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Greg Brown

Yellow Dog

Music Notebook Live in the Upper Peninsula

(Earthwork Music; US: 7 Aug 2007; UK: 24 Sep 2007)

Greg Brown has always enjoyed a reputation as a charismatic live musician and a sucker for a good cause. This disc packages both of these traits as the recording of a benefit show from back in 2005 for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s Yellow Dog Watershed in an eco-friendly case made out of recycled materials. It’s a typical Brown show. His low, rumbling voice exudes cool as he offers personal, matter-of-fact observations about life. When Brown sings about thunderstorms, as in “Conesville Slough”, you understand the natural ones described mirror the ones going on in his heart. Brown makes fun of his lack of subtlety, but the truth is he always means more than what he says whether he’s talking about the bullshit of corporate American politics and the war for oil or how life in the past may be better than today. He leads with his heart and lets his head follow. The profits from the sale of the album aid the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.

Rating:

Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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