From The Iowa Waltz to Freak Flag, from The Poet Game to Hadestown, Greg Brown has joined the ranks of those Iowa artists who can rightly be called essential. Critic Josh Kun once described him as “a Midwestern existentialist hobo with a quick-draw mouth, a bloodied heart, and bourbon on his breath.” Indeed, Brown’s music reflects a poetic spirit while also sounding thoroughly down to Earth. Deeply rooted in the musical traditions of his native state, he draws on such diverse genres as gospel, early rock ‘n’ roll, country and blues. His deep, craggy voice expresses quirky humor and the mysteries of life and love with equal skill. Over the course of a career spanning five decades, and two dozen albums, Brown has earned a passionate international following for his heartfelt and uncompromising music. Rolling Stone calls him “a wickedly sharp observer of the human condition.”
Joining Brown on this special evening is Karen Savoca, a singer and songwriter known for her soulful voice, sense of humor, and in-the-pocket drumming. Living in Oneida, New York, and working with her partner, guitarist Pete Heitzman, she’s produced what Dirty Linen calls “an addictive blend of hybrid pop with lots of jazz whimsy and slippery funk.” Declaring a Savoca concert “one of the most breathtaking live performances I’ve ever experienced,” The Willamette Weekly’s critic praised the duo’s “melodic songs that probe the mysteries of heart and soul.” In addition to eight acclaimed albums, Karen and Pete have appeared on two collaborations with Greg Brown, Milk of the Moon and Live at the Black Sheep, and the three of them have often toured together.