New Times: Who is Under Every Green Tree — is it primarily you, or are some of the tracks penned by your bandmates?
Brunjes: It definitely started as just me. A good friend of mine, [Alexander frontman] Ryan Alexander, really got behind the songs once we started to work in his studio a bit. He helped me finish writing some of them and played a huge role in the record. Ian Jones has become my regular drummer, and Brent Ray is joining us on bass. I have friends who are willing to help out with other instruments for live purposes, but I'm really just waiting for the right people to join up with at this point.
When was your debut, Everybody Tells a Story, recorded, and who contributed?
The project began in January 2009. I sheepishly told Ryan about my little catalog of songs. He gets really excited about pretty much everything, so he offered to do some recordings. We both lead really busy lives, so we would take months off at a time, then get back into it every day for a week straight. Ian played drums, and Ryan and I wrote and tracked everything else. We finished by November and were pretty stoked about it.
What are your influences, musically speaking?
For the most part, I will always have my go-to records: definitely Bob Dylan, David Bazan, Ben Kweller, the Beatles, and the Avett Brothers.
What are some of the real-life inspirations for your heartfelt songs?
I guess like any other artist, creating is not only a way to deal with things that are going on outside but it's also an overflow of what's going on inside. I have never been able to pick a topic and write about it. I'm not good at making political statements or being really clever about what I think on this issue or that issue. Whether it be a vain heartache or a significant spiritual crisis, my experience with people and God shapes my writing.