Fans of heavy, high-production folk-rock-pop fusion will just love the new turn from polymath Rain Perry, the So Cal director, playwright, actor, author, and songwriter whose fifth album Let’s Be Brave, which dropped in April, featured takes on Springsteen classic Rocky Ground and Joe Strummer along a screaming tribe of hook-laden heavyweights like this. If you like the sound, thank producer Mark Hallman, who played most of the instruments, too, except a couple of guitars; if you’re having trouble justifying this as folk music, consider that the Grammy-winning Hallman has also produced work for Ani DiFranco, Tom Russell, and Eliza Gilkyson…and that the duo also trends softer, as in this gorgeous take on Gillian Welch’s bitter anthem Everything Is Free, about which we’ve been musing for an upcoming feature.
- Rain Perry: Johnny Appleseed (orig. Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros)
by Bill Bentley.
Rain Perry, Let’s Be Brave. When the December 2017 Thomas Fire blazed through Southern California, one of the many structures destroyed was Rain Perry’s music studio. Like so many others hit, Perry immediately made plans to start anew and the result is this album’s attempt to hold strong and go on. And what an album it is. There are all kinds of highlights, including the Bruce Springsteen song “Rocky Ground” featuring Jon Dee Graham (get well soon), and an homage to singer Julie Christensen, “St. Julie of Iowa” with Chuck Prophet’s prophetic guitar blazing away. That’s just the beginning. Perry is someone who has signed on full-time to express as much as possible about all the social and humanistic challenges in modern America. She is someone who goes all the way when it comes time to try to make her music make a difference in how everyone’s struggle is represented. She even includes a burning cover of Joe Strummer’s “Johnny Appleseed” to push forward, with her voice always ringing true. Hopefully this is Rain Perry’s time to get the spotlight as she offers solace to the needy and power to the committed. Break on through.
by Lee Zimmerman
Rain Perry, a superb singer/songwriter based in Ojai California, offers up her best effort to date with Let’s Be Brave, a steadfast series of mantras which are well worth heeding. From the Bo Diddley beat that propels the album opener “Whitier Street,” to her heartfelt ode to her native state, “California I Love You,” and “Vapor,” an equally affecting shout out to a presumed lover and confidante, Perry sings with an insistence and commitment that’s clearly inspired by her attachment to her environs. She’s aided and assisted by some equally able support players — Mark Hallman, who produced and played a majority of the instrumentation, acclaimed auteur Chuck Prophet and Jon Dee Graham, courtesy of his edgy rap-like vocal on Bruce Springsteen’s “Rocky Ground.” Perry herself delivers this set of songs with conviction, confidence and an unshakeable determination. Indeed, given its attitude and execution, consider Let’s Be Brave apt advice for our turbulent times.
On Let's Be Brave Rain Perry's folk songs have a way of washing over you in a warm and healing way on ten tracks with two notable covers. Drop the needle and you'll find a collection that is often bright, delicate, vulnerable and meaningful as it girds the spirit and frees the mind. With groundbreaking tracks like "Earthquake Country" and the expansive "Small" you get the feeling this could be the big one from Rain and her talented team.
God help me but I cannot pass up a chance for the good headline and the fact that Rain Perry's latest album is titled Men makes it irresistible. Even though this is not necessarily about the album makes little difference for it plays a small part, though very small, in this view of Perry, who has recently returned from a side journey to find her studio razed by the Northern California firestorms which devastated that area.
The amount of work lost alone makes it a personal tragedy, but the thought of raging flames and what must have seemed a hurricane of winds has to be soul-draining. Her posts on social media have shown her resilient if nothing else, though, and she is going through her stages of grief and coming out the other side with a new look at life, writing that perhaps this is a new beginning. It is. If it wasn't she would be throwing in the towel.
Rich Barnard, Red Guitar Music August 8, 2017
Anyone who’s ever financed the recording of their own album will know that there are certain things that really ought to matter, and The Shopkeeper is a stark reminder of those things. People matter. Can you think of an app that can replicate the relationships between songwriter, musician, producer and engineer? Thought not. Places matter. Can you imagine The Beatles without Abbey Road? Nope, neither can I. Things matter. If you’re making an album, why wouldn’t you want to make it into a something you can hold in your hands? Musicians today find themselves in a world where people, places and things appear to all matter a little less than they once did and The Shopkeeper pushes us, ever so gently, to consider the consequences.
Singer songwriter Rain Perry's debut documentary is essentially the biography of veteran musician, engineer and producer Mark Hallman and the history of the Congress House studio, which he runs in Austin, Texas. Woven through it is the discussion at the film's core: how can independent musicians continue to make a living in a world where music has become something consumers no longer pay for?
Read the rest here.
Rain Perry is making the leap from music to film with The Shopkeeper: A Documentary about Mark Hallman & the Congress House. While the documentary genre has more female directors in it than probably any other, it still isn’t easy to break through, especially since fundraising is often the hardest part of it. A lot of female directors have revealed that it’s usually all fun and games until money is involved, but trusting “women” with money is often a sticky area.
Full Disclosure: I’ve known Rain Perry for more than 30 years. We shroomed on Ventura beach back in the 1980s, slogged through the agony of high school together in Ojai, and stared up at the stars on one too many summer nights wondering what we would end up doing with our lives.