Thursday, January 08, 2009

Local Q & A: Bosque Brown

So when we started this site almost exactly three years ago (sigh), one of the bands we seemed to talk about all the time was Bosque Brown, a folk/country influenced group fronted by singer/songwriter Mara Lee Miller. Unfortunately, after a while we didn't hear much from Bosque Brown after Miller decided to take a year long break from music almost entirely. The good news is that Bosque Brown is back with a new album, Baby, due out in March, and plans for more live shows and touring. We sent Mara Lee Miller a few questions via email, and here's what we talked about:


1. To me, you are one of the more interesting and compelling vocalists in Dallas, Fort Worth or Denton. Could you tell us a little bit some of your favorite vocalists, male or female, and how they might have influenced your singing?

I like any vocalist that sounds as if they are really singing from their soul...one whose voice is only theirs ....i like to hear a lot of "heart" ..when the singer just lets it all go....i guess i look for that spiritual element in a voice...one of my favorite singers is josh pearson....his voice is familiar and spiritual and there is no restraint....i also completely love hank williams, judy garland, win butler and cedric bixler-zavala....josh and hank probably have influenced me more on the "texas" side of things..embracing where your from instead of running from it....not to be afraid to be from nothing or nowhere...i grew up with old voices like judy garland...simple songs but so difficult to do well...and win and cedric influence the darker side and even almost somewhat bitter part of things for me..


2. So it seems like you took a fairly long break from performing over the past year or so. Were you writing songs during this time, or were you stepping a bit back from music all together for a while?

It does feel like i have been on a very long break...and i guess we have...i really have done almost no music since we stopped recording last december...i did a few things with different people here and there..but nothing of my own...i really have barely touched my guitar in almost a year...i haven't gone to shows at all either...so it is pretty weird stepping back into things...but i think i needed no music for a while and just to focus on getting things taken care of in my personal life..we have started to practice now for our first live shows..so writing will come soon for me..at least i hope...seems like i tend to either do music or not do it at all...guess i got to be hot or cold about it.

3. Tell us a little bit about the process of writing and recording this latest album. We read that you recorded with Chris Flemmons this time, meaning that you decided not to work with David Bazan and Damien Jurado again, right? Why the change?

Basically all the songs were written but we really did not have arrangements on many of the songs yet.....the few songs we did have arrangements on were older songs that i had just never recorded that i really felt should be on this record....so since the band did not know most of the record i did not think it would be a good idea to record the album out of state..i am tied down to a job and my sister has a child so if we would have gone out of state it would of had to have been for only a short time.....i had gotten to know chris flemmons because we had so much in common and i really loved his music and he expressed interest in doing the record...so since i was so into his taste we decided to go for it...i of course still love the people i worked with before..but it was just a perfect fit with chris this time around and i am completely pleased with what he did..he truly put his heart in the record..he was completely honest with us..if something was boring or not good he told us...so it was an intense process...but i am so glad we listened to the criticisms....i basically decided we were all so different musically that i really did want to work with someone who was going to take more of a producing role..which chris did...i mean i am not ashamed to say it...i am just still very inexperienced with coming up with arrangements and i really needed some help with ti....we had really gotten ourselves stuck in a box on every single song..and he helped us get out...

4. I read that you grew up in Stephenville, which I thought was interesting because a good friend of mine from college grew up there too. Is it really as Varsity Bluesish as I've been told? My friend explained that he almost moved because the high school almost completely cut its arts program for additional football spending. Do you think that the near west Texas culture there had a big influence on you artistically in either a positive or negative way?

What's your friends name?.. that's all us Stephenville people do..talk about people that lived in stephenville..we just sit around and gripe about it..but love it..yes it is as varsity bluesish as you've been told..there are a couple of documentaries to prove it too...oh yeah..everything you hear is true..it's been in the national news quite a bit..especially in the last couple of years...it's a hole you drive in and then you can't see anything or hear anything other than stephenville...you are what's in that hole...and it is self sufficient enough that once you are there....you don't really have to go to the city for anything.....you have to live there to understand...otherwise it sounds like it's made up....it never changes...always stuck in the time...but it made me all that i am .....caused a lot of pain..but it made me search for something else...i knew i was not the people there...but i don't know if i would have searched so hard if i had not been forced to...for a long time i would say it was only negative for me....but now i feel very differently...when i was younger i was very angry at the town and all the people in it and how people were..but now i almost think it's funny....and i somewhat enjoy going back and reading the paper.....and in many ways i grew up very free...we could sleep in the driveway...take a walk at night...ride your bike across town....a trip to the store took a minute...and everyone knew everyone...like one big dysfunctional family....maybe i didn't like them..but it was safe and familiar...nothing to do ..nowhere to go...so you just sit around and talk...not much stimulation....and in a lot of ways..that's the best kind of place to be in to be creative and really think...it is the absence of materialism..now there are things i miss..and i am not angry at people for being backwards...i realize that i can't be offended that people don't understand..we can't all be the same...and i took it for granted but i did grow up with some of the nicest people on earth....my first record focuses more on the negative side of growing up there....took me a long time to "get over it".....this record embraces everything more and ironically a lot of frustrations i sing about now have a lot to do with the city..i guess that's how it goes..

5. We've noticed that you guys have been featured on some fairly influential music blogs lately, including Gorilla vs Bear. Does this excite you as an artist? Do you see it as a good opportunity to spread the word about your music, or do you think "blog buzz" is overrated as far as its ability to generate excitement and/or success for a band?

I mean it's always nice for people to say nice things about you...but i really try not to look at the press or blog stuff to much.....i am pretty sensitive because my music is so personal...and i don't know if i ever really got out of the mentality that i am just this nobody from nowhere who will never fit in anywhere..so it is pretty scary to read stuff...i think it is weird more than anything..i have not done anything in so long..and we are not yet ready to play shows...so it feels like oh yeah..i just remembered i play music....i better get busy. i feel like blogs have a huge influence on the success of bands if they are truly a good band... i mean...i feel the internet has completely changed music..it's anyone's game now...and the right mention can make a huge difference...i got a record before i even played my first show just because someone mentioned my name...i do feel like a lot of the blog buzz is overrated in the instances when the band mentioned is just a trend band...i mean yeah..they can be huge for a year or maybe few..but if it's a trend..then it won't last....but i mean i feel like the blogs have a lot to do with success...i do think who talks about you is important ...but ultimately i think if a band is really good..they will eventually get heard and be successful even if they are not a "blog buzz" band....it just might be a different kind of success...

6. Obviously much of the music that has influenced your song-writing is very traditional. What kind of connection do you feel with older Texas blues/country/folk artists, and why do you think this music continues to resonate with so many people today?

i just think love it or hate it..if you come from a small town in Texas it never leaves you....and when you hear other people singing about the same things you felt and knew then it draws you in...i think people are drawn to what is familiar and ultimately what reminds them of family..at least i am

7. Aside from releasing your upcoming record soon, what are your immediate plans for Bosque Brown?

we really don't have any concrete plans.....this year will be really interesting actually..i have a career outside of music..my sister has a child now and my drummer lives in Austin....none of us live in the same town...so just trying to practice is a chore....so honestly we are taking it a day at a time..of course we do have some shows coming up...and we will definitely be trying to have the record released in Europe as well..i would love to tour and God willing we'll do it....so we will just have to see....



25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you really just reference Varsity Blues in an interview? Wow.

Keep putting fear in the hearts of people who think they run Dallas!

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're scared since you're obviously trying (very poorly) to discredit him.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous stonedranger said...

Yeah, I'm not really following your criticism, pal, but I'm guessing you're some moron from the observer or something, so I'm not too worried. Calm down, I won't come after you.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous billh said...

Nice interview. She certainly comes across as a very humble person. Makes me want to get this cd when it comes out.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous billh said...

Nice interview. She certainly comes across as a very humble person. Makes me want to get this cd when it comes out.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous asilenceproduction said...

love me some mara lee miller

3:02 PM  
Anonymous sun bear said...

josh pearson! yeah!

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

music for "thoughtful" people who like being "nice"

4:26 PM  
Anonymous A. said...

I'm def getting this cause anyone that can reference Josh Peasron, Hank WIlliams and Judy Garland as influences is alright in my book!!

4:35 PM  
Anonymous asilenceproduction said...

love me some mara lee miller

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, man, this shit puts me to sleep. save this tired bullshit for the observer, you clown.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous blank said...

"Varsity Blueish". You could have asked her about UFOs or something. BORRRRING

5:02 PM  
Anonymous feelin special said...

yeah, but then she would've kept TALKING..shut up, blowhard--nobody cares!

bitches like you are a dime a dozen nowadays!

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bosque brown makes me want to make out with my grandma

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

she's a sweetheart. the album cover for the new one is one of my favorites i've seen in forever. this is going to be a great record.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous blank said...

"Varsity Blueish". You could have asked her about UFOs or something. BORRRRING

5:53 PM  
Anonymous blank said...

"Varsity Blueish". You could have asked her about UFOs or something. BORRRRING

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont know about the music, but shes hotttttttttttttt

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shits trite

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gvb's about as influential as a fart. chris is the definition of a thirty thousand dollar douchbag.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and a douchebag as well.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous ferret sherbet said...

i would probably sink my rodent cock in it.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why bother?

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys are horrible. some people you just shouldn't talk shit about because there's no valid reason to. mara lee miller is one of them.

12:56 AM  
Anonymous A. said...

I'm def getting this cause anyone that can reference Josh Peasron, Hank WIlliams and Judy Garland as influences is alright in my book!!

7:13 AM  

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