Pieta Brown brings Americana home

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By Claire Dietz

claire-dietz@uiowa.edu

Pieta Brown is a familiar name to Iowa City and the Mission Creek Festival.

As an American singer/songwriter with a penchant for poetry and music in her genes, these aspects of her character come together to create a sound that many can place on first listen.

Brown performed at the Mill on April 6, a stage that is familiar to her in a town all too happy to hear her perform.
When entering the Mill’s space, there was a small table encouraging you to write Brown a postcard.

Some had praise from happy fans, some were excited to collaborate her in the near or perhaps nebulous future.

While Brown’s singing voice may be somewhat soft-spoken, it does not detract from her performance. Instead, it gives her voice a raspy quality, one that some performers strive for but may never perfect.

In combination with her modest, if somewhat standard, band, she was able to create a sound that stands out as truly American. At the heart of it stands Brown, who sings about struggles of love and life, strife and success, and seemingly everything in between.

Her performance was delivered to a full Mill, as the calm atmosphere mirrored easygoing presence on the stage. The daughter of a famous singer/songwriter, it comes as no surprise she is so at ease with herself and the music she creates.

The performance was no nonsense — no frills, in perhaps the best sense of the word.

Brown created a sense of warmth, one that seemed to pull her audience closer together, physically and metaphorically. Most seemed in rapt attention with each song she played, as waiters bustled by with trays of drinks and food.

Brown’s most recent album Paradise Outlaw seems to reflect her spirit both onstage and in her recorded work, full of Americana flair and her own unmistakable tone.

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