Legendary Philadelphia DJ, Gene Shay, says of Brittany Ann: “This young lady is the future of folk music.” Gene knows his stuff. We’re talking about a guy who presented the first appearance by Bob Dylan in Philadelphia in 1963 and whose interviews with artists like Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne are as famous as the songs they sing. So, yes… Brittany’s got some pretty good street cred. Brittany’s songs reach down deep; her lyrics are intimate and yet beckon for attention. Keep Brittany on your radar for sure.
To find out more about Brittany, check out her website.
Here’s a video of Brittany Ann singing “October.”
Your CD, The Good in That, was warmly received by music fans and critics alike. What are your favorite memories of recording that record?
I’d say a definite highlight was bringing a bunch of my friends, including the Pesky J. Nixon guys, in to sing group harmonies on “Song for Freedom.” Jake and Ethan had been heavily involved in college a capella so they naturally took the lead in arranging harmonies and conducting. That was such a fun day. It was also an honor and blast to work with some of my favorite Philly musicians, particularly Ross Bellenoit, Todd Erk, and Charlie Patierno.
My favorite song of yours is “October.” Do you recall what prompted that song?
Thanks Kathy! Lyrically, it’s sort of an over-dramatization of a summer romance I had in high school, and musically, very inspired by the early Joni stuff I was listening to at the time. It’s one of my very first songs, but I still love playing it at shows.
You’re part of the Carole King Songbook collective—what is it about Carole’s music that resonates with you?
Oh goodness, I don’t know where to start. Her songs are simply classic–memorable, universally relatable, impeccably-crafted, ranging from deeply moving to just plain fun and everything in between. Being a part of this project has deepened my appreciation for her work, and showed me how unbelievably prolific she is. I hadn’t realized she had penned so many pop hits for other artists until I started researching songs for these shows.
Do you lean toward the more reflective Carole songs or the early more pop music songs?
I really love both equally. I adoooore early 60s pop, especially the girl group stuff, and have been known to dance around my house to Goffin/King hits like “One Fine Day” and “Chains.” Carole King’s more reflective work has an extremely special place in my heart as well. Tapestry was, as for so many others over the past 43 years, one of the albums that inspired me to start writing songs. Every single song on that album is timeless. I’m just so in awe of it, and I know I always will be.
I understand that you’ve been teaching music. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
Yes! I started teaching at Easton School of Rock this January and have been loving it. I lead a group music class for 6-8 year olds called Rookies that is essentially an introduction to rock music instruments and basic music theory. The kiddos have been learning and playing songs such as “Wild Thing” and “TNT” together on guitar, bass, drums, and keys. The instruments are modified for their age group (2 string guitar, 1 string bass, just snare and kick drum, one octave of the keyboard) with colored stickers on them to help the kids learn and remember the songs, which has proven to be very effective. It’s a thrill to see the kids explore and fall in love with the instruments. I’m also teaching private voice/guitar lessons to a few budding teen singer/songwriters, which is an absolute joy. All of them are extremely talented, dedicated, and a blast to work with. They’re constantly inspiring and impressing me!
Do you have plans to do any extensive touring this year?
Yes! Finally! I’ll be back in New England this June with my dear friend and fellow songstress Heather Styka. I’ll be posting tour dates on my website and various social media outlets as they’re confirmed.