Sunday, March 23, 2008

Els called it.

I can't find the email where she said it but I remember Cam's mom, Els writing that we should check out Pieta Brown. Els is so perceptive. In the short amount of time we've been able to spend together, she has noticed things we like and been able to suggest other things we might like as well. It may have been because we listened to some Lucinda Williams together. Anyway, Els heard Pieta and knew we'd like her.

I'd actually seen Pieta Brown play a couple of times in Iowa, once at the amphitheater on the banks of the Des Moines River and another time at the historic Val Air Ballroom, if I remember correctly. Both of those times, she was part of a large group of musicians and I didn't get a chance to really hear and appreciate her music.

But last week, when she opened for Shawn Mullins at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, I found her music to be rich, beautiful and lovely. I was impressed with her kindness too. I bought her newest release, Remember the Sun, on itunes the following day and have been listening to it quite a bit since.

Ordinary folks would've just seen birds in a field.

The daughter of two preachers' kids, Brown spent her childhood in Iowa and Alabama amidst a broken but very musical family. In her bare-bones bohemian upbringing in Iowa, there was no electricity or running water. There, Pieta was exposed to traditional and rural folk music through her father, two-time Grammy nominee Greg Brown. Later, while spending time in Birmingham, AL with her full-time working mother, Pieta drew on all these influences and began writing poetry.
Shawn played powerfully. During his shows, he often pays tribute to other songwriters he respects. This time, he played Where's Johnny by James McMurtry. At another showed, he played McMurtry's We can't make it here anymore. I already owned Childish Things but now own both songs and enjoy listening to and singing along with them.

I appreciate Cam and Sam coming to the city on a weeknight to share the experience with me. Sam almost fell asleep, snuggling with me during Pieta's set, so we had him run around a bit between shows. He sang, clapped and stayed awake for both of Shawn's standing ovations.

Happily, Cam dug it too.

While we waited for the venue to open, we were grateful for the little haven provided by Sergeant John Macaulay Park. Check out this
Flickr set for more playground photos.

And as Pieta says,
Remember the sun.
Remember the sun.
Remember the sun.
remember the sun.

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