Episode 235 - Pieta Brown
The daughter of two preacher's kids, Pieta Brown's early upbringing in Iowa was in a rural outpost with no furnace, running water, or TV. There, she was exposed to traditional and rural folk music through her father, Greg Brown, the now beloved Midwestern folk singer. Later, while living with her mother in Birmingham, Alabama during her formative years, Pieta drew on and expanded these influences and began writing poems and composing instrumental songs on piano. By the time she left home at 18 she had lived in at least 19 different houses and apartments between Iowa and Alabama.
In her early 20's, after experiencing what she describes as "the songs calling," Pieta started experimenting with the banjo and eventually picked up a 1930's Maybell arch-top guitar during a visit to her father's place and never looked back. Emerging from a disjointed and distinctly 'bohemian' upbringing, Pieta began performing live and making independent recordings soon after teaching herself how to play guitar. "I grew up around a lot of musicians and artists living on the fringe, and have always felt most at home among them," Pieta says.
Continually revealing new layers as both a songwriter and performer, Pieta is being recognized as one of modern Americana's true gems. In recent years Pieta has released multiple highly critically acclaimed albums, with much attention being paid not only to her distinct sound and style, but also the power of her singing and songwriting, including fan favorite Paradise Outlaw (2014 Red House, which Bon Iver master mind, Justin Vernon, called his "favorite recording made at our studio.") Pieta has toured North America with Mark Knopfler, and toured various regions of the U.S., Australia and Canada with John Prine, Amos Lee, Brandi Carlisle, JJ Cale, Ani Difranco, Mavis Staples, and Calexico among others. She has co-written songs with and made recent guest appearances on albums by Calexico, Amos Lee, and Iris Dement, whose latest masterpiece Workin' On A World (2023) Pieta co-produced. Pieta's songs and music have been heard in various TV Shows and indie films including Everything Will Be Fine (Wim Wenders). With the release of her most recent album Freeway (September 2019, Righteous Babe) co-produced by Bon Iver drummer, S. Carey, followed by multiple experimental collaborations since with various artists including JT Bates, S.Carey, and Howe Gelb & The Colorist Orchestra, as well as a new instrumental based side-project she calls Sylvee & The Sea, Pieta's music and artistry continue to rise.
~ "...a style and a sensuality that's all her own...."- Pop Matters
~ "Among the top tier of songwriters today..." - FAME (Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange)
~ "...a gifted singer-songwriter whose lyrics are pieces of polished poetry" - Huffington Post
Pieta's Website [https://www.pietabrown.com/]
SRTN Website [https://www.somethingratherthannothing.com/]