Pianist, singer and songwriter Eden Brent released her debut on the Memphis-based Yellow Dog Records label, "Mississippi Number One," in April, 2008. Brent should prove to be a breath of fresh air on the all too often guitar-dominated contemporary blues scene. Her debut album shows great promise, with sparkling original songs and spry arrangements, most of them centering around what she knows best: the Mississippi Delta region in and around Greenville.
Brent has been described by various reviewers as one part Bessie Smith, one part Janis Joplin and one part Diana Krall, while others have compared her to Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Norah Jones. On "Mississsippi Number One," [named for the highway her parents' house was located on,] she effortlessly fuses elements of blues, jazz, soul, gospel and pop.
Brent's first big break to a wider audience might have been her 2006 win in the Acoustic Blues category in the International Blues Challenge, an annual competition held in Memphis that is administered by the Memphis-based Blues Foundation. Prior to that, she apprenticed and worked side by side with Delta blues specialist Boogaloo Ames for 16 years. She attended college at the University of North Texas, where she studied jazz composition and performance, but she got her post-graduate education on the road with Ames, traveling around Mississippi with the elderly musician and hosting both his 70th and 80th birthday parties.
"Mississippi Number One" showcases Brent's ability to incorporate memorable phrases into memorable songs, but she also covers songs by the Gershwin's, "The Man I Love," Joe McCoy's "Why Don't You Do Right," and the traditional song about unwanted pregnancy, "Careless Love." She also covers several songs written by her late mother, Carole Brent, and dedicates her debut to her.
With the right team of booking agents, management and record company support, Brent will be a positive force, expanding the commonly thought of parameters in contemporary blues, for years to come. ~ Richard Skelly