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Colleen Brown @ Drake Underground

. : : March 9th, 2012 : : .

The other day, Ms. Colleen Brown posted a link to her Facebook friends about the blog. It meant a lot to me, not only for the kind words that accompanied the link, but because it meant (to me) that, after nearly two years of hard, dedicated (and expensive) work, the live recordings are really, finally being embraced by the community that I’m so dedicated to promoting.

It was apropos that it was shortly before this blog entry but after the recording of this concert in particular that this link was posted. This blog does a better-than-I-ever-expected number of hits daily, but it’s often difficult to gauge exactly how well the blog is going, really. Especially since, except for the Kathleen Edwards recordings, it very rarely gets comments from post-to-post, so it’s frequently hard to tell how successful the blog is in cross-promoting artists OTHER than the ones visitors come specifically to download.

Primarily, the blog is intended to be a place where you can download great recordings of your favourite artists, yes. But really, I’m hoping you, dear reader, stick around and sample some of the other artists I post, and discover new favourites. By no stretch of the imagination am I trying to rip-off artists by posting their music for free online. Rather, I’m using these recordings as a sort of grass-roots level promotion, in hopes that good word of mouth will spread like wildfire and translate into record, merchandise and ticket sales.

Again, it’s rarely easy for me to judge how successful I am at that, but when Colleen Brown performed a first-in-line opening set at the Drake Underground last week, I got my first, in-person example that the blog IS working and it was an amazing feeling.

Only moments before Colleen took the stage for a duo show with Michael Rault on bass guitar, I was approached by my friends Doug and Cathy. If you don’t remember, I met Doug and Cathy at the Kathleen Edwards show at the Phoenix Nightclub last month, and referred them to my blog from the bevy of Kathleen recordings I have archived. Little did I know that the couple had been doing exactly what I hoped you all do, and perused many of the blog posts and streaming samples I’ve posted here. Amongst their favourite discoveries was Ms. Colleen Brown herself, and even though it was to be a truncated, pared down performance in the unenviable time slot when people are still wandering in and/or meandering around the bar, Doug and Cathy came to see Colleen play. Because of this blog.

Wow. My heart filled instantly to the brim. It was such a rewarding encounter, and the feeling of validation was overwhelming. I was happy for me, and the milestone marked for the blog, but more so, I was ecstatic for Colleen. Here, standing before her, is two new fans, happy to purchase and enjoy her albums, and spread the word to THEIR friends and family. Maybe more bushfire than wildfire, but you know what? Every great fire starts with a single spark.

But enough about that. You’re here to read and listen to another Colleen Brown recording. This was the first time since the release of Dirt, her third independently released LP, that Colleen took a Toronto stage without a sizable band behind her, garnishing her songs with brass, percussion and six-strings. Colleen herself bantered between songs how a special and somewhat unusual selection of songs would be played to accommodate the special configuration. So, out the door was popular selections Happy Love Song and Fight, Fight, Fight (although the latter was teased by Colleen with a couple of bars of the intro), and in their place was stripped down versions of Dirt‘s quiet favourites, Really Just Need A Friend and a haunting version Strangers Know Better.

Proving once again that she’s not one to run in place for long, Colleen debuted yet another new song for the Toronto crowd, hopefully hinting at a quicker turnaround between album than the space between Dirt and her sophomore effort, Foot In Heart. It didn’t seem long — nae, it was painfully short — before Colleen was cut off, but she left the crowd wanting more with Foot In Heart‘s primary single, the infectious Love You Baby.

After the set, I thanked Collen for playing Love You Baby again, and she laughed, expecting sarcasm. After all, isn’t Love You Baby the song that gets played EVERY night? Well, no. Not in Toronto at least. Looking through the archives, Colleen hasn’t brought that song to a live stage in Toronto since opening for the Crash Test Dummies in the late-autumn of 2010! As the first Colleen Brown song I’d ever heard — and the one that solidified a love-at-first sight relationship — it holds a distinctly sentimental place in my heart.

I guess, in a way, Love You Baby was that spark that started the bushfire in me. See how it has a tendency to spread?

If you’ve ever downloaded a Drake Underground recording before, you don’t need me to tell you how this one sounds — and I mean that in absolutely the best way possible. This isn’t the most dynamic example of a Colleen Brown show (look for one of the 2011-2012 Dakota Tavern shows for that), but is a intimate peek at the repertoire of a brilliant Canadian songstress. If you haven’t listened to Colleen Brown yet, follow in the footsteps of my wonderful friends Doug and Cathy. We all agree that you won’t regret it.

01. Baby Blue Eyes
02. 7 Hours and 15 Days
03. [banter]
04. Strangers Know Better
05. [banter]
06. Really Just Need A Friend
07. [new song]
08. [banter]
09. Love You Baby

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Strangers Know Better (Live In Toronto) [MP3 sample]


Big, super-sized thank yous to Colleen Brown, Michael Rault, Doug and Cathy, and everyone who’s discovered and supported new artists via blog.hater-high.com.

Published inLive Recordings

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