Portland-based singer-songwriter Shawn Brown introduces his brand-new EP, The Rain Parade, a deeply personal six-track collection of music.
After almost a decade of not playing music, Brown’s friend, Rafa Cirne Lima, encouraged Brown to pick up his guitar and work on what became Angel of Oakland, an EP released in 2021, as well as The Rain Parade.
Brown explains, “This whole thing came out of pure friendship. I’d been out of music for about 10 years and Rafa just wasn’t having it. He had this magical way of coaxing me back into writing, which turned into jamming, which turned into a full-blown recording project. Myself, Grecco Buratto, and Rafa – we were making music for ourselves, and all these other hugely talented people just kept jumping on board with what we were doing. Turns out, I had a lot to say in these songs, so I’m grateful people get to hear it. To me, the whole EP just sounds like friends lovin’ on each other.”
Musicians on the EP include Brendan Buckley (Morrisey), Daniel Clarke (Ryan Adams), and singer-songwriter Alexia Anne. Lima contributed bass on the EP while Buratto mixed the EP, played guitars, and keyboards, and contributed backing vocals. The EP was mastered by Justin Moshkevich (Rufus Wainwright).
The Rain Parade begins with “Find Another Way,” a rootsy-rock-flavored song featuring a measured rhythm, gleaming guitars, and Brown’s distinctive, luscious reedy voice, imbuing the lyrics with thoughtful timbres.
Entry points include “Testify,” featuring Alexia Anne, a potent song riding a syncopated rhythm. When Alexia Anne’s voice joins Brown’s, the lyrics take on searing tones, rife with unbridled emotion. A personal favorite because of its pushing flow, the title track offers rich, glittering guitars riding a tight, propulsive rhythm. Brown’s wicked, inimitable vocals imbue the lyrics with urgent energy.
Another gem, “9th Street Hymn,” rolls out on an alluring intro, highlighted by a trickling guitar. Vague suggestions of The Black Crowes and the Goo Goo Dolls infuse the tune with enticing aromas and visceral tangs.
The Rain Parade is excellent, full of tasty washes of sound. Still and all, it’s the incomparable voice of Shawn Brown that makes the EP superlative.