Best Folk Artist - 2012
Putting Chastity Brown in a single musical category doesn't do justice to the artist's unnerving capabilities, but at least the platform of folk is broad enough to hold her. With three full-length albums already under her belt and another just released (Back-Road Highways, produced and engineered by the revered Nashville-based record label C & D Music Network), Brown — a Tennessee transplant with her own brand of southern sultriness — brings something unique to the Twin Cities music scene. Her music is forged through an intelligent commitment of soul, blues, and roots influences, each discernible in individual tracks, but what gives Brown her strength and elevates her far above her peers is the palpable emotion she invests in her songs and performances. Brown is not just a folk artist, she is a poet, one who pours every ounce of her life and feeling into her music, one who is impossible to ignore. Her past, her struggles, and her wisdom are scattered throughout her storyteller's songs, folded into lyrics sung in her dark honeyed voice. Chastity Brown is far from easy-listening. Hers is not the record you put on in the background, it is the record you hear once and never forget, and it is that soul, that brute-force emotion, that separates her from the pack.