Hugh Christopher Brown's "Pacem:" CD Review

Hugh Christopher Brown's "Pacem:" CD Review
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Sus Bowers

I fell upon Chris Brown's music by chance when I heard a song I thought was Van Morrison playing out of someone’s speakers on the Esalen campus: that track was “Superior” and it led me to Brown's incredibly deep catalogue of his own compositions as well as his extensive work with other artists.

Brown’s new CD Pacem was produced by Brown at his Post Office Studio on Wolfe Island in Lake Ontario with additional recording completed at Green Door Studios in Brooklyn. Quite simply, Pacem is a stunning collection of poetry and music featuring many of the artists Brown with whom regularly works including Kate Fenner, David Corley, Sarah McDermott, Suzanne Jarvie, Tony Scherr.

Pacem is one of those albums that works on the listener from the inside out. The more I listen, the more I am astonished by its depth and intricacy. The album begins with a Chant of St. Ignatius extolling the divinity of all things and ends with a lyrical, plaintive folk song. Between these two pieces are masterfully constructed songs, stream of consciousness epic ballads, and a piano instrumental where Brown gently demonstrates his virtuoso talents and interpretive depth.

This album is also noteworthy as the lead release on the newly formed Wolfe Island Records, an artist collective that houses works by many of the aforementioned musicians, as well as Brown’s ground-breaking prison music in the Pros and Cons Program.

Brown with Sarah McDermott performing at Esalen

In 2018 Brown will be performing with his own band and in tandem with Wolfe Island artists across North America and Europe.

To listen to or purchase Pacem please visit Wolfe Island Records. And don’t miss Brown’s live shows - watch for yourself in this video of his song “Margaret” from “Pacem:”

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