EDEN BRENT: a little boogalography
A three-time Blues Music Award winner and current Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year nominee, Eden Brent’s piano playing and singing range 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, Beulah, and Stovall before it dead ends into Highway 61 at Onward.
It was there that she developed her gutsy vocal and piano chops via family sing-a-longs and a 16-year apprenticeship with the late blues pioneer Boogaloo Ames. “Music school taught me to think, but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie,” she lightheartedly admits, adding, “I might have a Bachelor of Music from North Texas, but I’ve got a PhD in Boogaloo!”
Where most 21st century roots musicians merely emulate their heroes, this protégé and mentor 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 this artist’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 right between Memphis and New Orleans.
Following her award-winning Mississippi Number One, Brent’s new album Ain’t Got No Troubles received a bounty of rave reviews. USA Today praised her “raw vocal sound,” NPR called her “irresistibly fresh,” and Garden & Gun declared her “a dynamo.” Her albums, piano skills, soulful voice and recorded charm have elevated her to new heights, enticing fans and critics worldwide.
Brent is joined by her Memphis band, Sam Shoup on bass; Tom Lonardo on drums; Marc Franklin on trumpet; and Jim Spake on saxophone.