CHIMACUM — Just when you think the guy with the great, big bear of a voice is about to get grouchy, he turns kind, even hopeful.
Greg Brown, country-blues and folk singer, looks deeply into the world’s darkness and light, in songs that explore pleasures simple and sensual. His is a body of work that explores whole landscapes of emotion, with forests of sadness giving way to Brown’s own brand of joy.
It all tumbles forth in a Greg Brown concert. He’s not touring as much as he once did, but Brown is coming from his Iowa City home to Chimacum this Thursday for a show with Nina Gerber, a guitarist he admires.
UpWest Arts will present the duo at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Chimacum Schools auditorium, 91 West Valley Road, with tickets at $28 in advance and $32 at the door.
Outlets include Quimper Sound, downstairs at 211 Taylor St., Port Townsend, and Ticketswest at 800-992-8499 or www.ticketswest.com.
In an interview, Brown covered some ground, from songwriting to Facebook to organic farming.
On that moment when a song drifts in to his mind: “All my senses kind of wake up. I’m more receptive.
“Songs are mysterious. I like them that way. It’s like the old Japanese haiku poets, [who] spend time refining their instrument of perception and reception.”
On whether he takes requests from the audience: “I played at this place in San Francisco called the Great American Music Hall. At the break I said, ‘If you want to hear anything, write it down.’ I came back, and there were 100 little pieces of paper.”
That’s what happens when you’ve been making music and touring for 40 years. That night, Brown did choose about 20 songs to play in the second set. But his show, he added, is a fluid thing.
On Facebook: “I got on it a while ago. I forget why I did. A lot of people wanted to be my ‘friend.’ These people are not my friends. They’re fine people,” but Facebook doesn’t fit this guy.
On the politics of farming: Brown laments what he calls the “poison farming” in his home state of Iowa.
“There is a tiny little bit of organic farming,” though. “The whole local food movement has expanded. It’s a very hopeful thing.”
That’s another reason, Brown said, why he loves to come out to the Pacific Northwest, where organic farms flourish.
When asked what he would say to a new singer-songwriter he might meet on the road, Brown started with “Put down your guitar and run.” Then: “No. A great thing about young people coming along is they have tremendous amounts of energy; tremendous amounts of hope.
“It’s a very dark time. So put your head down and go.”