Chastity Brown on the Red Stag Block Party, her residency in Germany, and the local music scene
Photo By Alexander Zoltai
Local-by-way-of-Tennessee musician Chastity Brown is at her most Southern when she is chatting over drinks. She's effusive, laid back, and is thoroughly determined to just kick it, no pressure. This has been a big year for Miss Brown: her fourth studio album, the folk-soul Back-roads Highways, has been received with roaring success by the local and national music community, and since its success, Brown has been keeping busy.
The artist recently announced an upcoming October residency in Kiel, Germany, at the art venue Hansa 48. We caught up with Brown to ask her more about this news and what else she's been up to since the release, ahead of her performance at the Red Stag Block Party this Sunday.
Gimme Noise: So, you have a residency in Germany! In Kiel. That's exciting, and kind of random. Tell me how that happened.
Chastity Brown: Well, Nils, the guy who owns the art center where I'm playing... it's like an art center slash pub slash residential pseudo hostel space. It's the huge old eastern Germany building. So, Nils was visiting a friend here last summer, and they were at King's Wine Bar where I was playing this hootenanny thing with Jim Walsh and he was like "I would love to have you play for me." So this has been in the works for about a year.
How long is the residency? What else do you have going on while in Europe?
Well, I'm playing two nights, and just kind of hanging out in Kiel in between, dipping over to Paris for a minute. I'm really fucking stoked, it'll be my first time ever in Europe, so I'm gonna be part straight up tourist about it, as well as just hanging out with locals.
Besides the Kiel show, I've got a show at the Green Note in London which is like a premiere Americana venue, like maybe a smaller version of the Cedar. Then I've got another show in Newcastle for this like Americana festival that's happening in Newcastle. So pretty much the two and a half weeks that I'm there the gigs pay for themselves, or I might get close to breaking even so that I'm not coming back starving. And all these people that hear the record, they're like, excited to have to me come and excited to pay me for coming.
Would this lead to like a full blown European tour? Is that a goal?
I have a... without me saying too much, there's some really cool things in the works for a legit like 30-day to two-month fall tour and so... it's like... I'll know in the next couple months how that's going to play out, and so I'll have meetings and stuff while I'm there. We also have a lot of really great stuff happening here in the Midwest and in the South, and I don't want to lose sight of that, because the home base here has just been so supportive of the record that it's really important to stay close to home. You can't ever forget that the first initial supporters were from here, you know?
Cool. So tell me, how's it been since the release? I think that was the last time we talked. Any new developments?
Since then, the Global Mail from Canada did a review and NPR decided two weeks ago to come out on their main fucking page, "Chastity Brown is a promising young voice." For me, it's like, NPR is my go-to, in my daily life, for music and news. Later I got an email that night from one of the staff members here being like, "Hey Chastity, hope your summer is going well. We decided to share your music with the country." What the fuck do I say to that? When the thing that I respect the most just like gave me a thumbs-up. I don't even know who to fucking thank for that.
There's that, and then because of that, a lot of other things are popping up. And it's all because of Minneapolis. Without any formula to it. The local community... for some reason, if you love them, and they love you back, good shit happens.
Okay, so you're playing the Red Stag Block Party this Sunday. How'd that happen, and how does it fit in here?
That was DeVon's [Gray, keyboardist] idea, actually. The day before that we have another show at the Aster. This whole thing is kind of back and forth, what we've experienced as a band. And I've talked to comrades in the whole scene, and it's like, at one point you're like, "Okay, we're gonna space out our shows, we're gonna make every show huge," and you realize that while huge shows at beautiful venues are a lot of fun, and you love giving that to folks and experiencing them, we aren't that kind of band.
We love doing that and we can throw down in that situation, but we also just really love playing anywhere. Doing the Red Stag is just like, something that's happening in the summer in Minneapolis, and we're gonna rock that.
Red Stag Block Party is Sunday, August 5. It's all ages and free, and runs from 3-10 pm at the Red Stag Supper Club, located at 509 1st Ave. NE.
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