Brickhardt wrote and sang songs for Tender Mercies, a country music-themed film starring Robert Duvall. This led to a lengthy residency in Nashville, where he saw his songs recorded by such legends as Ray Charles, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, The Judds, Tony Rice and Alison Krauss. In 2006, he returned to his Pennsylvania roots and fully came into his own as a solo performer. By the end of the decade, Brickhardt had won a new legion of fans on the East Coast and beyond through opening gigs for the likes of Judy Collins and Kathy Mattea and club dates on his own.