Recording an album live in a studio nowadays might seem a tad archaic with all of the editing software available. But that’s exactly what Iowa native Pieta Brown has done, with satisfying results. Her newest album, Freeway, is due out in September on Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. It was recorded at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios in Wisconsin, and co-produced with S. Carey of Bon Iver. Today, Brown is sharing two singles, but we are premiering the folksy “Ask For More.”
Carey performs with Brown on all the songs on the album, as do bassist Mike Lewis (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird) and guitarist Jeremy Yivisaker (Andrew Bird, Alpha Consumer). On “Ask For More,” their dreamy folk instrument section compliments the vocals so harmoniously. Airy acoustic plucks seem to follow Brown through the air. Soft shakers come in with a light kick and snare drum. It’s three and a half minutes of gorgeousness, and Brown’s vocals couldn’t be more stellar if she tried.
Here’s Brown with more details on “Ask For More”:
This was the first song we recorded. Jeremy had to arrive late to the session so it was just me and Sean and Mike when we started. We got set up and I wanted to start right in to a song to see what kind of music / connections might happen since we hadn’t all played together before, and since I hadn’t sent the players any demos. I played the song a couple times through (just acoustic) for Sean and Mike and then told them a little bit about my sonic vision for this song (sparse yet layered/ piano / traces of saxophone/ and a long instrumental outro) and we began experimenting. This version of the song landed quickly…once we got this take we added a few layers and Jeremy arrived and added his subtle atmospherics. And Sean’s harmonies added a very luminous layer. (With a call and response kind of feel, but with no words!) We recorded the rest of the songs (which became the album) like this – experimenting song by song – over the next 2 & 1/2 days. Through that process a natural rapport developed with Sean and by the time we were done mixing it felt like he was a co-producer, both by being easy to talk to about my ideas, and by offering his ideas as well.
And here’s a bonus quote from S. Carey:
Pieta has such a unique vibe. I really loved her other records and I really like her approach. The recording process was super eye opening and really fun for me because it was different from the way I’ve done a lot of things, in the sense of recording live as a band.
Check out “Ask For More,” as well as “Morning Fire” below.
07/09 – Rockford, IL @ Anderson Japanese Gardens
08/03 – Decorah, IA @ Seed Savers Exchange
08/06 – Spokane, WA @ Bing Crosby Theater (w/ Ani DiFranco)
08/07 – Missoula, MT @ Wilma Theatre (w/ Ani DiFranco)
08/09 – Calgary, AB @ Bella Concert Hall (w/ Ani DiFranco)
08/10 – Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Folk Music Festival
08/16 – Cedar Falls, IA @ The Octopus
09/17 – Fort Atkinson, WI @ Cafe Carpe
09/18 – Milwaukee, WI @ Anodyne Coffee
09/19 – Madison, WI @ Kiki’s
09/20 – Minneapolis, MN @ Hook & Ladder
09/21 – Northfield, MN @ Northfield Arts Center
10/18 – Charleston, IL @ Dvorak Concert Hall (w/ Iris Dement)
10/19 – Stoughton, WI @ Stoughton Opera House (w/ Iris Dement)
11/01 – Des Moines, IA @ Temple Theater (w/ Iris Dement)
11/02 – Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads Saloon (w/ Iris Dement)
11/03 – Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room Lounge (w/ Iris Dement)
Freeway is out 9/20 on Righteous Babe Records.