EDEN BRENT PICKS UP THE PIECES OF HER JIGSAW HEART ON HER THIRD
YELLOW DOG RECORDS RELEASE, OUT MAY 6
Take Eden Brent to a Nashville studio and you’ll still hear the sound of
the Mississippi Delta. There’s no way around that. Say you’ve decided
to drive from New Orleans to Nashville. Whichever way you go—straight up
55 or heading northeast on 59—you’re gonna cut across Eden’s home state
of Mississippi. And that’s precisely the route Eden’s recording career
just took, as her last album—Ain’t Got No Troubles (recorded in New
Orleans in 2010)—gives way to her deepest, most personal album yet:
Jigsaw Heart, recorded in Nashville but shot through with Eden’s
Mississippi roots, out May 6.
To hear "Everybody Already Knows" and "The Last Time", please click here.
She chose to record this soulful slice of Americana at Ben’s Studio (Ben
Folds), formerly the historic RCA Studio A, laying down the tracks live
and with minimal isolation. True to life, Eden had to journey through
Mississippi to get from New Orleans (the location of her last recording)
to Nashville (the site of her new one), stirring up the echoes of her
past and reaching out to her stable of longtime friends, including
producer and guitarist extraordinaire Colin Linden (most recently of Bob
Dylan's band as well as production work for a host of luminaries from
Lucinda Williams to Lindi Ortega) to create this riveting, reflective
Jigsaw Heart connects an array of American music styles they sure love
down South—blues, gospel, soul, country and R&B—coming together in
an immensely satisfying melting pot of sound. Her cherished piano-bench
partner Boogaloo Ames would be proud of the three-time Blues Music Award
winner and her masterful piano work on the disc, which begins with the
blues and flowers outward from there. Notoriously eclectic himself when
it came to song choices, Boogaloo would be thrilled by the breadth of
styles and songs on her new album, starting with track one, Better This
Way. This Brent original—with its achingly slow tempo and seductive
fusion of blues, gospel and Nashville Sound strings—would surely have
started Ray Charles to rocking left and right.
Better This Way is not the album’s only heartbroken concession to lost
love. Jigsaw Heart—the album’s title track and emotional fulcrum—is a
stunning original about picking up the pieces of broken love, with tears
streaming and hope rising throughout Eden’s lyrics and the sublime
pedal-steel playing of Dan Dugmore. Jigsaw Heart is one of a few songs
here with chord changes and soulful piano passages that could have come
from Randy Newman, or even Sir Elton. Another dreamy look back is The
Last Time, a wistful tune with an intoxicating melody that again might
earn Eden comparisons to Norah Jones.
Jigsaw Heart is no downbeat trip, though. Track two, Everybody Already
Knows, sounds like a rockin’ classic everybody already knows, a
roadhouse boogie-woogie and a joyful embrace of unconcealed passion.
Locomotive speeds down the tracks with a train-track beat and some
crafty wordplay about a woman’s loco motives. And Opportunity is a
funky, gritty electric-piano tribute to one of Eden’s musical heroes,
Joan Armatrading. She also takes the time to honor Nina Simone (I Wish I
Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free) and Texas-swing songstress Toni
Price (Get the Hell Out of Dodge). It all leads up to the starkly
beautiful romantic confession of the final track, Valentine, penned by
Linden with Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy).
"I tried to go in a slightly different direction," she said of her new
album. "Nothing in particular made me take a new direction. I still love
the blues. I would have to leave the Delta if I didn't. I just needed
to stretch my legs."
She hasn’t left the Delta on Jigsaw Heart. She’s just out on a good, long walk, making new discoveries and sharing them with us.