NORTON - The fact that he comes from Norton rather than a country music capital like Austin or Nashville hasn't stopped up-and-comer Timmy Brown from making an impression as a singer with country credibility.
Brown, 24, made the preliminary stage of "American Idol" last year and has since developed a local following with his warm-hearted vocals and spare guitar stylings. He's also recorded some of his favorites with Nashville veteran and bandmate Mike Franklin and well-known engineer Steve Marcantonio for a soon-to-be released EP.
Brown and his band Black Diamond will be performing two shows Saturday, April 9, at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill in Patriot Place. Brown will be celebrating the release of his new six-song record of originals, "Leave This Town."
The 2010 Norton High School graduate, who only started singing in high school, he's come a long way in a short time.
"My dad used to take me along to my sister's softball tournaments, and sometimes they were in Nashville," said Brown. "It didn't take long before I fell in love with the music and the country lifestyle."
Craig Morgan, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban became early influences. But Brown's soul has always been tuned to music.
His parents noticed their son's affinity for it when he started playing tunes on a toy piano when he was 5. He soon launched into piano lessons, although he was shy about singing.
"It was really only in high school when friends urged me to start singing, and I joined the chorus," he said.
Although he was an athlete in high school, he was often called on to sing the national anthem at school events.
After high school, Brown enrolled at Rhode Island College with the thought of becoming a music teacher. But his heart wasn't in it. It was clear that the stage, not the classroom, was what really motivated him.
So he spent some time bartending while singing karaoke and teaching himself to play guitar on the weekends. Eventually, Brown decided to take the plunge and quit his job to devote himself to music full time.
The response was virtually immediate. Playing at parties and small venues, Brown began attracting an increasing number of loyal fans. When he's not recording in Nashville, he's doing a heavy schedule of gigs - sometimes twice a day on weekends.
"Yeah, it's been busy," says Brown, adding that he looks forward to thanking fans at the upcoming Foxboro gig.
"The local fans have been great to me," he said. "You have to have your base. Without them, you're not going anywhere."
Timmy Brown and Black Diamond will perform an all ages show at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Tobey Keith's in Patriot Place, Foxboro. He'll follow that with a 21-plus show at 9:30. Copies of his EP can be ordered beginning April 10 through timmybrownmusic.com.