NPR has called Eden Brent "irresistably fresh" but I think "modernly authentic" might be a tad more specific 'cause when you listen to Jigsaw Heart, you're going to be struck by a rootsy blues-soul sound that in one cut seems to be wrenched from a N'awlins juice joint (Everybody Already Knows), in another track as if from a Rodgers & Hart western musical (Better This Way), and yet another seemingly from a collaboation of Paul Williams and Randy Newman (Panther Burn). That's Brent all over, ranging the territory, especially on this particular disc, but the fact that the daunting Canadian wunderkind Colin Linden produced the release and plays guitar sure didn't hurt one little bit.
Let's Go Ahead and Fall in Love, a Brent original, may be the most faithful to her standard old-timey way of things, an earthily ribald cut travelling back to saloons and bordellos while Tendin' to a Broken Heart marries Ma Rainey to Sinatra in the doldrums. Brent digs Joan Armatrading, Toni Price, and Nina Simone, among others, and pays tribute throughout the CD to them. Her piano work is as on the mark and variegated as ever, from boogie to ballads to rockin' blues. Locomotive is a particularly perky number, something bridging the 50s into 70s, old folky strains with early Brit Invasion blues, Linden playing a righteous slide steel guitar (or perhaps a dobro).
What's prompted the widespread acceptance and embrasure of Brent is her ever maturing identification with the source materials of her wont while retransmitting them back to the audience, drawing all and sundry into the Delta familiarity of times past, things forgotten, and desired objects and states of mind now lost in the mindless hustle and vacuous pursuits of modern life. "Really?", she asks without speaking, "you want that and not this? Are ya kidding?" When listening to music of this nature, one wonders about stocks and bonds as versus sitting on the porch, watching the sun go down; one questions the wisdom of SUVing to Vegas versus walking with the kids to the park; and of course that goddamned TV program doesn't seem nearly so inviting as having a beer with the neighbors…or does it? Is that really something we even bother with any more? You'll be pondering such matters when the last cut, Valentine, fades into the distance.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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