Pieta Brown Releases THE HARD WAY Featuring Mark Knopfler
Today, acclaimed singer/songwriter Pieta Brown released her new song "The Hard Way" off her forthcoming album Freeway. Out on September 20th via Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe Records, the lush new album was co-produced with Bon Iver drummer and renowned solo artist S. Carey. "The Hard Way" features a guest appearance by legendary guitarist Mark Knopfler.
Listen to "The Hard Way" (feat. Mark Knopfler) here:
"I kept sonically envisioning, 'If I could just get Mark Knopfler on there...'," Brown told Billboard, who featured the track. "Mark is a very sweet, amazing musician and has become a friend through music. So one day I just wrote him a message and asked if he would consider taking a listen to this track. I said I felt like it wasn't quite done yet, but I wasn't sure what it needed. I said, 'I'm hearing the sound of you or something like what you do, and I can't give you specifics beyond that.' And he said, 'Yeah, of course,' and came up with a great part that made the song undeniable."
"The Hard Way" follows the release of Pieta's two lead tracks "Ask For More" and "Morning Fire." Upon their release, Stereogum stated "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." Paste also described "...the mix immerses the listener in Brown's world" while American Songwriter said "Brown accomplishes a dreamy, ethereal sound."
Recorded at Justin Vernon's April Base Studio, Freeway is an utterly mesmerizing collection, a delicate yet forceful reckoning with change that's marked by the push and pull of unabashed intimacy and a slow-burning intensity. Cut live in just three days, the album features an all-star band that includes Carey, bassist Mike Lewis(Bon Iver, Andrew Bird), and guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker (Andrew Bird, Alpha Consumer). The resulting recordings reflect the foursome's seemingly telepathic bond, a deeply organic chemistry fueled by a shared passion for emotional exploration and sonic discovery.
With Freeway, Brown leaned into the power of human connection and physical presence. The players heard the songs for the first time in the studio, forcing them to rely on their gut instincts and to react to the tunes (and each other) in real time. "The recording process was eye opening for me because it was so different from the way I've worked in the past," said Carey. "Pieta would just nail her vocal takes while she played live in the room with all of us, and I'd say, 'How are you doing that?!'"
Her most experimental collection to date, Freeway is also Brown's most confident and direct. It's an honest accounting of bittersweet endings and hopeful beginnings, of painful loss and traces of liberation in the aftermath, all captured here with a raw spontaneity and fierce self-assurance. She sings with grit and grace in a raw and all-encompassing voice that seems to flow effortlessly from within, a bubbling spring of feminine strength that celebrates the beauty in our brokenness.
"I just love this album," Ani DiFranco stated. "It's like a magic-hour walk across a field of Pieta songs, blowing in the comely breezes of some devastatingly understated musicianship and production. I love that every aspect of this record seems to be conspiring to amplify the haunting lilt of Pieta's voice. The one that she was born with."
01) Ask For More
02) Morning Fire
04) Bring Me
05) Only Flying
06) The Hard Way
07) Ever A Time
08) Beyond The Sun
09) Before We Break
10) Coming Down Again
11) Shelter Now
08/09 - Calgary, AB @ Bella Concert Hall ^
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 *
10/19 - Stoughton, WI @ Stoughton Opera House *
11/01 - Des Moines, IA @ Temple Theater *
11/02 - Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads Saloon *
11/03 - Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room Lounge *
^ w/ Ani DiFranco
* w/ Iris Dement