Ethereal Roots Songwriting
Hailed as a “self-styled poetess, folk goddess and country waif” by the BBC, Pieta Brown first came to international attention with her 2002 self-titled debut. Pieta has since been recognized by NPR for her “moody, ethereal” songwriting, applauded by The Boston Globe for her “mercurial voice” and has continued to gain wide-spread critical attention for both her singing and songwriting with each release. Wall Street Journal, American Songwriter, and Amazon have all included her albums in year-end, ‘best-of’ picks. And along the way she has shared stages with everyone from Emmylou Harris and JJ Cale to Neko Case and Richard Thompson, in addition to performing at major festivals like Bonnaroo and Mountain Jam. But maybe even more importantly, to a fiercely independent artist like Pieta, she has received praise and support from many of her fellow artists and mentors – Justin Vernon, Iris Dement, Mark Knopfler, Amos Lee, producer Don Was, and film-maker Wim Wenders to name a few.
‘Postcards’ follows 2014’s ‘Paradise Outlaw,’ which was recorded at Bon Iver’s April Base studio with help from Justin Vernon (who recently described ‘Paradise Outlaw’ as “probably my favorite record ever made at our studio”), Amos Lee, and Pieta’s father, Grammy-nominated folk-singer, Greg Brown. But where ‘Paradise Outlaw’ celebrated the sound of a group of musicians recording live in a room together, ‘Postcards’ explores the role of distance and isolation in collaboration. Pieta recorded the basic guitar and vocals for the album, some with frequent collaborator Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Charlie Parr) in the mix, at a small garage studio near her home before mailing out each track to friends to complete and send back.
That the album flows so cohesively is a testament to the mixing work of BJ Burton at April Base, to Bo Ramsey’s understated inside guitar work, and above all, to Pieta’s vision as a musician and storyteller of the highest caliber. These are songs about searching for home, about the closeness we can feel with other humans despite all the time and distance that separates us. The players on the album span an age range of half a century, but true to Pieta’s inspiration, the songs share a unified warmth and passion that comes from artists collaborating for the sake of the song and for the love of the music. The road may be long and full of nights in strange hotels with only a guitar for company, and the state of the music business may offer more questions than it does answers these days, but for Pieta Brown, it’s all worthwhile if you can come home to find your mailbox full of postcards as heartfelt and as beautiful as these.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“When Pieta sings you’re aware of something effortless and natural, like rain on earth.” -Mark Knopfler
“Pieta’s music resonates with a seductive simplicity and lyrical grace” -BBC
“a young artist with vision, intensity, and the talent to combine them into compelling music.” -Amazon.com
“Ms. Brown’s sleepy voice and clear-eyed songs impress the most.” -Wall Street Journal
“A joy to behold and to be heard…remarkable” -PureMusic.com