Denver Americana singer-songwriter Blake Brown recently hit the road — and now he’s making a quick stop back home. He’s touring in support of acclaimed soulful singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle on his national tour (yeah, Justin is Steve Earle’s kid). They will play a May 9 show at Washington’s in Fort Collins and a May 10 show at the Gothic Theatre.
“I really enjoy Justin Townes Earle’s music,” says Brown, who will be playing the 2018 Westword Music Showcase. “I’ve loved his records from day one. I find it to be a true honor. ... The fact that he is that caliber of a musician and that I get to be affiliated with him, play to his audiences, and hopefully to keep building my audiences is just exciting.”
Brown, the bandleader of Blake Brown and the American Dust Choir, grew up in Fort Collins and has spent the past ten years in Denver. His hometown has helped him grow as a musician.
“Seeing and being a part of a growth in the [Denver music] community has been a really awesome experience and a wild ride,” says Brown. “I remember when Larimer Lounge was the only thing over in that RiNo/Five Points district. It was Larimer Lounge, the Meadowlark, and a couple of warehouse buildings. Now, it’s blossomed into a district that prides itself on arts and culture.
“It finally feels like Colorado is really getting on the map on a larger level," he adds. "We have some really major bands from this area, and it’s such a blessing.”
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For the tour, Earle’s team asked Brown to perform a stripped-down set like Earle will be doing himself. For the most part, Brown will play solo and, for a couple of songs, he will invite his wife and bandmate, Tiffany Brown, on stage to sing harmonies. For Blake, this type of performing comes naturally; he wrote the songs himself in the first place.
“As a songwriter, it’s really important and exciting [to perform solo], because it recognizes that songs are songs,” says Brown. “If they’re strong, they’ll stand strong with one guitar and one voice, or they’ll stand strong with that voice and a five-piece band. I really find the strength in the structure of a song.”
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Brown plans to perform a lot of songs from his band’s recently released record called Long Way Home, which includes introspective rock songs about Brown’s musical journey. On the record, Brown’s raspy voice drifts above a potent blend of instrumentation that includes roving electric guitar riffs and driving drumbeats. Brown describes recording the album as a “really organic, easy process.”
Blake Brown will be joined by his American Dust Choir at the 2018 Westword Music Showcase, alongside an array of national and local acts. It will be Brown’s first time performing at the Showcase, and he’s excited to connect with more local fans.
“Always developing my fan base here is the top priority as far as I’m concerned,” says Brown. “Our music never gets too wildly crazy, and it never gets so intimate that you want it to pick up energy again. Come down, expect some rock and roll and indie Americana, and have a great time.”
Justin Townes Earle solo tour with Blake Brown, 8 p.m. Thursday, May 10, $25-$30, Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, Englewood; Westword Music Showcase, Saturday, June 23, Golden Triangle Neighborhood.