Unlike the character from The Wizard Of Oz with whom his newest record shares a name, Andy Brown is all heart. Brown’s latest record Tinman, released this past April, offers listeners a glimpse into the pop-folk inspired world of the young Fredericton songwriter.
You might say that Brown’s career thus far has followed a yellow brick road of sorts. The buzz surrounding Brown, a three-time International Songwriting Competition finalist, is justified. In addition to having his music featured on major television networks including NBC, CTV, Global and CBC, Brown’s song “Ashes” was featured in the hit television program Rookie Blue . The exposure helped lift the song in addition to the album it came from (False Alarm) to the No. 1 position on Canada’s iTunes singer-songwriter charts.
Brown’s latest record has three nominations heading into Music New Brunswick Awards next month: Solo Recording of the Year, SOCAN Song of the Year and Pop Recording of the Year. The album features collaborations with some of Atlantic Canada’s brightest songwriters including David Myles, Tim Chaisson, Jenn Grant and more. The 13-track record is a showcase for his unique folk-rock style while also highlighting a certain kind of honesty via his songwriting.
Tinman reflects Brown’s life experiences of the past few years. Asked if the exposure he received from the songs on his last album either directly or indirectly influenced the material written for Tinman, Brown admits that he definitely felt there were some expectations to live up to.
“I happen to be an over thinker by nature,” Brown begins. “With the success of the last album, I put a fair amount of pressure on myself to put together a really high-quality record that really meant something. I wanted to do right by myself and by my fans. I wish that I were the type of person that could be a little more carefree about the recording process. I completely believe in the power of song lyrics and ultimately wanted to make a record where every song counted. Having the record turn out the way it did was kind of a relief. I am really proud of Tinman.”
Brown’s upcoming performance at the Tide & Boar Gastropub tomorrow night is one of an impressive eight shows that he will be playing in the region between now and mid-October. Not long after his Maritime dates wrap up, Brown will be headed to tour Australia, the third time that he has visited Down Under in the last 10 months.
While Brown oversees virtually all aspects of his career in Canada, he has the benefit of working with some folks in high places in Australia. Brown’s upcoming seven-week tour of the country will see the songwriter supporting Australian Idol winner Damien Leith with whom Brown has written songs in the past.
The company Brown is working with in Australia, Code One, appears to be a home away from home for a bevy of Canadian artists. Among those Canucks on the Code One roster are Nova Scotia’s Charlie A’Court, the Trews, Jill Barber and Hawksley Workman.
Brown says that Code One’s interest and commitment to showcasing Canadian artists for Australian music fans is the stuff that dreams are made of.
“I believe you could ask any Canadian act that has performed in Australia their thoughts on touring there and they would all probably say the same thing, that the continent has a very similar feel to Canada,” he says. “Everyone feels at home there and I believe it is in large part due to the simple values and appreciation for music that the Australians exhibit.”
Admitting that bringing his music to a whole new audience, let alone one on the other side of the world, is an exciting prospect, Brown says that he has the benefit of being “new” while still having years of practical music business experience behind him.
“When you have the chance to tackle a new market in another country, you do tend to go back to square one, so to speak. But it also gets you to take a step back and re-evaluate how you approached some things the first time around. Like most artists, you simply play as much as you can while flying by the seat of your pants. There is a lot of hard work to invest in trying to break a new market but it is a fun and exciting prospect.
“Really though, it is the coolest thing in the world to have a job that takes you all over the globe. The fact that it is music bringing me to these places is not something I have taken nor will I ever take for granted.”
Article published in the October 4, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript