OA Rock Column July 31, 2009

Live performance by Greg Brown not to be missed

Last week, we mentioned two concerts on Saturday, Aug. 8, but we really only talked about one of them. Singer-songwriter extraordinaire Greg Brown will bring his one-of-a-kind show to the Mesa Theater and Club on Aug. 8 also.

The first time that I heard about Greg was around 1990 from a customer who moved here from Minnesota. Tom Harris was the customer and he compared Greg to John Prine. My introduction to Greg Brown’s music was in 1992 on the “Legacy II” folk sampler on a Windham Hill sub-label, High Street Records. This is what Roundup Newsletter had to say about it via allmusic.com:

“This compilation of 13 songs by 13 singer/songwriters proves that modern folk music is still in the midst of a creative boom period. Highlights of this volume include Patty Larkin’s sensuous “Tango,” and Greg Brown’s playful “Who Woulda Thunk It,” the
Story’s graceful “Damn Everything but the Circus,” and Cheryl Wheeler’s heartbreaking “Arrow.” Some of the other artists who participated in the project are
Tony Gilkyson, Ellis Paul and Patty Griffin.”

After hearing that song I immediately purchased the recording it came from, his 1985 release “In the Dark With You” and it is still one of my favorite releases by Greg.

Shortly after that, I purchased his newest release at that time, which was “Dream Café” for store stock and of course I opened a copy to play. It is my favorite studio album from Greg and I think that it is the second-best selling Greg Brown CD that we have ever had at Triple Play Records.

The first time that I saw Greg was when he played at what was the Hilton Hotel on Horizon Drive in 1995. A big, strong Iowa farm boy, wearing a sleeveless sweatshirt and a big droopy hat, sitting up there on the stage singing songs and telling stories, just made for a perfect evening. Fortunately for many of us there, that tour and the songs that he played along with the stories were captured on his first live CD, “The Live One” released in October 1995. This CD really captured Greg in his element, and that is a live setting where he can interact with his audience.

The CD contains his stories about the great songs that he chose to play and most of those stories will make you laugh. You come away with a better understanding of his music, which you just don’t get on studio recordings. “The Live One” is by far the best-selling Greg Brown CD we have ever carried. It has a string of my favorite songs of his, including “Boomtowm,” “Spring Wind,” “Laughing River,” “Billy From the Hills” (about Greg’s father) and “Canned Goods,” the 13-minute epic that tells the story of visits to his grandmother’s house and the memories it evoked. You might laugh and cry during the same song! We have been listening to that CD on road trips since the children were small. It was then and still is one of our family’s favorite CDs. Proof that seeing Greg Brown live is the best way to go!

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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