Brubaker is a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based, percussive fingerstyle guitarist. Combining traditional, melodic fingerstyle playing with the rhythmic drive from two hand tapping and percussive hits on the body and strings of the guitar, he couples technique with elements such as live looping to create complex soundscapes. Though an instrumental guitarist, he marries his performances with stories from his personal life, delving into the adventure-laden origins of the songs and exploring his own, unique writing style.
Since he began his journey as a solo-musician, Brubaker has sought to tear down the common perceptions of what music is and what it can be, with his three self-released albums: Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe (2009), Live at Muddy River Jam Fest VI (2013), and The Architect; The Engineer (2015). His fourth release and third studio album is due out in 2020, titled Building Harmonic Castles. The first single, First Dance, was released on 2 February 2020.
Alex first picked up a guitar in sixth grade in music class, during their guitar section. He enjoyed this experience, so he asked for a guitar for his twelfth birthday. After four years of lessons, he broke away from the more structured learning style to explore music on his own. This involved a few attempted garage bands in high school, tending to lean towards hard rock and heavy metal. At the time, Brubaker's main influences were prog rock bands like Dream Theater and metal bands such as August Burns Red.
The first big turn in Brubaker's career would happen when he graduated from high school and got a Taylor 410 as a graduation present. It was his first "nice" acoustic guitar, proving much more playable than his first acoustic, and would lead him away from the prog and metal scene. Initially, this endeavor started as more of a singer/songwriter approach with some pretty sounding chords and lyrics. Shortly thereafter, Brubaker played his first solo gig and was told to "never sing again" (seriously, it was that bad). Alex realized he needed to do something more. When his high school band, Lamb on Fire, broke up in the summer of 2007, he was out on his own with a guitar, but no voice.
That same summer, many of Alex's friends had been at a youth conference with their church . At this conference, they saw Trace Bundy do absolutely ridiculous things on/with a guitar. When they got back, Brubaker was harassed until he watched some of Trace's videos on youtube. Trace Bundy did with two hands what would usually take two or three guitarists to accomplish. This struck interest with Brubaker and led to him transforming his career into one of technical ingenuity and experimentation.
Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe (11 September 2009)
On September 11, 2009, after two years of experimenting in percussive fingerstyle, Brubaker released his debut album, Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe. This album showcases techniques such as guitar body percussion, two handed tapping, lap tapping, live looping, alternate tunings, and using two guitars. The album is innovative and fresh, amidst an era of singer/songwriters and auto-tune.
Live at Muddy River Jam Fest VI (14 June 2013)
Shortly after the release of Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe, Brubaker began working on a second album. While the goal of his first album was to break down the ideas that people have about music, the second album would be focused on reshaping their ideas and expanding their musical palate. Brubaker first began recording for this album in the fall of 2010. Recording continued in late 2011 but was put on hold after Brubaker got engaged in March of 2012.
The second studio album remained on hold; however, after gaining rights to tracks from a professionally recorded festival set that Brubaker played in 2010, he decided to have the tracks remixed and remastered for release. On June 14, 2013, Brubaker released his second album, Live at Muddy River Jam Fest VI. The album expands on themes and techniques found in his first album (including two tracks from the first album, Ice Mountain and Phoenix), but with much more free-form and experimentation.
The Architect; The Engineer (12 June 2015)
The second studio installment for Brubaker; a culmination of 5 years of writing and recording what Brubaker believes to be his best works, to date. After taking a summer of lessons from the esteemed Trevor Gordon Hall of Candyrat Records, Brubaker's approach to music took a turn towards much more intentional melodies and layering, drastically maturing his writing and playing. The album showcases a range of pieces focusing on time, rhythm, and melody, showing maturity in the themes explored in his previous releases.