NPR’s All Songs Considered Highlights Brown
Newport Folk Festival and AmericanaFest have each confirmed Nora Brown to their official lineups. Newport will announce exact stage and set time on site for her performance July 22 while AmericanaFest has her performing Saturday, September 17. Meanwhile, NPR’s All Songs Considered highlighted Brown’s “Little Satchel” single, the first from her album Long Time To Be Gone (August 26 / Jalopy Records) last week. Bob Boilen said, “Nora has a passion for the music of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee… with a thirst for storytelling”.
Second single “Cumberland Gap” is out today (OK to share).
Video of “Cumberland Gap” from the recording session at St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, NY (OK to share).
“I learned this version of this classic tune a bit from John Haywood of Whitesburg KY, and some from Lee Sexton Of Linefork KY,” says Brown, continuing “This is a tune where a little style switching is needed for the right hand.”
Hailed as a “rising star” by NPR’s Weekend Edition and “impossibly talented” by Fretboard Journal, sixteen-year-old banjo virtuoso Nora Brown will return this summer with her third full-length album, Long Time To Be Gone. Recorded at the historic St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn Heights, the soulful, mesmerizing collection of traditional tunes and Appalachian instrumentals follows her performance on NPR’s prestigious Tiny Desk Concert series, where she was lauded for bringing “incredible, surprising depth to the Appalachian music she plays.”
“I recorded my last project in an underground tunnel,” says Brown, “but this time we were working in a cavernous church, which allowed us to really experiment with all the sounds that different locations in the sanctuary and different mic configurations could produce. When you listen, you can hear the expanse of the space pretty clearly, which was really important to our approach on these recordings.”
The tracklist here offers a snapshot of a remarkable young artist at a pivotal moment in her evolution, showcasing both her deepening instrumental prowess and the arresting power of her poignant, understated vocal delivery. From Appalachian coal miners to Texas Rangers to the descendents of the enslaved, the songs draw on the lived experiences of a broad swath of Americans, keeping their stories and spirits alive with a both solemn reverence and exhilarating vitality. Brown plays a variety of unique instruments on the record, too, including an 1888 Ludscomb banjo owned by her great-great-grandfather, a fretless tack head banjo built by her dad, and an historic five-string banjo that belonged to one of her mentors, New Lost City Ramblers member John Cohen (the instrument was played by Roscoe Halcomb on his iconic High Lonesome Sound album and is now in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress).
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Brown first began learning stringed instruments at the age of six from the late Shlomo Pestcoe, who instilled a belief that music is meant to be shared. In the decade to come, she would go on study with old-time masters like Cohen, Lee Sexton, and George Gibson, win numerous banjo and folk song competitions around the country, and have her work featured everywhere from NPR’s All Songs Considered to WNYC’s Dolly Parton’s America. Brown made her Billboard Bluegrass Chart debut in 2019, hitting #7 with her first album, Cinnamon Tree, and followed it up in 2021 with the critically acclaimed Sidetrack My Engine, which American Songwriter proclaimed to be “an exhibit of sonic heirlooms carefully amended to meet a modern moment with vintage elegance.”
Nora Brown Tour Dates
July 22 – Newport Folk Fest – Newport, RI
July 27 – Folk Holidays – Namest nad Oslavou, Czech Republic
August 14 – Music Haven Concert Series – Schenectady, NY (with Steep Canyon Rangers)
August 20 – Upper Salford Township, PA – Philladelphia Folk Festival
August 26 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Ann’s Church (album release show)
August 27 – The Music Hall Loft – Portsmouth, NH
September 1 – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA
September 3 – The Guthrie Center – Great Barrington, MA
September 17 – AmericanaFest – Nashville, TN
September 29-30 – Trans-Pecos Festival of Music & Love – Marfa, TX
November 12 – The Parlor Room at Signature Sounds – Northampton, MA