One-man-R&B-band Nathan Brown/Browningham is playing tonight at The Grotto, probably about 1 in the morning, after everyone has drunk a dangerous amount of alcohol and the gritty party band Shuttle has come and gone. That a singer-songwriter is going on in the wee hours of the morn after a semi-popular band deep in the heart of Texas on a hot summer night wouldn’t be news except for the fact that Nathan Brown isn’t just any singer-songwriter. He’s probably the closest thing North Texas’ underground scene has to a legitimate genius.
Brown is a multi-instrumental virtuoso, having played guitar in his punk vehicle, Pretend King; played keyb’s – and a Speak & Spell – in his Krautrock vehicle, AC Identity; filled in on drums for Berklee-educated maestro Dave Karnes on jazz-jam nights; and taken stages with nothing but his keyboard, samples, and a drum machine and sounded as full — and as smooooove — as Billy Ocean’s backing band.
Brown is versatile and prolific. The only genres he hasn’t tackled, as far as I know, are C&W and classical. His list of recorded songs numbers in the high dozens.
Brown also sells and repairs eight-track players and has released other bands’ music on eight-track cassettes. The name of his company/record label is The Dead Media.
Brown — a skinny, six-foot-something tall, white thirtysomething dude — also writes and performs his own cheers. Like “ra-ra,” high-school cheerleader-y cheers. Solo.
Brown returned to Fort Worth not too long ago from a couple-year sojourn in Little Rock. In everyday bar convos, I normally go out of my way to mention that he’s back and isn’t it awesome? The most common response is a titled head and a returned question: “Who’s Nathan Brown?”
Brown recently sent me an e-mail about his Grotto/Shuttle show. At one point, he said, “If you’re not too bummed, come out, please.” Sorry, Nathan. You’re not only not headlining but you won’t be going on until everyone’s cares have been drowned in hooch and you’ve been back in town for a few months now and still can’t get a decent gig. How could I not be bummed?