“The talents of this Edmonton-based musician shine like a beacon. Her boldly written originals… have the good bones and great melodic rhythm of classic big-screen pop songs from the sixties and seventies.” The Globe and Mail
Colleen Brown has spent the past two years rediscovering her passion for music, fuelling a stunning collection of songs focused on themes of love, fate and psychic retooling. Co-produced by Joel Plaskett, Raymond Richards and Brown, the small-town prairie-raised singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist will release ‘Direction’ on March 16, 2015.
The writing and recording process was initiated from ‘attic’ demos Brown pieced together on her own while holed up in her hometown of Edmonton throughout 2012/13. Colleen began re-recording these songs in the summer of 2013, first with producer Raymond Richards (Local Natives) at his Red Rockets Glare studio in Los Angeles, CA. This resulted in the 4-song EP ‘Direction 1: Major Love’, and a music video for the single Mountain Man.
Continuing to record throughout the fall of 2013, a full-length album began to take shape. Each of the songs on Direction explores a different sonic terrain, production, and lyrical perspective. Jangly guitars - care of Richards - vintage synths, precise and soulful drumming by Franck Fiser; these elements all carry Brown’s soaring, vibrant vocals, intonating lyrics about personal growth and trajectory.
Brown then joined forces in Halifax with venerable Canadian songwriter and cardigan-clad rock icon Joel Plaskett to record three tracks featuring Plaskett’s production and indelible guitar playing.
The folk-rock landscape also opens up for a couple of bare-bones tracks with live piano/vocal performances, recorded in one session with Taylor Kernohan at the Drive Shed in Toronto. The colors and vulnerability of Brown’s voice cut through on Come To Arizona and Direction, the title track. The album closes with the song I Asked In The Night- written, recorded and performed by Brown in one late-night attic session.
These recordings are the farthest Brown has seen her talents stretch as a musician- immersed in many of the bass, guitar, and keyboard parts, and guided by her striking vocal performances. This effort broadcasts a new trajectory for Colleen, and indeed a clear and joyful musical Direction.
Praise for Brown’s work began much earlier, with the 2008 album ‘Foot In Heart’. Sandra Sperounes, of The Edmonton Journal called Colleen “a national treasure in the making – along the lines of Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot or k.d.lang.”
‘Foot In Heart’ was re-released in 2010 with Emm Gryner’s Dead Daisy Records & Outside Music. Brown toured extensively that year, playing music festivals, concert halls and clubs across Canada and continues to receive regular airplay on CBC, CKUA and college stations across the country. Brown played 2010’s Edmonton Folk Fest, and has shared stages with Jakob Dylan, Randy Newman, Jim Cuddy, Hawksley Workman, Patrick Watson, Brandi Carlisle, Dan Mangan, Hey Rosetta, Kathleen Edwards, Frank Black and Don MacLean. Brown has toured Canada with Crash Test Dummies, Emm Gryner, Hannah Georgas and Buck 65.
Her 3rd full-length album, a pop- concept album about love, personal growth and cultivating perspective- called Colleen Brown's DIRT- was released in October 2011 to noteworthy praise. Robert Everett Green, of the Globe and Mail proclaimed “You don’t need to read the notes to perceive the good bones in Brown’s songs, or to appreciate her fluid, powerful voice. She’s one of the best singers in Canadian pop, and a superb maker of music for her own voice … Dirt is a declaration of hard-won independence.”
The album featured 13 original songs – one of those co-written with Sarah MacLachlan’s regular collaborator Pierre Marchand. Included with the CD is a narrative that ties the songs together through Colleen's personal experiences. ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ one of DIRT's rock anthems, won the Harvard Broadcasting/New Music West 2011 Song Contest, and in addition the video won Best Music Video at the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association Awards. The album was released Oct 25, 2011 at the Arden Theatre in St. Albert with a CBC Radio 2 live performance. Colleen and her band played dozens of shows across Canada in support of the release, including an appearance on CBC Radio program Q.
Kerry Doole of Exclaim.ca wrote of Colleen Brown's DIRT “If you just read her lyric sheet before hearing her, you’d likely place Brown in the rather crowded category of introspective female singer-songwriters. Her work transcends that niche, courtesy of her bright, powerful voice, one that has a widescreen pop feel… there’s plenty to enjoy while frolicking in this Dirt."
"Foot in Heart" sounds like some of the best music you heard on pop-radio back in the '70s...I love this album,” - Rich Terfry (aka Buck 65) on CBC Radio 2 Drive
“Colleen Brown played the show of her life, opening up (for Frank Black). There is a confidence about her new songs that’s actually scary, savaging the things we men do with a sarcastic lilt and an eager smile for the next round of battle.” – Fish Griwkowsky, See Magazine
“Brown's rich, melodious voice floats around you in a wholly unique way…Her voice isn't the only draw, though…Brown also follows through where it counts most — the songs. (They) deserve recognition for the anthems they are… Foot In Heart is a magnetic album and the whole planet should hear Colleen Brown roar.”- Aaron Brophy, CHARTattack