Over the years, Iowa City native Pieta Brown has shown an enthusiasm for collaboration, frequently inviting others to help paint the canvas around her gossamer-toned folk songs. Aside from the constant presence of co-producer and husband Bo Ramsey, her six albums present an ever-shifting framework that seems to offer a fresh perspective each time around. For her seventh album, 2017's Postcards, she takes this a step farther, recording a set of ten sparsely appointed acoustic songs that were then sent to ten different collaborators to arrange and finish recording. Uniquely, and perhaps out of deference to the gentle nature of the material, Brown's chosen partners end up making Postcards into one of the more understated offerings in her catalog. What could have easily become a motley collection of showboating duets is in fact a remarkably cohesive record featuring a number of fine instrumental augmentations to Brown's thoughtful songs. Spacious, wide-vista opener "In the Light" gets the open-road treatment from Calexico, while the ethereal "Rosine" is lent a dreamlike timbre thanks to Minneapolis saxophonist Mike Lewis. The sweet-toned "Street Tracker" features guitar giant Mark Knopfler coloring in between the lines, while indie folk trio the Pines imbue album closer "All the Roads" with a gorgeous amber glow. Other partners adding their subtle grace to Postcards include Mason Jennings, David Lindley, Chad Cromwell, and Carrie Rodriguez.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger