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Kevin Browne: News

Skating - February 6, 2014


What the songs are about – 5th installment

Our middle son asked me one day if I wanted to go ice-skating. We hadn’t been for many, many years, but I said yes. We started skating about twice a month at the Rockledge Ice-Plex (“the coolest place in town”). I’ve always enjoyed watching the speed skaters, chiefly from the Netherlands, during the Winter Olympics, so it’s been very enjoyable learning to skate again. There’s something special about gliding across the ice, especially when the Zamboni has just come off and it’s so smooth.

I’ve always liked the Vince Guaraldi songs from the Peanuts Christmas cartoon, so I asked Leon Olguin if he would put a piano track down. It worked very well. Leon’s piano gives you the feeling of anticipation before you skate and then when the “skating begins” his piano takes off. He’s a very gifted pianist and you’re only hear a small part of his genius here. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for listening.

Cornbread - February 6, 2014


What the songs are about – 4th installment

I still think fondly of Illinois and the corn fields were numerous in the Belleville area. I started playing these chords one day and singing the chorus and my brother Paul Browne was singing an echo. He gave me the “Mascoutah land” text. I think we are all still St. Louis Blues fans. I dealt frequently with allergies as a child and my third grade teacher sent my report card home with a comment about me wiping my nose on my shirt sleeves. A bit disgusting actually. Dad used to take us to a local pond and we would catch catfish and bluegill and then Mom would fry the fish. Cornbread around our house is still a favorite.

The background vocals were provided by Ryan Browne, Sheryl Olguin, Kalin Tenedeni and Greg Coleman. Ryan and Greg hammed it up on the last “that’s what he said”, which is what I wanted them to do. It was a lot of fun recording this track. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for listening.

A Simple Observation - February 6, 2014


A Simple Observation
What the songs are about – 3rd installmen
Many people work and live in their local communities and are rarely, if ever, recognized for their contributions to those communities. I think this happens more often than most want to admit, because the public spends far too much time lauding pop and movie stars.  This is a tribute to those who spend their lives in the service of their local communities and understand that there is something greater than themselves.
This song was actually written during a relay for life, but I have since re-worked it for a third time. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for listening.

A Simple ObservationWhat the songs are about – 3rd installmenMany

People work and live in their local communities and are rarely, if ever, recognized for their contributions to those communities. I think this happens more often than most want to admit, because the public spends far too much time lauding pop and movie stars.  This is a tribute to those who spend their lives in the service of their local communities and understand that there is something greater than themselves.This song was actually written during a relay for life, but I have since re-worked it for a third time. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for listening.


Immovable - January 14, 2014

What the songs are about – 2nd installment

 Immovable concerns being able to make clear and logical choices every time I’m confronted by difficult situations. Unfortunately, I don’t always accomplish that. Anger and apathy are difficult to overcome.

I paid tribute to Edvard Grieg, the Norwegian composer, with a little mandolin theme. Listen for it. Leon Olguin, as usual, picked up some of my mandolin themes and wove them together for a nice sound. The wizard at work again. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for listening.

checkmate - January 5, 2014

Oftentimes I've been asked what a song that I've written is about. I've always enjoyed hearing the explanation about a song from the artist, so I decided to write a short bit about each song on the new "Plant a Dream" CD. The first song on the CD is Checkmate. I will attempt to add a new entry each week. If you'd like to listen to a clip of the song, simply go to the link below.


This song was originally about a political figure, because I wanted to write a hard-hitting text. Debbie said: “you can’t play that in public. Half the people will love it and half the people will hate it.” So, I went back upstairs to work on it. I had recently been watching my middle son play in some chess tournaments and decided to write a song about chess, using vocabulary that many chess players will recognize. The title didn’t need to change, because I had already titled it Checkmate.

Leon Olguin worked his wizardry, as usual, and inserted one of my guitar lead lines at various points of the song,  giving the backup guitar a nice feel. Robby Galke added his Djemba drum to give the song a nice percussive element. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for listening.

Music Video for Back in Illinois - October 31, 2008

Here's what a former student wrote to me about the music video of Back in Illinois (it's the first item on the links page):

"All i have to say is .. WOW.
i loved that music video so much :)
it made me cryyyy!!

I am so proud of you and your music is unbelieveable!
I hope you continue to do it! I love ittt :)))))


i loveee youuuuu"

reflections - December 16, 2007

On November 2, 2007 my mother passed away. The time leading up to her death and the aftermath has given me many moments of reflection and some of these thoughts have found their way into some new songs. I hope that you are able to hear them soon. I had been able to visit with my Mom several times over the last 6 months and saw her five days before her passing and am very thankful for that. We had a good visit and as I often did when visiting Mom, we worked the crossword from the newspaper together on that last Saturday morning. I will always remember her fondness for history and particulary, family history. Family is so vital to our well-being. I hope that I will never take my family for granted.
Our youngest son is coming home for Christmas, and we're looking forward to all five of us spending time together. We are also planning another trip to Georgia to visit my Dad and brothers. Debbie took some really beautiful pictures in front of Mom and Dad's house back in October and she did a painting of one of them. She hopes to have it added to her website soon, so look for the "Georgia Sky". It has become one of my favorite paintings. We're also working on an instrumental under the same title.

singing for our supper - June 10, 2007

We just spent the last two weeks visiting family members in Georgia, Virginia, Indiana and Missouri. Griffin, our youngest son and Andrew, our middle son came along. It was great having them with us. Griffin and I were able to play a lot of the songs with cello parts for those we stayed with and that was especially fun. We were also able to visit my old hometown in Illinois, driving by my old elementary and junior high schools. It was exciting to see the old house where my family lived when I was a child and point out what's left of the woods where we used to play. I had not been there for nearly 33 years.

We also visited Olana State Historic Site in New York near Albany to view the home of Frederic Church and loved hiking along the Kaaterskill waterfall, a subject in some of his artwork. Some of the many photos Debbie took of the falls are in the photos section.

I don't know if many people would consider going to some of the places we went as a vacation, but there are so many beautiful areas in this country that most people never get to see. New Jersey has some very quaint little towns; Princeton is especially pretty. (The Princeton Art Museum, which is free by the way and very, very nice.) The vast expanses of forest and rolling hills that cover northern Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Missouri are wonderful places to see and visit. The farm land in Illinois and Indiana is also nice land to drive through. We had a wonderful time visiting my Aunt Helen in Missouri and my cousin Linda. I had not seen them for nearly 34 years and we had some wonderful conversations around the dinner table. I also picked up a couple of tap dance steps from my aunt, who is still dancing at the age of 78 and looks like she's at least 20 years younger!

Another school year over - May 16, 2007

I can't believe school is ending again. Last week, I went to a party for a former student who had just graduated from medical school! Every now and then, someone will tell me they plan to study German as a major or go into linguistics as a profession. I can't tell you how much it means to a teacher to hear that. I want to know what my students are doing when they leave my classroom. I invest so much of myself into them, and I must admit, some students are great about letting me know they appreciate me too. I already miss them. Am I a sentimental sap or what?

october/november - January 6, 2007

I wrote several songs in October and November 2006 and then recorded them along with three other songs from earlier in the year on a live CD. Shortly after we did the live recording in early December I wrote another song called "Chasm" and then "Song for Barbara". Barbara was the first student to ever sign my desk at school, which has now become a tradition. Students who have been in my class sign the desk the last week of their senior year and it was her creativity that started this tradition. Barbara is currently fighting cancer and I have been thinking about her often so I wrote the song about her signing of the desk, the letters she used to send when her family first moved to Colorado and a picture that Debbie took of her while she and her family were here visiting. (Our own children grew up with Barbara and her siblings) We put Chasm and Song for Barbara (two versions) on another CD and now have recorded three CDs in 2006.

Kevin's Japan Tour - July 20, 2006

I've just returned from Japan where my friend James and I did 14 concerts in 14 days at several coffee houses and churches in the Chiba Prefecture. It was very nice meeting the Japanese people there and being exposed to their culture first hand. The people are warm and courteous and the food is wonderful. I've become quite accustomed to using hashi (chopsticks). We also took a couple of day trips to Tokyo and Nokogiriyama. I hope to hear from some of my new Japanese friends as well. Kochira koso!

Iceland is Cool! - June 21, 2006

That statement was literally true for us during our visit to Iceland, yet it was a great trip. Iceland has large areas of volcanic rock, covered with moss and lupine flowers. We enjoyed seeing the Icelandic horses and sheep grazing. We looked for puffins and walked along the coast with mountain glaciers in view. The natural hot springs are great; we loved the Blue Lagoon. I played some songs at the guest house where we spent one night; they seemed to enjoy it.

Steenwijk - June 19, 2006

We spent two wonderful days with Jan and Jenny and the "drie meiden" in Steenwijk, Netherlands. We enjoyed watching the girls try to paddle in the canal with their new "haai" boat, went to church with the family and hiked around Weerribben. Tot ziens Holland!

Dutch boerderij - June 17, 2006

We made it to Schildwolde, Holland (Nederland) and spent a couple of days with Koos and Pieterke (and Lydia, of course) at their boerderij (farm house) eating fresh vegetables from their beautiful garden. They also took us to see a wonderful art exhibition by Henk Helmantel with a lot of nice still lifes. (stillleven) Tot straks Schildwolde!

Papenburg, Germany - June 15, 2006

I enjoyed playing guitar and singing for the students in Papenburg (Mariengymnasium) and in Rhauderfehn at the Kreisrealschule on 14 and 15 June. Of course it has been wonderful visiting our friends Ole and Gaby (hallo Erik, du kleiner Wiking und Neeeeeele). We have had a very relaxing time. We also enjoyed watching the Deutschland-Polen game with Mani and friends. Es hat geklappt! Jetzt nach Holland!

Papenburg, Rhauderfehn - June 14, 2006

Hallo Anika, Britta, Marianne, Pia, Simone, Lisa, Manni und Heike. Es freut mich, daß ihr alle mir geschrieben habt und es hat mir sehr gut gefallen für euch zu spielen. Ich hoffe, daß ich bald wieder zurückkommen kann. Bis dann!

north to Scandinavia - June 8, 2006

Before taking the night train into Oslo, we had a brief stop in Malmo, Sweden and enjoyed a light supper in a nice outdoor restaurant in the town center. A group of Germans asked me to play my guitar and I played some of my songs for them. We are now in Årnes and will be visiting the sights in Oslo. Vi er vikinger!

on to Papenburg, Germany - June 6, 2006

From Austria we took the train to northern Germany and visited Ole and Gaby in Papenburg. The conductors in Austria are especially nice and brought us little things to make our journey more comfortable. We enjoyed bicycling with Ole, Gaby, Nele and little Erik the Viking! moin moin!

on to Wien - June 2, 2006

We enjoyed a wonderful concert in a castle in Eisenstadt with a piano trio and took a Mozart tour through Vienna thanks to our hosts Ralph and Katarina. Servus Seabass!

more from France - May 30, 2006

After enjoying the museums and concerts in Paris we went to the French countryside and continued to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of our friends in France in Jujurieux and St-dié. I think the French are very proud of their country and their food and they love to share that with the world. Even though our conversational French is quite weak we enjoyed our time there. Coucou Manue et Delphine.

Paris in the Springtime - May 27, 2006

Debbie and I are enoying the nice weather in Villejuif, a suberb of Paris, and the wonderful hospitality of our friends, Carlos and Françoise. It is great to be in a place with such a rich cultural history. We find that the French people are friendly and respond graciously to our feeble attempts to speak their language.
The next step in our journey will be in Jujurieux, near Lyon.
Coucou Rafael!

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