Pieta Brown

Pieta Brown

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Pieta Brown is the daughter of folksinger Greg Brown; however, she was raised principally by her mother after her parents split up when she was young. On her debut disc, she demonstrates some musical common ground with her father, along with notable differences. Like her father, Pieta Brown possesses a talent for songwriting. But while Brown the elder pens tunes that are often short story-like in nature, his daughter's work flows more like highly personal poetry. Pieta tends to address matters of the heart, be they an evocation of independence ("Without You") or a plea to strengthen a relationship ("Tell Me How"). The two Browns both have distinctive singing styles, but Pieta doesn't share her father's deep, resonant voice. She sings with a sultry, slightly slurry style that works well with her jazz- and blues-flavored tunes. And it is these jazzy and bluesy elements that also serve to separate Pieta's music from her father's predominately folk sound. In fact, her music more closely resembles that of Lucinda Williams. In songs like the languid love lament "Down in Memphis" or the defiant tale of survival "Bury Me," she utilizes a country blues foundation to project an emotional yearning that is similar to what Williams would do in a song. Also creating a musical bridge between to the two woman is Bo Ramsey. A frequent Williams sideman, Ramsey also is a longtime friend of both Pieta and Greg Brown. Here he shines in his dual role of co-producer and lead guitarist. His evocative, fluid playing enhances tunes from the noirish "Blind Dog Yell" to the raw-edged "Fly Right." Co-producing with Pieta, he has helped to create an unfussy but moody musical atmosphere, built with touches of blues, jazz, and folk, that compliments her intimate lyrics and makes this debut a quite beguiling effort.

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