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Oliver Brown - JPop.com
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Oliver Brown

Oliver Brown

Oliver Brown


Oliver Brown (born 3 August 1966 in Pittsford, New York) is an American singer-songwriter on the ukulele. A popular underground artist of the Santa Cruz, California area, Brown first began playing the ukulele at social events in 1985. He was stylistically inspired by acts such as Cliff Edwards, The Clash, and Trini Lopez, among others whose songs he often covered early in his career. Eventually, he began composing his own material in his distinct Read more on Last.fm
Oliver Brown (born 3 August 1966 in Pittsford, New York) is an American singer-songwriter on the ukulele. A popular underground artist of the Santa Cruz, California area, Brown first began playing the ukulele at social events in 1985. He was stylistically inspired by acts such as Cliff Edwards, The Clash, and Trini Lopez, among others whose songs he often covered early in his career. Eventually, he began composing his own material in his distinct, humorous songwriting style, the subject matter of his lyrics ranging from everyday things such as milk and sandwiches, to politics and surreal tales of natural disasters at sea. During the late 1980s, Brown often performed at the Landmark Club in Brooklyn, New York, where he challenged the boundaries of contemporary live music and championed public space.

In the early 1990s, Brown developed an underground reputation owing to his cover versions of famous songs such as "All Along the Watchtower" and "Kill the Poor", while his original compositions, such as "There's a Girl at the Deli" and "Va-Va" became mainstays on college radio stations on the Pacific Coast. Brown's biggest claim to fame was composing a song for children's television show Sesame Street. In 1999, a performance by Brown scheduled to be held at the venue So Say We in Santa Cruz, was canceled by the police due to the proprietors of the venue lacking the proper permits needed. Furthermore, the authorities cited "public safety issues" as a reason for this act. In protest, Brown moved his performance to the steps of City Hall; attendees who turned up at So Say We were given a souvenir program explaining the situation, which also included a map to Brown's "new venue".

The show received the attention of the city council and the media, pushing the issue into the public eye. As a result of the efforts of Brown and other musicians and business owners from the area, changes were made to the entertainment ordinances of Santa Cruz. In 2001, Brown appeared in Rock That Uke, a documentary about the influence of the ukulele on the underground U.S. punk scene. At the time, Brown had recently been hospitalized for kidney stones and blood poisoning, and was on a heavy dosage of pain killers at the time of the interview.

Despite this, he performed several songs recorded for the documentary. Recently, Brown has relocated from Santa Cruz to Rochester, New York, and has shifted his focus from music and performing to teaching at the University of Rochester. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..

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