Witness (a musical)

Ken Brown will present his new musical “Witness” at The Registry Theatre in Kitchener, June 25, 26 and 27 at 8pm.

A woman comes to town to find her sister.  Downtown she runs into four guys singing to pass the time.  Together they work the town and end up finding more than they bargained for.  Five voices and fourteen songs, part mystery and part R&B romp, the cast is Nabi Loney, Ken Brown, Jack Cole, Jay Moore, and John Watson.

Ken Brown has been called a musician’s musician.  To some people he’s known as a singer of powerful songs, to others he’s a masterful guitar player.  Audiences across North American and all over Britain have applauded his compelling arrangements of traditional music.  Others know his own insightful songs, or his happy deconstruction of Beatles tunes.  Some people only know that he plays upright bass.  And that suits him fine.  No one knew he’d written a musical until now.

Between being written and its first full production there is a period of workshopping a musical, where actors lift the words off the page for the very first time and the material is re-shaped based on that experience.  It’s an exciting time in the life of a musical.  These three performances will present the results of that workshop process in a staged reading with full music.

This workshop presentation of “Witness” takes place June 25, 26 & 27 at 8pm at the Registry Theatre, 122 Fredrick Street in Kitchener.  Tickets are $15 and will be available at the door, or can be purchased in advance from The Centre in the Square box office online at or by calling (519) 578-1570.  Directions and parking for The Registry Theatre can be found at

wraflogocThis production gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund

Dates to Remember

for immediate release:

Witness–a musical

June 25, 26, 27, 2009     8pm

The Registry Theatre
122 Frederick Street, Kitchener

Tickets $15 available at the door or in advance through the Centre in the Square box office.  Call 1-800-265-8977, or go online at .  Directions to the Registry and suggestions for parking are available at their website.

Words and music by Ken Brown.  Cast: Nabi Loney, John Watson, Jay Moore, Jack Cole, Ken Brown

“She’s landed at the train station, what she discovers first are four guys.  Together they search the town and find out what they’re really looking for.”

After a successful workshop process, five talented performers will present a brand new 14-song musical in a staged reading with full music.  A rare opportunity to see a new work before it comes to a theatre company near you.

wraflogocThis project has been made possible by the support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.

In Production

Well, we have a cast and it’s official–it’s a musical, and we’re in production. And the script has had its first official re-write, so I guess it’s officially a workshop, too.  I’ll put up an official notice here soon.  But for now most of my time is being spent working on the charts and script so everyone’s got accurate parts, and has a fighting chance of learning everything in time.  We do it for three nights at the Registry Theatre at the end of June (25, 26 and 27).  I’m delighted with the cast, I know they’ll have no problem lifting it up off the page for the first time, and I’m looking forward to having you hear what we put together.  I will admit to feeling a little overwhelmed with what has to be done between now and then.  But I know it’ll be more likely to get done if I keep working at it.  So I do.  In the meantime I’m so grateful for the real support I’ve received from folks in this town over the last little while.  Sure beats doing it in a vacuum.  I’ve had to do that, this is way better.  So, hoping I can offer something solid in return, I try to get done what needs doing.  And I weave my gratitude into the work.  Nothing fancy, but thanks.

May 1 Concert–first pictures

Hey friend, sorry you couldn’t be there, but here are a couple of pictures for the moment, more to come.


Great fiddling and delightful piano playing, and they even let me do a few things I’d arranged years ago and never had the chance to play for anyone.  Thanks guys.


Yes, it was a real grand piano.


No, they really weren’t going to let us go without an encore.  So this is where we find out what we’re going to do, and take a moment to thank everyone there for their support.

I’ve got a few more nice shots, and maybe a video, I’ll put them up as soon as I get a chance.  But yeah, had a great time playing.  Hope you get a chance to see it some time.

In Concert–May 1

As you know I promised my friends I’d let them know when I’m performing before the event happens.  So now is probably a good time to tell you about a concert coming up.  Would be great to see you there.  We’ll wander through a few of my songs and a bunch of great tunes with fiddle, piano and me on guitar and upright bass.  The whole thing should be huge fun.  The details look like this;

Karen Reed & Ken Brown
in concert
with special guest Emilyn Stam (piano)

Friday May 1, 8pm

The Registry Theatre
122 Frederick Street, Kitchener

Tickets $20, available at the door
or phone (000) 000-0000 to reserve

The Registry is a nice intimate venue with good sound and great sightlines.  Parking is plentiful, information on where to park can be found on the Registry’s website.  In case you need it a map is here.

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this show.  Karen Reed is one of Canada’s fiddle champions with a great driving sound and a sweet, sweet tone.  Emilyn Stam can play piano in the tradition straight-up but she’s just as happy putting her own twist on things.  And me?  Well, I get to wander through some of my favourite songs and tunes with a couple of like-minded players while demonstrating just how much this kind of music lives and breathes.

Excited?  You bet!  Hope you can make it.

Good Today, More to Come

kbsitepicgig008Hey friend, hope you’re well.  Excellent weather around here, definitely feels like spring.  Wondering if you’ve been getting any of it.  It was a good gig today, although I must admit my arm is pretty tired.  That was me on the bass, full band, played hard and fast.  A few sets like that and I’m ready for a song, if only for the break.  But a sold-out crowd had a very good time, and so did the band.  And I’m happy to report that a little more of this is on the horizon.  Maybe you might keep May 1 open for a show in Kitchener.  I’ll get you more details soonest, feeling pretty excited about it, hope to see you there.  In the meantime I’m gonna go rest my arm.

In Progress–Fiddle Sessions

I know I promised to let you know when I’m playing in the area.  But sometimes you just can’t get there from here.  You see, I’m involved in a performance March 17 but before I got a chance to let you know it sold out.  I thought about not saying anything but I didn’t want you to think I hadn’t remembered you.  So here I am telling you about a show you can’t get to.

kbsitepicinstrument003Although I’ve just realized there’s another good reason to let you know what’s going on.  The March 17 performance is a second performance with the fiddler I played with in January.  (The first was the Burns evening, you remember?)  The fiddler and I are discussing doing some more work together, could be some very interesting results.  I’ll make sure I let you know as soon as things begin to take shape.  We’ve also been sitting down to do some guitar and fiddle workout which has been great fun.  The plan is to record some of that over the next little while in preparation for a serious recording to be put together this spring.  I expect the workouts to sound pretty good on their own.  If so I’ll put one or two here for you to listen to.

And I’ll make sure that the next performance I tell you about is one you can actually get to.

A Musical

I know I told you I’ve written a musical.  I really didn’t mean to, honest.  I’ve certainly performed in more than a few over the years, but I never thought to write one.  But some time ago I started to scratch down a few thoughts, first the title of one of my songs, then some thinking, then another title, then some more thinking.  After watching myself do this for some time I began to understand that what I was doing was looking at the distance between those two songs, and figuring out what little glimpse of a story that seemed to tell.  (I guess maybe you’d call that the narrative distance.  I wonder what kind of unit of measure that would have… nevermind.)  Finally a third song title, a bit more thinking, then I put it away.  But I couldn’t leave it alone.  After several days of carrying on like this, a few minutes here and there in between whatever else I was doing, I realized what I was up to.  I was writing a musical.

After the shock wore off I decided to keep going and a couple of months later the first draft was done.  Two acts, thirteen songs, five voices.  I continued to tweak the script for a while, but it was definitely finished.  Many of the songs are new and written for the show, others are pieces I’ve written and performed in concerts but which seemed to fit perfectly when I needed something to say just that.  It will be interesting to hear someone else’s voice sing these songs.  Oh yes, and I will actually hear someone else sing these songs.  You see the Waterloo Region Arts Fund was kind enough to give me a small grant to go towards running the whole thing through a workshop process and then performing the results over three nights in June (25, 26 & 27) at the Registry Theatre.  So for a couple of months I’ll be working out the script and the songs with a full cast, re-writing, editing and lifting the whole thing up off the page to see what it feels like.  It’s sure to be an intense but rewarding process.  I’ll let you know how it’s progressing when we get there.

Yes, of course, I should tell you the title.  It’s called “Witness“.

Wish me luck.

Because I Promised–Cambridge Concert

Remember I promised a while ago that I’d tell you when I’m playing in the area?  Funny, I always assume that friends are busy, but you made it clear that you want me to let you know.  Just so I don’t make that same mistake again, there’s a concert coming up that you might enjoy.

You know that traditional music festival that happens in Cambridge every summer?  Well the folks that do the festival have a concert series that happens in a really lovely room downtown.  And they’ve asked me to play for them.  Given the nature of the festival I thought I’d put together some of my personal takes on traditional songs and tunes.  Made me realize I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.  I’ve certainly never put all of them down in one place.  I’ll have to do that sometime.  In the meantime, the details look like this;millracelogo

The Mill Race Folk Society

Ken Brown

Friday February 27     8pm

The Galt Room, 2nd Floor, Café 13
13 Main Street, Cambridge (Galt)
Admission $10

If you’re coming from out of town the map looks like this (at the corner of Water and Main Streets).  I can vouch for the food downstairs, it’s worth coming early enough to have dinner.  As for the summer festival, modelled after many of the in-town festivals in Britain, it’s a wonderful reason to wander through downtown Galt.  The Mill Race organizers also hold their Annual Spring Preview which is a great concert and their major fundraiser, well worth checking out.