During the '50s and '60s, the vocal harmonies of the Browns gave the lie to those who would stereotype country music as a raw product distinguished more by pure feeling than by art; perhaps the single word that best describes their music is "polished." The original brother-sister duo of Jim Ed Brown and Maxine Brown were joined by younger sister Bonnie in 1955, creating a trademark smooth trio sound that proved wonderfully adaptable to down-home harmony singing, to folk-pop arrangements that rode the crest of the hootenanny craze, and to lush Nashville sound extravaganzas. Bonnie and Jim were born in Sparkman, Arkansas, where their father owned a sawmill and a large farm; older sister Maxine was born in Campti, Louisiana. With the encouragement of their parents, the Brown children began singing and developing their characteristic close harmonies early on. In their teens they performed in school and began appearing at local events.