The man behind Dusty Stray is Jonathan Brown. Born in Taiwan. Grew up in Texas as son of a Presbyterian minister. Raised on songs about death and resurrection. Went to college. Discovered vast archive of early American folk music from the 20s and 30s. Began writing his own songs. Moved to Austin where he first performed his music. Travelled with 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). 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 the year. He then released Dusty Stray's "Light Years Away" (Basta 2011, produced by Ken Stringfellow and J.B. Meijers), "Family Album" (Basta 2013, produced by Kramer), “A Tree Fell And Other Songs” (Great Waters 2015, produced by Kramer), and "Estranged" (Great Waters, 2018, also produced by Kramer). All albums received critical praise in Europe and abroad.The sixth album Fire Place will be out on December 1, 2023.
Brown’s many influences include Harry Smith (Anthology Of American Folk Music), writer/illustrator Edward Gorey, The Handsome Family, 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.