Where to listen
What: Madison Rising will perform at the annual Cpl. Matthew Hanes benefit. The show is one of the band's Shows 4 Heroes, where they perform free of charge to help a veteran or military cause raise funds. Madison Rising will headline the event and bands Missing Time and Close also performing.
Where: Shiloh American Legion, 1490 Poplars Road, York
When: Saturday, April 18, with music from 5 to 10 p.m.
Cost: $10 at the door.
Online: To learn more about Madison Rising, which will be releasing a CD with four new songs within the next month, visit www.madisonrising.com .
Dave Bray and his band, Madison Rising, say they're America's most patriotic rock band.
They will spend more than a dozen weekends this spring and summer touring the United States, playing for fans of their rock music.
But Bray, who grew up in Jefferson Borough, and now lives with his family in West Manchester Township, was raised on folk music.
"My mom used to play acoustic guitar and play folk music to me," Bray said. "She kind of played a classical folk mix."
Bray recalled trying to play acoustic guitar as a boy, and how his mom would teach him.
He also sang in the church choir and in the elementary school chorus.
But as he reached his teen years, Bray's musical preference changed.
"I realized (playing folk music and singing in the chorus) wasn't very rock n' roll," he said. He enjoyed rock music, and that's what he wanted to play.
Around his sophomore or junior year, Bray and friends from school formed a band.
"We played in our basement," Bray said. "We'd play people's barn parties, and stuff like that."
Bray enlisted in the Navy right out of high school, and put any dream of one day playing music professionally on hold.
"I always felt it kind of had to be done," Bray said of his military service. His brother and his father, and other men in his family had served.
While he was in the military, music was still a big part of his life.
He bought his first guitar while serving. He wrote and played music while on the ship.
His songs were about people he met in the military, or about people he could envision, like Vietnam veterans — people whose lives were affected by their service.
"Just stand-up-and-fight songs," Bray called some of the songs he wrote, songs about people who stood their ground for something.
That's the music Bray and Madison Rising aim to create and perform now, he said.
"Our general fanbase, they're very patriotic," Bray said. The passion of the fanbase, Bray said, "that says you've done something right."
Becky Bray, Bray's wife and the band's director of operations, said she sees how much Madison Rising's music means to the fans.
"Because I am behind the scenes, I get to talk to (fans) on a more personal level," Becky Bray said. She's seen veterans who have felt like no one understands what they've been through until they found Madison Rising. People "don't realize how much music is impactful in people's lives," Becky Bray said, "And how healing it is."
Being in the music industry, Bray said, people talk about making it to the top, "but there is no top," he said. The industry is always changing, always evolving.
Bray's goal is to get to a point where he can bring his family on the road with him, he said.
And he wants to keep making music that he is proud of, that bring families together and that spreads a message of hope and patriotism.
"We feel like we're supporting these guys who are protecting freedom," Bray said. "And we're giving these little seeds of patriotism to our children."
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