Birthday brings both hope and uncertainty for transplant patient

When he takes the Great Basin Brewing Company stage for a special Sat., March 5, 2011 show that falls on his 49th birthday, singer-songwriter and transplant patient Brother Dan Palmer will naturally reflect on the dichotomy of two prevailing themes in his life: hope and uncertainty, a precarious, dare-to-dream way of living.

Almost two years after liver failure led to three near-death episodes — followed by three miraculous revivals — the former northern Nevadan is embracing the idea of picking up where he left off. While Palmer joyfully reclaims his life, health, love and music, it’s a razor’s-edge of simultaneously reckoning with the fact that his health can take a dramatic downward spiral, a life-and-death scenario that, ironically, would abruptly move his number up on the national transplant waiting list.

Writing, recording and performing are Palmer’s lifeblood — and a healing force that goes above and beyond a symbolic creative outlet. For his loved ones, seeing Brother Dan back onstage, entertaining and interacting with his audience, is not simply his lifeblood — it’s a true miracle for the man who was unable to speak for six weeks, who faced the threat of never singing and playing music again.

“Close to two years ago both mine & Dan’s lives changed forever,” states Melisa Maxey, Palmer’s sweetheart and caregiver, who’s been at his side every step of the way. “I’m not sure if people really realize how far Dan has come. To see Brother Dan play, sing his own music and perform on stage with his longtime friends brings tears to my eyes. I have seen Dan on life-support, with doctors giving him no chance of recovery. I was next to his hospital bed when he opened his eyes, squeezed my hand and whispered to me ‘it’s going to be okay,’ after coming out of each of three comas. I sat in disbelief as he played his guitar and sang ‘Don’t Walk Away,’ — a song he wrote while in the hospital, still in his hospital gown, in his hospital bed. To me, Dan is a true testament of how the human spirit can overcome unimaginable circumstances. He has provided hope for so many people around the world. My wish for Brother Dan, as he continues to put one foot in front of the other, is to be surrounded by love.”  

Like an angel, Maxey will be steadfastly present when The Brother Dan Band performs a free show on Sat., March 5, 8-11 p.m. at the Great Basin Brewing Company, 846 Victorian Ave., Sparks, Nev. Palmer will be joined onstage by loyal friends Phil Prunier (guitars, vocals), Joel Edwards (sax, flute, vocals) and Gary Setzer (percussion).

Brother Dan Palmer began studying classical guitar at age 6, and has been performing since he was 8 years old. With his own discography, as well as a repertoire of over 1,000 cover songs, Palmer has opened for or played music with major-label recording artists David Lindley, Foghat, War, Men At Work, Three Dog Night, and many more. A longtime volunteer for many local organizations including the Nevada Humane Society, Burners Without Borders, and C*A*R*E* Chest of Sierra Nevada, Brother Dan is on the waiting list for a liver transplant in California, and serves as an ambassador for Donate Life. Palmer’s latest release, Fishnet Stockings, is available on CD.


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