Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Boats: Ships

Greg Brown: Ships


Greg Brown is from Fairfield, Iowa, of all places, home of the Maharishi International University.

He is known for his intimate live performances. He tells wonderful stories, he's funny, and his music is well suited to small venues. The featured track, Ships, is about Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and John Wayne. It's a simple song that seems to have a simple message: Each of these people had troubles and sorrows in life, and now they are all dead.

Fellow SMM author, boyhowdy, sent me the following story about Greg Brown via email:

I once had the opportunity to hang with him for a while, and out of idle curiosity, asked him what the strangest thing he ever autographed was. "A Breast", says he, in his wry basso. "That's not so weird", I said.

"Well", he said. "it was kind of jiggly, so I had to use my other hand to hold it down..."

I love "wry basso" as a description of his voice. It's true, his voice has a "wry" quality to it. Sort of a sardonic mocking quality, slightly cynical, but ultimately humorous. Weird mix, I know - but this is what I hear in his voice and his music.

Go buy One Night (see "purchase" link above). It's really an excellent performance and it made a great CD.

One last thing: This track was covered by Redbird. Check it out:

Redbird: Ships