Kevin Brown

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Photos courtesy of David Lindahl Photography

 

Kevin Brown released his debut album of original songs, The County Primaries, in 2010, and his honest, literate songwriting immediately received national critical acclaim. NoDepression.com called the project "easily one of the best debut albums of 2010", and the Bluegrass Special called it "easy on the ears, gentle on the mind and a balm for the soul." His self-produced follow-up, The Beloved Country was released in 2012 and reached the Top 20 on the Roots Music Report and FOLKDJ list for July 2012 for national Folk radio airplay.

Book of Skies, Brown's 3rd release, came out in the summer of 2015. Grander in scope, with a bigger band and a sound that hearkens back to some favorite albums from the 1970s of his youth, it is an album that unashamedly plants a stake in middle-age -- lessons learned, idealism tempered but not lost, and a comfort in one's own skin. Musical and lyrical themes weave in and out and tie the collection of songs together in a way that seem to declare that the "album" is not yet a dying art form.

Brown makes his home in rural Northeastern Washington state, not too far from the farms where two sets of great-grandparents settled a century ago. Living amidst the Ponderosa Pine forests and rivers that spill out of the Selkirk Mountains, it's not surprising that Landscape and Place play an important part in Kevin's songs. But the rich natural world of the surroundings is not just a backdrop, but also serves as a metaphor for exploring the landscapes of the heart and soul -- faith, family, love, the passage of time, and the interwoven fabric of earth and humanity. There are always more layers to explore in a well-crafted song.

A lifelong avid music fan, Kevin's musical influences range far and wide, from the poetry of Texas Songwriters Guy Clark, Eric Taylor and Townes Van Zandt, to the haunting bluegrass sounds of Bill Monroe, Hazel Dickens, and the Stanley Brothers, to the rock and roll of Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, and the Rolling Stones that formed the musical backdrop of his teenage years. His Presbyterian Pastor father played Simon & Garfunkel around the house in the late 60's when Kevin was a child, and Kevin still cites Paul Simon as one of his biggest songwriting influences. An early fascination with jazz continues to find it's way into Kevin's songs as he taps into the talents of a few regulars in the thriving Spokane Jazz Scene for the instrumental backbone to his projects.

In addition to his songwriting, Kevin is well-known in the Inland Northwest as the host of the popular radio program Front Porch Bluegrass heard weekly on Spokane Public Radio, and as mandolin player in the popular and long-running Rhythm & Bluegrass band Big Red Barn. He has also served for many years as the Music Director for The Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival which has grown to become one of the most popular summertime bluegrass festivals in the Northwest. Through these endeavors Kevin has worked with some of the best folk musicians around and has been inspired by a rich legacy of American roots music.