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Americana meets pop

BY CLAIRE DIETZ | DECEMBER 11, 2014 5:00 AM

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Like many musicians — especially those raised in Iowa City — Pieta Brown grew up "feeling, hearing, and playing music." It wasn't until she graduated from high school, moved to New York City, and fell in love with a 1930 archtop May Bell guitar that her "addiction" began.

Fresh from an international tour, Brown will return home for performance at the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., at 8 p.m. Saturday. She will be joined by the Pines, a Minneapolis pop group that will provide a nice foil for Brown's folky, "prairie stomp" musical style displayed on her latest album,Paradise Outlaw, released in September.

"To me, it's really about the song," Brown said. "It's about me trying to find the whole song and staying close to that … I love singing, and I also really love connecting with people through music. So I think one of my favorite parts of performing the actual music is just that feel of the songs and the music bringing people together."

While Brown boasts a light­hearted Americana style, Englert Executive Director Andre Perry describes the Pines as having a darker edge to its music.

"The Pines over the years has definitely become more atmospheric and serial," Perry said. "It's this sort of spookier sort of gospel folk that they are doing. Pieta definitely has a folk background, but she also has this strong pop sensibility that definitely comes out in the melodies. She writes really catchy stuff that might seem like a great folksong and also has these really catchy pop hooks that are embedded in her music."

Though their sounds contrast, Brown and the Pines have strong connections to Iowa and Iowa City, making them a cohesive pairing, Perry said.

"I think it naturally came about," he said. "We really wanted to get the Pines back through here to play a show. Pieta put out a record this year and wanted to play a bigger show. So we wanted to get them both to the Englert, and they just kind of naturally came together. They are friends, and we love both of them and it is just a great opportunity to share a show together."

Brown said she looks forward to sharing the stage with the Pines, both as an admirer and as a fellow performer.

"There is a lot of musical connection between me and the Pines," Brown said. "I'm a fan of their music. And I love collaborating with other artists and musicians, so I'm definitely looking forward to that part for sure. It's always fun for me to see what's going on on my own turf. I like that part of it. I love the musical sort of experiments of what they are doing [and] the creativity in the music itself that they are putting out of there. I really love it."

After a heavy touring schedule in the past few months that took her to both U.S. coasts and Australia (where her friend and musical collaborator Lucie Thorne lives), Brown said she is glad to be back in her native city.

"I'm going to be playing a lot of songs off my new album, which just came out a couple months ago," she said. "This show for me is kind of an album release, so I'm looking forward to putting some of those songs out there."

Perry said he anticipates a large and varied crowd at Saturday's concert.

"I hope that we get a really interesting mix, a really engaged mix," he said. "I hope we get some of the older crowd that loves to hear folk tradition, I'm also expecting we'll get a lot of younger folks coming in just because Pieta is current and the Pines are current. I think it's a really cool thing, when you have artists that are super connected to the city to come here."


MUSIC
Pieta Brown and the Pines
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Englert, 221 E. Washington
Admission: $18 (advanced) or $22 (day of purchase)


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