Monday, December 31, 2012

My Last Song for 2012

Started this in August, finished it today. Voice, guitar, dobro-- my last song for 2012.


Thursday, December 13, 2012


CALLS MY HEART HOMEWARD is a gathering of the shorter contemplative compositions I created during 2012. These pieces are inspired by the textures, colors, and feelings I have found in my journeys through and into New England landscape and memory.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In Autumn the Dark Shapes of Distant Mountains...

    A heart-piercing autumnal yearning and memory came from the sight, at Kents Corner beneath pewter sky, of that almost-bare maple tree with its sparse scrim of red leaves; the 1800s white house and, beyond its dooryard, the eastern uplands at the far edge of rolling hills and farmlands…
   How many ways will I need to write around and about and into this scene?  Will I ever get to the heart of the ancient homesick joy that it stirs inside me, the invisible distant horizon that holds the far-away White Mountains I once called home and then the shimmering Gulf of Maine beyond? -KMB

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

A Book's Beginnings: thoughts on THE LAKE OF LIVING WATER.

    I remember the exact moment that THE LAKE OF LIVING WATER, my sixth novel, was born. I was running in the woods on a November afternoon in Vermont. The air was cool-- almost cold-- and smelled of evergreen and tannin. The long shadows of pines were intersticed with reaches of wan, hollow, almost–winter New England sunlight.

    As I ran, two visions appeared in my mind’s eye-- simultaneously, as I remember it. I saw the image of a man sitting alone in a room inside a cold, dark, stone tower. He was looking out a window and across the broad expanse of Lake Champlain, at the patterned skeins of late autumn sunlight that moved and shimmered on the water.

  The other image that came was that of a book… a small book, to my surprise, full of white space around blocks of text, of stories written in many voices.

   I knew that the book would tell me who the man in the tower was. And I knew that I would have to write the book.


     Those who have read my other books, my poems, who have seen my paintings and listened to the music I compose, will know about my fascination with the nature, history, geology, and PRESENCE of Lake Champlain—in particular the shoreline and waters  of Burlington Bay. This future book, I knew in the moment of its apparition, would have this locus itself as a main character.

      I had, that fall, just finished reading John Cowper Powys’ A GLASTONBURY ROMANCE, and that novel was still looming large --it is, after all, more than 1,000 pages long-- in my thoughts. I was captured by its sense of place, of mystery, of intersecting lives. I suppose, then, that I was being called to write my own version of a book like that. (I am still, however, a bit puzzled that it would appear to me as such a small volume…)


I came home from my run that November afternoon and began writing. I went on to write about 80 pages and an outline over the rest of the month and through December. (This is, so far, the only time I have ever committed to an extended stretch of writing in the afternoons—I am most definitely a morning writer!)

   I didn’t come back to the manuscript until the following spring and summer, when I finished a first draft-- also accruing, along the way, a notebook full of the results of historical research.  Over the next two years I kept writing, editing, and revising, finishing an 8th--and final-- draft in the summer of 2012.


     THE LAKE OF LIVING WATER shows some traces of the mystery/detective genre, but I have no doubt that it is ultimately a strange and not easily categorized novel.  I accept this, knowing that in writing this book I have done everything I can to get to the heart of my own perceptions of --and connections to-- the mystery and power of the lake and shoreline that inspired it.

  You can order  THE LAKE OF LIVING WATER  here:

Also available in Kindle edition:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

in october mist, begin a journey (music for steel guitar)

A new composition, made today, on a rainy autumn morning. I recorded in one take on a triple-neck steel guitar, playing across all three necks (C6, A6, E13). Afterward, I spent an hour processing the recording, until I had a sound painting that conveyed the energies I wanted to express. -KMB, 9/30/12

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

River, September

                                 Winooski River Bend, September- photograph by kmb.

September morning, on a drifting

run, I followed River:







My eyes and heart were caught

by slow journeys of mist

wending north-westward.


At Cold-Stone Inlet

I found my boat


and put in.


Now I am

unmoored and fully blessed.

   - Kevin Macneil Brown


Monday, September 03, 2012

Winooski River, September

Winooski River Bend, September- painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, September 2012.

In the morning, the bell-and-buoy

voices of birds

to mark a sky channel.


And then, after lift

of silver fog,

a stillness.


In trees, in grass,

the green of growth

held in sere suspension.


This is September, when the river sheens and mirrors,

 reflecting the ripeness of journeys fulfilled,

 in depths, in shallows, beyond shadowed bend.

 -Kevin Macneil Brown

Monday, July 30, 2012

new music: viridian

VIRIDIAN WAVES was conceived as a half hour immersion in overlapping waves of sound color-- deep greens, blues, rust, and white light.. The piece has its source in a single steel guitar improvisation recorded at Christ Episcopal Church in Montpelier, Vermont in June 2012. Subsequent reworking of this material preserved the tonality, harmonic motion, and proportions of the improvisation, while exploring spatial, timbral, and temporal transformations. - kmb

Thursday, July 26, 2012

island horizon- for marsden hartley (painting.)

ISLAND HORIZON- FOR MARSDEN HARTLEY- painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and gouache on paper, 2012.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

high summer meditations (poem and painting.)

Meditation, High Summer (For Thomas Merton) -painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and gouache on paper, July 2012.


Past dry creek-bed
in dark hemlock-shadowed
summer woods

of hermit thrush song
into rill of

Now to compass
an infinity

No longer enclosed within
muffled greenwood

But instead

Streaks of quicksilver
to stir and shard
the rust-blood
heart of this morning.

 -Kevin Macneil Brown

Thursday, June 28, 2012

from dawn to dusk, the longest days...(new paintings.)

Woodland Map, Summer Solstice; Dusk Journey, Summer Solstice. Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper(s), June 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

christ church dark skies almost rain ( art walk improv.)

At the Montpelier Art Walk opening for my art exhibit at Christ Church, I had some wonderful conversations, many of them turning toward water and memory. When people got curious about the steel guitar in the corner, I played some soundscapes for them. I think the shared watery remembrances got into the music. 

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Art Exhibit in Montpelier, Vermont, June 2012

Kevin Macneil Brown will exhibit a selection of paintings in watercolor and acrylic at the Christ Episcopal Foyer in the Parish House, Montpelier, Vermont, from June 8 through the end of the month. An opening reception will be held during Montpelier Art Walk, Friday, June 8, from 5 – 7:30 PM, with the artist presenting original music/ sound art to accompany the images.

Kevin Macneil Brown makes art inspired by the revelations and mysteries of shorelines and mountains in New England light. “I spend a lot of time outdoors in nature, in motion and meditation,” Brown says, “and the layers of the landscape, of water and landforms, of a perceived past and present, come alive with something that I just need to explore and convey.”

In particular, the changing waters and mountainous horizons of Lake Champlain offer a deep connection and communion, and Brown engages with those energies in visual art, writing, and musical composition.

The exhibit space will be open Mondays through Thursdays, 10-5.

Monday, April 02, 2012


I am in love with changing light, with the colors, textures, and resonances of sky, water, and landforms. Something inside me vibrates when I experience these things. That's why I make this music. -KMB

Thursday, March 22, 2012


My new collection of contemplative compositions and soundworks will be available in April

DEPTH OF PLACE AND THE INNER HARBOR is a collection of recent music inspired by sense of place: by light and water, by liminal horizons and quiet journeys.

Here is some video capturing part of a recording session for the composition "Depth of Place"-- tracking steel guitar and live looping:

DEPTH OF PLACE AND THE INNER HARBOR will be available for download in a variety of digital formats, and also in a limited edition hand-packaged CD-R version.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Secret Shores, Spring Horizons

SECRET SHORE 1, 2, and 3--paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2012
Craving a new season's light on familiar waters, for a few weeks in late winter I tuned my palette to reflect and evoke something between memory and new horizons.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dawn Crossings (watercolors)

DAWN CROSSING 1, DAWN CROSSING 2- Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, February, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Running Deep

I'm excited to announce the publication of my new book, RUNNING DEEP: MOVING MEDITATIONS THROUGH NEW ENGLAND PLACE, TIME, AND MEMORY.
Inspired by my journeys through the New England landscape, it's a collection of essays exploring distance running as a way to discovering a sense of place, self, and transcendence.
For a while I have been wanting to gather these pieces previously published in magazines and newspapers. I decided to release the book in the heart of the long New England winter, hoping it might come at a good time to inspire other runners!
You can find the book-- and read a bit of it-- here:

The Kindle Edition is available here:

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Eastern Uplands, Winter Morning (for Imbolc)

Eastern Uplands, Winter Morning- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper

Late-winter morning
spent out mapping
the infinite resonance/distance

strong blue shadows,
burgeoning light.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Mountain Calling

WHITE ROCK AND MOUNT HUNGER, AFTER SNOW-- painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper.

You might know the feeling. Having been gone from high country for a while, you are on the return trip. You turn a corner and, suddenly, the shape and line of a certain mountain in the distance lets you that know you are truly home.
For the past twenty years I’ve been getting that heart-tugging welcome from central Vermont’s Worcester Range; in particular from the sight of the bare-rock half-dome of Mount Hunger and the sharp little point of White Rock Mountain, a short ridgeline away.
As a distance runner, I’ve made the 30-mile round-trip from my house to the Hunger summit and back at least seven times; I’ve run and hiked the trails around these two mountains in all kinds of weather, with the trails in varied conditions-- from clear and dry to barricaded with wind-fallen trees.
I won’t ever forget my first trip to the summit of Hunger, starting on a sunny, leaf-strewn late October day in Montpelier to arrive at a snow-covered summit. Looking in all directions from bare rock, I had the powerful sensation of a shifting self; of somehow, deeply—in ways beyond words—arriving instantly at a new relationship with the place I called home, its hills, valleys, rivers, meadows, forests; the further distant mountains and the silver band of big lake that marked my horizons.
These sort of ineffable experiences of connection in the outdoors are, of course, not limited to those who encounter mountain ranges, distant or close-up. The hunter in crisp autumn woods, the farmer in a sun-baked summer pasture, the angler in a forest-shadowed late-spring brook are just a few of those who can feel, in their own very personal ways, the stirring of deep connections.
For myself, I know that after the descent of my home mountain, there is always a point at which I look back to see it behind me—-in full, from some distance. At that moment, I am often struck by the paradoxical feeling that, while I know the mountain—-its rocks, trees, trails, and vistas—-a little better than I did before, I also have a compelling sense that the overall mystery of the mountain has somehow deepened.
I’m pretty sure it’s the same mystery that continues to call me whenever I turn that highway corner and think, “Home.” And it’s what keeps me coming back to the mountain for more.

-Kevin Macneil Brown

(This piece originally appeared, in slightly different form, in the BARRE-MONTPELIER TIMES ARGUS)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

hushed bells in winter twilight

I made this music with guitar and cascading delays-- in one take, in-the-moment, while I watched the sky and changing light and shadows of a cold afternoon becoming evening.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Eastern Horizon, Winter Morning

Eastern Horizon, Winter Morning

Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paer, 2011