You Can Jump On My Shoulders

“I say we rob from the rich
And blow down the door.
On to the next
To dance with the poor.
Jump on my shoulders.
You can jump on my shoulders.”

—Song written and performed by Aaron Bruno (AWOLNATION)

Art by Carolyn J. Braden, Media: Gelly Roll pens by Sakura, Sharpie marker and BIC pencil

Art by Carolyn J. Braden, Media: Gelly Roll pens by Sakura, Sharpie marker and BIC pencil

This art piece was inspired by the song “Jump On My Shoulders”, written and performed by Aaron Bruno of AWOLNATION. He recently lost his personal studio due to the California fires. Looking on the bright side of a dark situation, he announced on social media “By the grace of God, my home is still standing somehow. My friends and family have been so inspiring and supportive that it brings tears to my eyes constantly.”

That definitely was good news. Not only that his home was okay, but that his friends and family took note of his very own words and became the shoulders he could “jump on”.

No matter how bright the news was that his home was fine, a loss is a loss. It’s hard when you lose something, especially when it comes on suddenly and is unexpected.

I dedicate today’s writing piece to Aaron and to all of the people and animals affected by the fires. Stuff can be replaced, but souls cannot. If you can’t support any of the California assistance efforts financially, send your good thoughts and prayers their way, for those are truly powerful things.

I have a personal connection to Aaron. It was a mere few moments, but I was “randomly” able to meet him and it was forever embedded into my memory.

Here’s my story:

I met Aaron Bruno on an interestingly warm and super windy October night in Northern Kentucky. My husband and I traveled there to see him perform live (our first time). The venue was a small performance house (it literally was an old house). His album Megalithic Symphony had just been released and I was so excited to hear it live.

We got to the venue early so I could pick my seat before the crowd arrived. As we walked among the small crowd, I spotted a balcony space that was very close to the stage. It was mostly empty except for a few people scattered about. It was perfection.

My husband and I climbed the stairs and found some seats right by someone who was quietly watching the opening band. I saw the back of the person’s head and instantly knew it was Aaron Bruno.

Now, many fans freak out when they see someone “famous”, but I did not. I really wanted to meet him as I felt he was an sensitive artistic soul similar to myself, so I suppose my desire for this occurrence won. Feeling he wanted to keep to himself and be incognito for a small second before he was in front of a big crowd, I kept my cool, knowing I would want the same.

I quietly said “Aaron?” and he turned around. We introduced ourselves quickly, as the opening band finished their last few words of their set, and he shook our hands. I asked him for a picture and my husband snapped one of the two of us. Then, as we finished our time together, I blurted out “I think you are really going places.” I felt in that moment, he needed to hear me say that. He looked at me and said “I hope so.”

We said goodbye and took our seats in the balcony. The show was amazing, and I’m happy to say his career is doing exactly what I thought. It’s definitely going places. I’ve been to three of his live shows and took my mom and friends to share his beautiful words and music. My mom particularly loves the lyrics “Blame it on my ADD baby” (and bought a shirt with those lyrics) from the song “Sail” as she’s dealt with ADD her whole life. He’s selling out larger and larger concert venues, was invited to be in a movie via a connection with Mark Wahlberg, and more.

Yes, it’s true, this fire is only a minor setback, if you look at it just like that. If anyone goes through a major life situation, you have to see the good in it. Again, stuff can be replaced, but souls cannot. I know he’ll pour his feelings and emotions from this situation into his art, which, to me, is the best form of therapy. (Just look at Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill to see art therapy turn into gold.)

Sending light and love to all who needs it!

Some song inspiration-The video below is of my all-time favorite AWOLNATION song, Sail. I was hooked from the moment I heard it. I know that’s why it’s been featured on tons of commercials and television shows. I loved it so much, that I created a simple video for it years ago with my puppet, Humphrey GoKart, and his friends. I made it when I was still teaching and my students loved it.


Photos by Tommy Braden

Photos by Tommy Braden

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