Today would have been Andrew Duncan Brown's 30th birthday.
Just over three years ago the well-respected local singer/songwriter lost his life under mysterious circumstances while vacationing and performing in France. At the time, he was experiencing something of a musical renaissance of his own, having released his self-titled album on Smoking Pirate records, while playing live with his band the Dirty Rascals, taking every solo gig he could find, and even starting a completely new band. On Sunday, October 13, 2013, the news came that his body was found floating in the swimming pool of a house in Roujan, France, where he was staying. In the aftermath of his death, there were many tributes to him, and many sorrow-filled remarks about a young rising talent who was as quirky as he was prolific and talented. Scores of video footage and songs thought lost found their way to the internet as friends, fans, and family grieved.
A few weeks before his death, Brown filmed an acoustic session with Matty Steinkamp inside the Airstream trailer located behind Last Exit Live. It gave a great setting and sound for unique acoustic performances, and there are about 25 of them on the venue's YouTube page. About a year ago, Brannon Kleinlein, owner of Last Exit Live and co-founder of Apache Lake Music Festival, mentioned that he had an unreleased Airstream Session from Andrew Duncan Brown.
"A couple things I remember from that day we filmed that was that one, the performance was where they opened for the Features," Kleinlein says. "Andrew and the Dirty Rascals were the supporting act, and there was a real sense that they were coming into their own. There was a feeling that day that this band was for real and they were doing some really exciting things. I remember personally talking to him about how he was being bummed about missing Apache Lake, because he had been such an important part of that festival, but that he was really excited about going to France."
This is the last professionally shot video of Brown. (A phone video from October 1, 2013, is the last video footage ever shot.) Matty Steinkamp is behind the camera and Brian Stubblefield is handling sound. This was shot on September 12, 2013, when the Dirty Rascals were providing support with the Thin
"Andrew was a unique and special talent, and a gentle soul," Vegan says. "He was the only artist I would have in
It's an interesting point to make, and one I had noted myself. Brown had a magical relationship with the microphone. He could project into a mic from three feet away without affecting the quality of his vocals one bit.
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Andrew Duncan Brown was the young hope of a scene that has all but disappeared in the three years since his passing, as many of his favorite haunts, like the Sail Inn and Long Wong's at the Firehouse, have disappeared as well. The video below has only been shared with the public once before, on February 27, 2014, when Last Exit Live hosted The Dirty Rascals presents the Music of Andrew Duncan Brown. It was one of the most emotional evenings in recent memory in the local music scene, filled with joy, dancing, laughs, and many, many tears. One thing was for sure, a lot of good people in the music community wanted to make sure that Brown's music and vision long outlasted his life.
The song is "My Blue Eyed Son," and it has always been one of my favorites. I told Brown over drinks at Long Wong's once that "'Blue Eyed Son' isn't my favorite on the album, but it may be your best." He asked me why I said that, and I replied, "Because it wrecks me emotionally every time I hear it. Every damn time it chokes me up." He liked that. “Let me take this moment to bring you down,” Brown sings sweetly at the start to one of his most sentimental songs.
Here is the video of "My Blue Eyed Son" from Last Exit Live's Airstream Sessions.