B&L: What animal do you associate yourself with (given our ties to oxen)?
Brown: What animal DON’T I associate myself with might be a better question for me (laughs)… today I’m feeling kind of wolf… and moth.
B&L: Why music? Why do you seek it? How’d it come calling to you?
Brown: Music is the ultimate multi-dimensional art form. I don’t know if I seek it, per se… it feels like breathing – so natural. It came calling very sweetly… very early on.
B&L: Let’s talk about your latest record, “Freeway.” What were your goals for this particular record?
Brown: Experiment. I tried to stay as open as possible to the music happening around the songs that those musicians responded to in that place and time. I didn’t want thoughts in the way on this one. I wanted to give the reins to my imagination (if it has any?!) I brought a pile of songs that I had just written and recorded live in one room for 3 days with players I hadn’t recorded with. And I had never played with Sean or Jeremy. And I didn’t meet Jeremy until he was standing beside me in the studio. It was such an open session. I am fascinated by this process, and wish I could live for thousands of years to keep experimenting in this way.
For “Freeway” I also wanted to include a layer of nature (we had a microphone set up recording outside the studio the whole time, and a lot of the time we had some of that in our headphones). I was imaging lushness, intensity, openness, immediacy. The players were so musical. Their collective musical knowledge and openness elevated every song.
B&L: What do you appreciate about the freeway? In a world full of uncertainties, the freeway is certainly a concrete constant in pretty much everyone’s life, right? (Might be a weird place for oxen though…)
Brown: Connecting points. The unknown. The chance of it all.
B&L: Is songwriting an easy or arduous process for you? Are you an “in the moment” kind of writer, or do you have to actively schedule “office hours” to get words on paper?
Brown: 100% in the moment, but I think I might always be working?
B&L: It’s no secret that you’re the daughter of Greg Brown – a man who needs no introduction in the circle of folks reading this thing… How’d your dad inspire/influence your music?
Brown: Blood lines. Much bigger than any words. The answer to this question is in the music.
B&L: He recently played one of his “final” shows at the Word Barn. You think he’s really done with the road?
Brown: Just guessing here: Done with touring, yes. Done doing shows, no.
B&L: What’s the making of a great show?
Brown: So many things can help make a great show. Groove is key. The space, the people in the space, the light, the songs that night (or day), the instruments, the weather, and of course a great sound person can really elevate all of it.
B&L: What can folks expect when they come out to see you perform at the Word Barn on March 5th?
Brown: I’ll be there with my sister from another mother, Lucie Thorne, adding her beautiful understated electric guitar work and gorgeous harmonies. I’ll be performing songs from Freeway and many songs from different places and times. I’m really looking forward to playing at the Word Barn. It comes highly recommended by Jeffrey Foucault and Peter Mulvey.
B&L: Is it weird to set foot onto stage and play to a room full of (mostly) strangers? Or do you bask in the opportunity to make new friends/fans?
Brown: It’s all weird, isn’t it?! And it’s all worth basking in. I’m very shy by nature, but I feel at home in the music, and so thankful when I get the chance to play music in a room of any size full of people that are into the music, too. We all need each other.
B&L: What’s one tune (or, heck, a couple) that exists out there in the ether that blows you away that you kind of wish you had written yourself? Oh man…this list could go on and on and on.
Brown: I’ll keep it to 3. “Time,” by Tom Waits. “Natural Woman,” by Carole King. And an instrumental by Dorothy Ashby called “Essence Of Sapphire.”
B&L: Question number 12. If you could have a dozen of anything, what would that dozen of something be?
Brown: Roses. Hugs. Or Gigantic Love & Peace Mechanisms that would transmit peace activating sustainable and renewable energy around the world and protect ALL our children.
Pieta Brown makes will swing into the Word Barn on Thursday, March 5th in support of her gorgeous new album “Freeway.” Tickets are available here.