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She’ll put a spell on you. Sweet as molasses and woodsmoke, clear and burning as summer sun, Chastity Brown casts magic. Her voice brings you to the crossroads with every turn, warms, comforts and challenges you. She is the inheritor of Leadbelly, Nina Simone, Bonnie Raitt and Roberta Flack. She is past, present and future. She is fire, earth, air and water. She’s a natural.
Throw all the genres and hyphenates together you want to describe her – gospel, roots & soul, jazz, blues & country – they are all right, and also not enough. Chastity channels songs that are borne deep in the American bone, the hunger, desperation and confidence that runs through our times. Coming from Tennessee to Minnesota, touring the country, she has had half her own lifetime and million lifetimes gone before to concoct her powerful sound. Ignite it all with love, and the rest is rapture.
With her fourth full-length record, Back-Road Highways, Chastity pushes her own natural talent even farther, to stunning effect. Back-Road Highways was recorded at the venerable Helsinki South studios in Nashville, Tennessee with the support of her new label C & D Music Network, giving Chastity a return to Southern warmth and a roster of heavyweight studio musicians with credits such as Mavis Staples, Garth Brooks and BeBe & CeCe Winans to lay down tracks. Also on Back-Road Highways is guitarist Robert Mulrennan of No Bird Sing, who plays with Chastity in her live band. Chastity pulls from a diverse cross-section of talent for her live shows, playing with percussionist Michael X, keyboardist deVon Gray (Heiruspecs) and bass player Jef Sundquist (Hildur Victoria), resulting in restless, electrifying and completely enveloping performances that never want to stop and linger long after the last note has quieted.
Back-Road Highways is the best yet from Chastity. She opens with the slow, pulsing insistence of “House Been Burnin”, a cry out for our needs, then follows it up with the rocking blues of “When We Get There” and the plaintive, moving roots of “Solely”. Chastity turns it all around and brings out the joys and sorrows of love with the enormous, pleading, “Say It”, and throughout Back-Road Highways, Chastity sings it all out, gives us all a reason to keep on going one more day. ]
A talent like this doesn’t appear overnight. It takes travel, it takes guts. It takes chance, work and luck. It takes love. Get ready to love Chastity Brown.
I would have called Back Road Highways the finest debut album of recent times but it’s album number four! Her songs hang in your head long after they have finished. Chastity mixes Southern soul, Nashville roots and ‘crazy hair’ to exhilarating effect” Sunday Times
“I am under the impression that she’s only scratching the surface of what she’s capable of and what she is on her way to achieve. There are singers, there are songwriters and there are musicians – Chastity Brown is an artist” Blues & Soul Magazine
“A heady mix of Dusty, Adele, Lucinda, Nina and even a smidgen of a young Emmylou and the terms smouldering, smoky and sexy will be used ad-infinitum. Stunningly beautiful.” 5* Maverick
"Brown has produced the soul album of the year." - Penny Black Music
“I honestly think she is one of the best performers I have ever seen here at The Green Note (and within the top 5-10 of any performers I've seen anywhere!!!), and having music here pretty much 7 nights/week, I've seen a lot of performers... she was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!!! Amazing songs, musicianship, charisma, stage presence... I could go on and on” Risa – The Green Note, London promoter
“Raw gospel-bred folk blues from this excellent Minnesota songwriter” Daily Mirror
“Evoking memories of Tracy Chapman at her best, I Left Home, Lift Us and Slow Time make an indelible impression, underlining Brown's talent and marking her out as a performer of rare quality." The Press Association
"Chastity Brown can sing the blues off a pair of jeans, then turn around and quietly play the banjo, just to keep you on your toes. Blending folk and soul, she's opened a volcanic seam on the rugged landscape of American song." MN Monthly Magazine, May 2012
"She belongs to no genre, because what she does is beyond folk, blues, soul, or any hyphenated combination of those categories. Her poetic lyrics seep into your bones." Natalie Gallagher
"The pure, raw emotion that this woman generates is something even veteran blues and soul artists could take a lesson from. The girl emotes, and emotes with passion." US News Tribune
"Ms. Brown’s terrific third album, High Noon Teeth, is an artistic molting for the Minneapolis singer-songwriter. Released last summer, it finds Brown shedding her coffee-shop folkie shtick and reemerging, triumphantly, as a genre-hopping troubadour." Metro
“This was a really, really memorable concert and it’s been difficult not to go overboard with hyperbole because Chastity Brown is the ‘real deal’ and appears to be a raw, young talent on the verge of breaking out of her cocoon and with only the slightest bit of luck, becoming a true star of the Americana scene.” No Depression
"Chastity Brown is contemporary roots music personified." Dwight Hobbes, Twin Cities Daily Planet
"Extraordinary - brings to mind a 21-st century version of Nina Simone." Ross Rahaila, St. Paul Pioneer Press “An amazing talent. If you have an insatiable appetite for a general overview of American roots music, then Chastity Brown is the artist for you.” Three Chords and The Truth