Nelson Bragg (born August 14, 1961) is an American percussionist, vocalist and songwriter based in Los Angeles, California.
Nelson Bragg was born in Dover, New Hampshire on August 14, 1961. He played in several bands from 1979 to 1999, including positions as a pit drummer for more than twenty stage musicals. He later played at the Emerson College theater in Boston, Massachusetts and at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London, New Hampshire.
Bragg's bands include the horn-driven/post-punk dance band Big Noise (1981-1987) based in Woodstock, New York, and Farmhouse (1989-1992), a harmony-based folk rock group based in Northampton, Massachusetts. Bragg moved to Los Angeles in 1999.
In 2000, Bragg joined several Los Angeles pop bands, including The Now People, The Quarter After, Twenty Cent Crush and Cloud Eleven. In 2001, Bragg joined Stew for his album, titled Naked Dutch Painter, and played subsequent shows promoting the album, which was named Entertainment Weekly's "Album of the Year" for 2002. Bragg also played with pop group The Negro Problem, Stew's former band and alter ego.
In 2003, Nelson joined Brian Wilson's band as a percussionist-vocalist for live performances of Wilson's unreleased album Smile. The February 2004 premiere in London and subsequent tour was followed by a formal recording of "Smile", released in September 2004. "Smile" received multiple nominations for the 2004 Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical (for Mark Linett). The album later won a single Grammy, in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance, for the track "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow".
In 2005, the Smile two-DVD set was released, featuring a full-length documentary of Brian Wilson's "Smile" story, and the making of it, both in 1966-1967 and newly again in 2004. The documentary aired on Showtime in October 2004, and was directed by Beach Boys authority David Leaf. A live concert performance of "Smile" is featured on the second disc.
Bragg continues to perform many tours worldwide, including performances from the "Smile" album. This includes a total of twelve nights at London's Royal Festival Hall, two nights at Carnegie Hall (broadcast on NPR radio, nationally on Thanksgiving Day 2004), two nights at The Sydney Opera House, The Hollywood Bowl, three nights with The Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2008, Royal Albert Hall, The Montreaux Jazz Festival, The New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Newport Folk Fest, Brandenburgh Gate - Berlin for the worldwide Live 8 benefit and at The 2005 Glastonbury Festival in the United Kingdom, setting attendance records.
Bragg has also performed with Brian Wilson's band on several television appearances, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and on The Late Show with Conan O'Brien.
Bragg's recordings include Brian Wilson's Christmas album, All I Really Want For Christmas, released in 2005 and That Lucky Old Sun, released in 2008. Between 2006 and 2007, the band performed the Pet Sounds album in the U.S. and Europe, celebrating its 40th anniversary (Beach Boy and Al Jardine joined the band for the U.S. leg of the tour). That Lucky Old Sun was an anticipated album that garnered mixed reviews.
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