Bet on Bret: Smithsonian singer drops solo debut

Get to know veteran gay Atlanta singer Bret Busch, as the Smithsonian singer drops his first solo

By Gregg Shapiro

A fixture on the Atlanta music scene for more than 25 years, you’ve probably already heard out singer Bret Busch singing with a number of bands. Now it’s time to see what he can really do when he spreads his wings.

Busch most recently fronted the Smiths tribute band Smithsonian. He works a day job in advancement at a local liberal arts college and is finally releasing his formal solo debut, Pills Lace & Confetti this Friday, July 21. A delightful and varied collection of covers and originals, it’s the perfect soundtrack for summer 2017 and beyond.

Even better? Busch hosts and plays an album release show on Aug. 11 at Venkman’s.

Pills Lace & Confetti is your first solo in a lengthy career. Why now?

William Joiner, the producer of the album, and a fellow musician and longtime friend of mine, and I were at a friend’s wedding a few years ago. He asked my why I’d never released a solo album, and I didn’t have a good answer for that. I hadn’t ever really broken out on my own. He said it was time for me to do that. He spearheaded the project and convinced me to do it.


The song “Ink Black Sea” hearkens The Velvet Underground. Are they a musical influence?

I definitely was obsessed with the Andy Warhol Silver Sixties when I was in my 20s and devoured everything that had to do with it. That branched into The Velvet Undergound. The Velvet Underground and Nico album is untouchable; a great record. That’s where I started with them. I love them. That dirty rock that they did was so fresh and still sounds amazing today.


You do a reverent cover of Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down The Line.” Why that song?

I’ve always loved that song and his voice. I grew up listening to the music of the `70s. That was a big radio hit when I was a child. His range is perfect for me. It’s such a sweet song, and it made me think of my partner – the album’s photographer and a nationally recognized art photographer, Jody Fausett.


“Puget Sound” has tea dance written all over it. Do you harbor dreams of being a dance diva?

I love pop music, and I have always loved listening to dance music. I’m always watching for releases from the big ladies – Madonna, Kylie, and all that. I would love for somebody to remix a couple of the songs on the record and make them tea dance-ready. When I first heard the demo track of “Puget Sound,” I was so happy. Sometimes it’s hard to find upbeat songs for your record. It’s easy find ones that are more dramatic. We wanted to keep that one in the roster so we had had something to elevate the mood.

Speaking of divas, who’s that belter on “Small Town Fight”?

Her name is Natalye Howard. She’s a local singer. One of the best things that Will Joiner brought to the project is that he has worked with so many local professional musicians. Will knows Natalye and recommended her for doing some background vocals. Her background vocals are more like co-lead vocals. She’s got such a strong voice and presence on the songs she’s on.

Pills & Cofetti drops on all platforms July 14. Visit and find Bret Busch on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He celebrates the album release with a concert on Aug. 11 at Venkman’s, 740 Ralph McGill Blvd NE.

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