March 5th, 2012, 4:49 pm · · posted by GUEST
Micah Brown has the blues running through his veins and he’s got the slide guitar and the makings of a ZZ Top-style beard to prove it. The blues/folk artist scored the title of the OC Music Awards best live acoustic artist in 2011 and won in the best folk category at the 2012 awards ceremony, held at City National Grove of Anaheim on March 3.
A man of his environment, Brown’s influences can be traced back to his family.
“My mom is a singer, and my dad plays guitar,” he says in a recent interview. “My whole family is pretty musical. All of my cousins sing, my sister sings – it’s kind of in our genes.”
Brown’s mom often played folk greats like Neil Young and the Watson Brothers, while his father kept the classic crooning of Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson in heavy rotation. Even his EP, Down Like Hail, borrows its name from a Robert Johnson song. Brown received his first toy drum set at the age of four and continued to drum for the next 15-20 years, playing in various punk bands and at church before finally picking up the guitar.
Although Brown has always been a musician, his professional pursuits originally lay elsewhere. He studied journalism and environmental studies in college.
“This sounds kind of morbid, but I kept getting assigned funerals [in journalism] that semester,” he says. “I think I did four or five stories on deaths. At first I was kind of bummed about it, but it was really cool getting to know these people and their lives and then being able to write something that helps people remember them.”
Brown’s thoughtful storytelling is reflected in his music. His weary words tell the story of a frustrating woman and a heartbroken man. Even his album cover, which uses a personal picture he took, has the aged feel of a good story. While in school, Brown found a home working in construction and building materials, purchasing for a company and doing inventory sales.
“I was doing the whole 9-5 thing, saving money to try and start a family or whatever,” he recalls. “I had girlfriend that was pretty serious and I was working a lot of hours. It was a cool job and I like my boss and I liked everyone I worked with, but the industry took a hard hit after that last recession.”
Fortunately for the local music scene, it took Brown losing his day job to commit to pursuing music full time. In January 2011, he independently-released the Down Like Hail EP. Two months later, he won the OC Music Awards best live acoustic award. Such immediate exposure and success is rare and Brown is nothing but thankful.
“I just feel blessed to be able to do this, to give it a try while I’m younger, you know, before I have to grow up,” he says.
Brown has remained grounded and thinks of this as the stepping-stone to more opportunities. He’s had the full support of 17th Street Records, with whom he produced his EP and where he’ll produce his full-length. He believes there is still a lot of hard work ahead, as he admits, “The bills don’t always match up, but it’s worked out pretty well so far.” With a national tour under his belt, his first full-length release ahead of him, a March residency at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana and a stop at South by South West, he’s hoping all of that hard work continues to pay off.
See Micah Brown: Every Monday in March at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana. First show is 9 p.m. March 5. 3503 S. Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana. $5 at the door. 714-957-0600.
Article by Diana Le, for OrangeCounty.com. Video courtesy of DPS.
More O.C. Nightlife:
- Review: Alkaline Trio, Against Me! finish off Musink Festival with rousing sets
- Video: Drop the Lime at King’s Inn at Memphis Cafe in Costa Mesa
- AfterWork: Incahoots in Fullerton
- Review: Musink fans get crazy for Yellowcard, New Found Glory
- Review: Cypress Hill Smokeout in San Bernardino
- O.C.’s Aquabats go from stage to screen
- Music News: 2012 OC Music Awards winners
- Slideshow: Musink 2012 tattoo portraits
- Review: Tiger Army roars at Musink kickoff
- Review: 311 packs a punch in Anaheim