Kevin Brown & The Beloved Country
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Kevin Brown & The Beloved Country


Band Americana Country


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"Kevin Brown - The Beloved Country"

"Brown's thoughtful lyrics, too smart and expansive for country's limited vocabulary, call up the natural landscape as the setting for often unexpected stories and reflections. Along the way, his words work wonders... These are original songs (in two definitions of 'original'), and they are good ones. They invite repeated listening. In his middle age and thus done with the foolishness of youth, Brown has endured on this Earth long enough to have figured out what matters. Thus, unlike many singer-songwriters who spring to mind, he has something to say. One experiences the keenly pleasant sensation that one is in the company of a personable, intelligent man who knows how to tell a story. The harrowing Northeast of Eden (Fallen Snow) is simply astounding in this regard. So is the song that follows it, the album's closer, Comfort, a compelling but bracingly unsentimental anthem of survival in a harsh world. I have never heard a song like When I Go Out at Night, whose title stirs expectations of the familiar and confounds them at every turn, meanwhile charming and touching the listener with its surprises and sincerity... One knows one is hearing somebody with a distinctive personal vision, an artist who knows where he comes from and who will take listeners to places they will want to go." -

"Kevin Brown - The County Primaries"

Just across the river in Kentucky, there used to be a man named Jesse Stuart who spent most of his life in a rural, secluded area of Greenup County. Best known as a writer, he worked as a teacher and school administrator throughout northern Kentucky and Southern Ohio and is well remembered on both sides if the Ohio River as our native contribution to the literary community.

Although he wrote numerous novels and short stories, Stuart's real gift was his poetry. One prominent critic of the day even called him the best American poet since Walt Whitman. Yet he remains relatively unknown, perhaps because he wanted it that way. He wasn't an aggressive self-promoter who spent his time speaking at universities and accepting awards. He mostly just did his thing and occasionally sent a poem or two off to a magazine, letting the chips fall where they may. Then again, his lack of prominence may be due to the fact that the subjects he wrote about- the natural and simple beauties of a rural lifestyle- were considered quaint and old-fashioned even in his day.

I see a lot of Jesse Stuart in Washington songwriter Kevin Brown. While listening to his solo debut The County Primaries, I get a sense that all Brown really wants to do is sing his songs for the people who want to hear them, the people who get them, and has no interest whatsoever in what is going on in Nashville or any other music scene.

Beginning with the cautiously optimistic "Move Away from the Light" and the imagery-laden gospel number "On the Line," the album hooks you in at the outset with it's affable brand of bluegrass-influenced singer-songwriter folk, yet you discover new lyrical depth with each subsequent listen. Take the third track, "Fallow," for instance. On the first listen, it's a great song about hard times on a farm, but later it reveals itself first as a poetic allegory about life itself with a deep spiritual meaning.

Others, such as the sentimental and obviously factual love song "It Was You" and the melodious Old West ballad "Medicine Bow," while not quite as complex are nevertheless beautiful tunes more than worthy of an audience. The real outlier here, though, is the title track, a fun-loving tale of rural life that sounds like Nashville circa 1953. But the common thread through all of the songs is a sense of experience and more than a passing acquaintance with the subjects.

My favorite tracks on the record at the moment are "Courted By Canyons" and "The Last Days of Indian Summer," two bittersweet numbers rife with complexity, yet very different from one another. The first deals with the relationship between man and the creator, while the latter deals with the relationship between man and creation.

Brown's songs details both the beauty and heartache of rural life. Many songwriters claim to do this, but Brown does it with realism instead of stereotypes, conveying the perfect mood through his lyrics as well as the rustic backing. Dobros and fiddles permeate the musical landscape as his lyrics delineate the lives of those of us who prefer to live away from the crowded cities and congested interstates. It's a world where an oak tree is a "backyard homecoming queen." Some may call it backwards, but as Mr. Brown's songs reveal, the true word for it is free.

The County Primaries is easily one of the best debut albums of 2010 and it reveals Brown as a singer-songwriter with an eye for detail, an ear for melody, and the perfect voice to tie it together. Listening to this album, I get the feeling that these are the types of songs Johnny Cash would have loved. Brown has a great talent as a performer and his songwriting skills are unmatched among the new breed of singer-songwriters to emerge over the past few years. Yet neither of those things are what really keeps me coming back to this album. That can only be accomplished by sincerity and heart, two things Brown and his album have plenty of.
- Adam Sheets - No Depression


"The County Primaries" (2010)
"The Beloved Country" (2012)



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. 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. His follow-up effort "The Beloved Country" spent several weeks in the top 40 of the national Roots Music Report and FOLKDJ lists for folk radio airplay, and solidified the band sound that Kevin performs with.

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.