Those of us with fond memories of the Kendall-Wall jams at the Black Swan may recall Judy Brown’s name. The singer/songwriter/guitarist played there often and released a cassette or two of original songs. She stopped performing to raise a family but didn’t stop writing songs. She recently moved to Nelson, BC but came back here to record some of those songs. Sub-titled ‘Stories of Love, Loss and Resilience’, even lesser episodes gain enormously from the perceptive edge of her lyrics let alone some pretty major ones. The sessions featured a reunion of sorts of the Black Swan crew: Gary Kendall on bass and co-producer; Teddy Leonard, guitars and co-producer; Michael Fonfara, keys and Jim Casson, drums. There are special guests as well. Say It starts off with “Monkey Business” which is also the new video available at www.judybrownmusic.com. It’s a rocking tune about a friend who’s overstepped his bounds. The title song is well chosen, a relationship-ending moment in song and a harrowing one, made even more so by the understated vocal. Samantha Martin, Sherie Marshall & Stacie L. Tabb add very effective harmony vocals. They help out on “Roberta” as well. The tender ballad “I Dream” has the added attraction of Colin Linden on mandolin. “Trouble”, a jaunty song about what she’s gotten into several times, features another old Black Swan friend, Jeff Baker, on harp. “Free Range Man” is as good as its title suggests. Brown’s vocals serve her songs very well indeed and Teddy Leonard’s arrangements are simply sparkling – it’s hard to imagine a better backing band. This one’s a gem and I hope she gets back here soon to perform it live.

June 2018 - Jordan Officer
June 2018 - Steve Hill