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"As fresh and enveloping as morning mist – and as disquietingly opaque – the music of Rosie Brown weaves a wondrous spell. It's centred on the silken murmur of siren songstress Rosie who coos sensual pieces about weather, colours and intimacy. She sings of breathing in the southern breeze, of wanting to float on an ocean with you ("you, you, you, you"), of the orange sunset burning a hole in her head, and the effect is bewitching. She is partnered by producer and co-writer Bernd Rest, whose neat guitar parts (along with Simon Russell's double bass, and the general air of trippiness) recall vintage John Martyn. But the post-Norah subtlety (acoustic group at its core), post-Portishead portent (neurotic bluesy dissonance) and post-Zero 7 lounge-chill results in uniquely affecting sounds which unsettle as they seduce."
* * * *
"It's been worth the wait. Elemental, sensual, laced with choice saxophone, vibraphone, double bass and oboe, Clocks and Clouds is often reminiscent of John Martyn circa Bless the Weather, but on the skewed One Horse Tango, Austrian guitarist and arranger Bernd Rest conjures something more evocative of Les Paul backed by Goldfrapp. Enjoy by candlelight with a good red, or something green and combustible."
Straight No Chaser
"The South London chanteuse returns with a brand new
album, a familiar line-up and a collection of fine songs that
surpass even the debut By the Blue. Rosie's vocals conjure
up hints of Joni Mitchell in her heyday and have never sounded
better than now. There are, of course, plenty of delicate,
folky jazz numbers, like the melancholic Clouds and the atmospheric
Late Light. In other places, though, Rosie and her band of
accomplished jazz musicians push boundaries once more, especially
on the brilliant, acoustic drum and bass tinged Burning Orange
and the evocative skit One Horse Tango. Elsewhere, Sunray
is a carefree, optimistic joint, whereas Move My Head is a
more challenging, confrontational piece with abrasive guitars
and some deft drumming about as aggressive as Miss Brown
gets! Thankfully. Check this lady out. She should, by rights,
"Centred around the considerable talents of Brown and Austrian guitarist/producer Bernd Rest, this sparkling record will hearten those who thought that the kind of pastoral arranging skills with which Robert Kirby furnished Nick Drake were history. The flutes on Odessa, bass clarinet on Darn Sing Spin and soprano sax on album stand-out Catch evince superior musical brains following their hearts, while Rest's acoustic guitar motifs ooze melody throughout. Brown - flowers in her hair à la Billie Holiday, voice like a more sensual Beth Orton - writes distinctive, poetic lyrics, and on Love It Hate It and Song For Dolly there's a maturity to her phrasing which suggests she's been a secret too long. In a climate where every week sees major labels foist new singer-songwriters of questionable quality, this is the real McCoy."
* * * *
"Like the Mercury-nominated Kathryn Williams, Rosie Brown has been dumped in the wispy netherworld between acoustic pop and street-smart folk. But there's an angular, jazzy touch to her tunes that suggests Brown is much more than the latest cute girl with a guitar. Backed by a live band and occasional loops, this is the sort of music Roni Size might be making if he'd discovered Joni Mitchell instead of drum machines (for the evidence, investigate the crunched groove of Bliss). That's not to say Brown can't do the breathy vocal thing (Sweet Girl is wonderfully understated, a kind of summery Nick Drake) but she obviously feels much more at home with a lopsided rhythm and a twisted hook. Semi-acoustic with attitude."
A Japanese review (as translated by Google)
"Coquettish passion conveyed with the dry lip which trembles though feeling is pressed down, although it stops therefore, and fantasy which rustles beyond blue curtain. 1st album released in SSW of London, and 2001 of Rosie Brown. In a word, it is a Joni Mitchell target. But explanation what doesn't it become? Vokaru of Rosie is the excellent poem which is made to think wisupa and is murmured low in fact. Though a British fork and a British and pop scent are also fully floated, the feeling got dry and sharpened well is peculiar. Support of Bernd Rest of a guitar, Paul May of a drum, Andy Hamill and others of a base is wonderful again. The inside of comfort which is teaching purposely the waltz in which Bernd dealt also with composition, and each music with his pen made a mistake to the cat - mind - it has danger (feel/languid). A feeling is good for the heart to which light which is carried out to whether a throat will be told with a tongue loosened. New work is a release schedule to this summer. Expected size size!! "
"Rising star of the London acoustic scene, Rosie Brown has come up with a spellbinding collection of deliciously poetic and intelligent songs on this, her debut album. Seductive and delicate, there's also plenty of attitude in her voice, which has the same breathy quality as Beth Orton. Another name which comes to mind is Kathryn Williams. But, experimenting with a number of instruments, By The Blue is far more than just another pop-acoustic album and defies easy categorisation with its beguiling mix of not only folk influences, but also elements of jazz and even an all-inspiring torch song. True, the stripped-down opener Love It Hate It features just Brown's voice and guitar. But after that, things get more unconventional. Long Life has an irresistibly jazzy shuffle. The strings on Sweet Girl are ethereal and heavenly. Catch recalls the sublime feel of John Martyn's early 70s albums, while the arrangement on Crazy is strongly influenced by Joni Mitchell's The Hissing of Summer Lawns. Yet there's never any doubt that Brown is entirely her own woman. By The Blue heralds the arrival of a major new talent in our midst."
Straight No Chaser
"Singer/songwriter Rosie Brown describes herself as an aspiring female John Martyn. If, by chance, you've heard her debut LP 'By The Blue', you'll have detected influences as diverse as Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, J.S. Bach, AC/DC and, of course, Martyn himself. Released last year, on Brown and partner/guitarist Bernd Rest's Stück label, the album is a refreshing collection of proper songs with plenty of jazz, soul, folk and funk. Classical composer Rest (a Carla Bley fanatic) is clearly essential to the operation, and it is he who will be producing Brown's second LP due out later this year. The line-up on the forthcoming album will be the same inspired posse that recently brought the audience at a Ronnie Scott's Sunday session to its feet: Rest on guitar, Simon C. Russell on bass, Paul May on drums, the inspired Marcus Cummins on soprano sax and, of course, the sweet vocals and guitar of Miss Brown herself. Bliss. The single 'Bliss' will be released on Wah Wah 45's with a Quantic remix later this summer."
Rip & Burn
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"The story: Brighton chanteuse meets Austrian guitarist/composer/producer Bernd Rest and they become stars on the London acoustic scene. This is the follow-up to acclaimed 2002 debut, By the Blue.
The vibe: Breathier Beth Orton meets more sensual Alison Goldfrapp over lightly funky but expertly played strands of acoustic jazz, folk and blues (shades of Nick Drake). Und
erstated backing with occasional blasts of sax or oboe helps to create beautifully mumuring mood mus
ic that's alternately intense and lulling. Natural elements – skies, breezes, oceans, light – also feature in the slinky, flowing love lyrics. Very nice indeed, guv.
Analyse this: 'Late light lately lingers low and slowly made me say today I'm looking your way' (Late Light).
Bloodline: Joni Mitchell. John Martyn.
Rivals: Polly Paulusma. Kathryn Wiliams.
Poster quote: Acoustic ladyland."
"This is an intriguing work from [UK] singer -songwriter Brown. Despite conventionally romantic lyrics, the affecting vocal delivery and sparse acoustic instrumentation lend this an altogether more leftfield feel akin to Cat Power or Stina Nordenstam. With support, particularly from Radio Two, it could be widely embraced."
* * * *
"Rosie Brown's second album is the truly successful result of a collaboration of Austrian and English musicians, who have made it their aim to enrich the world of music with somewhat softer sounds. At the heart of this album are the vocals and the guitaring of Englishwoman Rosie Brown. But Austrian guitarist Bernd Rest contributes to the acoustic core of this album, too, and it is he who is responsible for a large part of the melancholy and gentle arrangements which are characterised by a mix of touching melodies and cool bass lines. Rosie Brown's words include love poems and profound lyrics that express her closeness to nature. Her style calls for comparisons with singers like Joni Mitchell and Billie Holiday, but her way of interpreting lyrics without excessive emotional or vocal expenditure is more reminiscent of singer Beth Orton."
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"So much in the Fringe offers fast-paced flashy entertainment.
Rosie Brown and This are among the few performers taking it
nice and easy, fuelling fans with silky, slow-burning jazz
pop. Whether speaking or singing, Brown has a tremendously
soothing voice. Her vocals glide over the band's delicate
acoustic arrangements... a seamless display of understated
"There currently seems to be an explosion of new female singer-songwriters. Thea Gilmore, Gemma Hayes, Beth Orton: some have broken through, others have yet to break. South Londoner Rosie Brown is the newest and most exciting yet. Sounding like a breathier, jazzier Beth Orton, she has a truly amazing voice that resonates Billie Holiday and Rickie Lee Jones, yet still manages to sound distinctive... a name to watch for 2002."
The List, August 2001
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"You would never guess it from Rosie Brown's nervy demeanour, but her music is pure chill. As soon as the first breathy note is sung, and the deep rich chords swell from her rhythm section, the audience is putty in her hands. Whispery and sultry, she lulls you in, as if into a womb of sound. An exceptionally tight and sensitive band give Rosie's voice tremendous support, underpinning the vocals with a resonant force. And as with the best ensembles they are constantly aware of each other, listening and responding to every modulation. Soprano sax drifts in and out, and really, there's no use protesting: just relax into the early hours. Nice."
The List, August 2002
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"Apologies are due, Rosie Brown tells us, for one or two opening night teething problems, but – for all the audience can hear – she's imagining things. For she and her band don't slip once during an hour's worth of quality jazzy folk-pop which you could lose yourself in like a penny slipping down the back of a well-worn sofa. Some low-key horn backing, confident guitar work and a double bass sound that a David Holmes soundtrack would be proud of all melt nicely into the mix. But Brown's the deserved star of the show, with a beautifully expressive, iceberg-melting voice that twists and turns artfully all over the songs."
Three Weeks Festival Newspaper
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"'Shut your eyes and take a deep breath.' So sings Ms Brown in her song 'Long Life'. It's advice worth heeding because, and excuse the cliché, this performance really will take your breath away. An hour spent watching Rosie and 'This' is the perfect antidote to the chaos of the festival your feet won't stop tapping to that double bass and just try to stop your head nodding to those gorgeous acoustic sounds. Seductive, sublime, sensuous... this is a must-see show, a chance to hear a very talented group of performers prior to the release of their album By The Blue which will surely launch them into the midst of fame. By the show's close I was just itching for more of the roses, those shoes, that handbag, and Rosie's fishnet tights.
"Former Brighton resident Rosie Brown left town a few years ago to seek her musical fortune in the big city. Since then, the talented singer-songwriter and guitarist has assembled a virtuoso band to back up her silky voice and moody, touching tunes. Rosie's sweet, clear and sometimes breathy vocals go down like an ice-cool gin and tonic, jazzy and sultry over light and delicate melodies. The songs recorded last year for the debut album By the Blue are gorgeous structures, underpinned by guitarist Bernd Rest's intricate guitar and a light and funky double bass. Soprano sax ebbs around the plaintive melody and haunting lyrics of Odessa; elsewhere, bass clarinet and violin add richness and tone to the overall sound. On stage, talking between songs, Rosie is beguiling company; when she sings, the audience is kept spellbound. This is a rare opportunity to catch Rosie Brown and her cool, wistful blues in Brighton."
"We continue to pursue an open-ended approach to musical
entertainment with the spellbinding delicacy of acoustic heroine
Jazz, blues, folk: genres that have all been used to try and
pigeonhole the work of Rosie Brown, but the truth is, her
music is at once all of these and none of them. Occupying
an ambiguous yet inviting space where styles melt into one
another while avoiding the trappings of generic cliché and copycat cringe-worthiness, various stylistic elements
are a spectral presence in the creative thrust of her accomplished
and distinctive song craft. With a voice that seduces and
breaks your heart in one fell swoop, her poetic missives are
bewitching and intelligently thoughtful. Catch this rising
star of the London acoustic scene."