The description of Saturday’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser on the website of Raleigh rock club Kings sells the night’s music by way of oddity, portraying Bradley as a band “who played ’60s music during the actual ’60s.” This is most certainly true of the longstanding, on-again-off-again roots-rock outfit that formed in Raleigh in 1968. But the members have no interest in simply stirring nostalgia or winning points for longevity.
“We were serious about being musicians,” offers guitarist Tommy Goldsmith. “We’ve all gotten a lot better since then, but we’re all friends. We’re all still alive. And we’re all still in Raleigh. We just started playing together for fun.”
The core players got together while they were attending Raleigh’s Broughton and Sanderson high schools. While that anchor remains solid, the group is adding new members for this new life. Experienced local rocker David Adams will add keys, while the younger Settie Monroe— Goldsmith’s cousin—will contribute backing vocals, her rich pipes pushing the veterans toward some “Gillian Welch alt-country stuff,” according to Goldsmith.
“We all knew that if we wanted to go back and do it, there had to be kind of a higher level,” he says. “People expect professionalism, and we’re equipped to do that. I’ve never practiced so much in years.”
Bradley also doesn’t want this new iteration to be just a momentary gig. They’re lining up material for a new collection they hope to record and self-release, and they’re actively looking to set up more shows following Saturday’s appearance. After more than 45 years in the game, Bradley isn’t about to call it quits anytime soon.
“What I’d really like to do is play once or twice a month at the same place and have it become an event, just a place that people know to go to hear good music,” Goldsmith offers. “I’m 62, and the other guys are within a couple years of my age. I would have thought it preposterous when I was in this band initially that there would be guys of my age still playing, but we hammer it, man.”
Bradley plays a benefit for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Saturday, March 15, at Kings. The 8 p.m. show costs $10.