Singer-songwriter Greg Brown has made a cottage industry for himself in the folk world by doing it his way. His quirky, deeper-than-deep voice, homespun poetic narratives, and decidedly uncommercial bent have found their way into the hearts of many via the label he and cohort Bob Feldman started specifically to promote his music, and which has incidentally become a viable home for many other artists over the years. That independent spirit is all over MILK OF THE MOON, where Brown refuses to fall into genre traps. If a song resembles a traditional blues too closely, he'll distort his voice till it sounds like he's singing from Tom Waits's bathroom. If a pastoral sonic landscape is in danger of becoming too precious he'll slather it with some stinging, distorted guitar.
Despite such twists, Brown's strength has always been simplicity, and he adheres admirably to that principle here. Part of the reason MILK OF THE MOON doesn't aspire to the junkyard orchestra heights of SLANT 6 MIND may be that Brown's guitarist/producer Bo Ramsey isn't on board. But it's just as likely that Brown just knew the best way to get these uncomplicated-but-trenchant tales of post-postmodern American life across was to present them with plenty of soul and a minimum of fuss.