Greg Brown: Downhome Sophisticate
By Peter Gerstenzang
Greg Brown’s conversational cadences are remarkably similar to the sort his characters use in his songs. The term wry comes immediately to mind. But also, weary, stoic, resigned. And, whether you’re referring to Brown’s profundity, or the actual timbre of his voice? The cat is deep, too. Sure, he says, smart, acute things. But he also utters them in a basso profundo that could rattle the teacups in your next door neighbor’s china cabinet. Think that dude from Crash Test Dummies, but with a rural bent and better choruses. Brown’s new album, the darkly-beautiful Freak Flag, has a fistful of such songs. Their gestation may have been lengthy. The recording process, Kafka-esque. But the man has wrested a small masterpiece from all the chaos.
“Yeah, I lost the first version of the album,” says Brown, with the measured calm of a man who’s lost worst things in his life. “We made the first version in St. Paul. The thing was done. But there was a storm and the power went out. I don’t know all the technical stuff, but there was no external hard drive or something and all the songs just vanished. You can choose to laugh or cry about that kind of stuff, you know?”
Brown chuckles, as if to illustrate how he dealt with his spare, folkish tunes getting sent into the ether. With only one song left from those three days of recording, he wrote a whole bunch of new ones (the title track is all that remained from the original), then went to…CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING.
Freak Flag is available now on CD, LP and digital download at the Yep Roc Store. Order the CD or LP and get the full digital album for download instantly.