Premier autoharpist, singer and Colorado folk legend Roz Brown has built an impressive career as a captivating entertainer and recording artist, performing and recording classic folk music on his own terms for over 35 years.
Roz started his musical career in the 5th grade when his dad bought him his first trumpet. He played in school bands through high school and continued playing in Navy bands. His life took an unexpected turn after attending a performance by autoharp master, Bryan Bowers, in 1975. He soon bought two autoharps and started using them to connect to the folk songs he grew to love in the 1960’s.
Roz has released five albums, the latest being A Cowboy and His Sweetheart, which was produced by his son, Memphis/Nashville keyboardist and producer Paul Brown. Inspired by his sweetheart, Barbara, the album is a collection of romantic love songs, many of which were originally recorded by Country legend Don Williams. Roz still performs more than 300 dates a year and tirelessly gives back to the community by making retirement and nursing homes a part of his regular touring schedule. Another significant stop on Roz’s regular touring schedule, besides the 31 years he’s been playing here, is the historic Buckhorn Exchange in Denver, where Roz has been for thirty years now.
2018 will be the first year Jim Ratts has performed at Walnut Valley with Roz Brown. Jim Ratts has been Roz Brown's record producer and engineer for 25 years, providing vocal harmony for those releases. Born and raised in St. John, Kansas, his music career began to unfold at Texas Tech in Lubbock in the late '60s. Upon graduation in 1971, Jim's college band Colours moved to Colorado and toured for 5 years with the likes of John Hartford, The Earl Scruggs Revue, Steve Martin and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. That Dirt Band connection led to a 40-year partnership with Jimmy Ibbotson, including their Wild Jimbos MCA record produced by Sam Bush. Jim and his wife Salli have performed with their band Runaway Express since 1980, and they've done extensive touring with the Dirt Band's John McEuen. Jim has written songs for folk groups The Dillards, The Limeliters, and The Kingston Trio, and he penned "Howlin' At The Moon" which was a bluegrass chart hit for the legendary Sam Bush. Salli and Jim have released 12 albums on their Raven Records label. Their latest release "Small Towns" is a cinematic concept album observing and celebrating a more simple side of urban America.