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Colleen Brown interprets Joni Mitchell’s songbook at the Empress

colleen brown
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED Colleen Brown presents the Joni Mitchell Songbook on Jan. 25 at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod.

Canadian folk-rocker Colleen Brown sings the Joni Mitchell Songbook at the Empress Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Brown’s vocal phrasing and timbre pay homage to Joni Mitchell and her band offers a fine instrumental backdrop to her clear, strong vocals.

Brown and her band have been winning over audiences nation-wide with her groove-filled and melodically mature pop-influenced songs that have enjoyed high rotation on both CBC 2 and CKUA Radio Network.

Brown is a musical chameleon who is at home behind both her piano and guitar.

Her style is hard to categorize, mixing exuberant pop, country, delicate folk melodies and upbeat soul.

The long- time Albertan, who grew up on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan and now splits her time between Edmonton and Toronto, has six releases under her own name, plus her most recent collaboration called Major Love, whose debut album was released in 2018 on Cowboy Junkies’ imprint Latent Recordings.

CBC has called Brown’s voice “a clarion call” and it led The Edmonton Journal to describe her as “a national treasure in the making — along the lines of Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot and k.d. lang.”

Brown is a beloved live performer, having won over audiences opening for Randy Newman, Jim Cuddy, Rufus Wainwright, Crash Test Dummies, Whitehorse, Frank Black, Kathleen Edwards, Sarah Harmer, Buck 65 and Hawksley Workman, among others.

Across the country, Brown s performed at festivals, in concert halls and in living rooms alike.

She has been repeatedly employed to sing in tributes to Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, The Band, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot, Carole King and others.

Joni Mitchell, who was born in Fort Macleod, first appeared on the Canadian folk circuit scene in the mid-1960s.

At the time, few could foresee the vast body of work that she would create and the lasting legacy she would have in popular music.

As AllMusic stated, “When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century.”

While Joni Mitchell remains one of Brown’s biggest influences, Brown does not impersonate Mitchell — she is simply one of few artists who can interpret Mitchell’s vast body of work with such intensity and confidence.

Colleen Brown is the fourth concert of the Empress’ 2019-’20 Centre Stage series.

Up-coming Centre Stage concerts are:

• Leaf Rapids and Blue Moon Marquee, Feb. 20.

• Braden Gates and Russell deCarle, April 18.

For more information, contact the Empress Theatre at 403-553-4404 or

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