His comparatively low career profile may stem from his strong midwestern roots. Despite some 20 years of making critically praised music, Brown has shunned the majors to remain loyal to small labels in the Midwest. Similarly, he has long supported a number of grass-roots causes without becoming a headline grabber.
His lack of recognition beyond folk aficionados hasn't lessened the regard of his peers. A Brown tribute disc, benefiting breast cancer, featured such acclaimed Americana performers as Lucinda Williams, Ani DiFranco, Gillian Welch, and Iris DeMent (whom he later married).
While he's not the flashiest singer-songwriter around, Brown, in his own quietly powerful way, has risen to be a master of his craft.