Copperopolis resident Charlie Brechtel is known in some circles as the "motorcycle ambassador."
The 57-year-old father of five has spent more than a decade as the frontman for the Charlie Brechtel Band, playing blues songs inspired by the history of American biker culture at motorcycle rallies and events throughout the United States.
"I do stuff all over the United States for clubs that normally don't get along with each other," Brechtel said. "They know I'm the one who writes the songs and preserves the history, so they all treat me really good.
"It's sort of like being the Bob Dylan of the motorcycle world. I'll meet someone and then write a song about them."
Brechtel, a New Orleans native, started playing blues guitar at the age of 16 and has honed his skills over the decades playing alongside musicians such as B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Deacon Jones and Gregg Allman, of the Allman Brothers Band.
Brechtel was raised among bikers and began writing his own songs about the culture more than a decade ago.
He's since released four albums and more than 150,000 people tune into his "Bikers Inner Circle" radio show that he broadcasts live from his home in Copperopolis via the Internet. His songs have gained millions of views on YouTube and been featured in the popular TV show "Sons of Anarchy."
In recent years, Brechtel's music has also garnered a following within Russia's burgeoning biker scene.
For the complete story, see the Aug. 18 edition of The Union Democrat.