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Dusty Stray

Hailing from Amsterdam, Dusty Stray features the alt-folk repertoire of Texan expat Jonathan Brown. He delves into universal themes of unrequited love, heartbreak, loneliness, and death, but (almost) always with a small dose of hope and redemption. The melodic, lightly psychedelic acoustic-based songs are often accompanied by a number of unusual instruments and toys.

Jonathan Brown, Born in Taiwan, is the man behind Dusty Stray. He grew up in Texas as the son of a preacher man. Raised on songs about death and resurrection. Went to college. Discovered vast archives of early American folk music from the 20s and 30s and began writing his own songs. Moved to Austin where he first performed his music. Traveled with a guitar through Central America where he met a Belgian woman and followed her to Europe. Met a Spanish woman. Moved to Barcelona. Formed a bluegrass band, a psychedelic rock band, and a freak-folk band. Met a Dutch woman. 

Moved to the Netherlands where he remains today (with the same Dutch woman). He wrote, produced and performed in Amsterdam and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival “LHO: LEE HARVEY OSWALD The Musical” in 2005. Wrote, recorded and co-produced Dusty Stray's debut album, Tales Of Misfortune And Woe, released on Dutch indie label Basta Music in 2009 and billed by main Dutch newspaper, De Volkskrant, as one of the Top Ten Albums Of 2009. He went on to write and perform Dusty Stray's Light Years Away (Basta 2011, produced by Ken Stringfellow and J.B. Meijers), Family Album (Basta 2013, produced by Kramer) and A Tree Fell And Other Songs (Great Waters 2015, also produced by Kramer). All three albums receiving critical praise in Europe and abroad. The fifth album, Estranged, will be released on Great Waters in October 2018.

Brown’s many influences include Harry Smith (Anthology Of American Folk Music), writer/illustrator Edward Gorey, Nick Drake, The Handsome Family, Sufjan Stevens, Bill Callahan, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Gillian Welch, The Velvet Underground, Pavement and The Flaming Lips.

When not on stage, he can be found in junk shops and flea markets searching for discarded photographs, 8mm home movies and diverse materials for his artwork which in turn serves as inspiration for the music of Dusty Stray.

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"Like his visual name, Stray collects pieces and fragments from folk’s most risk-taking troubadours and assembles them into one 2018’s most interesting and listenable records." [10/8/18]

Glide Magazine

" Brown’s soft voice lulls the listener while atmospheric instrumentation and sound effects softly shape the songs with accordion, a singing saw and odd electronic effects all fluffing up the pillow. " [8/23/18]

Paul Kerr, Americana UK

"Dusty Stray is a cosmic cowboy writing songs that evoke Andrew Wyeth
paintings dotted with five-eyed space creatures."

Irwin Chusid, WFMU Radio

"Have a listen to Through The Atmosphere which should appeal to anyone with a taste for the Handsome Family or Bonnie “Prince” Billy." [7/19/18]

Mad Mackerel

“It’s all delightfully dark and the trick of allying beautiful and tapalong music to dark words has rarely been performed as well.“

Jeremy Searle, Americana UK
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Dusty Stray - "Through The Atmosphere" Music Video

From Dusty Stray album Estranged to be released October 12, 2018 on Great Waters. Produced by Kramer.

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