The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Track of the Week: “Strange City” by Brooks Strause

Brooks Strause

Brooks Strause

No secrets between friends, ignorance is bliss. Brooks Strause is a singer, songwriter and musician from Iowa. Since first crawling out of incapacitating melancholy to begin playing music in the late nineteen-nineties when he was in high school, Brooks has written hundreds of songs, played numerous shows in and around Iowa, and toured in the United States and Canada.

Brooks contributed to the Englert Theatre’s Iowa City Song Project, and his song “Strange City” was chosen as the single. Strause will perform the work on Iowa Public Radio’s “Java Blend” on Friday, October 12, as well as at the Iowa City Song Project Record Release Show at the Englert Theatre on Friday, November 2.

Over the past year, The Englert Theatre commissioned 31 musicians and bands to write and record songs inspired by experiences or impressions of Iowa City. The songs — the bulk of them recorded locally — were collected into a compilation album called the Iowa City Song Project. The album features a diverse collection of artists tapping into sounds that range from roots-rock traditions to the experimental and avant-garde. It all makes sense: Iowa City is the home to folk-rock legends Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey, and it is also home to Night-People Records, the LP and cassette label that has released music from Dirty Beaches, Peaking Lights, and its flagship band Wet Hair.

Iowa City has always been a welcome stage for Americana of all types — the folk sounds heard at The Englert Theatre and the 50-year old Mill, the rock ‘n roll at Gabe’s, and the new sounds heard at basement and house shows. This collection of songs, which could never claim to be the final word on a continually growing music community, is nonetheless a colorful snapshot of the scene that has been inspired by this small but vibrant town. The Iowa City Song Project is The Englert Theatre’s first commissioned work.

The album will be available from Maximum Ames on 2xLP, CD, and digital formats starting November 6.