When virtuosity, intuition and pure soul meet, the results are magical. And that kind of magic — steeped in the sounds, tradition and spirit of Memphis — is Paul Brown’s specialty. The GRAMMY Nominated Nashville, Tennessee-based musician, songwriter and producer is a roots world MVP, but his abilities extend beyond any genre to encompass his vision of music as a universal language.
Currently living in Nashville and available for Live shows and Sessions.
Chopped Custom Hammond B3
Nord Piano 2
Yamaha XF 7 & ES 5
Fender 73 Suitcase
Price Range: $150 for Local Weeknights and up
Gig Length: 45 - 120 minutes
What to Expect
Great Stage energy, MD Services,, Rarely drink Wine and never on gigs, No Ego, Team Player
When virtuosity, intuition and pure soul meet, the results are magical. And that kind of magic — steeped in the sounds, tradition and spirit of Memphis — is Paul Brown’s specialty. The GRAMMY Nominated Nashville, Tennessee-based musician, songwriter and producer is a roots world MVP, but his abilities truly extend beyond any genre to encompass his vision of music as a universal language. And Brown is fluent in all of its dialects.
“The common threads I bring to everything I do are passion, positive energy and absolute commitment,” says Brown, whose award-winning resume ranges from producing and co-writing heralded albums by soul-blues legends Bobby Rush, Ann Peebles and Don Bryant to performances with Al Green, Rufus Thomas and Darlene Love to tours with the chartbusting rock icon Jimi Jamison (lead singer of Survivor) and ’80s hit-makers Xavion. His latest production for Rush, Down In Louisiana, was nominated for a 2014 Grammy award. Currently Brown is on a powerhouse of tours across the U.S. and abroad with rising blues-rock guitar star Sean Chambers, Rush and Dove award winning Soul Gospel artist Mike Farris.
Along the way Brown has developed an inimitable keyboard style and become a master of the Hammond B-3 organ, a complex instrument whose sound instantly recalls a wealth of classic American rock, soul and blues recordings. But Brown has established such an absolute command of the B-3’s nearly endless sonic palette — controlled by blending keys and draw bars — that it speaks in a fresh, remarkable tongue under his hands.
“The B-3 has become a part of me,” Brown attests. “It all stems from the feel and the chords, melodies and dynamics I absorbed from playing soul and gospel music, and then taking it in all directions, including New Age and metal. There was a whole world to discover in that music, and it’s built a bridge for me as a musician that takes me anywhere I want to go. Now, when I’m supporting a great singer or taking a solo, it’s part of a musical conversation that comes from a deeper, more meaningful place than words can express.”
That’s abundantly clear when Brown’s behind the keyboard. Whether on stage or in the studio, his signature approach and passionate energy are both unmistakable. In addition to the gliding melodies, elongated textures and churning chords that are the usual B-3 stock in trade, Brown displays a stunning, highly original vocabulary on the instrument — enhancing and reflecting the vocal performances of compelling singers like Rush, Peebles, Deborah Bonham and Mighty Sam McClean with voice-like effects — hums, stutters, exclamations, lines that trail off like sentences. It’s that musical conversation he alludes to, in a very literal sense.
And the world is listening. Brown’s accolades include the 2012 Blues Music Award for “Best Soul Blues Album of the Year” for producing, engineering and mixing Bobby Rush’s Show You a Good Time at his own Ocean Soul Studios, which was built by Brown and his wife, New Age artist April Brown. That same year he won the Jackson (Mississippi) Music Award for “Best International Producer of the Year.” His resume embraces stage, television and session work across the U.S. and Europe with Derek St. Holmes, Irish rock icon Mike Scott of the Waterboys, Deborah Bonham, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke, Bettye LaVette, the Bar-Kays, Isaac Hayes and many others.
What’s striking about Brown besides his stellar musical abilities is his attitude. He is perpetually upbeat and strikingly un-jaded. “That’s just my personality,” he explains. “I’ve played on some of the world’s biggest stages and I’ve gone without food for days, but I’ve always loved every minute that I’m making music.”
Such relentless positivism is rare among music business veterans, and it’s even more unusual in light of Brown’s early hardscrabble life. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin, but moved to Memphis, Tennessee, at age five. When Brown was 12 his mother died and he and his brothers became wards of the state.
Brown and two of his brothers were sent to the Tennessee Preparatory School in Nashville, where he immediately fell in love with the battered upright piano in his elementary school classroom. His musical gifts emerged. Soon Brown was playing piano, trumpet and saxophone, and devouring the sounds of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Pink Floyd and other 1970s supergroups.
When Brown was 15, country star Louise Mandrell visited Tennessee Prep on a career day. She was so impressed with Brown’s story and his innate musical skill that she became his sponsor, taking him on tour and even giving him the spotlight at concerts and on television appearances. When he turned 17 she threw him a party at Tennessee Prep and gave him a cornet. But that had a nasty backlash: school authorities, fearing charges of favoritism, barred him from contact with Mandrell and from practicing.
“Without music, I was losing my mind,” Brown says. “One night I grabbed my cornet and a road atlas, scaled down from a second story window, and never came back.”
Since then Brown’s career was been a flurry of activity: production projects, a non-stop chain of touring, major tribute records to soul giant Don Covay and Eric Clapton, appearances on TV’s Late Night With David Letterman and in the PBS series Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues and several live DVD’s including Bobby Rush’s Live at Ground Zero. Brown also served as music director of Italy’s prestigious Porretta Soul Festival in 2013. His most recent production is a 2014 GRAMMY nominated album, a follow-up with Bobby Rush called Down in Louisiana that received glowing reviews, scored a number 10 spot on the Americana charts, won airplay around the world and ultimately recieved a 2014 Grammy Nomiation for "Best Blues Album" where Brown recorded the album at his Ocean Soul Studios with a band he assembled.
“I feel like I’m at a wonderful place in my life musically,” Brown declares. “I’m getting to do all of the styles of music I want to do. That stretches from a beautiful New Age album with my wife April to a metal album on my son’s fast rising band Obstruction of Power. I’m at the top of my game creatively, and I’m having a ball. And that’s all because I believe in doing things for the right reasons and avoiding anything superficial. For me, it’s all about the music and all about heart and soul.”
Additional Booking Notes
For the Road I carry a custom chopped Hammond B3 W /Leslie
Nord Piano 2 HA 88 (Weighted Digital Piano) that sits on top of Hammond B3
Yamaha Motf XF7 w/ Ultimate Support Stand
2 Keyboard Amps (Run in Stereo) Behringer K300FX’s
Past Booked Events
|September 01, 2013||Church Service|
Influences & Inspiration
Memphis Soul, 70's Rock
Chopped Custom Hammond B3
Nord Piano 2
Yamaha XF 7 & ES 5
Fender 73 Suitcase
Sennheiser Inear Monitor System
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