Mike and I sat in flimsy fold up chairs at an even flimsier table on the sidewalk outside Pirate Cat Radio Cafe during a gloriously sunny and lazy Labor Day afternoon. We waited to rendezvous with Brianna Lea Pruett and Lady Lazarus - we were to catch them before they kicked off their Indian Summer Tour with a performance on Elia's radio show that evening. Soon enough they arrived, guitar and keyboard in respective hands, and musical conversations quickly ignited. We walked around the corner to my girlfriend's house where a party of One Night Music contributors and friends had convened. With the receding sun on our minds, we scurried to gather the audio and video equipment, and then marched 14 blocks to Dolores Park.
We found a fitting spot in the grass amid the locals, hipsters, and bums leisurely enjoying the holiday. Brianna Lea Pruett sat and we lounged in a small half circle around her to enjoy her six songs - a mix of originals and covers. At times I felt distracted by the commotion about us - the clanking of bottles, the ringing of the ice cream cart's bells, the shit-talking of the neighboring hipsters - and questioned if it might mar the final recording. Later, when editing the audio, I discovered wind noises resulting from a lack of windscreen on the mic. But my worries subsided when watching the final videos and realizing that, somehow, these noises and imperfections scarring the final recordings are exactly as they should be. One Night Music is about so much more than just filming some music: it's about bringing people together in an impromptu performance, a spontaneous gathering. These scars are both the perfect accompaniment to Brianna's music and a nostalgic reminder of that Labor Day afternoon spent in the comfort of old and new friends.
Brianna Lea Pruett's music recalls old-timey folk and blues with some Americana mixed in. She's not afraid to cover songs, paying homage to the guitar-wielding grit-singing masters that graced the early 20th century. For the third song of her session Brianna performed "Freight Train" by Elizabeth Cotton, whose music was nourished by Pete Seeger. Brianna explains, "this song was written in 1912, so it's public domain - so you guys can use it." And for her final song she covered the traditional American blues tune "See See Rider" originally recorded in 1924 by Ma Rainey. But it's not just through her covers that Brianna harkens music of an earlier and simpler time: she does it through her own compositions as well. Brianna forgoes the tendency of songwriters her age to lean into the "indie" realm of music, and, instead, she finds comfort in a tried and true style of music that's been pleasing ears for decades. The result is an old musical soul singing confident and empowered lyrics about love and relationships through a young woman's voice.
Brianna Lea Pruett is an active figure in the small but lively Sacramento greater area music scene. That's where she provides artistic support to other artists and musicians through Tiger Friends Collective, a group of "musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, and farmers...dedicated to keeping money earned from record, art, and performance sales where it belongs - with the artist." Tiger Friends is an empowering music community that provides non-binding methods of producing and publicizing music for independent artists. Brianna Lea Pruett - after Treesus (Jacob Mingle) and Los Webelos - will be the third artist from Tiger Friends Collective that we have featured.
Brianna has two albums to her name, both available on CD Baby. Natural Fact and Winter Apple were both recorded in Portland Oregon in 2003 and 2004 respectively. The Stars, The Moon, The Owl, The Cougar, and You will be released in the spring of 2010 and will feature "stark vocals, jazz, blues, and experimental electric sounds."
Recorded in Dolores Park, San Francisco, CA on September 07, 2009.