Storm in a Teacup
REVIEWS FOR STORM IN A TEACUP Billboard Continental Drift By: Larry Flick Soul in a teacup: The coffeehouse circuit isn't what it used to be. It's become a playground for aspiring major-label acts. Developing acts seeking a forum need to do more than simply sit and strum; they need to find ground between pop commercialism and the confessional poetry they often opt to weave. David Brown has clearly learned this lesson. During the two-year gap between his self-made 1997 debut, 'Splendid Wings,' and his sterling new disc, 'Storm In A Teacup,' he's grown from being a respectable acoustic storyteller into a widely viable artist. For starters, his sweet tenor voice now has an earthy rasp that can only come with experience and increased confidence. He puts his voice to fine use on tunes like the single worthy 'House Of Fire,' which has a chorus that lingers in the brain long after it's over. 'House On Fire' exemplifies a set that manages to frost thoughtful tales of inner turmoil and love gone wrong with infectious melodies and memorable choruses. The New York-based Brown will be working the East Coast coffeehouse and acoustic-club circuit to promote 'Storm In A Teacup,' for which he's seeking nationwide distribution and/or a major label. Storm in a Teacup Vocals by Jeff Rosen Gay Chicago Magazine As he did on his 1997 debut, 'Splendid Wings,' New York-based singer-songwriter David Brown climbs deep inside himself while opening his eyes wide to the world around him for another stunning musical and emotional journey on 'Storm in a Teacup.' The raw honesty of his lyrics and infectious build of his melodies work their way under your skin and into the soul, from the opening sting of allowing yourself to be abused found in 'True Blue' (Oh I have never seen anything like it before/How you pick up my heart by the back of the neck and dropkick it out the front door) to finally finding love and happiness in the closing 'Wedding Bound,' Brown charts one mans' voyage of discovery in a nothing less than brilliant song cycle. From the obsessive drive of 'Falling' and a son's ebullient plea to his father to 'Sit Down Daddy' and take a break from 'the human marathon' through the pain of a crumbling family in 'The Show Must Go On' and man's disappointment in his best friend's life choice of succumbing to the trappings of wealth in 'Lisa' and the anger of not being able to express one's true feelings in public in 'Privilege,' we are witness to a sometimes painful, sometimes enraged, sometimes heartbreaking gathering together of the fragments of a life and heart and making them whole and stronger by journey's end. With 'Storm in a Teacup' Brown makes good on the promise of 'Splendid Wings' and firmly establishes himself as an exceptional voice for both his generation and our community. (****) Rising Storm By Jeffrey L. Newman New York Blade With an intoxicating voice that rises above his peers in the traditional folk-pop pack, David Brown churns out a melodic set of infectious songs on his sophomore solo release, Storm in a Teacup (Chihuahua records). Like his stellar 1996 debut Splendid Wings, Brown's newest outing finds the singer/songwriter in fine form, blending the same Phranc-esque quality from his first set with a more profound and rock infused sound. Accompanying himself on the piano and guitar, the acoustic storyteller blends his deeply moving and prolific lyrics and engaging melodies with his sweet sounding tenor voice with glorious results. And while the influences of his predecessors, from Michael Callen to Simon & Garfunkle to Michael Stipe, are distinct, they are clearly not imitated, as Brown carefully weaves his own musical tapestry of original splendor. Without falling into the trap of making 'gay' folk rock, Brown manages to maintain a relevance to his music with words that speak directly to the gay listener while offering a broader appeal to the mass audience. Adding additional buoyancy, some great musicians join Brown on this stellar recording, lending some new sounds to his music, including percussion, piano, electric bass, and violin. With his smart, irreverent, and witty perspective, Brown is finally bound to break out of the gay indie circle and become the male Catie Curtis. Harriet Schwartz The Washington Blade The only problem with David Brown's second album 'Storm in a Teacup' (on Chihuahua Records) is that it's not on a major label. If a big record company backed Brown, he'd be touring the country, snagging radio play, and showing up on various television shows. And more and more people would get turned on to his music. Instead, Brown is still making music the independent way, and selling his own CDs on the web. Not only has Brown penned the lyrics and composed the music for Storm in a Teacup, but he produced the disc as well. His talents combine for one of the most memorable albums of the year. True Blue kicks things off in aggressive folk style. Though Brown is considered a folk artist, this song makes the case for the edge he could grab with a full backing band - clearly he would rock the room. 'Falling,' one of the most memorable tracks on the album, takes a different turn. It's a haunting song, full of vivid images and emotion. Equally as powerful. 'The Show Must Go On' starts out mellow and melodic but reaches anthemic proportions, powered by urgent vocals and effective dynamics. Lyrically, Brown, who is openly Gay, speaks a variety of truths. Rare is the album that attacks heterosexual privilege ('Wedding Bound') and the Christian Right (Embraced by the Mob /The Holy Mob) while also offering a tender song to a parent (Sit Down Daddy). Brown is an artist of the highest quality - talented, honest and original. His new album, Storm in a Teacup, is as rich and evocative as anything currently on the Billboard album charts. Storm in a Teacup Arts and Understanding Magazine (A & E) Christopher Voigt David Brown's second album, 'Storm in a Teacup,' is a compelling coffeehouse blend of folk and world-music rhythms. The lyrics span the musical emotions: some prayerful, others outrageous. Following up on his debut album, 'Splendid Wings,' Brown visits similar territories of the heart, in songs like 'Falling,' House on Fire,' and 'Wedding Bound,' but now, with a retrospective vision, Brown admits that he's dealing with ' a lot of the same stuff...childhood memories, the transgressions of youth, the injustices fostered by the simplistic visions of religion.' In creating music of healing, Brown has attempted to heal many things within himself. In this he sees an 'extreme honesty.' His sound is hip, reminiscent, dreamy, and at times, enraged. He takes the many undesirable voices of our lives and translates them into something like a beautifully woven fabric. When I think of David Brown's sound, I think of tapestry of voice and guitar, a tapestry however, that sports a rather unique design in contemporary music. Because you see, Brown is not concerned with singing what everyone else is singing about. He's content with singing about the people in his life and their issues. He's content to sing about fear and what he calls in 'The Bridge,' 'a mad expedition back to life.' His songs are interested in resuscitating the issues of life back into the issues of song. He's not trying to be stylish when he sings the song 'The show must go on' - he's just trying ot be here, in the moment, where he belongs. In the most beautiful track on the album, 'See you in the morning, Joan,' Brown admits that he 'doesn't know whose act to follow' and, in saying so, expresses a common dilemma of living. Later he sings that the morning will hold the very 'same mysteries' as the day before. In this he attempts to heal the fears and anxieties of those who ruch onward in time, never stopping to look around. As a gay man who has taken a very active roll in the fight for AIDS rights, Brown's honest voice is coupled with the actions and motivations of his won life in New York City. The voice of Storm in a Teacup is a voice joyful but aware of the enduring sadnesses of injustice and hatred toward the less fortunate. It is never a voice of sitting down and doing nothing: rather it is a voice engaged in the pursuit of a goal. Brown won't sit down and he will never accept Auden's quip that 'Poetry makes nothing happen.' In the world of folk-singer David Brown, nothing can happen if we don't involve ourselves in life. For him, the healing that comes through music is a healing we participate in through music's singular transforming power.