It's not surprising that Pieta Brown points to the connection of her terrestrial surroundings -- a sense of physical roots -- with the music that she creates. "I think land and music are almost one and the same. You’re born, and you’re part land and part beat," she says. "There’s no way to separate those things." For Brown, a child of the American plains (and noted folk icon Greg Brown), the large open stretches and dusty roads that were the backdrop growing up imbue her songs with a spaciousness, a casual and unhurried ease that sits between the words and notes of her bluesy alt-country songs. Her sweet and languid voice matches the mood, syllables are bent and hang Dylan-like as if slowly melting in the prairie heat of August.
Following up her fine '07 album Remember the Sun and '09 Don Was-produced spur-of-the-moment EP Shimmer, the new One and All (April 6, Red House) gathers up all the promise of Brown's earlier works with a restrained but assured clarity of artistic vision. There's also an intensely personal aspect to One and All, rear view images of her own broken home upbringing, the eternal solitary hours of childhood and what she describes as the "lonely quality" of her early musical memories. But just as music made her feel "connected and comforted", the dozen songs of One and All bridge the listener to the singer in an extraordinary way. Whether she's longing from a distance in the gentle rural waltz "Faller" or being "just a stranger in this land" in the smoky twang of "Calling All Angels", Brown sings as someone might approach a leisurely saunter, a dreamy wandering into the heart and soul of uniquely American music. Highly recommended.
Pieta Brown - "Faller" (from the album One and All)
Pieta Brown - "Wishes Falling Through the Rain" (from the album One and All)
Please respect and support the artist -- enjoy the audio stream but BUY the music.
More of Pieta Brown's interview last fall with Kim Ruehl at No Depression here.
More on Shimmer at DC here.