Iowa Native Delivers Tales from the Tavern
When your self-titled debut album gets refined by someone the caliber of Bo Ramsey, your next musical step will surely be watched. So when you then step forward on a compilation album in the company of Victoria Williams, Ani DiFranco, Shawn Colvin, and Gillian Welch, it’s safe to assume you’re now standing on firm ground. Release an emotive second album (I Never Told) and then follow it up with one of the standout albums of 2005 (In the Cool), and there can be no doubt that you have found your musical footing. Not — mind you — that there was ever any question to the depth of Pieta Brown’s emerging musical legacy. The eldest daughter of folk icon Greg Brown — himself a regular and valued visitor to Santa Barbara — Pieta has not just followed her father’s tradition of finely crafted and evocative song-writing; she has defined her own unique passage, and one that’s wandered diverse terrain. Having shared her childhood between Iowa and Alabama, Pieta Brown honed her craft on the streets of New York City and Tucson, Arizona. It was in the bars and clubs of the latter that she journeyed the breadth of the musical spectrum. “It’s been an interesting journey,” Brown recently mused. “When I first started playing gigs, it was down in Tucson and I mixed it up and played with everybody down there. I played with Calexico, Naim Amor, and Tom Wallbanks. But the deepest and strongest connection I have made musically is with Bo Ramsey. When I first called him, I had no idea that there would be such a musical chemistry and it really came to life in the studio on the first record and we’ve been going ever since. He can wear satin gloves and play really quietly or he can really pin you to the wall.” Those fortunate enough to have already shared in one of her performances will no doubt testify that Pieta Brown weaves her musical magic according to the moment. Be it a theater in Iowa, an outdoor festival in Tucson, or a tavern in Buellton, she gives nothing short of her all. And no matter whom she might be working with or where she might be playing, her eloquent and deeply personal songs are packed with her heart and soul. She might very well be the prodigy of one of the finest singer/songwriters in America who’s found the perfect musical ally in Bo Ramsey. But as her music ardently affirms, Pieta Brown clearly stands alone.