For a man who has spent his whole life playing and recording music, Jay Brown’s newest offering, Beginner Mind, is poignantly centered in a state of openness. His sensual storytelling is imbued with the heart of American Roots music, delivered in a way that doesn’t feel old or dated but… timeless.
Back in 1999 when Jay Brown was in his early 20’s, he formed the Lazybirds with his best friends. As he understood it, the members all shared something unique and hard to describe. They were all fascinated with old obscure music and with the life and times of those that made it. In a way, they all felt like transplants from another time but the same place.
That place is the Southern Appalachians, where Jay Brown still calls home. He still plays full time with the Lazybirds, but can also be found playing with his one man band – which usually consists of himself, accompanied by guitar, harmonica, tap shoes and a tambourine. Jay also started a world music group called Shantavaani with his wife Aditi.
Whether he’s running down the state of the media (Fox News Help Me Jesus) or celebrating a new life with his wife and daughter (Two Hearts Keeping Time), Jay has a way of making us feel welcomed round’ the warmth of his campfire and Beginner Mind succinctly captures this new found maturity as a songwriter and performer. As he points out, “often when I’m playing and singing I have the sensation that here we are on this planet and it is all very strange and mysterious and yet it feels natural enough, and I’m carrying on this ancient tradition of putting life into music and music into life.”
Jay has learned a great deal from the mountain musicians surrounding his hometown of Boone NC. Doc Watson’s influence, in particular, can be strongly felt in Browns music. He has also taken a couple trips to Ghana, where he studied African drums while teaching guitar and harmonica. His work in Hospice as a music therapist greatly impacts his music these days, as does the classical Indian music that he studies with his wife Aditi.
As an integral part of the burgeoning music scene in Asheville, Jay is witnessing and participating in a new flowering of creative and innovative music that owes its beauty to strong deep roots. From blues to Bach, swing to songwriting, Jay Brown continues to grow from the roots he’s put down.