Colleen Brown & Elijah Abrams
Colleen Brown tears at our hearts as she does her own. With versatile songs and a voice akin to Joni Mitchell, she is relentlessly unafraid. Having won over audiences opening for Randy Newman, Jim Cuddy, Whitehorse, Frank Black, Buck 65 and Hawksley Workman, her 4th album ‘Direction’ – co-produced by Joel Plaskett – saw Brown topping college radio charts, achieving rotation on CBC, and touring Germany and the UK. Kerry Doole of exclaim.ca says ‘she is the rare vocalist that impresses equally on vibrant soul and quiet folk…travelling in Brown’s Direction is one very pleasing trek.’
Changing trajectory once again, 2016 sees Colleen joining forces with a multi-instrumental mainstay, Ontario’s Elijah Abrams (The Abrams Brothers, Rocket Surgery, Oh Susanna). In a few short months they have performed as a duo across Canada in house concerts and theatres alike – notably opening for Rufus Wainwright at Edmonton’s Myer Horowitz Theatre, and joining Oh Susanna at Toronto’s Great Hall as special guests alongside Sarah Harmer, Andy Maize (Skydiggers), Ben Kunder, Justin Rutledge and Jane Siberry. The duo are preparing to record a full length acoustic-folk leaning album for 2017.
Colleen is also currently finishing up a collaborative album with Edmonton band Scenic Route To Alaska and engineer/collaborator Jesse Northey (Jesse and the Dandelions), called Major Love. The group won the All Albertan Song Contest in 2015 for their song Motherland. The full length album will be released in late 2016.
Watch for news of both collaborations throughout 2016!
“The talents of this Edmonton-based vocalist shine like a beacon. Her boldly written originals…have the good bones and great melodic rhythm of classic big-screen pop songs”
– Robert Everett-Green, Globe & Mail
‘One of Canada’s premiere songwriters. With a voice like a clarion call she’s one of our premiere singers, too.’
– Judith Lynch, CBC’s First Play
About ‘DIRECTION’ – Released March 2015
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 released ‘Direction’ in early 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.
A NATIONAL TREASURE IN THE MAKING
ALONG THE LINES OF JONI MITCHELL, ANNE MURRAY, GORDON LIGHTFOOT OR K.D. LANG”
Sandra Sperounes – The Edmonton Journal
Colleen Brown – Direction (Credits)
1 Lead Me On 4:19
2 Soap & Denim 3:22
3 Moncton Flight 179 4:26
4 Direction 6:12
5 Randy Newman 3:24
6 The Cost 4:13
7 Don’t Forget About Me 5:33
8 Come To Arizona 3:30
9 I Asked In The Night 4:13
Produced by Joel Plaskett, Raymond Richards, and Colleen Brown
All songs written by Colleen Brown, 2014
Tracks 1, 2, 5 – Recorded in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada with Joel Plaskett, Thomas Stajcer engineer. Mixed by Joel Plaskett. Vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass (2) by Colleen Brown. Drums, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, organ, bass (5), BG vocal by Joel Plaskett; bass (1) by Brodie Peterson.
Tracks 3, 6, 7 – Recorded in Los Angeles, California, USA with Raymond Richards, Mike Post engineer. Mixed by Ben Leggett. Vocals, guitar, keys, bass (3, 6) by Colleen Brown. Drums/Percussion – Franck Fiser; Lead guitar and bass (7) – Raymond Richards.
Tracks 4, 8 – Recorded in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with Taylor Kernohan engineer. Strings recorded by Scott Franchuk. Mixed by Taylor Kernohan. Viola and String Arrangement by Moni Mathew. Cello by Ian Woodman.
Track 9 – Recorded in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada by Colleen Brown. Additional engineering by Layne L’Heureux.
Mastered by J Lapointe
– Direction (March 2015)
– Direction 1: Major Love EP (Feb 2014) independent release
– Colleen Brown’s DIRT (2012) independent release
– Foot In Heart (2010) re-issue on Dead Daisy Records/Outside Music
– Foot In Heart (2008) original, independent release
– A Peculiar Thing (2004) independent release