As If by Norris-Brown

As If by Norris-BrownWhen you listen to As If, the lush EP by Norris-Brown, think of a shooting star.

The beauty of the four songs on the EP is not just spectacular but one-of-a-kind in a very true sense. Sadly, vocalist Ingrid Brown who teamed with guitarist Adrian Norris to create this gorgeous music, died a few years ago. But her passion and musical brilliance live on in her music including on the four songs on this EP.

It’s always trite to compare any vocalist to the late, great Sandy Denny whose vocals were truly peerless, but Brown’s style — specifically the earnestness with which she sings — is more in keeping with Denny than many other contemporary singers perhaps excluding Stevie Nicks (whose song “Rhiannon” Brown covered on other recordings). Indeed, many vocalists, notably Frank Sinatra, credit their prowess with not just reading but embodying the lyrics of songs. One can’t help but believe Brown was among those elite who spiritually lived the lyrics of the songs she chose to sing.

A listener needn’t be a musician or even a particularly astute student of sound to hear this genius in Brown’s vocals. Accompanied by Norris’ lilting acoustic guitar and instrumentation by other first-rate players including Lesley Turner (violin), Matt Foundling (piano), James Banner (bass), and Daniel O’Brien (cello), Brown allowed her vocals float above the music. Think of sunshine sparkling on water and you’ll understand how her voice accents the instrumentation as she sings about the unexpected and delightful shock of love on “Love Kicks Down the Door.”

It’s easy to dwell on the loss of such a great musical talent as Ingrid Brown. Let’s hope that listeners instead choose to remain grateful for the opportunity to continually hear her music on records including As If.

By Nancy Dunham

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