DebraLee Darling and her Brad Habit bring vintage charm to Fairfield

By From page B10 | September 08, 2012

DebraLee Darling and her Brad Habit

Brad Andersohn and his wife Debra Lee Andersohn sing their own rendition of “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” on Wednesday at their home in Fairfield. The two in their 1940s inspired get-ups are better known as “DebraLee Darling and her Brad Habit” band. (Conner Jay/Daily Republic)

FAIRFIELD — Sitting in their backyard on a Wednesday afternoon, Brad Andersohn and his wife Debra Lee effortlessly sang and played “A Kiss to Build a Dream On.”

The Andersohns, dressed in their 1940s-inspired get-ups, are better known as DebraLee Darling and her Brad Habit.

As the duo crooned to the vintage tune covered by the likes of Louis Armstrong, the neighbor’s dogs did some crooning of their own in response.

“I hope this means they like it,” Brad Andersohn said, laughing.

The Andersohns formed their vintage ukulele and singer musical duo earlier this year and have been charming humans and dogs alike.

Debra Lee Andersohn wears her ’40s-inspired dresses, heels and hair pinned up as she sings “Smile,” by Charlie Chaplin, with her buttery voice.

That voice, paired with her husband’s ukulele skills, are inspired quite a bit by the sounds and soul of jazz music.

The Andersohns have been involved in all genres of music for nearly 22 years, but it was only recently that Debra Lee Andersohn discovered jazz was a perfect fit.

“I really got into jazz,” she said. “It felt like I had come home.”

She and Brad had dabbled in just about every other form of music in every kind of setting, including music at their church, cover bands, Top 40 bands and a rock ‘n’ roll family band with their sons.

Their band, Armored Flight, even made it to the finals of “America’s Got Talent.”

But Debra Lee Andersohn really loves jazz. Her husband discovered her jazz-loving agenda when she asked him to learn the ukulele and learn “Tonight You Belong to Me” from the movie “The Jerk.”

“I pulled Brad’s arm,” she said.

“She yanked my arm,” he said, laughing.

The Andersohns’ music is influenced mostly by 1920s, ’30s and ’40s jazz music, but occasionally they tackle modern-day hits and add a flair of their vintage charm.

They’ve also found inspiration from Hawaiian music after spending nearly two years on Oahu. Their first original song, “Lose Yourself in Aloha,” is directly inspired by Hawaii.

Although they have only been a musical duo for a few months, the Andersohns have had many great experiences and gigs thus far.

They play regularly at wineries throughout Suisun Valley and at venues in Napa Valley. Earlier this year, they played for Sonoma “Bachelor” Ben Flajnik. Their greatest musical experiences, though, haven’t been at the big venues or with the celebrities. What they enjoy most, they said, are those personal moments.

Debra Lee Andersohn was really touched when she and her husband played the song “Smile” for a woman working at the Suisun Valley Wine Co-Op. After they were done playing, the woman told them that song helped her get through her battle with cancer.

“She said, ‘That’s the one song I always came back to.’ What an amazing blessing,” Debra Lee Andersohn said.

All recordings by DebreLee Darling and her Brad Habit are available for free on http://debraleedarling.com/.

Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San covers Rio Vista, features and general news for the Daily Republic. She received her bachelors of art degree from the University of Oregon.

Discussion | 1 comment

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  • Brad AndersohnSeptember 08, 2012 - 9:57 am

    Thank you Heather for sharing this article and Conner for the photos in the paper today. We really enjoyed having you both over as guests in our home last week. The dogs "crooning" was an added bonus for sure! :-)

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