The 'self-styled poetess, folk goddess and country waif' whets our appetites for her...
Serena Kutchinsky 2007
Anyone who’s been to Glastonbury Festival knows that the rarest treasures are usually found on the far-flung stages. This year, if you find yourself rambling around in search of musical fulfilment hunt down Pieta Brown. This wide-eyed offspring-of-a-preacher-man is the biggest talent to emerge from America’s Deep South since Dolly Parton’s breasts.
Self-styled poetess, folk goddess and country waif – Pieta’s music resonates with a seductive simplicity and lyrical grace. Remember The Sun is a potent testament to her rich musical heritage delivered with her trademark flair. Music is, as the saying goes, in her blood – her father is two-time Grammy nominee, Greg Brown. She was raised in suitably barefoot fashion (no indoor plumbing) in the wilds of Iowa with rural folk music the soundtrack to her formative years.
A move to Birmingham, Alabama in her early 20s, followed by a period of nomadic self-discovery rambling the back roads from Mexico to New York City brought her into contact with respected guitarist and producer, Bo Ramsey. Bewitched by the dusky power of her hypnotic voice and the poetic punch of her lyrics, Ramsey collaborated on her 2002 self-released sampler. Five years on, and Ramsey’s influence is stamped all over her latest offering – a constant Stetson-wearing presence providing guidance, inspiration and, most crucially, experience.
Pieta’s talent pivots around her ability to strike an equilibrium between earthy country and heavy, loss-tinged blues. Throw a dash of rock and some rootsy guitar in there and you have a thoroughly modern mix. Comparisons have been drawn with everyone from Loretta Lynn to PJ Harvey but none quite do her individuality justice.
Remember The Sun could almost have been named with Glastonbury’s muddy fields in mind. It’s a masterful album filled with a sequence of evocative threads that provide a window into Pieta’s world. There’s the warm familiarity of countryfied opener ‘'Rollin Down The Track'’, the irresistible guitar-filled catchiness of ‘'Sonic Boom'’, the bluesy poignancy of ‘'West Monroe'’ and the lilting refrain and pared-down simplicity of the title track. Simmering underneath them all is Brown’s exceptional talent honed to perfection by Ramsey’s stellar production. Let’s just hope the sun remembers to shine on her at Glastonbury.