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Longtime Musician Releases First Solo Songs

Singer-songwriter Brian Moran, known by the musical persona BriGuy Whitehorse, sits in his studio in the basement of his northwest Spokane home.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Singer-songwriter Brian Moran, known by the musical persona BriGuy Whitehorse, sits in his studio in the basement of his northwest Spokane home. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review For The Spokesman-Review

By day, Brian Moran is a forensic accountant for the federal government. By night, he’s singer-songwriter BriGuy WhiteHorse.

But it took a global pandemic for him to finally let his voice be heard.

Moran started playing trumpet in fifth grade. By seventh grade, he was part of his first band.

“I taught myself keyboard,” he said.

At Shadle Park High School, he played trumpet in marching band and jazz band, but he always wanted to play the drums. So, he bought an old drum kit and taught himself.

“A month later, I played drums in a big festival at Corbin Park.”

After graduating from Gonzaga University with a degree in accounting, music became his side hustle. In the ‘90s he wrote songs and performed with the band Trouser Trouts.

“I played drums but didn’t sing,” Moran said.

Trouser Trouts gained a following at spots like Swackhammer’s and Ichabod’s. A DJ characterized their sound as Barenaked Ladies meets The Clash.

“We played at the same time as The Mayfield Four when Myles Kennedy was with them,” Moran recalled. “We released a CD and signed with a manager.”

Shortly, before their tour was to launch, their guitarist quit and the band folded soon after.

Moran married, had two kids and played sporadically with a local cover band. In 2016, his son bought him a two-track recorder, and Moran began writing and recording songs in the basement of his home in northwest Spokane.

“I always thought about how my songs would sound if I recorded exactly what’s in my head and sang them,” he said. “I played all the instruments in my songs and even taught myself violin and banjo in one day because I felt the songs needed them.”

When the pandemic hit, he’d recorded about 20 songs, never thinking anyone would ever hear them. The extra time at home fueled his creative energies.

“I wrote a lot during the pandemic – probably a song every two months,” Moran said. “But I’ve never played my songs in front of anyone – even my family.”

It was his son, Ben Moran, who pushed him to share his music via streaming services. Ben is a musician who performs with Durnst & Friends and Big Mug Gail. He told his dad he knew someone who could help get his songs out there.

Hesitantly, Moran agreed but decided he wanted to release his songs under a musical persona – BriGuy WhiteHorse.

“I’m a quarter Chippewa. I went to a sweat lodge and was given the native name, WhiteHorse,” he said. “My kids’ friends call me BriGuy, and an alias was born.”

His first YouTube release “Quarantine Blues” debuted on March 31, 2020.

“It’s about seeing the good in people,” he said.

From upbeat country-rock songs like “Broken Down Ford” to soulful ballads like “She” and “Angel,” Moran enjoys the creative release of writing and recording.

“I like to tell stories in the lyrics,” he said. “Kris Kristofferson is my favorite artist.”

He’s upgraded his home studio so he can produce his own work, and readily admits he loses track of time when he’s composing or recording.

“I feel sorry for my wife,” Moran said. “I come down here after work and the hours fly. I get so enthralled by the music. When I finally get the bones of a song down – oh my gosh, there’s this sense of accomplishment!”

Streaming services like Spotify and iTunes mean his songs are heard all over the world.

“’Broken Down Ford’ is big in Canada,” he said.

Still, he doesn’t consider himself an accomplished vocalist.

He tackled those feelings in his song “Can’t Play” – “Say I can’t play guitar and I know I can’t sing. I’m gonna play ‘til my ears ring.”

While he hasn’t performed his music in front of an audience, he currently drums with a couple of local bands.

He grinned.

“I like being a drummer in the background.”

But a live-audience solo debut may be in the works. He’s working on his first EP and enjoying collaborating with his son.

“The pandemic revealed what was important to me – my passions,” Moran said. “For the first time, I’m singing my own songs.”

BriGuy WhiteHorse on YouTube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCPtxRXCwa_4_XBIkkjqehFw

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