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Best Army 


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On Wed. April 20, 2016, local musician and bartender Eric Brantley was senselessly murdered after closing down the bar at the Sparrow in Park Circle — an unspeakably horrific loss to a great deal of the local (or once-local), tight-knit music and F&B communities. I regret that I only knew Brantley as a mutual acquaintance (he was intimidating — always the coolest guy in the room who, if you didn’t know him, you wanted to) but what I witnessed of his enormous circle over the following weeks went far beyond friendship. It was the movement of a family, and that family came to be known as the EBLA — the Eric Brantley Liberation Army — a title coined by Brantley himself. EBLA T-shirts and stickers were printed for the army, with donations benefitting Brantley’s family and funeral costs. And these emblems became, consciously or not, symbols of a family many never knew they had, where one-time strangers could identify one another and know instantly of the bond that they shared, as family. Family take care of one another, and that is one beautiful legacy. Brantley’s army is seemingly infinite and is one badass, powerful motherfucker. Rest in peace, Eric, and long live the EBLA. —Kelly Rae Smith


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