New Album! -
Aaron Brown’s bold sensitivity as a vocalist and a songwriter has garnered him favorable comparisons to Amos Lee, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and Ben Harper. The Philly-based artist draws from a refreshingly eclectic blend of blues, folk, rock n’ roll, and his hometown’s distinguished heritage of soul and, more recently, indie rock. His captivating solo acoustic performances and incendiary full-band outings have helped him build an impressive profile among audiences and critics alike. Bruce Warren, WXPN (from NPR Music, 10 Artists You Should Have Known) raves: "Singer-songwriter Aaron (Parnell) Brown is an exciting new name to add to the lineage of the city's expressive and emotionally intense soul singers.”
Aaron Parnell Brown's (formerly Aaron & The Spell) debut, Sing, includes a stunning mix of honeyed ballads and simmering soul. The album was written during an emotionally raw time when Brown’s previous band broke up, his longtime relationship unraveled, and he moved to a new town. He took solace in crafting Sing and there is a soulful catharsis to songs like “Don’t Cry,” which has been played regularly on WXPN, and “A Beating Heart,” which recently won the Independent Music Award in the Adult Contemporary Song category. Brown has also been nominated for a Tri State Indie Music Award, named “Artist to Watch” in 2013 by Ticket Magazine/Montgomery Media, and listed as one of the “10 Artists You Should Have Known In 2012” on NPR Music.
Album Review -
Sometimes it takes life taking unexpected twists and turns that on the surface don’t seem to be anything but awful to inspire a body of work that can reach into the hurt of the world and inspire others. That is exactly what Aaron Brown has done with Sing, his latest release under the guise of Aaron & The Spell. This album came together as Aaron’s longtime relationship fell apart, he moved to a new town, and his previous band broke up. To say he wasn’t feeling life coming against him like so many of us do in our day to day life would be a massive understatement. Needless to say, it is because of those very real circumstances that this album has a relatable feel from start to finish and it doesn’t hurt that it is all wrapped into a cool, late 60’s/early 70’s kind of vibe. As the album opens with “By My Side,” you can’t help but bop along with the blues laden sound as Brown’s soulful voice sings a lyric of everyday pressure’s and seeking peace in the midst of them. As you dive through the album you are met with several different styles incorporating their way into the album that include a jazz like feel with songs like “Maria, Full of Grace” or a more true to the core blues feel on “Another Way.” However, underneath the lyrics of life and pushing through the struggles of it, sits “Don’t Cry,’ a powerful song and quite possibly the true point of the album as a whole. In the middle of your own struggles, this song showcases being there for someone else through the ups and down life may offer them as its lyrics include lines like “I know you can make it on your own, but you don’t have to.” With the blend of styles coming together to create a unique feel, combining with the realness and the pain in the lyrics, this album will more than be able to connect to the broken and hurting while at the same time give them something upbeat to sing and bop along with.
- Vertical Hope - http://verticalhope.com/index.php/music/music-reviews/375-aaron-the-spell-sing
"Singer-songwriter Aaron Brown is an exciting new name to add to the lineage of the city's expressive and emotionally intense soul singers. His self-released his album, Sing, recorded with some Philly scene up-and-comers backing him up and performing as The Spell, is an excellent new addition to the musical landscape."
- Bruce Warren, WXPN (from NPR Music, 10 Artists You Should Have Known In 2012 - December 19, 2012)
"Aaron Brown doesn’t seem like the tormented, tortured-artist type. If you meet him – at a show or, as I did, in the recording studio – he comes across as a friendly, soft-spoken gentleman who laughs, shakes your hand, smiles shyly and sits himself behind the microphone. Then he opens his mouth to sing, and wow – the booming voice that emerges conveys all manner of emotions and experiences. With the release of Sing, the CD his band Aaron & The Spell unveiled last week at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Brown establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of new soul. That’s not “soul” in the overglossed top 40 pop music sense, nor is it soul in indie / pastiche sense. This is something more classic, more genuine, harkening back to the music made in the 1960s and 70s by Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Smokey Robinson.”
- John Vettese, WXPN's The Key Blog (Aug 21, 2012)
"Now we have arrived at “The Artist to Watch in 2013”! I don’t recall who introduced me to Aaron Brown of Aaron & The Spell, but I do recall us meeting at Philadelphia Java Co. in Society Hill, wherein I spoke for about two hours about the state of the biz. His break came when I referred his links to Helen Leicht of WXPN, and in turn, she nominated him for a list of undiscovered acts to NPR. Recording at Turtle Studios, Brown is emerging as a soulrocker with strong influences flowing back and forth across decades. He is determined in a quiet, consistent manner, and is quite the gentleman. There is something about Brown that reminds me of Otis Redding, but I am not sure how that is manifest. People are going to enjoy working with Brown from a promotional, booking and performance standpoint. Brown has roots without being a throwback act. If you give him a chance, I think you will say, at last, something for the rest of us to listen to. Aaron Brown will make you optimistic. "
- David Wannop, Montgomery News (Year 2012 in review — Aaron Brown (Aaron & The Spell) is the artist to watch in 2013 - Dec 26, 2012)
"Don’t snooze on Philly’s Aaron & the Spell. This song’s got that classic mix of bluesy guitar and passionate soul singing that fits this city like a glove. Clean-cut and gritty at the same time."
- Patrick Rapa, Philadelphia citypaper (FAVORITE SONGS OF 2012: Aaron & the Spell, “By My Side” - Dec 18, 2012)
“Aaron & The Spell (led by frontman Aaron Brown) is a band which draws comparisons to Amos Lee and Ben Harper, with a huge influence from Otis Redding. They are best described as a band that soaks in all of the influences of the Philly indie music scene. If you get a chance, check them out. This is a band with a sound that's a rich blend of blues, R & B, and soul.”
- Dennis Bakay, Philly2Philly.com (Aug 20, 2012)
“Aux premières notes de « By my side« , l’oreille se pose, attentive, sur ses quelques accords de blues. Et la voix d’Aaron vient percuter vos tympans comme cette belle inconnue qui vous bouscule dans le métro. Cette voix puissante et douce à la fois, située quelque part entre Lenny Kravitz et Raul Midon, vous frappe en plein coeur, et réussit sa mission de vous emmener « à ses côtés ». L’album ne pouvait être mieux lancé !
La musique n’est pas grand chose si elle ne transmet pas d’émotions. La voix d’Aaron, parfaite, accompagnée de mélodies qui le sont tout autant remplie parfaitement son rôle et vous donnera des frissons…Mettre plus de mots dans cet article n’aurait aucun sens tant l’album parle de lui-même. Alors pour ce 31 décembre, si vous voulez faire simple, voici votre manuel de survie. Blotissez-vous contre la personne que vous aimez (un chat, ça fonctionne aussi), appuyez sur Play et oubliez tout le reste. L’essentiel est là, merci Aaron !”
- Gael Lazzaroni, Pause Musicale (Dec. 31, 2012)
Aaron Parnell Brown’s tracks