Roadshows

The divine Miss B
A myriad of identities? Sure, that's something we allow our big-time artists--talents like Peter Gabriel or David Bowie--but a blues player? Har, you say, it is to laugh, especially when considering a blues bass player, and a gal at that.

Nonetheless, Sarah Brown has had musical personalities enough to make even Bowie's head swim. LeRoi Brother, Fabulous Thunder-bird--not to mention the underpinning for artists as diverse as Otis Rush, Paul Carrack, Snooks Eaglin, Mason Ruffner, and Albert Collins--Brown has made quite a name for herself since she migrated to Austin in the early '80s looking to jam with the likes of Denny Freeman and Lou Ann Barton.

She started on such a character-filled life early: In Ann Arbor, Michigan, she--the daughter of a Russian Lit professor--went to school with Jim Osterberg (a.k.a. Iggy Pop) and childhood pal Bill Kirchen (original Lost Planet Airman and current leader of Too Much Fun) before becoming a stone political hippie who rubbed elbows with the MC5. Realizing that she was not like other girls when her 45 of R&B pianist Tommy Tucker singing "High Heel Sneakers" elicited only shocked "EEEeeeeeewwws!" at a slumber party, she went on to play cello in high school until a chance earful of Buddy Guy rocked her world and she decided to pursue the grail of soulful electric bass.

In her search she's developed a fondness for walking bass lines with a regular momentum that she likens to a bouncing rubber ball. It's an approach typical of classic foundationmen like James Jamerson, taking a full, melodic supporting role that might well be all quarter notes but whose effect lacks nothing for its deliberation and seeming ease.

--Matt Weitz

Sarah Brown plays Blue Cat Blues July 13.

 
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