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Shawn Brown Discusses His “Road of Bones” Single and New Album ‘The Rain Parade’

We are joined by Shawn Brown to discuss his “Road of Bones” single, ‘The Rain Parade’ album, musical influences, and what he considers “success” as an artist.



Shawn Brown, photo by Jenny Creed

As a musician, Shawn Brown views his songwriting as an escape, hoping listeners feel the same way about his music. “Road of Bones,” the singer-songwriter’s latest single, is very much in line with that goal, a classic folk country road tune, tying together life’s struggles with personal growth and using that growth to form and fasten personal connections with others close to you. It goes a little further down the route of a pop-rock song than his previous output, last year’s The Rain Parade EP. “Road of Bones” was written recently, after the writing and recording of The Rain Parade, as Brown further broadens his horizons and grows in his confidence as a songwriter.

Songwriting is Brown’s salvation as a young performer beginning to make a name for himself in his locale of Portland, Oregon. He views his music as part of his evolution, a process that is part of his maturation as his life progresses into adulthood. He intentionally tries to make very relatable music, inspired by not only his fanbase and personal influences but also his longtime friend Rafa Cirne Lima, who introduced Brown to the songwriting team of Grecco Buratto, who has worked with Shakira, and Brendan Buckley, who has previously collaborated with Morrissey. All three have been instrumental in Brown’s growth as an artist.

Today, we are joined by Shawn Brown to discuss “Road of Bones,” The Rain Parade, musical influences, and what he considers “success” as an artist.

Congratulations on the release of your new single, “Road of Bones.” Tell us a little bit about the song and what it means to you.

Shawn Brown: “Thanks so much! I’m incredibly excited that it’s finally out, and we can have a chat about it. The idea of taking a stab at writing a song using the ‘Road of Bones’ metaphor had been sitting with me for a while. Obviously, with such an incredibly significant historical reference, I wanted to make sure I approached it all thoughtfully. The metaphor itself, though, stuck around long enough that I finally gave it a shot. The central idea being we build our relationships on top of that last one, which was built on top of the one before that, etc. came together pretty quickly. I also really leaned into the juxtaposition between the up-tempo, positive nature of the music and the lyrics. That’s always fun!”

Where are you from originally, and what got you interested in making music?

“I was born in Seattle and lived in and around the Pacific Northwest until moving to Boise, Idaho, for high school. I was one of those lucky kids who was sneaking into Seattle clubs in the late ’80s to see Mudhoney and Soundgarden, which I’d argue is literally the reason I picked up a guitar and started playing in bands.”

Shawn Brown “Road of Bones” single artwork

Shawn Brown “Road of Bones” single artwork

What are some of your favourite musical influences that impact your songwriting and style?

“I doubt if I’m the minority of artists and songwriters whose music taste is a super far departure from their own music, but that’s certainly been my experience. I came up listening to punk rock and the alternative nation, but when I started singing my own songs, my voice didn’t sound like those singers at all. My voice has always had a nature bent towards soul, so I began to expand my musical interests to learn more about what might be a better fit.

As a result, I fell in love with Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, along with the outlaw country stuff, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash. John Mellencamp too! So if you add all of that together and light it on fire, that’s a pretty good approximation of what I’ve been up to musically.”

You released your EP, The Rain Parade, in 2022. Do you find that “Road of Bones” is a departure from that EP or more of a continuation of a story?

“It’s a really good question. There was this incredibly cool thing that happened in the middle of that darkest period of the COVID lockdown. My friend Rafa Cirne Lima hooked me up with Grecco Buratto, and we all started to record some songs I’d be working on. Those first songs turned into The Angel of Oakland EP, so we kept going which resulted in The Rain Parade EP.

“Grecco and I decided to keep going, and the next song was ‘Road of Bones.’ So in a way, it’s all just part of one continuous process that we (hopefully) have been getting better at. I do think ‘Road of Bones’ is a different song altogether and is moving in a much different direction than anything else we’ve done up to this point.”

What’s next for you this year? Any shows or tours coming up?

“Sure, the band is playing plenty of shows around the Pacific Northwest, which is always fun. I imagine there’s going to be more singles coming as well. We shall see!”

Shawn Brown, photo by Jenny Creed

Shawn Brown, photo by Jenny Creed

As an artist in 2023, what would you consider to be “success” for an artist trying to make it as a hobby or a full-time profession?

“That’s a tough one, especially considering how unstructured the music industry is currently. On one hand, it’s arguably never been easier to make and release music, while on the other hand, it’s arguably never been this difficult to sustain yourself as a full-time artist. One of the potential silver linings is that artists are more able to make exactly the music they want to make and are free to service it directly to the folks they think will like it. There is far less gatekeeping in the way of connecting with folks.

“Success is a tricky concept. If you define success by financial reward alone, it’s going to be rough. For myself, I think continuing to make art and share it with folks feels incredibly successful.”

Any other words or a message for the readers?

“Turn it up! Also, please get out there and (safely) see some rock shows. When at the rock shows, consider buying a T-shirt. You have no idea how impactful your support is of all of us, and we all appreciate it a million-zillion percent. Thanks for listening.”

Tour Dates:

06/29 – Show Bar (Revolution Hall) – Portland, OR
08/11 – Alberta Street Pub – Portland, OR
10/26 – White Eagle Saloon – Portland, OR