A Conversation with Pieta Brown (continued)
PB: And we just did it in a couple days so--
PB: Yeah. I think maybe it was three days total.
PM: See, that's the way to make records, three days.
PB: And everything was live. We all played together.
PM: Did you cut the vocals live?
PB: Yeah, the vocals are all live. It's all just a performance.
PM: Wow. Your singing is incredible on this record.
PB: Thank you.
PM: I mean, in two pretty quick records, you've really obviously established yourself to any lover of roots music as a major talent.
PB: Thanks, Frank. I think, too, on the first record I'd never been in the studio before. I remember hearing John Prine talk about his. He can't even listen to his first record. He hears all the unsureness, he can hear it in his voice. I remember reading that somewhere. My first record, I hadn't been playing guitar very long, I hadn't performed out very much. It was just kind of a long shot. But I had all these songs, and I was trying to figure out what to do with them, so I decided to make a record.
PM: You figured out what to do with them all right.
PM: And now your guitar playing is really, really assured, I think.
PB: Yeah, now I can play guitar better.
PM: You're playing really good now.
PB: I got it down.
PM: For instance, that's one of the best beginnings to a record I think I ever heard. The D-minor thing where you're half-stepping and he's half-stepping over and under, Bo comes in and rests on the nine, which turns into the five of the five, and all that reverb, it's nice...
PM: It's a beautiful start. Did you know that that was going to be the first song?
PB: I didn't. I knew that was going to be on the record, I didn't know it would be the first song though. Those things seem to come after you put all the songs down.
PM: Yes, sequencing is one of the most fun things, I think. Yeah, setting the album up. The guitar chemistry between you and Bo has really gotten frightening.
PB: And that was another thing, because when we made the first record, we'd hardly--we'd played together just enough to get those songs worked out. Now, since then, we've been out on the road playing for--I guess at that time when we made the record we'd been playing gigs for about six or nine months or something, so we'd played together a lot more by that time, and that really helped too.
PM: And he's picking his spots so beautifully now. I mean, he's not playing--he's not just doing what he does, which is so comfortable for him, or he's not just playing blues, he's really putting in the color notes in beautiful spots. I mean, it's a real spooky chemistry that's palpable now.
PM: In my favorite song, "Blood Song"--God, that's a good one--you say: "You are blood / I am too / We ran together / We broke all of the rules." I mean, there's a lot of some story there.
PM: [laughs] You walk the line between being a plain talker and being a poetic mystery very well in there.
PB: I think that's--I've always--all my favorite writers are people who use space and simplicity. I've always been a big fan of that, so it's something I try for myself.
PM: Yeah. And I think to his credit, that's something that your dad has always been good at too.
PM: In a conversation we once had, he said that he thought that too much is made of lyrics. He thought songwriters would be wise to pay a little more attention to the music and to the groove.
PM: He's a guy that, like myself and apparently like yourself, listened to a lot of blues, too, not just songwriter stuff all the time.
PB: Uh-huh. continue