Former Oak Bay resident Jeff Bryant returned to Victoria and is playing Irish Times on Sept. 12 and is releasing his first original album. (Photo By Adam Schelle)

Former Victoria busker returns home with first album

Jeff Bryant performed as a human statue

After eight years of making a living playing cover music, Jeff Bryant has confronted his fear and written an original album.

The 40-year-old, who was raised in Oak Bay and graduated from Oak Bay High, will play at the Irish Times pub on Sept. 12.

It’s the first solo album for Bryant, who was a fixture busking for years on the Causeway in the early 2000s. First, in a guitar duo with fellow University of Victoria student Adam Greeley in 2002 and 2003. Later, as a “human statue” in the vein of Clark Clark’s Plasterman who recently died. In 2007, Bryant formed a successful guitar-strumming duo with Zach Stevenson called the Human Statues.

READ ALSO: Young Oak Bay singer shines in summer of COVID

“The name was an homage to our time busking as human statues, which took us Toronto and back,” Bryant said.

Stevenson created a popular character called Disco Man that was also popular on Granville Island.

Bryant performed as Johnny B Gold, and performed in Victoria, Toronto and Vancouver.

“We were exploring the professional world of street performance,” Bryant recalled.

As the Human Statues, they started humbly, taking busker gigs and other small shows in Toronto, then working their way across the country with national tours until 2012. Since then though, Bryant has toured as a cover musician, showcasing his unique style and passion for Beatles and others 1960s and ‘70s-style guitar rock.

“My family is still here, I came to check in on my parents and make sure my mom and dad had what they needed [for the long haul of COVID19],” Bryant said. “When I left my apartment I figured it’s either a week, or a year, and nothing in between.”

Now is the next step as Bryant is still here and is launching his first solo album, The Great Unknown, with a release show Sept. 12 at the Irish Times. The pandemic has brought Bryant home and given him the chance to reconnect with his roots as he releases an album that is the next big step in his life, he said.

“I avoided original music [the past eight years], so this project is about me confronting that fear, and that creative atrophy,” Bryant said.

READ MORE: Victoria’s adored busker Plasterman, a living statue, dies

A medical incident last year spurred Bryant to record his own album of original music.

“I had some unexplained seizures. I went through a battery of tests, neurological and physical tests, and it went undiagnosed,” Bryant said. “I struggle with heart pain, chest pain, dizziness. It’s something that might not go away.”

It clarified for Bryant that life is precious.

“When you grasp that it shifts to a true appreciation for life and opportunity.”

Bryant has kept to his roots as a busker, showing up to play a series of shows at Willows Beach this summer. It’s a far cry from the popular busking shows he first performed in 2002.

“I used to watch the circle shows, what I called the busking shows that had a crowd of people around it,” Bryant said. “I followed that. I designed a show to get all the people from the cruise ship to stick around. I used a shtick to keep them there until the end.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

oak bay

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

MISSING: Saanich police search for 18-year-old last seen Sept. 9

Robyn Coker-Steel has short purple hair, frequents downtown Victoria

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Saanich police encourage safe driving habits as rain leads to pooling on roadways

Slow down, inspect vehicle ahead of driving in wet autumn weather

Three years for serial bank robber who hit Sidney branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Sidney, Abbotsford and Vancouver

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read