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Chastity Brown (from Sing to the Walls on Red House Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Chastity Brown is no newcomer. A soulful chanteuse, she’s been releasing records for the better part of the past 15 years. Yet, for those who remain unaware, she could constitute a remarkable discovery. With Sing to the Walls, her seventh offering to date, she asserts herself with a command and authority that leaves no doubt as to her dreams and desires.
In truth, that’s been evident from the outset. Discovered at the famous Bitter End in New York — the launching pad for innumerable artists in decades past — she went on to reap critical acclaim from NPR and a host of respected publications not only in her hometown of Minneapolis, but other places well beyond. And though she’s shared stages with the likes of Dar Williams, Raul Midon, and Leon Russell, it’s also evident that she’s a star that only lacks the wider recognition.
Sing to the Walls makes that clear, and while the material runs the gamut from the assertive to the sublime, there’s not a single song here that fails to make a formidable impression. “Wonderment”, for one, lives up to its name, while the assertive strains of “Back Seat” and the soulful sensibilities etched in “Loving the Questions” reflect the full gamut of her intents. Brown is, after all, a master of expression, and every one of these ten entries demonstrates that fact in one way or another.
Ultimately then Sing to the Walls speaks to Brown’s strengths, that is, her ability to effectively convey her feelings in ways that are eloquent, evocative and expressive. She’s not only an artist of considerable merit, but one who possess that indomitable spirit that defines the best singers and songwriters of past generations, those in particular that lay their feelings on the line. If justice is served — and hopefully it will be — Chastity Brown will finally garner the kudos she so decidedly deserves. (By Lee Zimmerman)
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