History of Rodney Brown
Born in Fort William on November 11th, 1954 Rodney plucked his first guitar strings at the age of 7 and he hasn't stopped since. His teacher was his father, C&W singer Mel Brown. Rodney paid his dues by playing the bars, pubs, and coffeehouses of Northwestern Ontario solo and with various band including R&B Airways and Whiskey Jack. When the bands split, Rodney continued on his solo career and in 1977, released his first album - Freedom in Me. It was distributed across Canada, and was exported to England and Japan. Promoting the record took him across the country, playing the folk festival circuit and the occasional school concert. The album's popularity led to national media attention in the form of appearances on CBC Radio's Morningside, Touch the Earth, and Country Roads. Established performers like Daisy Debolt, Tom Jackson, Nancy White, Heather Bishop and Kim Deschamps began to include his songs in their repertoires. The CBC, Monitor North, and Kam Theater began to commission songs from him.
In 1979, he toured to Newfoundland with Kam Theater's production of HARVEST. 1980 saw the release of When The Bay Turns Blue. By this time Rodney was fronting his own band The Derailers who performed a unique fusion of music Country, Rock, Folk and Reggae.
In the mid- eighties, after completing a project with First Nations students in Mine Centre, he was drawn to the joys of working with children and spent the next decade doing so. Although Rodney continued to write and perform his own material, working with children and schools meant a hiatus from touring and time to spend with his growing family. It also meant releasing 2 highly successful children's albums - Wishes, Dreams & Giants(1989) and We Have a Song to Sing(1993). In 1998, Rodney was back in the studio recording his sixth album, Merry Christmas To You.
Rodney's 2001 release, Into the Woods marked Rodney's return to the touring foray.Les Siemieniuk from Penguin Eggs and CBC' DNTO writes: "Now Rodney is back into the mainstream of Canadian Singer Songwriters. He has a real sense of place in his songwriting - he lives and writes about Northwestern Ontario. And I love hearing Canadian place names in songs. Especially good songs. It's a lovely record marking a welcome return."
While touring from Quebec to Coastal BC with the Northern Roots Band and Ian Tamblyn Rodney began researching early stories of his hometown's namesake William McGillivray and the Northwest Company. The Big Lonely CD was born and Rodney's historical songs about the Canadian fur trade took him across Canada, the Upper American mid west and overseas to the UK. The songs gained international recognition after a performance for CBC's, Vinyl Café with host Stuart McLean and led to Rodney's trip to Witney England for the Journey of a Blanket Project and performances of his ballads with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.
In 2006 Rodney began researching and writing new historical songs for a new CD entitled Northland. Due for a spring 2009 release the album is highly anticipated by Rodney's growing fan base.