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Iowa City songwriter Pieta Brown bares her soul on 'Freeway' album

Singer brings music to CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids on Saturday

Pieta Brown of Iowa City has released a new collection of poetic glimpses into life in “Freeway.” She will perform Saturday (11/9) at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids. Alpha Consumer, which has worked with Bon Iver, Arcade Fire and Andrew Bird, among others, will open the show. (Cameron Wittig photo)
Pieta Brown of Iowa City has released a new collection of poetic glimpses into life in “Freeway.” She will perform Saturday (11/9) at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids. Alpha Consumer, which has worked with Bon Iver, Arcade Fire and Andrew Bird, among others, will open the show. (Cameron Wittig photo)

Iowa City singer/songwriter Pieta Brown is hitting the open road for destinations unknown on her new CD collection, “Freeway.”

It’s a journey through life’s hardships and heartaches, yet wrapped in hopeful, lyrical vocals and instrumentals that belie painful obstacles in her own world and the wider realm around her.

“This record marks a major shift for me,” she said on her website. “The songs mirror so many transitions: in my musical life, in my home life, in my creative life, in my country. I’ve been hovering at a crossroads, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.”

Her whispery, breathy vocals and celestial sounds begin with the first track, “Ask for More,” in which she softly pleas: “Just hold me now through the eye of the storm.” This hypnotic starting point will have listeners asking for more, and she delivers.

“Morning Fire” brings a gently driving beat through the ethereal sound as she slips beneath the surface, reaching through “the smog of apocalypse,” with a “strange desire” that rocks back and forth between worlds. “You take the wheel and then I’ll take the wheel if this is really, really real.”

The songs continue through dreams, journeys, love and bumps in whatever road she turns onto. “Only Flying” has the feel of an elegy as she whispers “fly on my friend. It’s just the beginning, it’s not the end.”

Her most poignant, poetic lyrics slide through “Ever a Time,” as she sighs, “All that’s left are sparks from the fire,” followed by “Beyond the Sun,” where she promises to “wait for you beyond the sun. ... I still love you.” That segues seamlessly into “Before We Break,” where she again evokes a celestial feel while singing of darkness and a sleepless night “in a love forest.”

She ends the journey with hymn-like grace in “Shelter Now,” declaring, “In my heart I carry yours.”

Listeners will feel like they’ve entered her sacred space on a path harrowing yet serene.

Brown will bring her artistry to the CSPS Hall on Saturday night (11/9).

Comments: (319) 368-8508; diana.nollen@thegazette.com

Listen up!

• Title: “Freeway”

• Artist: Pieta Brown

• Label: Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records

• Performance: 8 p.m. Saturday (11/9)

• Where: CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

• Tickets: $16 advance, $20 door; CSPS Box Office, (319) 364-1580 or Legionarts.org/events/upcoming/

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