Winner of The Blues Foundation’s solo/duo category at the 2006 International Blues Foundation, singer-pianist Eden Brent brings plenty of depth to her music. Yellow Dog Records will be issuing the new album by the Greenville, Mississippi native, Mississippi Number One. As a singer she sings with the authority of the late Esther Phillips, if a bit less nasal, while displaying the sassiness of a Denise LaSalle and a bit of Bobby Gentry’s country soul. She certainly can pound out some strong barrelhouse rooted piano as well as more in jazz vein. Much of this is comprised of originals penned by her and late mother, Carole. The opening Mississippi Flatland Blues, is a rollicking number with her rollicking barrelhouse playing backed just by bass and drums. She takes things a bit more in a Stax-tinged vein on her original about a two-timing man, He'll Do The Same Thing To You, with organ and horns added to the mix before she changes gears the solo rendering of Darkness on the Delta, and her mother’s marvelous ballad, Love Me ‘Til Dawn, with a leaner delivery and some nice alto saxophone by Kevin Lewis. On the jaunty Fried Chicken, her sassy vocal is simply and effectively supported by Rick Chancery guitar and harmonica. The title track is her spirited salute to the two-lane road that takes one to her childhood road, that cuts through the Delta, with Mimosa trees, with some rollicking piano in the vein of Jerry Lee Lewis. She shows her interpretative abilities on solo performances of ‘The Man I Love, Careless Love, Why Don’t You Do Right, and Trouble in Mind, thoughtfully delivering these well known songs and embellishing these very nicely. Oddly the latter number is credited in the booklet to Amos Milburn and not its composer Richard Jones. Another uptown R&B number is Meet You Anywhere, with tinges of Crescent City funk, while her late mother’s Close That Door, as she tells one that she is tired of his wrong doing way so he should close the door and walk away, as she is through with heartaches. This marvelous recording concludes with Until I Die,’ a lyric that can be interpreted both in a secular and spiritual vein with a bit of church added by Rich Steff’s organ and the vocal choir. Eden Brent is marvelous as a songwriter, singer and pianist and listening to this, one can understand why she has impressed so many. Mississippi Number One is a stunning recording of blues, jazz and soul that will have many waiting for her next recording.
I note that Mississippi Number One is scheduled for release on April 18, 2008.