Ticket from Toronto: £299. Getting your song chosen for a Mastercard ad: Priceless.
Last Thursday Findlay Brown, whose song Come Home is currently playing to millions of TV viewers daily in the Christmas Mastercard advert, joined a folksy line-up of four artists in the space of three hours at the awe-inspiring Union Chapel in Islington. With a half-hour slot at the start of the evening, Brown had to contend with latecomers and lots of shuffling in the cold wooden pews. But by the time he launched into Come Home for his second number, he had already captured the crowd with his expressive voice and atmospheric melodies.
Sporting a flat cap your granddad would be proud of, Yorkshire-raised Brown screamed ‘Northern lad’ from the second he walked on stage. His quiet demeanour, interrupted only by the odd witty remark in a gruff northern accent, seemed to suit the venue and his music perfectly. His easy professionalism shone through when, his mobile phone having started ringing mid-song, he informed us of this without blinking an eyelid and continued singing as if nothing had happened.
Having read that many songs were written to woo his Danish girlfriend back to him after distance had separated them, it was no surprise to find that love songs were the order of the evening. Brown joked about his proclivity for the genre when he informed the crowd that for his final number, he was going to perform ‘a melancholy love song.’ But elements reminiscent of American folk greats like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young gave several songs a tougher edge, and in Don’t You Know I Love You, Brown wowed the audience with an instrumental finale that reverberated through the chapel like a choir possessed.
The British music scene is currently overflowing with guitar-picking singer songwriters, many of them vapid and uninspiring. But if this set was anything to go by, Findlay Brown has both the originality and the voice to stamp his own sound on the genre, and should have a bright future ahead of him.
Brown’s new EP Don't You Know I Love You was released on the 4th of December and Come Home will be released as a single in January 2007. You can find out more on his official website at or check out the Mastercard ad at www.myspace.com/findlaybrown.
Words by Kerry Bannister