Eden Brent’s piano playing and singing style ranges from a melancholic whisper to a full-blown juke joint holler. She’s simultaneously confident and confiding, ably blending an earthy mix of jazz, blues, soul, and pop as she huskily invites listeners into her lazy, lush world.
That world lies just east 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 Beulah, Wayside, and Stovall before it dead ends into Highway 61 just south of Onward.
Brent actually grew up on Highway 1, where she was able to develop her gutsy vocal-and-piano chops via family sing-a-longs, a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas, and a 16-year apprenticeship with the late blues pioneer Boogaloo Ames, who ultimately dubbed his protégé “Little Boogaloo.”
“Music school taught me to think, but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie,” says Brent, who appeared alongside her mentor in the 1999 PBS documentary Boogaloo & Eden: Sustaining the Sound and in the 2002 South African production Forty Days in the Delta.
Yet much more than the blues flows through Brent’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 a few hundred miles due north of New Orleans.
With the release of Mississippi Number One, Brent is now ready to take her place as one of the fresh voices propelling this vital American music forward. As Chip Eagle, publisher of Blues Revue, BluesWax, and Dirty Linen says, “in Eden’s huge playing and singing you can hear the ghosts of Mississippi in a duet with the future of the blues.”
“Brent’s raw talent enables her to sing and play bawdy blues and sophisticated jazz and everything that lies in between damn near as good as the best who ever did... This gal will be a star.” —Elmore
“A kick-ass, high octane set that’s both polished and heartfelt, Brent is going to be one of the best finds of the year and now is the time for smarty-pants know-it-alls to hop on board if they want early bragging rights. Killer stuff throughout.” —Midwest Record
“In a world where flash nearly always dazzles more than substance, Mississippi Number One is a spectacularly moving musical statement, with strength, depth and beauty to spare.” —Rambles