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A Conversation with Pieta Brown

Puremusic: How are you, Pieta?

Pieta Brown: Oh, I'm doing all right.

PM: You got a little time for me?

PB: I do. Let me ask you something. I was trying to guess when I might be driving, and we're not driving yet. But I have about 20 minutes now, or then we'll be in the car. So I just didn't know how long of a conversation you were thinking about.

PM: We'll probably go 20 minutes or so.

PB: All right.

PM: Does that work for you?

PB: That works.

PM: Are you packed and stuff already?

PB: Pretty much, yeah.

PM: Okay. So before we boil it down, as we will, to a career, or a record, how is your life? How are your days?

PB: My days right now are just very roadworthy, at the moment, just because I've been on the road for about a week. But in general my spirits are good.

PM: Is it hard?

PB: Yeah, sometimes.

PM: And on the road, is it you and Bo generally, or more or less people than that?

PB: I've actually been doing quite a few shows solo right now, because I've been opening for this young guy, Mason Jennings.

PM: Oh, you're opening for Mason Jennings. That's interesting [since another interview this month, Ferraby Lionheart, had also been opening some shows for Mason].

PB: So I've been opening those shows, and that's just a different avenue.

PM: And he's got kind of a Christian edge, is that right?

PB: Maybe. I didn't know that.

PM: An Up With People kind of a crowd, or what?

PB: The only thing I know about his crowd is one thing that's really cool is that they really love Mason Jennings, and they sing along to his songs and all that, and it's refreshing to see that. So it's definitely an open audience; whether or not my music fits in exactly is another question.

PM: How have they been to you? Are they listening?

PB: Yeah, they are listening. They listen and buy CDs, and they're a good crowd.

PM: Well, that's all one can ask.

PB: Yeah, exactly.

Bo & Pieta

PM: But after doing a lot of touring with Bo Ramsey, the Duke of Spook, as I like to call him--

PB: Yeah.


PM: --it must be hard. Although you can certainly create an atmosphere all on your own, he's such an atmospheric player, sometimes it must seem, "where did my ambience go?"

PB: Yeah. It's fun, though. I like both things.

PM: Good for you.

PB: It's just a different--I often do it just to challenge myself, that's always good. And making music all on your own is a whole different deal than being with somebody else.

PM: I think that playing solo is a holy thing. And to play the song the way it was written is a holy thing. A certain thing.

PB: Yeah, and it just gets really back down to the song, which is fun, to strip it down to that.

PM: Now, on the records, this latest one, especially, you're playing Wurlitzer and some keyboard, even a little slide. But in touring solo, it's strictly acoustic guitar, right?

PB: Well, actually, any time I can play a piano, I do. And I've got a keyboard, and I might take that out on the road. For an opening slot, you also have to just think practically about keeping things simple. I'm opening for somebody else who's playing solo, and there's 10 minutes to get my stuff off stage.

PM: Right. And you ain't traveling with any roadies. Do people generally help you on and off stage at any shows like that?

PB: Oh, yeah.

PM: His road crew is pretty cool about it?

PB: Yeah. He's got a sound guy that's great. And all the sound people I've run into are helpful. And then I'm also doing my own--like I played Minneapolis on Tuesday with a band, my own show. So it's kind of been mixed up. And then Bo and I are going to go do some duo shows next week for five days in a row. And then we'll go to the southeast and do whatever it is, 10 or 15 shows, or something. I can't quite remember right now.

PM: So is Bo out with somebody else when you're soloing?

PB: Sometimes, and then sometimes he's at home.

PM: You just mix it up, do different things.

PB: Yeah.

PM: Now, when you did the band in Minneapolis, who was that? Who was playing?

PB: Jon Penner, who played bass on my record.

PM: Ah, yeah.

PB: And a drummer out of Minneapolis named J. T. Bates.

PM: You're really becoming quite the touring personality; you've been really slamming those shows out there.

Pieta live


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