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Eden Brent - Mississippi Number One
Yellow Dog Records

 15 songs; 57:32 minutes; Suggested

 Genre: Piano Blues, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, and Soul

 Dear Skyy,

     What’s a guy to do? I’ve got rocking pneumonia, but no boogie-woogie blues! Late last night as I was trying to get my baby comfortable, I put on a new CD that was supposed to be blues. But, it was just more rock being passed off as blues. You know, one ponderous screaming guitar solo after another just didn’t strike the mood for which I was desperately searching. I was looking for...well, never mind what I was looking for. Rest assured, I didn’t find it. Can you help?


Lance Hardwood


     Too bad you did not have Eden Brent’s debut release (second overall) on Yellow Dog Records, Mississippi Number One. Here you can find piano in the lead with nary a harsh note from accompanying guitars, harmonica, and horns. Eden Brent’s singing voice ranges from  melancholic whisper to sultry sexy to soul wailing, and the songs vary from slow blues to jazzy bounce to gospel soul to flat out boogie-woogie. Get this CD, and you’ll get in the groove.


Mississippi born and bred (a native of Greenville MS), Eden Brent has proven her merit over and over from performing internationally to sharing a bill with BB King at the 2005 Presidential Inauguration to winning the 2006 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo division. She is a self-described "song interpreter," and her interpretations of jazz, blues, soul and pop are expressive and memorable. This album reveals she is also a gifted songwriter of her own originals. In a heady move, Dawn Hopkins of Blue Eyed Bitches Productions fame was brought in to co-produce with Brent.

Brent enjoyed a sixteen-year apprenticeship with duo partner, the late Abie “Boogaloo” Ames (1918 - 2002), who dubbed her "Little Boogaloo." Although she achieved a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas, Brent credits Ames with teaching her to play piano. "Music school taught me to think, but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie," she says. Together with Ames, Brent starred in the 1999 television documentary, Boogaloo & Eden: Sustaining the Sound. The award-winning feature, which aired nationally on PBS affiliates, explored the bond between mentor and protégé.

Of the title track (and album), Brent writes, “Mississippi Number One began as a solo record in April 2006 and is a tribute to my home and its blues highway, Mississippi State Highway 1, which is less traveled but follows the original blues highway, the Mississippi River, much more devotedly than its parallel neighbor, US Highway 61. Over the trio of piano, bass, and drums, she sings, “It’s the last of the blues highways / I recommend it if you have the time / It won’t get you there in a hurry / But you’re sure to have a lot of fun.”

The CD kicks off with an energetic two fisted keyboard workout backed by Jimmi Kinard on bass and James Robertson on drums. The music is ironically rousing in wake of the theme of economic loss in the delta region written by her mother Carole Brent. That despair has appeared in more than one artist’s song, but the pain is no less. “I got the Washington County / My factory done shut down blues,” Eden sings with first hand knowledge.

Standouts include Brent solo on piano breathily singing “Why Don’t You Do Right” popularized by Peggy Lee, the bouncy “Fried Chicken” by Greenville’s Jimmy Phillips accompanied only by Rick Chancey’s guitar and harmonica, the silky smooth song - another penned by her mother Carole Brent - “love Me ‘Til Dawn,” and Eden’s own powerful Gospel closer with full choir (including Reba Russell), “Until I Die.”

The only misstep I found is an attempt to make-it-her-own” on the song “Trouble In Mind.” Artists often arrange a cover song to give it a fresh sound, but here the pacing is disjointed. This has always been one of my favorite songs, but while the music sounds great, the vocal delivery has the lines coming out stutter spaced instead of smoothly read.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Eden Brent live at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival where she proved to be a first class entertainer. This CD is a clear reflection of her well developed live talent and a showcase of an expert growth into her own songwriting.

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL

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