Story by Matthew Fullmer | photo courtesy of BrownChicken BrownCow / Tony Martie
What do you get when you mix old-time fiddle with New Age folk? BrownChicken BrownCow, a quartet of string players from West Virginia who ambled onto the Maui music scene last November. Brothers Xander (fiddle, lead vocals) and Orion Hitzig (mandolin), Justin Morris (guitar) and Charlie Hatcher (bass) traveled here on a whim, much the same way they adopted their name. “Xander blurted it out one day and it stuck,” says Morris.
The group’s serendipitous arrival became an extended stay, and open-air jam sessions in Pa‘ia became their trademark. When BrownChicken BrownCow played a benefit show for Mana‘o Radio at Casanova’s restaurant last April, their tune “Little Sunday” moved even the reluctant dancer to tap along.
Acoustic and often unamplified, BrownChicken BrownCow has performed all over the island, giving Maui audiences a dynamic experience of old-time Southern music. They’ve played at Stella Blue’s, Café Marc Aurel, Mulligan’s on the Blue . . . even in the jungle of Kipahulu, where the musicians were accompanied by fire dancers.
BrownChicken BrownCow is currently on tour across the mainland, but is eager to experience island hospitality again. “The people we met . . . the sincere relationships we built,” says Morris, “reminded us of a West Virginia mentality.” The band returns in December with a new album in their pocket, ready to reestablish their impact on isle music fans.