From year to year rock singer-songwriter Graham Brown continues to chart his own course.
Outspoken and eager to tackle current topics, the 1977 Paul Kane High grad is a never-changing dapper dude who wears a signature porkpie hat and sleek leather jacket.
Happily ensconced in Vancouver for more than three decades, Brown makes frequent trips back to his home turf. His next rockout is Saturday, July 27 playing four, one-hour sets at LB’s Pub & Grill.
While in the region, he and his band – Rob Blackburn (keys), Mark Gruft (drums) and John Werner (bass) – are spending a day at Edmontone Studios recording 20 songs for a new record.
The prolific songwriter has lost count of the number of songs he’s scribbled through the decades – 300 or more he suggests.
In describing his songwriting style, Brown says, “I never plan. I go with the flow. If it feels right in the pocket, it works for me.”
Although the 2020 release is still in the early stages, Brown says some charts will have a darker, spookier vibe. He’s planning an acoustic solo album with a “folkier, very Dylanesque feel.”
“The sound will be more stripped down. I’m just going to have one or two guitars and I’ll sing down the middle. I’m going to let them be their own spirit and let them coast through. It’ll be rock and roots with darker shades and more thought-provoking songs.”
Brown believes the darker energy flowing from within is a reflection of the social and political conditions driving the world today.
“Donald Trump is president of the United States and that’s dark enough for me. Or maybe I’m sad the planet is going down the toilet. But I’m also optimistic that we have the wisdom to turn things around before it’s too late.”
Brown thrives on challenges while pushing his creative boundaries.
“Keeping music simple is hard to do. I could do a record with a big flourish, but it doesn’t do anything for the song. You pick your hooks and make them well-timed.”
A songwriter with many interests, Brown will record an eclectic mix of songs ranging from two tribute charts dedicated to the late Tom Petty, to relationship songs, to overcoming the dark side.
Something Good encourages listeners to not sell themselves short while Century Man takes a look at the burdens a fast-moving 21st century thrusts on people.
The rumba infused I’m a Believer is about the belief that love exists for everyone while Let’s Get High (On Love) says it all and Long Dark Mess, another stage of love, is all about a relationship gone wrong.
Haunted delivers a spooky, dreamlike vibe and Down Here With You is an “I got your back kinda song.”
Although he’s never hit the heights of Paul McCartney or Bruce Springsteen, Brown endeavours to emulate them.
“McCartney and Springsteen – they’re professionals doing the stuff we strive for. They have a job to do and they do the best they can, and that’s inspiring.”