Hailing from the music- and art-rich area of Eastern Pennsylvania, Ross Brown is a fourth-generation musician.
“My father played in a blues band. I copied my father’s licks,” Brown said. “That’s how I originally learned to play, by ear. My grandfather was a great player. He played in the styles of Chet Atkins and Les Paul. I have fond memories of family jam sessions with dad and my grandfather. Grandpa was so great, he even played some licks neither dad nor I could ever quite copy.”
Out of high school, Brown attended Drexel University in Pennsylvania, where he studied and earned a degree in computer information systems. While at Drexel, he also took classes in guitar, vocals and sound to help hone his raw talent.
Brown began to teach computer technology in the East Philadelphia school district, which was rich in Latino culture.
“I was fascinated by the Latino culture, food, art and especially the music and rhythms,” says Brown. “So much so that I studied congas under Pablo Bautista, an accomplished Puerto Rican percussionist in North Philly.”
Eventually, Brown’s passion for the Latin culture led him to travel throughout Central America. Brown has visited Puerto Rico as well as nearly every country in Central America, where he was exposed to great Latin American music.
In 2012, popular Key West musician and friend Jeff Clark invited Brown to come down and play some music in Key West. After a couple of visits, Brown decided to quit his job in Philly and moved to Key West in November 2013.
“I lived in my car at first,” Brown recollects, “I just decided to play music every day somewhere in Key West whether I was just sitting in with another musician or setting up randomly and playing. Eventually, I began to get some gigs.”
Since that time, Brown has become one of the most popular and diverse musicians in Key West. He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays music from all genres. He can be seen playing jazz, blues, rock ’n’ roll, Latin and pop. Brown is an exceptional guitarist, percussionist and vocalist.
As a guy who has spent years promoting and booking local musicians, one thing that stands out to me about Ross Brown is his professionalism. I asked him about that.
“The way I see it, you better come correct. To me that means being prepared as well as respectful,” says Brown “I even prepare for rehearsals. I think that stems from the highly competitive music market in Philadelphia. Preparation and professionalism are what sets one musician apart from another.”
Recently, Brown was honored to be part of both the Bill Blue Benefit Concert where he played with The Happy Dog as well as the Earth Day Concert as part of That Hippie Band. Both concerts were held at the majestic Coffee Butler Amphitheater.
Brown can be seen performing all over town as a solo artist or with a full band. He is excited to announce that he and his band will be performing every Monday in June for the much-anticipated return of the popular Martini Monday at Virgilio’s. You can find his schedule at rossbrownmusic.com. I highly recommend catching a show from this uniquely talented and diverse professional musician any chance you have.
5 Great Deep Cuts/B-Sides
1. “Sister Morphine” – The Rolling Stones
2. “Cheatin’ Woman” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
3. “Maydell” – The Allman Brothers
4. “One After 909” – The Beatles
5. “I’m So Afraid” – Fleetwood Mac