In March 2022, I had the opportunity to spend an enjoyable afternoon chatting with Brad Newman for a Prescott Palette Profile. Brad was as affable, high strung, and positive as ever. We discussed the challenges of the last couple years, personal losses, and the benefits of community and caring for others.

Three months later, Brad suffered a severe stroke, and is currently on the path to recovery in Phoenix. The Prescott-area communities are coming together this evening, Thursday, May 18, at the Turf Park in Prescott Valley, behind Colt’s Grill to help “Bring Brad Back.” Gates open at 5 p.m., with the program beginning at 6. The goal is to raise enough money to “Bring Brad Back” — back home to Prescott, to continue his rehabilitation and be closer to those who care so deeply about him, back to a community he has selflessly given of his time, talents and compassion for more than 40 years.

Pre-sign up, or RSVP, for the event can be done online at Walk ups are welcome, but the pre-registration allows the group to plan accordingly for food provided by Rosa’s Pizzeria of Prescott Valley, as well as beverages, etc.

Local-favorite Road One South will be providing the musical entertainment, and there will also be a live auction. Attendees are also encouraged to bring a cash donation to help “Bring Brad Back!” All funds donated and raised will go directly to Bring Brad Back.

Online donations can also be made at

Given the event taking place tonight, following is the original story from March 3, 2022:

“I’m just average, common too. I’m just like him and the same as you. I’m everybody’s brother and son. I’m no different than anyone.” – Bob Dylan

If you asked Brad Newman to describe himself, this may very well be his response. And in some ways, it is true. If it were to be true, being average and common is something we should all aspire to.

For the past 46 years, yes, that’s 40-plus-6 years, Brad has been the director of Yavapai Exceptional Industries. During that time, he has led the charge of treating those with disabilities with respect and compassion, allowing them to take their rightful place as productive members of our community. And along the way, increasing their self- esteem with a sense of belonging and purpose.

At the age of 22, while attending University of Arizona, Brad drove to Prescott to interview with the then-Yavapai Rehab Center. Upon taking the position, Brad made a promise to exceed their expectations and meet all their goals in two years. And as he says today, “I’m going on 40 plus years of OT.”

But here’s the kicker… Most everyone knows Brad for his work with YEI, but he is also a talented performer. Whether on stage at a local venue, or leading a ride down the river strumming tunes, Brad proclaims himself “Prescott’s Entertainment Value” — I consider him Prescott’s Troubadour.

“I saw the Ed Sullivan Show with the Beatles on Sunday, bought a guitar on Thursday, joined a band on Saturday, and had a sit down with the folks soon after. My mother said, ‘I’m gonna let you do this, because this is just a fad that will be over by summer.’”

Many summers later, Brad is still strumming and dolling out advice and stories through a mixture of standards, covers and original pieces.

On the theatrical stage, Brad was in the second production at Prescott Fine Arts Association, now Suze’s PCA, in “Blithe Spirit.” That was followed up by acting in their third production, “Oh Man Oh Woman.” This was 1972.

Thirty years later, Brad still hits the stage occasionally. His most recent foray was as Scrooge in “A Territorial Prescott Christmas Carol” radio theater. “I like doing Scrooge, it’s a wonderful story of transformation, redemption, and forgiveness.”

The performers and directors Brad has worked with is way too long to list, but let’s simply say each one is a story in and of itself.

If you have not attended one of his gigs, it’s like seeing an old friend who just wants to sit down with ya, share a beer, and tell a story or two.

Along with Michael McDowell, his partner in musical crime for the past 20 years, Brad spins local tales along with his “Music Menu” of folk standards and songwriter tunes.

“Performing and a performance has to touch you somewhere. As long as James Taylor, Jackson Brown, Paul McCartney, and Springsteen are making new music, I’m gonna be performing.”

During our conversation we discussed the role of creatives, caregivers, and more than there is room to print today. We touched on events taking place throughout the world and the importance of music and the arts when dealing with heartache, tragedy, loss, and also to celebrate how fortunate we are.

I asked how much longer he intends to oversee and guide YEI. His response was quick and resolute: “Until I’m done. Until everyone agrees with me. I’m having a good time, even 46 years later.”

He adds, “I’ve got a great gig. I get hugs, I get told thank you. It’s the best gig ever.”

I finished by asking as to his favorite song. Brad offered his current favorite, one that is both topical and personal. “I would have to say, Jackson Brown’s ‘Little too soon to say,’” he said.

“And after what we’ve come to live with, I wanna know if you’re OK. We’ve gotta think it’s gonna be alright, It’s just a little soon to say.” – Jackson Brown

The challenges of the last two years gave many an extra load to carry, and as long as there are folks like Brad Newman around, ya gotta believe, “It’s gonna be alright.”

“Bring Brad Back” is tonight, Thursday, May 18, in Prescott Valley.

For information, visit

To make a financial donation:

Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. His radio show, the Prescott Palette, is on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email:

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