So how do you sum up Chastity Brown?
Is her music gospel, roots, soul, jazz, blues ...? There are all sorts of influences percolating through the songs of the Minnesota-based singer and musician, who comes to The Greystones on Monday.
Her mother grew up in a large Irish family in Boston, and her father was an African-American jazz/blues musician. Born in New Hampshire, Chastity moved to Tennessee when she was seven, growing up near Memphis, not too far from Appalachia and singing gospel in church.
So her complex musical template was forged from an early age, and her ears were to be opened further.
“Learning about Leadbelly’s influence on Woody Guthrie opened up a whole new world to me,” she says. “Prior to this knowledge I felt alone in the music I was creating. I did not know how to reconcile my storytelling impulse with my soul-inflected vocal upbringing.”
Her 2013 album, Back-Road Highways, picked up glowing reviews and no doubt she’ll be featuring in Sheffield next week when she appears alongside another musician.
Returning to The Greystones tonight (Thursday) is former Incredible String Band member Robin Williamson, followed tomorrow by traditional English folk performer Chris Wood and then, on Saturday, by r’n’b band Slack Alice.