Singer-songwriter Kevin Brown makes his home in rural Northeastern Washington state, not too far from the farms where two sets of great-grandparents settled a century ago. Living amidst the Ponderosa Pine forests and rivers that spill out of the Selkirk Mountains, it’s not surprising that Landscape and Place play an important part in Kevin’s songs. But the rich natural world of the surroundings is not just a backdrop, but also serves as a metaphor for exploring the landscapes of the heart and soul — faith, family, love, the passage of time, and the interwoven fabric of earth and humanity. There are always more layers to explore in a well-crafted song.
Kevin released his debut album of originals, The County Primaries, in 2010 to quiet critical acclaim. NoDepression.com called it “easily one of the best debut albums of 2010”. For a songwriter coming into a solo career in his late 40s, Brown’s debut album was surprisingly self-assured. Aided by the production of renowned Northwest producer and Dobro wizard Ivan Rosenberg, and featuring some of the Northwest’s most respected acoustic musicians, the many textures of the album highlighted the rich lyrical imagery of Kevin’s songwriting. To further complement the songs, Kevin solicited the artwork of internationally-acclaimed artist Katherine Nelson to do the original cover, a relationship which he has continued for his second album The Beloved Country which is being released in 2012. Kevin’s songs and Katherine’s charcoal drawings form a rich partnership which hearkens back to the pre-digital-era days when album artwork played an important part in the unique personality of a music project.
A lifelong avid music fan, Kevin’s musical influences range far and wide, from the poetry of Texas Songwriters Guy Clark, Eric Taylor and Townes Van Zandt, to the haunting bluegrass sounds of Bill Monroe, Hazel Dickens, and the Stanley Brothers, to the rock and roll of Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, and the Rolling Stones that formed the musical backdrop of his teenage years. His Presbyterian Pastor father played Simon & Garfunkel around the house in the late 60’s when Kevin was a child, and Kevin still cites Paul Simon as one of his biggest songwriting influences. An early fascination with jazz has found it’s way back into Kevin’s music on his newest project The Beloved Country which draws on the talents of a few regulars in the thriving Spokane Jazz Scene for the instrumental backbone to the project.
In addition to his songwriting, Kevin is well-known in the Inland Northwest as the host of the popular radio program Front Porch Bluegrass heard weekly on Spokane Public Radio, and as mandolin player in the popular and long-running Rhythm & Bluegrass band Big Red Barn. He has also served for over ten years as the Music Director for The Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival which has grown to become one of the most popular summertime bluegrass festivals in the Northwest. Through these endeavors Kevin has worked with some of the best folk musicians around and has been inspired by a rich legacy of American roots music.