Popular American singer-songwriter Greg Brown will perform at Oak Bluffs’ historic Union Chapel on Wednesday, July 16, at 8 p.m.
He is nationally known as a familiar presence on Prairie Home Companion and for his deep, thundering voice, unpretentious musical vision, humor and warmth. Fellow Iowan Bo Ramsey will open the concert and continue to play with Mr. Brown.
Greg Brown was born in southeastern Iowa and raised by a family who made words and music a way of life. His youth was spread across a map of the Midwest as his preacher father and family moved between churches. His roots run deep: to the land, to family, and to the richest and oldest veins of American music. Gospel, country, black blues masters, hillbilly, early rock and roll, classical and the history of American folk resonate together in his music.
At 18, Greg moved to New York and landed a job running hootenannies at Gerdes Folk City in Greenwich Village. He traveled to Portland, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but after a few years returned to Iowa. Mr. Brown recorded a couple of albums on his own, then began working on A Prairie Home Companion and touring nationally.
A firm believer in community and ecological responsibility, he often uses his music to support these causes through his benefit concerts and releases. The album Solid Heart was done to benefit In Harmony, an Oregon based nonprofit agency whose dreams include an intergenerational neighborhood where traumatized children have the hope and opportunity of a childhood. Likewise Greg gave a free live performance that became the compact disc Yellow Dog which helped raise funds to protect the Yellow Dog River Watershed in Michigan.
Driftless, a tribute album which included performances of Greg Borwn’s songs by Lucinda Williams, Ani DeFranco, Gillian Welch and Mary Chapin Carpenter among others, have raised more than $78,000 to benefit The Breast Cancer Fund.
Greg has released over two dozen recordings and received numerous awards. Two albums received Grammy nominations: Friend of Mine (1993), recorded with Bill Morrisey, and Slant 6 Mind (1997). Greg’s Poet Game (1994) earned the Indie award for singer-songwriter album of the year, and his Covenant won the Association for Independent Music’s award for best contemporary folk album of 2000.
Opening for and playing with Mr. Brown will be his long-time friend and playing partner Bo Ramsey. His lyrical electric slide guitar sits beautifully next to Mr. Brown’s funky country blues style acoustic playing. Mr. Ramsey has produced and appeared on most of Mr. Brown’s later albums. He also has recorded several albums of his own and played on Lucinda Williams’s Grammy winning Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Mr. Ramsey produced and played on the basic tracks for Lucinda Williams’s follow-up, the Grammy-nominated Essence.
Tickets are $28 in advance at Alley’s Store, Island Entertainment, Aboveground Records, or $35 at the door. Children 12 and under are $15. For details and reservations, call 508-693-6996.