Chico News&Review;

Little Words, the new full-length project from Chico’s Karen Joy Brown, is a satisfying collection that aptly displays the artist’s wide-ranging acoustic palette via voice, strumming guitar and songwriting. Starting off with a crisp and irresistible title track, followed by the equally infectious, mid-tempo “Made for TV,” the aural experience widens as Brown’s voice, a throaty, sultry mix of pop, jazz and soul, harks back to such contemporary jazz vocalists as Linda Tillery and Cassandra Wilson. Elsewhere, the quick, scatty-jazz essence of “De Rien” is followed nicely by “I Know What Heaven Is,” an insightful ballad of perseverance that offers, “It’s the sand that makes the pearls.” Brown’s backing band, the Bona Fides (Chris Wenger on electric guitar and the CN&R’s Christine LaPado adding some fine upright bass passages) enhances the album along with David Silva, who contributes nimble acoustic lead licks plus a song of his own, “Deep Blue.” Brown is back in Chico after a stint in Spain, passionate, reflective and refueled, offering musical messages reflecting life’s lessons she’s learned so far. “Show that small town that you ain’t done yet,” she offers in the encouraging “Daisy,” closing the album with a tender, gospel-tinged “Scarlet Silence,” with its message to “stop and savor every echo in our mind.”

Chico News & Review

Karen Joy Brown possesses a rare, touching beauty, both sonically and physically--her elongated features and graceful manner bring to mind a white crane standing elegantly alone in a Japanese painting. Brown's singing voice is singularly heartfelt and soulful, delivering her original lyrics with moving emotional honesty. Fabulous Junkyard, the subject of Brown's upcoming CD-release party, is an inspired and inspiring collection of eight sometimes poignant, sometimes lighthearted, original songs, and a lovely, reworked cover of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby."

Synthesis
....Fabulous Junkyard, an all-acoustic, scaled-down collection of tremendously moving songs , where Brown's soulfully saturated musings are left in the forefront. Despite the fact that virtually the entire album is comprised of only acoustic guitars and vocals, the music still maintains a deeply rich quality. "Thinking of you," for example, is the type of song that will bring a tear to your eye, while "Please Don't Go" and "Got to be Another Way" are seeping with fevered passion.
The Orion
......The closing act, Karen Joy Brown, offered slightly more gentle songs about life, love and loss. Brown plucked cascading melodies from her acoustic guitar as her tenor voice filled the room. An energetic performer, she moved her shoulders and head to the rhythm of her songs and emphasized her heartfelt lyrics with animated facial expressions. "Fabulous Junkyard" is the title track from the debut album she hopes to release early next year. The track frames life as a beautiful and entertaining collection of clutter situated between heaven and hell. The inspiration for Brown's songs comes from dealing with the ups and downs of life, she said. Writing songs is her form of therapy.
Scene Report for the Synthesis
"When all was said and done, there were some good performances and there were some great performances. Karen Brown impressed the hell out of me with her song "Thinking of You." Not only was it a great song, but Brown's voice is wonderful!"
Chico News&Review
"Her songwriting reflects her life experiences and observations and you do get a sense of conviction from her every time she cocks her head back, crinkles the corners of her eyes and belts out a note into the microphone."