Living in an old house in SE Portland with her beloved husband, Jay, Rachel makes sometimes disturbing yet ultimately sensible songs, mostly on the piano. She’s not a summer-lover and avoids the sun except on cool to cold days. She reads a lot and watches too much tv and likes to meet the kitties on late night neighborhood walks.
She used to get out a lot more but worried frequently about going crazy. Then she had a nervous breakdown and was a hermit for about 8 years, during which she wrote a lot. She writes a lot still.
Her music reflects a love/hate relationship with humanity and persistent awe at the beauty and horror in the world. Trying to capture that sweet and sour thing in a song is what she’s mostly trying to do.
Her new albums, World So Sweet and Songs Without a Home (a little extra clump of previously unrecorded songs) and her previous four records, Susan Storm's Ugly Sister and Other Saints and Superheroes, Half Hours With the Lower Creatures, 7 Small Winter Songs, and Ormolu were all recorded in Portland, Oregon with audio midwife and Jackpot! Studios mainstay, Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Menomena, Sleater-Kinney, Stephen Malkmus).
In addition to her own music she's provided backup for a lot of Portland bands' recordings and projects (Leigh Marble, hurtbird, Fear of Heights, Scotland Barr, Holcombe Waller, Jeremy Serwer, Vellarest, Pilar French, Steve Wilkinson). She's a soprano veteran of Portland classical groups Cappella Romana, Portland Baroque Orchestra and Trinity Consort, and occasionally sings with Seattle's Tudor Choir.
She's been compared to Eleanor Friedberger, Rufus Wainwright, Frida Hyvönen, Charles Ives, PJ Harvey, Brian Wilson, Laura Nyro, Randy Newman, The Beatles, Kate Bush, Sufjan Stevens, and American Music Club, which is mainly just confusing. But this profusion was nicely explained by Dan Schvartsman of the late lamented 30music.com: "From the beginning, Brown shows that there are few boundaries to her work, and within that wide space she has nearly universal strength."
Rachel was born and raised in Portland, Oregon.