Old Man Brown Bio
Old Man Brown has, from their first downbeat in 2001, been seeking the source of Soul, real Soul in American Music. That part of a song that transcends any one chord, melody or lyric to touch people in a place that can only be enriched by rhythm and harmony. OMB’s material whether it be Blues, Funk, Rock, or Gospel music all has one tie that binds, Soul.
The majority of OMB’s repertoire has been written by the two founders of the band, brothers Adam and John Scott-Wakefield. While their songs have a soulful southern sound to them, surprisingly Adam and John grew up in a rural New Hampshire town. Having musically inclined parents from the Hippie generation, they grew up surrounded by the sounds of The Allman Brothers, Little Feat, The Meters, and many more. Both grew up studying Jazz but harbored a deeper longing for music that was closer to heart. So after the brothers had both dropped out of music School, (Berkeley College of Music, and The New School Jazz and Contemporary Arts program), they reunited to pursue their true calling, with long time friends Marshall Chapman (guitar), Paul Lewis (bass) and Alex Rankin (guitar).
The guys gathered on a farm in central NH, owned by Chapman’s stepfather, Peter Brown, aka “Old Man Brown,” who opened his house to the band and cleaned out a “studio” in the barn for jamming. Thus was Old Man Brown born. The band moved to Baltimore to start looking for gigs in the MD/DC area and start on their first LP. Between 2004 and 2010 Old Man Brown, through rigorous rehearsel and an ever-evolving sound, has released two original but very different albums. "Return" released in 2007 was produced by Allman Brother Johnny Neel in Nashville and displays the Southern Rock/Blues roots of the band. After the release of "Return" Old Man Brown progressively gravitated towards Funk and R&B music opening the doors for new instrumentation and arrangements. in 2008 Dave Finnell (Thievery Corporation, The Almighty Senators) was asked to write horn parts for the band's next album "Blue Light Special" and after completion consequently started a new live horn section recruiting DC Sax player Mario D'ambrosio. "Blue Light Special" exhibits the bands new Soul/R&B influence shifting from groove oriented 70's funk to Motown Soul and even to African Rhythms and Jazz. In 2010 Old Man Brown added a female vocal section with local budding artists Cara Kelly and Noelle Peacock.
The new 9-piece band is a Soul/Funk locomotive of harmony and groove and has performed all over the U.S. as well as in England, Scotland and Wales.
Old Man Brown has appeared on stage with: Canned Heat, Levon Helm, The Derek Trucks Band, Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk, Dennis Chambers, and more.
Adam Scott-Wakefield - Keyboards & Vocals
Alexander Rankin - Guitar
Marshall Chapman - Guitar.
Joe Martone - Bass
Dave Finnell - Trumpet
Mario D'ambrosio - Tenor Saxophone
Ebony Noel Peacock - Vocals
Cara Kelly - Vocals
Dave Cavalier - Drums
Jenny Freeman - Vocals
Blue Light Special / LP
Airplay: 89.7 WTMD, 97.9 (WIYY), 103.1
Return / LP
Airplay: 89.7 WTMD , 97.9 WIYY (98 Rock), 103.1 WRNR. and more. . .
Album Review of "Blue Light Special"
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Reviewer: Chris F. Williams Baltimore based Old Man Brown are a seven piece band playing original...Reviewer: Chris F. Williams
Baltimore based Old Man Brown are a seven piece band playing original Blues, Funk and Southern Rock. With honest songwriting and compelling musicianship, OMB are blazing their own path in the revival of music from the 1960’s and 1970’s. These guys sound like they are from the South but the band actually started playing together in New Hampshire. OMB’s front man and founder, Adam Scott-Wakefield started the band with his brother John back in 2001. The band’s name is actually a nod to Peter Brown, aka “Old Man Brown”, one of the band member’s stepfather who cleaned out his barn and offered the space for a studio. As the band began to master their sound, momentum grew and the band moved to Baltimore a few years ago for gigs in the MD/DC area. Johnny Neel, a Grammy nominated singer/song writer and producer, heard about OMB through the grapevine and liked their demo. He invited them to his recording studio in Nashville, TN to record an album and the band released their first full-length CD, Return, in 2007.
Last summer, Old Man Brown played a gig in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of D.C. every other Wednesday at Madams Organ. I’m not sure how I ran into to these guys but once I saw them live I was hooked. In a day and age where most new cookie-cutter groups releasing music have a similar sound, it was refreshing to hear a young group of guys who sounded well-polished and authentic . Of course, they played cover songs here and there. But they also played original material: mostly of which can be found on their first album Return. OMB’s sound is a sultry mix of The Allman Brothers Band, Bill Withers, The Funky Meters, and old fashioned Gospel Music. Even though it made for a late night during the week, I had no problem going to see OMB play their brand of Soul. The crowd was never big but I didn’t care. OMB was kind of like my little secret. Eventually, they added a Trumpet and Saxophone player. They were really starting to sound like a funk band. And then all of sudden, they stopped playing on Wednesdays. No more mid-week Soul music. I was furious! Old Man Brown fell off the map. I didn’t see any new gigs on their website. There were few updates on the band’s activities. Months went by. Was there a new album in the works? Did the band dismember? With only one OMB album to listen to at home, I drifted.
Fast-forward May 2010. I’m surfing the web and notice a few new tour dates for Old Man Brown. Was it true – was the band playing again? One of the tour dates was a CD release party. A few weeks later a new album, Blue Light Special, shows up for download on the Internet. I downloaded it immediately. Did OMB deliver? Absolutely. I’m genuinely impressed with their second effort. And the introduction of a trumpet and saxophone player really gives the band the extra nudge over the edge into a full band sound.
On Blue Light Special, OMB effortlessly transitions from Blues, R&B, Funk and Gospel. The genre blending is subtle with the common thread and underlying heart beat being Adam Wakefield’s soulful voice. “The Funky Grind”, the opening track, sounds like some good ol’ New Orleans Funk a la Dumsptaphunk. With Wakefield’s Hammond b-3 organ literally croaking, it’s hard to resist moving your body to the song. The album switches gear on “Do What I Do”. With a jazz-swing groove, this song is all about going out to the bars and having fun. Throughout the CD, OMB incorporates ‘breaks’ (usually toward the middle or end of songs) which allows the band to showcase their well-crafted solo instrumentation. Whether it’s the Guitar playing of Alexander Rankin and Marshall Chapman or the tight Trumpet and Tenor Sax sounds blasting from Dave Finell and Mario D’Ambrosio, the band seems to hit all the right notes. When the ‘break’ of the song finishes, OMB comes back full swing and the complexity of the arrangements is fully revealed. Listen to “Let me In” and “One Life to Live” and you’ll understand what I’m describing. On “Delivered”, Wakefield flexes his Gospel pipes and the Hammond organ really shines. “I’m a Pilgrim” is a new take (and possibly one of the most funked-out renditions I’ve heard) of an old gospel hymn. The album is rounded out with “Cradle to the Curb”; a staccato style blues song incorporating an acoustic slide guitar. All in all, Blue Light Special is a quality album. From slow-burning R&B ballads to uplifting organ-inspired Gospel tunes, Old Man Brown is banging on all cylinders.
Young Band's Fresh Take on Old Genre
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Jamie Cullum revived jazz and, with any luck, Baltimore-based Old Man Brown could do the sam... Jamie Cullum revived jazz and, with any luck, Baltimore-based Old Man Brown could do the same thing for Blues.
They're ironically named, since these four fresh-faced young men look like any boy band you could mention, albeit two or three years older. Their four night run at Nektar continued last night, in front of a packed and very happy crowd. They should be too young to play this stuff with any conviction, but they're far from it.
Whether playing classics like Stormy Monday or their own material, it's hard not to draw comparisons with Cream or even B.B. King, but they're much more than a glorified cover band. They have their own sound which, in a year or two will put them firmly in their own niche.
Blues is a long way from being a dead art-form in the hands of Old Man Brown. Go and hear them in a wee pub while you still can.
- Martin Lenon
Pick of the Week: Old Man Brown
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OLD MAN BROWN "Return" Old Man Brown is a throwback to bands like the Allman Brothers and ...OLD MAN BROWN
Old Man Brown is a throwback to bands like the Allman Brothers and The Spencer Davis Group. The lead singer, Adam-Scott Wakefield, has a remarkable resemblance to Steve Winwood. I say this with fondness and appreciation for what this band accomplishes on their CD Return.
Even though this band sounds like they come from somewhere in the south, they hail from Baltimore. This validates the power of music and its influence, regardless of where you are from.
Johnny Neel (Allman Brothers, Solo) plays an important role in this band’s success in the recording studio. The veteran performer and producer brings a lot to the table, and takes this already seasoned and capable band to the next level.
The opening track, “It’s A Shame”, is a sparkling example of what this band does best. They pump out a southern flavored blues, jazz and rock fusion, and take all the fluctuating time changes through many paces in one track. This becomes the status quo throughout the recording, and it is such a pleasure to hear. The subject matter of each track is simple and appealing, and is focused on everyday people and relationships.
While you are taking in the words and stop to listen to the instrumental breaks, you find the music can be so much more complex when you compare it to the vocal expressions. The blues is very down to earth, and usually about women and the damage they cause to their male counterparts - usually due the weaknesses of their bad habits. “Like Bees To Honey”, a self explanatory play on words, is a great tune. The acoustic slide guitar and harmonica are right on cue and on fire from start to finish. The rhythm section is incredibly good. Paul Lewis (bass) and Ben Woodbury (drums) are a good match for each other. Everything they lay down seems to get the rest of the band to fall right into sync with them, regardless of what time they are playing in. The Hammond organ’s influence is huge on this album. After the rhythm section, Neel and Wakefield really crank on the keys, and from that point on Return is rambling down the highway with a full tank of high test.
Wakefield’s vocals are perfect for everything that is going on here musically, and I still cannot get over how much the dude sounds like Winwood. It is quite refreshing actually to hear music with so much soul and reverence for its ancestors. Alexander Rankin and the multi talented Wakefield play some scorching blues-rock riffs on this album, and it just adds to all the other parts that are way above average for this genre, and in general musical terms it is off the charts pleasing. Obviously, the influence of Neel cannot be understated here, but when you already have a unit hitting all their cylinders to start with, it makes producing and contributing to a project that much more seamless, and it was surely a complete joy for Neel.
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CD REVIEW IN BOOTLEG MAGAZINE It can take years for a band to find their sound, and create magic ...CD REVIEW IN BOOTLEG MAGAZINE
It can take years for a band to find their sound, and create magic on an album. The journey means hard work, replacing band members or losing one in the process. Old Man Brown’s original drummer John Scott-Wakefield passed as the band was finishing tracks for their demo. They carried on and recorded "Return", and astounding album that conjures up the blues, gospel, soul, and rock while eschewing associated stereotypes.
On "Return", Old Man Brown captured lightning in a bottle, getting back to soulful and earnest songwriting."Return" just flows, as if without effort, sounding timeless, as though the album has been lying around waiting to be played again. It is emotional yet smooth, something fresh by the likes of four young men from the Baltimore area, recorded in Nashville, the band marks a return to southern soul, taking familiar music and making it new again. Think Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, or the Black Keys. Adam Scott-Wakefield’s vocals sound older than his age, coming as if Ray Charles and Steve Winwood were singing at the same time. Tracks navigate from the soulful ‘Fool to Love’ to the blues of ‘It’s a Shame’ and ‘Like Bees to Honey.’ Mixing funk and rock on ‘Steal Away’ the track elicits a different take on relationships, trading a life of marriage for the road. "A man don’t need a women, a ship don’t need no anchor/ mama taught me self-reliance/I’m gonna thank her."
Standout songs include ‘Seek My Arms,’ ‘Return’ and the fantastic mini-epic that is ‘Come Shine, Come Rain.’ Part slow ballad, with it’s church service feel, the Hammond organ lends character to a song already rich in the tapestry of Wakefield’s vocals singing "I can’t keep holding on to you/ I know your longing to stay true/ I could always be your gentle warm breeze/ that lifts you up when your cold man drops you on your knees. It’s a beautiful song that collides Muscle Shoals with Motown-era loveliness. ‘Return’ opens with a guitar melody a la Eric Clapton during his mid-nineties, elegantly acoustic period. A song about the comfort of home when things get hectic, it strides along cooly, not letting the blistering sound of guitar over power the whole.
‘Seek My Arms’ is sure to be a ladies’ favorite. Shuffling, bouncing and a smooth dance number, it’s descending riff and funky piano playing make it right for the dance floor. The piano and guitar play off one another, the middle like a mini-jam. If some tracks call to mind the jazz flow of the Allman Brothers it didn’t hurt that Allman brother Johnny Neal recorded the album and played organ as well.
For fans of Allman Brothers, Jack Johnson, The Black Crows and Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise.
Bootleg Magazine April 2007
Typical Set Lists include mostly original material but
if covers are a necessity here are some examples.
Old Man Brown Cover Song List:
What's Goin on / Marvin Gaye
Let's get It on / Marvin Gaye
Statesboro Blues / Allman Brothers
Melissa / Allman Brothers
Don't Keep ME Wonderin' / Allman Brothers
Don't want you no more / Allman Brothers
Blue Sky / Allman Brothers
In memory of Elizabeth Reed / Allman Brothers
Stormy Monday / T- Bone Walker
Turn On Your Lovelight / Bobby Bland
I Know a Little / Lynyrd Skynyrd
Call me the Breeze / Lynyrd Skynyrd
What is Hip / Tower of Power
Can't hide Love / Earth wind and Fire
Ordinary Pain / Stevie Wonder
All Day Sucka / Stevie Wonder
Spooky / Atlanta Rhythm Section
Use Me / Bill Withers
PLay the Blues for you / Albert King
Woman Across the River / Freddie King
Tore Down / Freddie King
Big Legged Woman / Freddie King
Night Time is The Right Time / Ray Charles
Ain't No Use / THe Meters
Cissy Strut / The Meters
THat's the way love is / Bobby Bland
Love the one your with / Stephen Stills
Spirit in the Dark / Aretha Franklin
I'm Ready / Muddy Waters
Hoochie Coochie Man / Muddy Waters
Mary Jane / Rick James
Let the good times roll / B.B. King
Ghetto Woman / Freddie King
Dreams / Molly Hatchet
The Thrill is Gone / B.B. King
Evil / Luther Allison
Cut you loose / Luther Allison
Mercy Mercy Mercy / Joe Zawinul
Willin' - Don't Bogart that Joint / Little Feat
What am I / Johnny Neel
Just My style / Johnny Neel
Read me my rights / Johnny Neel
Ain't no Sunshine / Bill Withers
More and More / Little Milton
Me and Baby Brother / War
Crazy Jealous / Luther Allison
Born under a Bad Sign / Albert King
Dirty / Little Milton
The Weight / Aretha Franklin
Pack it Up / Freddie King
Ain't Nobody's Business
Key to the Highway / Freddie King
Ragged and Dirty / Luther Allison
Custard Pie / Led Zepplin
Thirty Days / Chuck Berry
Keep it on the Down Low / R. Kelly
I want you back / Jackson 5
There are no upcoming dates at this time.