What's Been Happening
We’ve been very busy this year, releasing two new songs The Living Legend and Roots and Rocks. The Living Legend is about Union Pacific's renowned 844 steam locomotive. Roots and Rocks is a melodic telling of the joys and travails of backpacking, drawn largely from Phil's extensive treks on the Appalachian Trail. Both songs have accompanying videos and can be viewed under our VIDEOS tab above.
Who Is Nebraska 66?
We are Phil and Mark Brey, (pronounced BRYE), a father and son music duo. We are recording and releasing Phil's lifetime work of musical compositions to make them accessible to family, friends, and the wider public.
Recorded and mixed by Mark in his recording studio, we strive to render Phil's songs into highly listenable recordings, steadfast to traditional Country and Americana music roots while also being attentive to rock, blues, folk and other influences. We believe this approach has produced our own special sound, refreshing in its originality.
For some years, we performed in various venues ranging from biker bars and other clubs to more sedate senior centers and church services. Time and distance prevent us from playing together now, but as is often the case, when one door closes another opens. Thanks for journeying through this new door with us to travel down the open musical highway ahead!
Phil Brey - composer, singer and guitarist
Phil Brey always had a knack for dreaming up witty lyrics and setting them to his own catchy melodies. Over time, he assembled a rather impressive catalog of well-crafted works covering an array of subjects. These range from such standard fare as soured romances, homesickness, and the lure of the open road to other topics including prairie windmills, backpacking, and steam locomotives, to name just a few.
However, his songs, although holding great potential, languished in obscure desk drawers on yellowed notebooks, never to be heard in a modern recording studio or on a streaming platform. His songs seemed fated to exist solely as cryptic notes on timeworn paper, ultimately to disappear into the past.
Fortunately, aware of this rich motherlode of original compositions, Phil and his son Mark resolved to preserve his songs for family and friends and to make them more widely available to others who had not yet been privileged to hear them. It was also a lifelong dream to market the songs to possibly achieve some measure of commercial success.
The small town of Raymond, Nebraska was fertile ground for a budding songwriter, providing many colorful and adventure-filled experiences that later manifested themselves in Phil’s songs. Living with the fields, woods and sloughs of Oak Creek Valley just beyond his front door, he experienced no shortage of boyhood adventures from which to draw upon in composing his songs. And all this before he even started hoboing on freight trains!
Music-wise, he had piano and trumpet lessons as a boy but was drawn to guitar at age 13 along with singing. He soon was playing in local taverns, one room school houses and other spots in the Raymond locale. After graduating from high school, he played in several jazz combos while holding various day jobs including bridge construction work and building freight cars for the Chicago Burlington and Quincy railroad.
For a time, he was a real life hobo, hopping freight trains that took him west to San Francisco after a stint working at a hotel in the Colorado Rockies.
Later, he served in the army in Germany, where he met his wife Anna. Returning to the states, he resumed playing in various combos while learning a printer’s trade. In 1969, he and the family moved to Washington D.C. where he worked at the Government Printing Office until his retirement in 1993. He and Anna then returned to Nebraska where they now live in Lincoln.