Tag Archive for 'This Land Is Your Music'

(Upcoming Show) Pieta Brown and Friends Present This Land Is Your Music at The Mill Restaurant 4/14/2012

Ms. Pieta Brown is bringing her “artist in residence” show called “This Land Is Your Music” back to The Mill Restaurant in Iowa City on April 14th, 2012. In a similar fashion to the last two the show will feature Pieta as the headliner with other artists with local ties opening and a gallery exhibit.

This year, the event has been condensed into one show–  but it is a powerhouse bill shared with The Pines and is a weekend show. Pieta’s set will be with a backing band that she is calling The Sawdust Boys– which is what she called her backing band for her recent tour of Australia. The Sawdust Boys are JT Bates and Michael Rossetto, who are conveniently also part of The Pines. I’m sure we’ll see Bo Ramsey as part of one or both band’s sets. Bo stopped by somewhat unannounced for the recent Pines show at CSPS and brought the house down with an unexpected solo song!

In the past Pieta has used these shows as a way to work out new material in a live setting– The Mill is a long-standing familial venue for the Ramsey’s and Brown’s and their associated friends. The audience for Pieta’s shows are by far some of the warmest and welcoming I’ve seen and impromptu sit-ins by friends and family are par for the course.

The gallery exhibit will feature pieces from Pieta’s private collection, including works from Greg Brown, Chris Carman, Constie and Zoe Brown, Mei-Ling Shaw Williams, Benson Ramsey, Sandy Dyas, and Cortnie Widen.

As with the previous This Land Is Your Music shows, this show is a benefit for Iowa Public Radio, and The Friends of Hickory Hill Park. Show is at 8PM on Saturday, April 14th with doors at 7PM. Tickets are $12.

Visit the Mill Restaurant webpage for details and how to order tickets.

Read my reviews and see pictures of the three 2009 This Land is Your Music shows. 11/5/09  11/12/09 11/19/09

Read my review and see pictures of one of the two 2010 This Land is Your Music shows. 12/4/2010

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the last shows:

Pieta Brown at This Land is Your Music II at The Mill on 12-4-2010

Pieta Brown

Pieta Brown

(Review) Pieta Brown – This Land Is Your Music II: First Night – 12/4/2010

Pieta Brown at This Land is Your Music II at The Mill on 12-4-2010

Pieta Brown’s second songwriter-in-residency called “This Land Is Your Music” at The Mill Restaurant kicked off on Saturday 12/4 right on the heels of a six-day mini-tour of Australia which wrapped up the previous Saturday.  I had been looking forward to seeing these two shows. Last year’s three consecutive Thursday night shows in November (read my reviews for 11/5/09, 11/12/09, 11/19/09)  were truly magical, intimate shows. Pieta considers The Mill her home venue– she got her start playing The Mill, so she was happy to bring these shows to that stage.  The combination of music and art is a way for Pieta to give back to the community that spawned her career.

The opening band was the folk trio The Vagabonds which includes Sam Blickhan from The Mayflies. Sam is also in The Wandering Bears with Sarah Mannix of the Vagabonds. Their set was very good, pretty three-part-harmonies of original songs with the occasional cover– one of which was a Be Good Tanyas song. I really liked their original songs and am looking forward to being able to see them again.
The Vagabonds at This Land is Your Music II
Like last year, set and light design was done by Stan Crocker. Last year the stage was lit like a small living room with umbrellas and lamps– this year Stan washed the stage in dramatic blue light.

Pieta Brown at This Land is Your Music II at The Mill on 12-4-2010

Pieta’s set was a solo acoustic set and included primarily songs from her new album One and All, the Shimmer EP and Remember the Sun, but she also added some new songs. “Be With You” had only been played one other time according to Pieta. The song “No Words Now” was described as being influenced by meeting Mark Knopfler (whom she toured with this year) and JJ Cale, who are both heroes of Pieta’s (as is Tom Petty— the subject of “Faller”).

Not content to be the only performer, Pieta invited her sister Constie on stage to sing duet on “The Other Way Around” from One and All. Constie provides harmony vocals on the new album, as well. For the finale of Pieta’s set she invited the Vagabonds to join her on stage for a gospel track which drew some comments by Iris DeMent who was in the crowd and soon joined the crew onstage for a rousing version of the Reverend Gary Davis song “Morning Train.”

Pieta Brown Joined onstage by Constie Brown, The Vagabonds and Iris DeMent

As with the first This Land Is Your Music shows, there was an artist gallery. Lighting designer Stan Crocker had a really cool installation of light boxes in the green room. Each of the parts of the display had its own light source and illuminated individual subjects.

Stan Crocker Light Box Installation

Watch the video for a walkthrough I did of the installation while The Vagabonds play “Ransom”:

The entryway of the Mill had photos from regional photographer Sonya Naumann. Here is a set from her series titled “Dunce”.

Entryway Exhibit of Sonya Naumann

The This Land is Your Music shows are something anyone who is a fan of Pieta Brown or the Eastern Iowa music scene in general should really get out to see. I’m really happy that Pieta was able to pull this off again this year and am looking forward to seeing tomorrow night’s show. Pieta will be playing in a trio with Bo Ramsey and a drummer and the opening act will be Alexis Stevens. The gallery will be provided by Jamie Hudrlik.

The tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door and the proceeds will again be donated to Friends of Hickory Hills and Iowa Public Radio. Pieta’s sister Zoe designed teeshirts for the event as well as the poster seen above and both will be available at the show along with Pieta’s new vinyl for One and All!

Click Here for the Mill Restaurant Website for more details.

Pieta Brown Setlist:

1. Be With You *
2. West Monroe
3. No Words Now *
4. Hey Run
5. Out of the Blue
6. Are You Free?
7. You’re My Lover Now
8. In My Mind I Was Talking To Loretta
9. El Guero
10. Other Way Around (w/Constie Brown)
11. Faller
12. I’m Gone *
13. Closin’ Time *
14. Calling All Angels
15. Over Your
16. Morning Train (Rev. Gary Davis) (w/The Vagabonds and Iris DeMent)

* new songs!

A slideshow of the pictures I took:

(Upcoming Shows) Pieta Brown & Friends – This Land is Your Music Residency at The Mill 12/4 & 12/11

It’s hard to believe that it already has been over a year since Pieta Brown hosted her first artist-in-residence at The Mill Restaurant. That show was three Thursday night shows in November last year (see my reviews for: 11/5, 11/12, 11/19). Next to the Daytrotter Barnstormer shows, these were some of my favorite shows of 2009– very intimate and special. The stage lighting and design by Stan Crocker was a great touch– an eclectic little living room. Pieta was using these shows to try out some live band configurations– solo, duo and full band. To help bring some awareness to the art scene in the area, she set aside the room normally reserved as the green room as a gallery which was really cool, too. The only disappointing thing to me about these shows was the lack of audience on a couple of the shows. By the 11/19 show, it seemed like word had gotten out about these gigs. But, mid-week shows are always hit-or-miss in Iowa City, even when school is in session.

Pieta is bringing This Land Is Your Music back to the Mill for two shows in December– Saturday 12/4 and Saturday 12/11. The tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door and the proceeds will again be donated to Friends of Hickory Hills and Iowa Public Radio. Doors will be at 7PM Here are the details:

Saturday, December 4. Pieta Brown performs a solo set. Her special guest will be Iowa City trio The Vagabonds. The art in the gallery will be done by Stan Crocker and Sonya Naumann. Sonya Naumann has a really interesting photography project called “Thousand Dollar Dress” that maybe we’ll get to see some of in the gallery.

Saturday, December 11. Pieta Brown & Terraplane headlines. We don’t know exactly who is in the band, but Bo Ramsey lists this show in the tour section of his site. Alexis Stevens will open. The gallery will have works by Jamie Hudrlik (who happens to be the very talented daughter of Iowa City photographer Sandy Dyas who showed photographs last year).

I suspect that Pieta will have some of her wonderful new 180g vinyl pressings of One and All with her, too. (I got my copy this week!).

Click Here for Pieta Brown’s website

Click Here for The Mill Restaurant website.

Click Here to visit midwestix.com to pre-order tickets to This Land Is Your Music II.

Here are my reviews for last year’s shows:  11/5, 11/12, 11/19

(Free Download) Pieta Brown’s New Full Length “One & All” Out April 6th

This week we have been treated to some news about Pieta Brown’s follow up to her Shimmer EP from the folks at Red House Records. Pieta’s new album and first full-length for her new label home, titled One & All will be released on April 6th!

Co-produced by Pieta and Bo Ramsey the record is a culmination of material she’s been performing live since the release of her last full-length Remember The Sun which came out in 2007. She started performing “Calling All Angels” during that solo tour, and I first heard it when she played it on Nic Harcourt’s Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW.

In November, Pieta did a three-night artist-in-residence at The Mill Restaurant called “This Land is Your Music”, which she used as a way to try out different band configurations– solo, duo and full band. She also took the opportunity to perform some of the songs which would become part of One & All, including “Other Way Around,” “Prayer Of Roses,” “Calling All Angels,” “Faller,” and “It Wasn’t That.”

Right now on Pieta’s MySpace page she has “Out of the Blue,” “El Guero” and “Faller” in her music player. Additionally, Red House is making “Faller” available for download. At the first This Land is Your Music show Pieta said that “Faller” is based on meeting Tom Petty when she opened for JJ Cale at McCabe’s Guitar Center. Apparently JJ Cale ran into Petty and Mike Campbell at a bar across the street from McCabe’s and invited them to join him on stage. So, Pieta and Bo met Petty and Campbell. Here is a picture of Bo talking to Petty.

Pieta is going on a 28-date tour with Mark Knopfler who is out supporting his new album Get Lucky, which should gain her some new fans. Bo will be on tour with her and I think that Knopfler and Bo have complimentary music styles so it would be interesting if they’d perform together!

Red House Records will start taking pre-orders for One & All on March 30th and pre-orders will be autographed! Also, you can preorder One & All from Amazon.

Tracklisting for One & All

Wishes Falling Through The Rain
Other Way Around
Out Of The Blue
Prayer Of Roses
Calling All Angels
El Guero
Faller
Flowers In The Kingdom
Shake
Grass Upon The Hills
Never Did Belong
It Wasn’t That

Pieta Brown on Tour With Mark Knopfler (from The Rosebud Agency)

4/8/2010      Seattle WA      Moore Theatre
4/9/2010     Vancouver BC CANADA     Queen Elizabeth Theatre
4/10/2010     Portland OR     Keller Auditorium
4/11/2010     Eugene OR     Hult Center for the Performing Arts
4/13/2010     Oakland CA     Paramount Theatre of the Arts
4/14/2010     Santa Rosa CA     Wells Fargo Center For The Arts
4/15/2010     Temecula CA     Pechanga Resort & Casino
4/16/2010     Los Angeles CA     Pantages Theatre
4/17/2010     Los Angeles CA     Pantages Theatre
4/18/2010     Phoenix AZ     Dodge Theatre
4/20/2010     Denver CO     Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre
4/21/2010     Kansas City MO     Midland Theatre
4/22/2010     Saint Louis MO     Fox Theatre
4/23/2010     Chicago IL     Chicago Theatre
4/24/2010     Milwaukee WI     Riverside Theater
4/25/2010     Minneapolis MN     State Theater
4/27/2010     Ann Arbor MI     Michigan Theater
4/28/2010     Buffalo NY     University of Buffalo – Center For The Arts
4/29/2010     Toronto ON CANADA     Massey Hall
4/30/2010     Montréal PQ CANADA     Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place Des Arts
5/1/2010     Mashantucket CT     MGM Grand at Foxwoods
5/2/2010     Washington DC     Warner Theater
5/4/2010     Boston MA     Orpheum Theatre
5/5/2010     Red Bank NJ     Count Basie Theatre
5/6/2010     New York NY     United Palace
5/7/2010     Upper Darby PA     Tower Theater
5/8/2010     Atlantic City NJ     Caesars Circus Maximus
5/9/2010     Albany NY     Palace Theatre

Click Here to download “Faller” from One & All.

Click Here for Pieta’s Website

Click Here for Pieta’s MySpace Page

Click Here for Pieta’s Facebook Page

This Land is Your Music Show #3 at The Mill in Iowa City 11/19/09 (review)

Pieta Brown
Thursday night, November 19th, was the last of the three shows that comprised Pieta Brown‘s Artist-in-Residence at the Mill Restaurant in Iowa City. Each show had different opening acts and gallery exhibits, and Pieta used these shows to try out different performance configurations. The first show was a solo acoustic show, the second was a duo show with Bo Ramsey, and this show was a full-band show. The band, dubbed “Skyrocket” was Bo Ramsey on guitar, Steve Hayes on drums and Jon Penner on bass. Effectively this her “Dream #9” band with a swap of drummers from Jim Viner to Hayes. The opening act was Dustin Busch, whose photographs were in the gallery and who joined Pieta on stage as well for the first show. The gallery for this show was an installation of Sandy Dyas’s photographs.

I was looking forward to this show because I really enjoyed seeing Pieta with a full band back in June and this is as close to her records as she can sound live. I think she has really come into her own as a songwriter, musician and performer since her self-titled debut in 2002. Certainly her solo, duo and trio performances are the style that is associated with her, but fronting a band on stage is a new mode for her, and one I hope to see more of because, frankly, I like the drive of the drums behind her songs. Talking to her after the show about it, I get the idea that she doesn’t want to put too much focus on the full-band configuration over the other forms. She isn’t going to tour the full band, I’d say– if only because of the complicated logistics and economics of touring a full band.

Dustin Busch

Dustin Busch aka “Dusty B” opened the show with a solo acoustic set. Dustin’s set was comprised of covers and original songs which showcased his “hill-country” blues style. Dustin’s amazing slide guitar style was coupled with a characteristicly mush-mouthed vocal delivery which reminded me of R.L. Burnside or T-Model Ford. He had a microphone pointed at his feet so that his foot stomping could be picked up. I was really impressed with the set– I’d like to see him play again sometime when he’s in the area. I had a great conversation with him after the show about old blues artists– its clear his passion is in this as he possesses a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of this topic. I could have talked to him for hours! I managed to capture his set-closer which was an instrumental cover of Al Murphy’s “Quail is a Pretty Bird” with my iPhone which you can see below. This song is typically a fiddle tune, but Dustin transforms it for guitar.

Pieta Brown & Skyrocket

Because the stage was occupied by more people, it left less room for the neat stage props, so Stan Crocker created a new set incorporating some of the original props, but included a steer skull and an interesting blanket of lights you can see in the above picture. I wish I would have gotten a wide-angle shot without the band– it was really cool.

Pieta brought out her new Reverend Flatroc electric in Rock Orange, although in these pictures under the red lights it appears that the guitar matches the pink in Pieta’s outfit. She was playing it through a Fender Silverfaced Twin Reverb, which according to an interview with Nick Stika I read with Bo Ramsey in Premier Guitar, is actually modded to a blackface circuitry. This means that it is a later Fender tube-based amp from the CBS period, but has been modified to the same circuitry a pre-CBS “blackface” spec. (sorry about the guitar gear geek stuff…).

Bo Ramsey, Jon Penner, Pieta Brown

The set was great, and included a run of songs that were very suited to the full-band experience. It was pretty evident that the Bo/Steve/Jon backing band was a good choice– they play together very frequently and it shows how easily they can be dropped into a setting like this. The crowd started warming up to the band and some people started dancing. I’ve said it before– I really like hearing Pieta with a full band– the energy is palpable and infectious.

Pieta was her typical humble and gracious self– thanking people for coming out and thanking the Mill for letting her try her “experiment” and stated that she hoped to be able to do this again.

Sandy Dyas Exhibit in Back Gallery

This show’s art exhibit was one that I was really looking forward to– the Sandy Dyas installation. She utilized the backroom to its fullest with a sort of “mini” installation of her “Heaven & Earth” exhibit which will open at Simpson College in Indianola, IA on January 11th and will run through February 5th. She is using the walls as a larger canvas– if you will– where she is hanging photographs in groupings in relation to each other– the juxtaposition of which offers an interpretation of the subjects wider than the individual photos. Graphic arts is about the use of space, and this exhibit will be an interesting and compelling exercise.

Sandy Dyas Exhibit in Back Gallery

After it was all said and done, these shows accomplished what Pieta set out to do– she got an opportunity to work out some of her material in different stage settings– a sort of warm-up to the touring she will be doing in support of her Shimmer EP and the upcoming full length this year on Red House. She also used these shows as a way to show the community of artists that exists in Eastern Iowa. I moved back to Eastern Iowa to follow a career opportunity, but I was also very excited to come back to the area to see the music and arts scene I grew up around. I hope that Pieta attempts another series of shows like this– there are a lot more artists and musicians who could benefit from the exposure Pieta could bring to them in this setting.

Pieta Brown and Skyrocket Setlist:

Rollin’ and Tumblin’
In My Mind I Was Talkin’ to Loretta
You’re My Lover Now
I Don’t Want To Come Down
Rollin’ Down The Track
Bad News
West Monroe
Hey Run
Lovin’ You Still
Still Runnin’
How Many Times
Faller
Red Apple Juice
Looking the World Over (Memphis Minnie cover)

Dustin Busch Performing “Quail is a Pretty Bird”

Pieta Brown and Skyrocket performing “Hey Run”

Click Here to see my full flickr set of pictures from the show.

Click Here to read my review of the first This Land Is Your Music show on 11/5/09

Click Here to read my review of the second This Land Is Your Music show on 11/12/09

This Land is Your Music Show #2 at The Mill in Iowa City 11/12/09 (review)

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Last week I posted about the first of the three This Land is Your Music shows at The Mill Restaurant in Iowa City featuring Pieta Brown and selected regional artists. Last week’s show featured Pieta in a solo acoustic setting. This week’s show featured Pieta in her most common live configuration– in a duo with Bo Ramsey. This was a show I was really looking forward to as it also had Bo as the opening act as a solo acoustic performance, which I hadn’t seen before!

As much as I look back fondly on the bar-rocking Sliders days of Bo, it is really interesting to see the “gentleman bluesman” identity Bo has adopted in the last decade or so. Seeing Bo on stage sitting down with his acoustic guitar in trademark attire of suit, boots and straw hat recalls at once both Hank Williams and Robert Johnson.
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Bo’s music translates favorably to an acoustic setting and his guitar technique and chops are just as impressive as his electric ones. The song selection for his set spanned his entire career dipping back to the 80’s with “Back No More” and “I Don’t Know.” He pulled out “555 x 2”  from Down to Bastrop which drew a favorable crowd reaction. We were also treated to his cover of “Sitting On Top of the World”  he recorded for his blues “tribute” album Stranger Blues and my personal favorite from last year’s Fragile, “Buffalo to Jericho.”

Bo also performed two new songs– both of them co-written with Pieta Brown. “No Place Like Home” and “Going Back.” “Going Back” is a chanted lament for a simpler time with the repeated phrase “I’m Going Back.” Both songs are good– I’d heard them when Bo played the Mill back at the end of October. Hopefully this means he’s working on another album of material!

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After a very short break where Pieta and Bo huddled in the corner going over the setlist they would play– they started into their set. It’s impressive to think that Pieta and Bo have been performing like this since the beginning of her career dating back to her first record around 2002. Bo as a sideman is a generational tradition started with Bo and Greg Brown and it’s an effective if economical way to perform. It is clearly a comfortable arrangement for both Bo and Pieta and neither of them really overshadow the other.

The set didn’t have much duplicates from last week except for three songs– the new “Faller” which is based on her meeting Tom Petty, “Calling All Angels,” and “Bad News.” The rest of the songs were a good mix of new and old and some choice covers. We also got a new track from the Shimmer EP– “Diamonds in the Sky” which she introduced by saying it was the first time playing it outside her bedroom.

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The highlight of the night, however, was when she called Dave Moore up to the stage to perform five songs with them. He stuck to harmonica for most of the songs adding incendiary licks to “Are You Free”– I wish I would have recorded that! He switched to accordion for the Hank Williams song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

In the backroom gallery was work by Codi Josephson who runs Home Ec Workshop in Iowa City. She showed a collection of print-on-fabric pieces that looked pretty cool. You can see the exhibit in the flickr picture set.

This Thursday, 11/19 is the final show in the series and will have Pieta Brown fronting a full band made up of members of Bo’s band. Having seen her fronting a full band before, I urge anyone who can make it to come out! The first two shows were fairly low-key, but with a drummer there is a good chance people will be out shaking it on the dance floor. The opening act will be Dustin Busch, and the gallery exhibit will be from Sandy Dyas and will be an installation of her photographs– I think it will be based on her “Heaven and Earth” installation at Cornell College. Doors are at 7PM, show is promptly at 8PM and admission is $10– the proceeds of which go to support Public Radio, KCCK, and the Friends of Hickory Hill.

Bo’s Setlist:
Sitting On Top Of The World (Big Bill Broonzy cover)
No Place Like Home*
Going Back*
Tell Me Now
555 x 2
Back No More
Buffalo to Jericho
I Don’t Know

Pieta’s Setlist”
How Many Times
Prayer of Roses*
Even When
Loving You Still
Rollin’ Down the Tracks
Bad News
Faller
I’m Going Away Blues (w/Dave Moore) (Frank Stokes cover)
Are You Free (w/Dave Moore)
Diamonds In The Sky (w/Dave Moore)
I Don’t Want to Come Down (w/Dave Moore)
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (w/Dave Moore) (Hank Williams cover)
Calling All Angels
I’m Over You
Red Apple Juice (standard)

Click Here to visit the Mill Restaurant Website

Click Here to read my review of the first This Land is Your Music show on 11/5/09

Click Here to read my review of the third This Land is Your Music show on 11/19/09

Click Here to view the flickr picture set.

This Land is Your Music Show at The Mill in Iowa City 11/5/09 (review)

Stage Lighting by Stan Crocker

In the middle of her solo performance at The Mill in Iowa City Thursday night, Pieta said to the small crowd, “It’s like I’m playing to you in my living room!” Pieta was referring to the small crowd on Thursday night, but the stage was adorned with a chair and nightstand as well as lamps and an old dress form giving the stage a homey touch with lighting designed by Stan Crocker, who has done a lot of lighting design for TV shows like CMT’s Crossroads.

Last night was the first night of a three-week artist-in-residency at the Mill Restaurant in Iowa City of Pieta Brown. As stated earlier, the This Land Is Your Music series is showcasing Pieta Brown’s music but also includes other musicians from the area as well as other artists. Pieta stated in an interview with Ben Kieffer on IPR’s The Exchange that she wanted to take the opportunity to try out her music– new music and old in different configurations– solo, duo and full-band. She feels that The Mill was is a good place for her to try out new material which will be drawn from her new EP on Red House Shimmer, as well as songs that she is recording for her next full-length to come out next spring.

Last night’s show featured Pieta performing solo with Bo Ramsey’s son Alex Ramsey opening. In the back-room gallery the art of Pieta’s sister Zoe Brown and photographs by Dustin Busch were on exhibit. A last-minute addition to the lineup were three writers from the University of Iowa International Writing Program reading their short stories.

Alex Ramsey

Alex Ramsey has contributed his keyboard skills to a number of Eastern Iowa music releases including a two records from the Pines as well as the last couple of Bo Ramsey albums but to date he hasn’t had much exposure as a solo artist.  I made the very incorrect assumption that Alex, like his brother Benson would provide a sound that draws from the folk and country blues that is identified with so many artists from our area. Alex played a set of original piano-driven music that reminded me at times of Radiohead’s piano-focused songs but I would also compare it to the late Epic Soundtracks. It’s the slightly off-kilter but soulful vocal combined with the piano that brought me back to 1991’s Rise Above. Alex’s set was a combination of vocal and instrumental songs– most of which were described as works-in-progress. Alex performed three covers– one by Dr. Dog– “Livin’ A Dream,” a relatively obscure John Lennon track “Mr. Hyde’s Gone (Don’t Be Afraid)” which I think is only included on the Anthology box as a home demo, and he wrapped up his set with “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” by Fiona Apple. He said during the show that he wished he had a CD he could sell us– I do, too!

International Writers Program Short Story Reading

Following Alex was three participants in the International Writing Program reading their own short stories. I wasn’t able to catch their names, but one of them was Maxine Case from South Africa who read her short story “Homing Pigeons” (exerpt here). Another writer was Garcia Groyon from the Philippines. I can’t identify the first writer from the pictures. I think it was pretty cool that they were able to participate– it reminded me of the incredible resource the U of I writing program is.

Pieta Brown

Up next was Pieta who set out to do a solo set, but ended up adding in some special guests towards the end of it. I’d never seen her perform solo before, so it was a treat to hear how her guitar work changes to fill in the missing guitar parts typically provided by Bo Ramsey. She’s not a flashy lead guitarist, but I was impressed with her ability to drop in a arpeggiated chord or two to round the songs out. “New songs and new guitars– probably not an advisable combination” she quipped at one point– apparently she had all new guitars in tow. The last time I saw her she mentioned that she was getting her own Reverend Flatroc, so this time the guitar was here. In a pretty butterscotchish color apparently called “Rock Orange.”

Pieta Brown

The set was a pretty good mix recent songs, older songs and new songs as she set out to do. Curiously, she only did one song from her upcoming EP Shimmer– “You’re My Lover Now”– which seems to be the “single” if there was one. Of course, the Shimmer songs were recorded back in March and she said that she just got back from recording songs for her full length, so possibly these are fresher to her. She told me that she doesn’t really hit the stage with a setlist in mind. Three of the songs were from her self-released Flight Time EP with just one track from Remember the Sun and her arrangement of the traditional “Little Sparrow” from her I Never Told EP. She dropped in her version of the blues standard “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” and “Calling All Angels” which she did as part of her KCRW session back in 2007.

We were blessed with some new songs that all sound like they have some potential in the studio. “The Other Way Around” and “It Wasn’t That” were new songs to me. She also did “Faller” which I had heard when she did her show at the Mill with a full band back in June.

Pieta Brown and Dustin Busch

After the first nine songs she decided to invite her sister Constie Brown up to sing on “Remember the Sun” and “Just” and then she invited Dustin Busch up to the stage to provide some slide guitar to “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” and “Harry’s Blues.” Pieta said that her original plan was to play all of the instruments she had on stage by herself as she handed Dustin the Flatroc and a slide. She added that growing up music was always about getting people together to play. Dustin quickly adapted to the guitar and provided some nice accompaniment to Pieta. I’m looking forward to seeing his opening set at the This Land Is Your Music show on 11/19.

Zoe Brown Exhibit

The backroom gallery was the back area of the restaurant that could be closed off and I think is sometimes used as a “backstage” area for bands. In its capacity of art gallery it was able to have some lighting to show the paintings of Zoe Brown and the photos of Dustin Busch. The gallery seemed to enjoy a pretty constant flow of people.

I like Zoe’s paintings quite a bit– you can see more of them in my slideshow below or at the flickr.com set. She’s not afraid of big expanses of color. Dustin’s double-exposureish photos were pretty cool, too. I would have liked to see more of them and maybe larger.

Ultimately, I think this is a really cool thing that Pieta is trying to put together. The idea is pure– bring the regional art together in celebration and give back. I think in our Internet-enabled era where we find our art and culture on a nearly boundless territory we often forget that there are artists in our own backyard that are worth supporting.

If you are available on either of the next two Thursday nights– 11/12 and 11/19– make the effort to come out. These are guaranteed to be loose, fun shows as Pieta considers the Mill to be her home turf.

The 11/12 show has Bo Ramsey opening and supporting her in her set with a gallery of Codi Josephson’s work. The 11/19 show will have Dustin Busch opening with Pieta fronting a full band that, billed as “Skyrocket,” I believe will have Jon Penner, Steve Hayes and Al Shares (I think). The gallery on the 19th will be a installation of photographs of Iowa photographer and supporter of the local scene Sandy Dyas.

The cover is $10 will proceeds going to support Iowa Public Radio, KCCK, and the Friends of Hickory Hill. Doors are at 7PM with the show starting at 8PM.

Pieta’s Setlist:

West Monroe
Other Way Around*
Bad News
Faller*
It Wasn’t That*
Calling All Angels
Little Sparrow
Gravel Road Blues (Joe Price Cover)
You’re My Lover Now
Remember the Sun (with Constie Brown)
Just (with Constie Brown)
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (with Dustin Busch)
Harry’s Blues (with Dustin Busch) (Mississippi Fred McDowell Cover)

*new songs

Here is some video I shot with my iPhone:

Alex Ramsey performs “Waltz (Better Than Fine)”

Here is a link to my flickr.com photoset of the show

Here is a slideshow of the pictures

Click Here to go to The Mill Restaurant Calendar for the details on the show.

Click Here to read my review of the 11/12 This Land is Your Music Show.

Click Here to read my review of the 11/19 This Land is Your Music Show.

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