audience. He played to a growing horseshoe of onlookers at Sunday’s Silly Market and had to stop several times to apologize for running out of CDs of his original music.
Ernst considers himself to be part of a log standing tradition of "busking," a term that refers to the art of street performing. A list of some legendary buskers who ended up becoming big stars includes Bob Hope, Bob Dylan and Blue Man Group.
"I think every musician should spend some time street performing, it’s very humbling," says Ernst who lost his job at a construction supply warehouse when his busking started to impede on his work hours.
"The boss canned me right before the holidays and all I had was my instruments," he recalls.
But losing his day job was probably the best thing that could have happened to him. His musical popularity seems to be growing as fast as the crowd did last weekend on Main Street. In fact, Ernst had to ask people to pack in a little closer so as not to block the rest of the market’s foot traffic.
"That’s where my passion is playing music," says the 24-year old who was encouraged to make the trip from his home base in Jacksonville, Fla. to Park City by market organizer Kimberly Kuehn.
"I was playing at this place called The Mellow Mushroom and Kimberly said, ‘You gotta come to Park City.’
"I was excited, I had no idea what to expect," he said.
While skeptical at first, Ernst said he has been "blown away by the people that are here. There is a real sense of community."
The dreadlocked, bandana wearing free spirit refers to his music as soul/acoustic/funk and predominantly plays his own music. "I have about 40 original songs, he said after playing many of them over the course of a sunny afternoon.
Reflecting on his adventures Ernst says, "Me playing music and traveling around the country is such a tremendous blessing. It is a testimony that dreams can come true."
Brian Ernst will perform at The Spur Bar and Grill, 350 ½ Main Street, Thursday, Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. and again at the final Silly Market of the season on lower Main Street Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m.
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Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson has decried what she called a lenient sentence in a child sex abuse case in which a 20-year-old reportedly attempted to impregnate a 12-year-old. The perpetrator was sentenced to 20 days in jail and 10 years of probation.