About Pieta Brown
With her languid delivery, ethereal style, and versatile voice, singer/songwriter Pieta Brown has built an impressive career both in the studio and on-stage. After releasing her self-titled debut in 2002, her introspective third long-player, 2007's Remember the Sun, was met with significant critical acclaim. A perennial collaborator, her 2014 album, Paradise Outlaw, featured Justin Vernon and Amos Lee, among others, while 2017's Postcards showcased a different guest on each track, among them Mark Knopfler, Calexico, and the Pines.
The daughter of Grammy-nominated folk musician Greg Brown, Pieta Brown is a native of Iowa City. She spent her formative years splitting time between her mother's house in Alabama and her father's back in Iowa. Although music was a key component of her youth, Brown's songwriting career didn't begin in earnest until she was in her mid-twenties. The songs that would soon comprise her debut album were written in a small shed in her father's backyard and first issued on a homemade cassette. Her debut was co-produced with Bo Ramsey, a longtime collaborator of her father's who had also served as a producer and guitarist for Lucinda Williams on Essence. Helping out on the effort was the rhythm section of Rick Cicalo and Steve Hayes, Brown's sister Constie, her father Greg Brown, veteran folkie Dave Moore, and Don Heffington. The eponymous album arrived on Iowa independent label Trailer Park Records in June 2002.
In 2005, she recorded In the Cool with Ramsey (whom she would later marry) once again in the co-producer's seat. The album reached far and wide and received airplay on Americana radio. Brown briefly signed to One Little Indian, where she recorded and released the acclaimed Remember the Sun in 2007.
Two years later, Brown joined the roster of venerable folk label Red House, longtime home to her father's recordings. One and All, her debut for the label, appeared in 2010, followed quickly by 2011's Mercury. Both were well-received not only by listeners but also by musicians: she opened gigs for everyone from Mark Knopfler and Mavis Staples to J.J. Cale, Ani DiFranco, and Calexico, and made vocal appearances on two of the latter's albums, Algiers and Carried to Dust. In 2012, Brown guested on Amos Lee's Mission Bell. She resumed recording in early 2014 with Ramsey and a slew of guests including her father, Lee, and David Mansfield. They cut Paradise Outlaw at Justin Vernon's April Base studio in Wisconsin (he also appears on the recording). Her final release for Red House, it was issued in late September. Moving to Lustre Records, she delivered the EP Drifters before releasing her sixth album, 2017's Postcards. It featured a collaboration with a different artist on each song, and included appearances from Knopfler, Mason Jennings, and Carrie Rodriguez. Brown then signed with Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe Records for Freeway, which saw release in 2019. Produced with solo artist and Bon Iver drummer S. Carey, it boasted the backing band of Carey, bassist Mike Lewis (Bon Iver), and guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker (Andrew Bird). ~ Erik Hage & Thom Jurek