Kenny Brown Biography
5 July 1953, Selma, Alabama, USA. Raised in northern Mississippis hill country, as a child Brown absorbed the regions rich musical heritage. Largely self-taught on guitar, his guitar-playing neighbour, the under-recorded bluesman Joe Callicott, gave him encouragement and coaching. At the start of the 70s, Brown, who still had a day job in the construction industry, met R.L. Burnside and suggested they team up. Thereafter, he played with Burnside whenever possible, also working with George Mojo Buford, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Johnny Woods before his partnership with Burnside filled his working life. At one point, he and Burnside played with Jon Spencers punk blues band. By the early 90s, Burnside and Brown were a formidable team, touring the USA, playing everything from juke joints to small festivals.
A gifted slide player, a technique he had developed early in his career but which he insists benefited from Burnsides tutelage, Brown is a thoroughly accomplished musician. His singing voice is strong and moaning, his interpretations powerful. Many of the songs in his repertoire, some of which he learned from Callicott, come from the past and have matured over generations but which, in Browns arrangements, seem freshly minted. These include If Down Was Up, You Don't Know My Mind, Wretched Mind and Lonesome Katy Blues. He also performs some Burnsides songs, such as Miss Maybelle and Goin Down South, as well as original songs of his own like From Now On and Hold Me, Baby. For his own-name 1997 debut, Browns band, which included some part-time musicians, was Dale Beavers (guitar/vocals), Terrence T-Money Bishop (bass), and J. Farrell Bonds (drums). On the 2003 follow-up Stingray he was joined by Takeeshi Imura (bass) and Cedric Burnside (drums), R.L.s grandson, who had worked with the Burnside/Brown team since he was 15 years old.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.