Innocent Words Presents IW10 with Rachel Taylor Brown


TEN: Each Friday Innocent Words brings you 10 questions with up and coming bands. Check it and out and remember, you heard about them here first!

Hometown: Portland, Oregon. I’m one of seven people who were born here and hang around, annoying besotted newcomers. I grew up in Boring, Oregon. It’s just east of Portland and named after a man named Boring. It’s got buttes.

Origin of Band Name: My parents and Jay Brown (my husband).

Members and Instruments: Me: keys, vocals, oh, gobs of things. Ben Landsverk (Holcombe Waller & The Healers): viola, backup singing, etc). Jeff Langston (Antony and the Johnsons): bass. Leigh Marble (Leigh Marble): guitar.

Short Bio: I live in Portland with my dear Jay. I’m a semi-hermit and I write songs that vary wildly, according to my mood. “Falimy” is my ninth album. I write a lot and with no real plan usually, but I do pay attention. I’m a misanthrope and therefore pleasantly surprised when I like people (which happens more often than you’d think—hope springs eternal). I have a very few, very good friends. I like animals and real books and teevee, and See’s Nuts & Chews. My husband and sister and Larry David regularly crack me up. I’m always prepared for the worst, so I never forget a kindness, never cease being grateful for one. Where nice stuff for my music is concerned, I’m most proud to be in the late Scott Miller’s book “Music: What Happened?” I wish he were alive and that I could thank him in person.


What Are Your Influences/Sound and Why: Well, I hope I don’t sound too influenced but it’s true–you are what you eat. Some foods: The Beatles, Kodaly, Bartok, Jesus Christ Superstar The Concept Album, XTC, Fruko, Dvořák, Stevie Wonder, Elliott Smith, Laura Nyro, David Bowie, Ives, Tubby the Tuba, Randy Newman, Meredith Willson, Aerosmith, CSNY, Distler, Queen, Bach and more for melodies, melancholy, thrills, surprises, crunch, beauty & wit. Also, skill at getting big and little, musically.

Songwriting Style: Inadvertent–depends on where brain is! I like pretty melody smooshed up against dissonance and contrary pairings of music and words. I like to create tension and relief. I want to put a feeling across more than anything else. That’s why I like albums and care about song position and transitions—I see an album as one piece still, which puts me very out of touch with pretty much everyone.

Favorite Place To Play: Mississippi Studios, in Portland. Owner Jim Brunberg and booker Matt King have always been very supportive, and the staff there is wonderful. I’m pleased my Portland album release show for “Falimy” will be in their beautiful venue (May 4).

What’s Your Funniest or Worst Tour Story: You’re always on the lookout for a cheap (free) place to crash, which leads to some interesting situations. The first time I ever heard Joanna Newsom was after a gig, at 4am in a house of friendly strangers in Tucson. I was trying to sleep and they had Joanna (her first album, I think) cranked loud–played the whole thing, and I wished for death–hers or mine. I really need to listen to her again under different circumstances…gud forbid someone hear my music for the first time that way… That was also the place a giant dog kept opening the door to my room all night and licking my ear, possibly in sympathy.

A friend of mine who worked at a sleep studies center put us up in his sleep lab after a gig in San Francisco. It was a little eerie–we each had a room with a bed. There were little holes in the wall where you could be….I don’t know…probed? Weirdly enough, it was one of the best sleeps I’d ever had! Everyone else was just creeped out, as I recall.

Future plans: I’m a terrible planner. How do you plan? Will I even be alive? I hope I am and that I’m touring ‘cross the land and o’er the seas, which I have yet to do.

Where Can We Hear Your Music:

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