Remember the Sun CD (2007)
Studio 150 album for sale Pieta Brown paints a big picture with tiny, beautiful strokes on her deeply introspective set Remember the Sun. Like an impressionist masterpiece, whose dabs of color only take form when you step back to see the whole, so it is with this set, whose overarching themes gradually form intertwining patterns. The sullied "Innocent Blues" is a dreamy, musing number that searches in vain for peace, a clean environment, and freedom for all. But regardless of the turmoil, the world keeps spinning and we all keep "Rollin' Down the Track," doing the best we can, with Brown playing her country blues away the only way she knows how. Pulling back from the abyss of world problems, Brown falls into the chasm of her own mind, where visions and dreams slip away, and the singer seems forever grasping at things just out of reach across the rollicking R&B of "Sonic Boom." But reality keeps pulling her back, and as the claustrophobia closes in on "West Monroe," the singer, like Americans themselves, is trapped in a world not of her making. This quartet weaves together a troubled planet, whose leaders are at best asleep at the wheel, at worst oblivious to the damage they're doing. At this point, Brown shifts gears and themes, looking at coping strategies, although not all are successful. One can rail against the world, find comfort in friendship, or get the hell out of Dodge, as she does with gusto on the country-rocker "Hey Run." "In My Mind I Was Talkin' to Loretta" is the album's hinge, as Brown tries to make sense of the world and a woman's place in it, gazing back to childhood with sweet nostalgia and finding hope and inspiration from an idealized Loretta Lynn. Her desire for the sureness and innocence of childhood equally echoes across the introspective "Worlds Within Worlds," as she desperately hangs on to memories of happier times. But Brown is too smart to soothe herself long with such artless artifices; invariably her thoughts rumble with the daily banquet of bad news and the paradoxes that fill our world. On the swampy "Are You Free?" she toys with them to her heart's content, playing with words and meaning, juxtapositions and appositions. In the end, though, we live in hope, and Brown closes the album with the dreamy "Remember the Sun," a sun-dappled number that offers a dollop of happiness for a world cast in darkness. Along the way, Brown creates an enchanting album, its many moods reflected by its musical diversity, all wrapped in luminescent atmospheres and a shimmering production. ~ Jo-Ann Greene
Personnel: Pieta Brown (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, piano, Wurlitzer organ); Bo Ramsey (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, 12-string guitar, slide guitar, background vocals); David Mansfield (violin, viola); Ricky Peterson, Benson Ramsey (keyboards); Jon Penner (bass guitar); Chad Cromwell (drums, percussion); Danielle Clare (background vocals).