Greg Brown (folk musician)

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Greg Brown
Greg Brown at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2004
Greg Brown at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2004
Background information
Birth nameGregory Dane Brown
Born (1949-07-02) July 2, 1949 (age 72)
Fairfield, Iowa, U.S.
InstrumentsGuitar, harmonica
Years active1967–present
LabelsRed House
Associated actsIris Dement, Bo Ramsey

Greg Brown (born Gregory Dane Brown July 2, 1949) is an American folk musician from Iowa.[1]

Early life[edit]

Brown was born into a musical family, and his father was a Pentecostal minister.[2] He grew up in the Hacklebarney region of southwestern Iowa, which he describes as "hill country."[3] Brown spent several years traveling with a band before returning to Iowa, where he performed live and pursued his songwriting career.[4]


Performing with Bo Ramsey in Dubuque Iowa in May 2008.

During the 1980s Brown toured and had recurring performances on A Prairie Home Companion.[4] Brown self-published two albums, 44 & 66 and The Iowa Waltz. Bob Feldman and Susan Ode founded the record company called Red House Records after producing a sold-out concert at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1990. Brown became its first recording artist.[5] Brown has recorded two dozen albums. In 1986 he released an album called Songs of Innocence and of Experience based on poems by William Blake. His album One Big Town (1989) won an Indie Award from the National Association of Independent Record Distributors[6] and marked the beginning of Brown's long collaboration with Iowa guitarist Bo Ramsey.

The Poet Game (1994), his tenth studio album, saw significant international radio play (charting on AAA and topping The Gavin Report’s Americana chart) and earned not only critical raves, but also a NAIRD Indie award for singer-songwriter Album of the Year. The Live One (1995) proved to be a fan favorite capturing the humor, warmth, insights and spirit of his live shows. His 1996 release, Further In, topped them all: critics called it a masterpiece and it received a four-star review in Rolling Stone.[7] Greg’s 1997 release — Slant 6 Mind — received more of the same and earned Greg his second Grammy nomination.[6]

1999 brought the re-release of One Night, a live concert recording from October 1983 originally released on the Coffeehouse Extempore label. His album Solid Heart CD was recorded in 1999 during a benefit concert. Two releases followed in 2000: Over and Under (Trailer Records) and the critically acclaimed Covenant, which won the Association for Independent Music’s award for Best Contemporary Folk Album of 2000. A 2002 tribute album, Going Driftless: An Artist’s Tribute to Greg Brown featured guest vocal performances by Ani DiFranco, Gillian Welch, Shawn Colvin, and his three daughters.

In 2006 he released The Evening Call, which Acoustic Guitar magazine described as "among Brown's finest work"[8] and which was featured on an episode of NPR's On Point.[3] A recording of another benefit concert was recorded and released in 2007 under the name Yellow Dog on the EarthWorks Music label. In 2007, Brown was nominated for a Folk Alliance Award.[9][10] In 2010, Brown played Hades on Hadestown, a concept album by Anaïs Mitchell. His most recent studio album, Hymns to What Is Left, was released in 2012.

Personal life[edit]

Greg Brown has been married three times. He has one daughter from his first marriage: Pieta Brown; and two from his second marriage: Constance Brown and Zoe Brown—all three are musicians. He has one son.[11] Brown married singer-songwriter Iris DeMent in November 2002. In 2005, he and his wife adopted a daughter from Russia, Daria Chesnokva Victorona (Dasha Brown).[4]


Tribute albums[edit]

  • Songs of Greg Brown (Prudence Johnson) (1991)
  • Going Driftless: An Artist's Tribute to Greg Brown (Various artists) (2002)

Featured on[edit]


  1. ^ Deming, Mark. "Greg Brown". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  2. ^ Greg Brown Biography at
  3. ^ a b "Greg Brown". Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  4. ^ a b c Aspen Times News interview. Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine Accessed on April 22, 2008.
  5. ^ Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen (2002-11-24). "Industry Profile: Bob Feldman". CelebrityAccess. Retrieved 2006-04-08.
  6. ^ a b Greg Brown Tastes the Honey, Country Standard Time interview. Accessed December 5, 2008.
  7. ^ Rolling Stone review of Further In. Accessed December 5, 2008.
  8. ^ "Acoustic Guitar Central: Acoustic Music CD Reviews". 2011-05-20. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  9. ^ Folk Alliance Award nominees for 2007 at Archived 2007-02-08 at the Wayback Machine Accessed December 5, 2008.
  10. ^ Red House Records' artists' page
  11. ^ Demming, Mark. "Greg Brown Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved May 12, 2015.

External links[edit]