Re-imagined, refined, revived are the words that best describe Marty Brown and his new album, AMERICAN HIGHWAY, on Plowboy Records. After a two-decade self-imposed “break” from major recording, Marty Brown hit songwriter and producer (I’m From the Country/Tracy Byrd, When I Stop Loving You/Trace Adkins, It Ain’t Me If It Ain’t You/Brooks & Dunn) returns with a tour de force co-produced with the revered Jon Tiven
(B.B. King, Wilson Pickett, Waylon Jennings) who co-wrote nine of the disc’s 10 songs with Brown, and one with the addition of Marty Brown, Jr. The result is an embrace of - and homage to - Country’s foundational genres. From Gospel to Blues to traditional Country, Rockabilly and beyond, Brown has pulled these various threads together and created a tightly woven masterpiece.
Brown views AMERICAN HIGHWAY as his “Rembrandt” or “Michelangelo,” an achievement that marks his far-reaching and creative best. Like Rembrandt’s use of light and shadow to focus the viewer’s eye, Brown’s songwriting and vocal stylings create contrasts to draw in the listener.
One song best represents Brown’s current mindset: “I’m On A Roll (Better Than It’s Ever Been)” is a happy song that validates the contentment found in facing challenges and coming through to the other side. Topics vary throughout the project, from the fun and funky of “Casino Winnebago” to the world-aware “wokeness” of “Mona Lisa Smiles.” From the big-city vibe of “Umbrella Lovers” to the raw, Springsteen-esque channeling found in the title track, the disc is an iron fist in a velvet glove that grabs on immediately and gives a knockout punch. The deceptively simple “Kentucky Blues” offers a counterpoint to the surprising globalism found in “Shaking All Over The World,” while hearts grow and then separate in the reality of “Velvet Chains.” Marty’s voice is honest and on point; he nails every performance with nuance and grace. This is an album for everyone who loves honest music.
ABOUT MARTY BROWN
This proud Maceo, Kentucky native enjoyed success as an artist on MCA Records, and as a songwriter of hits for Trace Adkins, Brooks & Dunn, Tracy Byrd and others in the 1990s. When he was eventually dropped from the label after three albums, he chose to disappear from the public eye. Though he still traveled to Nashville occasionally to write, Brown spent most of his time with his family in Kentucky, fishing, working on cars, and building bird boxes. That all changed when his wife Shellie booked him to sing in a steakhouse in Bowling Green. As word spread, Marty’s dedicated fans started coming from across the country just to hear him. Then Shellie surprised Brown by taking him to Nashville for an audition on America’s Got Talent in 2013. His touching performance of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” went viral, generating over 11 MILLION views on YouTube. The rest, as they say, is history. His Top 10 AGT finish convinced Marty that she was right, and it was high-time he got out of the backwoods and back into the spotlight. Since then, Brown has performed at the historic Ryman Auditorium, returned to the Grand Ole Opry, and signed autographs at CMA Music Fest. Now, AMERICAN HIGHWAY is set to once again establish Marty as a Country artist with something to say.