While Chastity Brown was having Thanksgiving dinner two years ago with the family of her songwriting partner Robert Mulrennan, the subject of love songs surfaced to the conversation.
“Robert’s grandfather said something to me that I’ll never forget,” Brown says. “He asked why our generation avoids writing love songs. He encouraged us to be tender again, and then he started singing these old classics. That really touched me deeply and made me think.”
There are a number of pretty love songs that grace Brown’s latest album, “Silhouette of Sirens.” There’s the gorgeous “Whisper” and the lovely “Carried Away.” The collection of folk and R&B is filled with romantic songs, which are poignant and intelligent.
“I tried to raise the bar with this album,” Brown says while calling from her Minneapolis home. “I love writing songs that are so vulnerable. People don’t write songs all that much that put them in a vulnerable position. They don’t write songs that are silly anymore. I love those kind of songs. I want to write those type of songs. There should be more joy in the world and less pain. It’s not easy out there. I know from experience.”
Last year while performing in Eau Claire, Wisc., a white supremacist tried to mar Brown’s show. “I was never so scared in my life,” Brown recalls. “He called me everything you could call a brown person. Fortunately Robert got into his face and he left. Being of color I have to know where I’m playing for my own safety.”
That’s why Brown is looking forward to returning to the Triangle this weekend. Brown wishes that she could do a residency here. The singer-songwriter looks back fondly on her show last year at The Pinhook in Durham.
“I really fell in love with Durham when I was there,” Brown says. “I want to get to know that town. When I was drinking at the bar after the show, the bartender was transgender, and everyone at the bar spoke with respect. I couldn’t believe that I was in the South. The Pinhook and the whole Durham area seem so tolerant. I’m a brown woman and a lesbian, and I’ve seen some unpleasant things happen but then there are places like Durham. I would play there every night if I could.”
She will return to the Triangle Feb. 24 at the Cat’s Cradle in a show co-presented by the Pinhook.
Brown has experienced some turbulence on the road but her home life is relatively tranquil. She’s involved in a 12-year relationship with a Minneapolis woman.
“It’s nice to have that connection with someone like I have,” Brown said. “I need to be grounded, and it’s been great how steady my personal life is. When I go on the road I leave with some balance. We give each other a lot of support. And that all goes back to love and being loving. You don’t take people for granted and I don’t believe that we should be anything less than kind.
“I try to express that through my music. I wish we could all love one another. We need to eliminate the hate, which is so obvious with this administration. I think it’s time to bring back the love songs and try a little tenderness.”
Who: Chastity Brown, Andrea Gibson
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 24
Where: Cat’s Cradle, 300 E. Main St., Carrboro (co-presented by The Pinhook)
Tickets: $18 in advance, $21 at the door