GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Folksinger Greg Brown's ardent fans admire him for his deep baritone voice and the songs that remind you of home ("Canned Goods"), the ones that make you sigh, ("Spring Wind") or chuckle, ("You Drive Me Crazy"). He has that gift of being able to tell a sad story and make you laugh.Brown is performing in Grand Junction Friday, March 8, at the downtown Mesa Theater & Lounge. He'll be singing some of those old favorites, as well as new songs from his latest album, "Hymns to What is Left." The CD includes songs from his notebook, performed previously but not recorded - tunes like "Fat Boy Blues" and "Hanging Man," as well as several new songs.Brown was returning home to his Iowa farmhouse when he pulled over to talk to a reporter Wednesday. He said he just felt like making a record when he brought old friends together for a recording of "Hymns to What is Left" last fall. His wife, notable folksinger Iris DeMent, sings along on the song "Brand New Angel," - a song featured in the Jeff Bridges' movie "Crazy Heart." Coincidentally, DeMent's song, "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," was also picked up for a Jeff Bridges movie, "True Grit."The CD also includes longtime cohort Bo Ramsey playing electric guitar, Al Murphy on fiddle, and Bob Black with the banjo. Brown's daughter, Pieta Brown, sings harmony and plays piano and banjo on some songs."It was really a sweet little recording session," Brown said. Brown grew up around music - his mother sang and played guitar, his grandpa was a five-string banjo player, his grandmother was a poet who played the pump organ, and his dad - a Pentecostal preacher - was a "really good singer," Brown said.As a young adult Brown ran hootenannies in New York for Gerdes Folk City in the Village. He toured nationally with "Prairie Home Companion" where many listeners, like local resident Barry Barak, first discovered the singer-songwriter.Barak programs a folk music show Thursday mornings for Grand Junction's KAFM Community Radio where Brown's songs are featured regularly."He's one of my favorites to play and one of the biggest reasons I do a folk show," Barak said. "I've always appreciated his songwriting. He has that deep, brusque voice. The storytelling aspects to his songs drew me in."He's huge in the folk music world."Brown has performed at the Lyons Folk Festival in Colorado, and is a regular at the Kate Wolf Festival in California.Brown won a Grammy nomination for "Slant 6 Mind" in the Best Traditional Folk category, and was also nominated for a Grammy for "Friend of Mine," a collaboration with Bill Morrissey. His exceptional CD, "The Poet Game," won a National Association of Independent Record Distributors Indie award. His songs have been recorded by Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter and others.Brown will perform solo at the Mesa, a good way to experience him, his voice and his guitar - so as to catch every lyric.
Folk music icon Greg Brown set to perform
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