Most musicians would have a meltdown if confronted with the situation Greg Brown found himself in: He'd written, recorded and finished an album, when suddenly, FZZZT!!! Lightning struck—literally. Everything fried and gone. But, Brown saw an opportunity: He sat down and wrote a whole new album, titled Freak Flag (the one song he managed to salvage).
A reluctant yet prolific folk icon, Brown sticks pretty close to home with this, his 24th album. Spare instrumentals, that lackadaisical, deep voice, and lyrics that contemplate the everyday: laundry, furniture, love, the moon, the quagmire that is America. A waltz here, some stripped-down blues there. He covers tunes from two of his favorite ladies—his wife Iris DeMent's "Letthe Mystery Be," and "Remember the Sun" by his daughter, Pieta—and rounds out the album with nine of his own.
Fans of Brown will be searching for the next priceless gem, the next "Poet's Game," the next "Spring Song." None of these tunes leap out on a first listen, but don't be disappointed. This is a subtle collection, written in the aftermath of a storm, with reflections on life's inevitabilities: "The world may be endin', but I'm still plantin' seeds."
Greg Brown plays the University Theatre Sunday, Sept. 25, at 8 PM. $28/$25 advance at GrizTix locations.