Brown, the daughter of a Russian literature professor at the University of Michigan, played cello in high school. Her life changed in 1965 when she saw Buddy Guy for the first time. As she became hooked on blues music and playing bass, she also studied the soul music sounds of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Solomon Burke. Brown attended Berklee College of Music in Boston but returned to Ann Arbor a year later and became a regular player on the then-burgeoning blues scene in Ann Arbor.
After touring around the U.S. with Big Walter Horton, the Rhythm Rockers, Geoff Muldaur and her own band, the Hipshakes, she toured Europe in 1982 with slide guitarist J.B. Hutto. Later that year, she moved to Austin to play with the LeRoi Brothers. Although she's an accomplished and steady blues bassist, Brown never wanted to be just a blues player. She plays a variety of styles and enjoys sitting in with different groups of musicians around Austin.