Hailing from Amsterdam, Dusty Stray features the alt-folk repertoire of Texan expat Jonathan Brown. He delves into universal themes of unrequited love, heartbreak, loneliness, and death, but (almost) always with a small dose of hope and redemption. The melodic, lightly psychedelic acoustic-based songs are often accompanied by a number of unusual instruments and toys.
Jonathan Brown, Born in Taiwan, is the man behind Dusty Stray. He grew up in Texas as the son of a preacher man. Raised on songs about death and resurrection. Went to college. Discovered vast archives of early American folk music from the 20s and 30s and began writing his own songs. Moved to Austin where he first performed his music. Traveled with a guitar through Central America where he met a Belgian woman and followed her to Europe. Met a Spanish woman. Moved to Barcelona. Formed a bluegrass band, a psychedelic rock band, and a freak-folk band. Met a Dutch woman.
Moved to the Netherlands where he remains today (with the same Dutch woman). He wrote, produced and performed in Amsterdam and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival “LHO: LEE HARVEY OSWALD The Musical” in 2005. Wrote, recorded and co-produced Dusty Stray’s debut album, Tales Of Misfortune And Woe, released on Dutch indie label Basta Music in 2009 and billed by main Dutch newspaper, De Volkskrant, as one of the Top Ten Albums Of 2009. He went on to write and perform Dusty Stray’s Light Years Away (Basta 2011, produced by Ken Stringfellow and J.B. Meijers), Family Album (Basta 2013, produced by Kramer) and A Tree Fell And Other Songs (Great Waters 2015, also produced by Kramer). All three albums receiving critical praise in Europe and abroad. The fifth album, Estranged, will be released on Great Waters October 12, 2018.
Brown’s many influences include Harry Smith (Anthology Of American Folk Music), writer/illustrator Edward Gorey, Nick Drake, The Handsome Family, Sufjan Stevens, Bill Callahan, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Gillian Welch, The Velvet Underground, Pavement and The Flaming Lips.
When not on stage, he can be found in junk shops and flea markets searching for discarded photographs, 8mm home movies and diverse materials for his artwork which in turn serves as inspiration for the music of Dusty Stray.
Glide is very proud to premiere Dusty Stray’s Estranged in its entirety (below), an album of creatively diverse folk songs that range from the whimsicality of The Fruit Bats to the minimalist vigor of Lou Reed. Like his visual name, Stray collects pieces and fragments from folk’s most risk-taking troubadours and assembles them into one 2018’s most interesting and listenable records.
“This album is about growing up and growing old(er). It’s about finding one’s place in the world while saying goodbye to friends who have left much too soon,” adds Stray.
Photo by Candide Rietdijk