There's more than a hint of Lucinda Williams' down-at-the-heels grittiness to Pieta Brown's determinedly greasy roots rock. And though the press materials seem designed to make you feel guilty for thinking it (she grew up without heat or indoor plumbing! In Iowa, and then in Alabama! She's for real!), there also seems to be an element of calculation at work in her sound. Take "4th of July," for example -- there's a melody in there, and you can bet she's fully capable of singing it, but she doesn't sound interested. Instead, she slips down the sides of the notes like beer foam sliding down the outside of a glass. It's not a bad effect, but it does come across as an effect; it sounds like she's slouching, and every once in a while you want to tell her to sit up straight. "In the Cool" is a completely affecting lover's plea, and "Precious Game" rocks out nicely in an understated but sturdy way, but "This Old Dress" is based on a roots-music cliché that couldn't be more tired. Again, you feel guilty pointing it out (her mama sewed that dress, for crying out loud), but still. Producer Bo Ramsey contributes his patented falling-down guitar throughout, and there are harmony vocals from Iris DeMent, which never hurts.
Performance CreditsPieta Brown Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar
Iris DeMent Vocal Harmony
James "Hutch" Hutchinson Bass
Kevin McKendree Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Wurlitzer
Bo Ramsey Electric Guitar,Vocal Harmony,Weissenborn
Bryan Owings Drums,Snare Drums
Dave Jaques Bass,Acoustic Bass
Benson Ramsey Singing Bowls
Technical CreditsJohn Hampton Engineer
Bo Ramsey Producer,Audio Production
Tom Tucker Engineer
Richard McLaurin Engineer
Sandy L. Dyas Cover Photo
Tod Foley Art Direction
Pieta Brown Composer,Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In the Cool based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
The reviewer is totally unfair to Ms. Brown. She is not "trying for an effect" on Fourth of July, she's singing it, the way she wants to sing it. Ms. Brown's strength is her songwriting, including great lyrics. The style & arrangements are standard, but they are tasteful and well-executed and cannot be dismissed as "cliches." This talented singer songwriter will eventually get the attention she deserves if she keeps turning out material of this caliber, which is on par with Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams, and John Prine. Something will draw you in and make you keep playing this record, which you will like more every time you hear it. My only criticism is that it's a bit uneven--there are some songs that seem more realized than others. I don't think she should be afraid to stand out a little more from the band, either.