There's much sadness and shock in the Valley music scene today due to the sudden and untimely passing of gifted, local singer-songwriter Andrew Duncan Brown over the weekend. He was 27 years old.
[Update: His label released a cause of death Tuesday.]
News of the local folk guitarist's death was revealed in a brief message that was posted to his Facebook page early Sunday afternoon that stunned his friends, fans, and fellow musicians.
"It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Andrew has passed away," the message stated. "Andrew had the voice, the talent and the style to capture deep feelings inside of us. He will be dearly missed."
The exact date of Brown's passing and the cause of death were not specified.
Local music writer/promoter Nicole Parasida of Echo Cloud Productions made the first reply to the post and summed up what many of Brown's friends and fans are feeling by simply stating "Wow."
Other replies were of an equally shocked or surprised nature, including one by Jack Maverik of Long Wong's in Tempe (a venue where Brown frequently performed) that asked if the news was "some sick and weird Facebook hoax."
Sadly, it wasn't.
Brown's tragic and untimely passing cut short the all-too-brief life and career of one of the Valley scene's more promising folk performers. To call him talented would be a huge understatement, as he was possessed with exceptional gifts as a songwriter and guitarist.
Esteemed local recording engineer Bob Hoag of Flying Blanket Studios, who worked with Brown in the past, wrote the following heartfelt message on Facebook regarding the musician in response to his passing:
I am in tears. Andrew was really something special -- as a human being, never mind his talent. A beautiful person and a rare example of a true innocent. I hope he has found some peace, but I am devastated that we can't have him back. One of the most special and important records I ever made. Saying 'you will be missed' doesn't cover it. The world is crappier without you.
Brown, a native of Los Angeles who was raised in Southern California and Indiana before moving to Arizona in 2008, was a self-taught musician who began learning the guitar at age 15. He performed in such local bands as The Dirty Rascals and formed local label Smoking Pirate Records, which released Brown's well-regarded self-titled solo album last year.
A music video for the track "All That You Need" was posted on YouTube over the summer.
Brown was also prolific solo performer who was a regular on the stages of The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale, The Sail Inn in Tempe, and other local venues.
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Brannon Kleinlein, owner of Last Exit Live, told Up on the Sun via Facebook chat on Sunday evening that Brown's low-key hyrid of folk and Delta blues was entrancing.
"He was such a sweet and soft-spoken soul as a person," Kleinlein wrote. "His music was almost haunting in a way but it drew you in into almost a trance when you would see him perform. It just forced you to pay attention because it was so moving."