Saturday, March 13, 2010

Greg Brown

I have become a very big fan of Greg Brown over the years. Today I'm listening to some of my favorite songs that he recorded. I really like the "Further In" Album. It has some of his best songs. Two of my favorite songs of his are "China" and "Two Little Feet" both off of that album. Greg has a very simple way of telling stories, and the music is simple as well, but he exudes a charisma that a lot of artists do not have. It takes a lot for a musician to be able to play one instrument and captivate your attention as well as Greg does. I think when you compare someone like Greg Brown with a lot of modern artists they fall flat.

Take for instance someone like Lady Gaga. Her music is so processed that it's hard to tell is she's actually any good or not (overt Satanic themes aside). If you stripped down her songs to the bare minimum you wouldn't have a song. Just a collection of sound clips. I don't see how that is really songwriting. For me songwriting has to be a combination of poetry with music. If the music is lacking and the poetry is poor then the song falls apart. Another example would be artists like Michael Jackson. The king of pop was another prime example of a songwriter who if you strip his songs down to the bare minimum they tend to fall flat. While sometimes he showed a knack for poetry, or the ability to write a good melody, usually his songs didn't combine both elements very well.

Greg Brown not only is a very talented songwriter, but also is a good guitarist. His country folk picking is very soothing and hypnotic. On the "Live One" album, his version of "Canned Goods," is a great example of this. Every time I listen to that song it reminds me of my own grandma, and how she used to cook for us.

Perhaps one of the reasons I like Greg's music so much is that it reminds me of where I come from, and the whole Midwestern mentality that is represented in his songs. They make me feel at home no matter where I am when I hear them.