NEW ALBUM BY INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE WINNER EDEN BRENT RELEASED BY YELLOW DOG RECORDS
Mississippi Number One is a tiny, two-lane state highway that meanders through blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em communities like Rosedale, Beulah, Wayside, and Stovall before it dead ends into Highway 61 just south of Onward.
In the masterful hands of blues and boogie pianist/vocalist Eden Brent, Mississippi Number One – dedicated to her mother, the late Carole Brent – is a state of mind. The album is Brent’s debut for Yellow Dog Records.
Both the self-penned title track and the album’s leadoff song, “Mississippi Flatland Blues,” which was written by Carole Brent, conjure up images of churning riverboats and prehistoric Indian mounds that rise like mysterious landmarks alongside the highway, the scent of honeysuckle at night, and the sounds that float from a raucous juke joint that stands at the end of a dirt road.
Critics laud Brent’s “Bessie Smith meets Diana Krall meets Janis Joplin” attitude, compare her to jazz/pop dynamos Norah Jones and Sarah Vaughn, and wax effusively about that “whiskey-smoke” voice, which makes songs like “Darkness On The Delta” and Brent’s own “All Over Me” unforgettable tunes.
Brent’s supremely tasteful take on the classic “The Man I Love” makes you pause while time seemingly suspends around you, while an upbeat original, “Meet You Anywhere,” encourages you to turn off your cell phone and re-engage in life.
Taken as a whole, Mississippi Number One serves as a uniquely southern correlation to the popular “slow life” movement, the aural interpretation of dictums established by food doyenne Alice Waters and Project Alabama designer Natalie Chanin.
The album fuses blues, soul, pop and jazz (after all, her home town of Greenville, Mississippi is located just a few hundred miles up the Mississippi river from New Orleans) into a heady roots-flavored concoction that turns lazy and lush on the bluesy “Why Don’t You Do Right,” heads straight to the kitchen for a rendition of fellow Greenvillian Jimmy Phillips’ homespun “Fried Chicken,” then veers into balladeer territory for her own “Afraid To Let Go.”
Brent, who apprenticed with blues pioneer Boogaloo Ames for 16 years, actually grew up on Mississippi Number One, in a house located just north of Greenville, a legendary river town that served as the birthplace for such iconoclasts as historian Shelby Foote, singer Mary Wilson, and puppeteer Jim Henson.
Her relationship with Ames was captured in the 1999 PBS documentary Boogaloo & Eden: Sustaining the Sound and in the 2002 South African production Forty Days in the Delta.
“A young woman made of less stern stuff would not have braved such an apprenticeship,” writes author/journalist Julia Reed in the liner notes for Mississippi Number One. “Boogaloo was notoriously unreliable, often drunk, and never stayed in one place for long… but theirs is a phenomenal story of mutual admiration and need, of an unlikely but very real friendship that went well beyond that of student and teacher.”
“Music school taught me to think, but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie,” says Brent, who achieved a Bachelor of Music while studying jazz at the University of North Texas, swept the Blues Foundation’s 2006 International Blues Challenge, and was a 2004 inductee on the Greenville, Miss., Blues Walk.
Her unshakable talent and carefree demeanor have taken her across the country and around the world, with appearances at the Kennedy Center, the 2000 Republican National Convention, the venerable Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and tours of South Africa and Norway under her belt.
Sharing a bill with B.B. King, Brent performed at the 2005 presidential inauguration, and solo, she’s appeared at the British Embassy and at the My South celebration in New York.
She’s also burnished her reputation via appearances on the public radio program Beale Street Caravan, at festivals like the Waterfront Blues Festival, Edmonton Blues Festival and the annual B.B. King Homecoming, and aboard the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.
With the release of Mississippi Number One, Brent is now ready to take her place as one of the fresh voices propelling this vital American music forward. As Chip Eagle, publisher of Blues Revue, BluesWax, and Dirty Linen says, “in Eden’s huge playing and singing you can hear the ghosts of Mississippi in a duet with the future of the blues.”
1. Mississippi Flatland Blues
2. He'll Do The Same Thing To You
3. Darkness On The Delta
4. Love Me 'Til Dawn
5. Fried Chicken
6. Mississippi Number One
7. The Man I Love
8. Careless Love
9. Meet You Anywhere
10. Why Don't You Do Right
11. Afraid To Let Go
12. Close The Door
13. All Over Me
14. Trouble in Mind
15. Until I Die
“Brent’s raw talent enables her to sing and play bawdy blues and sophisticated jazz and everything that lies in between damn near as good as the best who ever did... This gal will be a star.” —Elmore
“A kick-ass, high octane set that’s both polished and heartfelt, Brent is going to be one of the best finds of the year and now is the time for smarty-pants know-it-alls to hop on board if they want early bragging rights. Killer stuff throughout.” —Midwest Record
“As Little Boogaloo talks, she sounds like a milk-cow walking on gravel. As she sings, she sounds like an angel on Viagra.” —Die Burger, Cape, South Africa
“In a world where flash nearly always dazzles more than substance, Mississippi Number One is a spectacularly moving musical statement, with strength, depth and beauty to spare.” —Rambles
Whether booked as a solo artist or bandleader, Eden's performance is fresh and spontaneous, often filled with audience requests and participation. She appears at festivals, concerts and clubs and organizes workshops and educational performances for virtually every age and proficiency level.
Mississippi Number One, the new album on Yellow Dog Records, features tributes to her Mississippi Delta home including the title track, "Mississippi Number One," "Mississippi Flatland Blues," "Darkness on the Delta" and "Fried Chicken."
Her unshakable talent and her carefree demeanor have taken her across the country and around the world. Here's what some reviewers have said about her.
"Eden Brent's boogie piano mixed with the whiskey-smoke of her voice is a vice to savor & in her huge playing and singing you can hear the ghosts of Mississippi in duet with the future of the blues." - Chip Eagle, publisher of Blues Revue
"Brent's forte is a combustible combination of boogie-woogie piano stylings and an effectively raspy vocal delivery." -The Edmonton Journal, Alberta, Canada
"Throughout her soulful excursions and slow burners, Brent was spectacular." -The Edmonton Sun, Alberta, Canada
"This is one voice that should be around the Blues world for years to come." - BluesWax
"A petite woman with an astonishing voice" - American Heritage Magazine
"Brent banged out the blues on a piano in the corner and got a standing ovation." -The Commercial Appeal
"A consummate Blues artist"- Delta Democrat Times
"Her whiskey-soaked voice, her solid piano made her a winner." - Fruteland Jackson, blues musician
"Brent...takes her piano and voice for a classy, century-spanning stroll." - The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee
"Brent's voice is phenomenal and her skills as a pianist are undeniable." - BlueSpeak, Memphis, Tennessee
"The blue voice that sees everything& she can find her way blindfolded through a piano." - Amuzine , South Africa
"She...courageously takes on the blues without breaking a sweat. " - ZA@Play, South Africa
"...a white girl who plays the blues. She's amazing." - Cassandra Wilson, jazz vocalist
"phenomenal blues pianist" -The Commercial Appeal
SOUL-ED OUT AT THE PARK: BLUES FEST LINEUP TAKES CROWD ON A MUSICAL TOUR
Sunday, August 27, 2006
BY JEREMY LOOME
Greenville, Mississippi, native Eden Brent, looking lovely in a red dinner dress, seemed tiny as she perched behind her piano. Her lungs begged to differ, blasting out a stream of Dinah Washington-inspired harmony and old school boogie woogies.
Throughout her soulful excursions and slow burners, Brent was spectacular, sipping beers and chatting with the crowd between songs as she proceeded to single-handedly fill the
dance floor and bring a sense of sincere regret to the dufuses who showed up late.
She managed to pull off all the energy of one of Marcia Ball's shows, but without the supporting band.
The crowd gave her a lengthy standing ovation, and one can only wonder how they'd have reacted to Brent as an opening act if she did have a four-piece behind her. Mass panic, maybe.
Yeah, she was that good.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
BY PETER NORTH
The day began with young Mississippi queen Eden Brent. A solo pianist and vocalist who on instant approval from the crowd, Brent's forte is a combustible combination of boogie-woogie piano stylings and an effectively raspy vocal delivery.
It's about dynamics, and that was the key ingredient in a set that earned her a partial standing ovation after she managed to slide from the "root of it all" via Bessie Smith through standards to interesting contemporary covers.
Taking a slightly dampened Janis Joplin approach wit inflections and nuances, Brent also set up call-an-answer routines with the eager crowd as she saluted Ray Charles with What'd I Say early on and belted our Z. Z. Hill's Down Home Blues toward the end of the set.
The biggest surprise came when she laid down her own slow-cooker arrangement to The Eagles hit Take it to the Limit and put Don Henley in the company of Percy Mayfield. There's a first for this festival.
Blues for the People
January 30, 2006
BY YOLANDA JONES
Under rainy skies Saturday afternoon, Eden Brent won the solo/duo finals at the Center for Southern Folklore.
Her voice was a cross between Dinah Washington and Janis Joplin. This, combined with her unflappable attitude that the show must go on even though the keyboard died the minute she got on stage, was enough for the Greenville, Miss., native to outperform six other acts.
To a standing-room crowd, Brent banged out the blues on a piano in the corner and got a standing ovation. "It was a combination of her whiskey-soaked voice, her solid piano playing and the fact that she didn't whine when there was a problem made her a winner for all of us," said noted blues musician Fruteland Jackson, one of the judges. "She got the job done. She was a trouper."
About Eden Brent
Eden Brent's piano playing and singing style ranges from a melancholic whisper to a full-blown juke joint holler. She's simultaneously confident and confiding, ably blending an earthy meld of jazz, blues, soul, and pop as she huskily invites listeners into her lazy, lush world.
That world lies just north of Greenville, Mississippi on the two-lane Highway 1, which follows the twists and turns of the river through fecund swampland, time-forgotten plantations, and blink-and you'll-miss-'em communities like Rosedale, Benoit, Wayside, and Grace before it dead ends into Highway 61 at Onward.
It was there that Brent was able to develop her gutsy vocal-and piano chops via family sing-a-longs and a 16-year apprenticeship with the late blues pioneer Boogaloo Ames, who ultimately dubbed his protégé "Little Boogaloo."
"Music school taught me to think, but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie," says Brent, who appeared alongside her mentor in the 1999 PBS documentary Boogaloo & Eden: Sustaining the Sound and in the 2002 South African production Forty Days in the Delta.
Where most 21st century roots musicians merely emulate their heroes, Brent and Ames were both "soul mate and road buddies," says lifelong friend (and acclaimed journalist) Julia Reed. "She was a young white woman of privilege and he was an aging black man in the Mississippi Delta, but theirs is a phenomenal story of mutual admiration and need."
Yet much more than the blues flows through Brent's talented hands: Critics laud her "Bessie Smith meets Diana Krall meets Janis Joplin" attitude, compare her to jazz/pop dynamos Norah Jones and Sarah Vaughn, and wax effusively about her "whiskey-smoke" voice, which serves as a constant reminder that Greenville, nestled into a bend of the Mississippi River, is located a few hundred miles north of New Orleans.
Whether booked as a solo artist or bandleader, Brent's performance is fresh and spontaneous, often filled with audience requests and participation. Her unshakable talent and her carefree demeanor have taken her across the country and around the world, with appearances at the Kennedy Center, the 2000 Republican National Convention, the venerable Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and tours of South Africa and Norway under her belt.
Since launching her career, she's won the Blues Foundation's 2006 International Blues Challenge, and was a 2004 inductee on the Greenville Blues Walk. Sharing a bill with B.B. King, Brent performed at the 2005 presidential inauguration, and solo, she's appeared at the British Embassy and at the My South celebrations in Mississippi and New York. She's also burnished her reputation via appearances on radio shows like the syndicated Beale Street Caravan and XM's Bluesville, at festivals like the Waterfront Blues Festival, Edmonton Labatt Blues Festival and the annual B.B. King Homecoming, and aboard the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.
With the 2008 release of her new album Mississippi Number One, Brent is now ready to take her place as one of the fresh voices propelling this vital American music forward. As Chip Eagle, publisher of Blues Revue, BluesWax, and Dirty Linen says, "in Eden's huge playing and singing you can hear the ghosts of Mississippi in duet with the future of the blues."
Eden Brent performs "Mississippi Flatland Blues", written by her mother, Carole Brent. Recorded at Mid-Delta Arts Theater, Indianola, MS, June 8, 2007 by Maurice Kelly, MK Video Photo - Creative Visions Live.