My wife and I were living in our first apartment in Athens when late one night I was watching TV alone and Norah Jones’ video for “Don’t Know Why” came on. I didn’t know who Jones was. I didn’t know what that music was but I couldn’t shake free of it. It reached into my chest with its wistful longing and regret and took me hostage.
A couple years later, I came in contact with a label rep for Yellow Dog Records who had a new record from Eden Brent, who I’d never heard of. I read her bio and found it compelling personally and musically. Brent formed a special bond with the late blues pianist “Boogaloo” Ames and went on the road with them, the two of them learning from each other. Through that relationship and her own independent musical studies, Brent struck out on her own and awed audiences, winning the International Blues Challenge.
The label rep sent me this new CD and I felt a similar gravitational pull towards Mississippi No. 1 that I’d experienced with Come Away With Me. My review of that album was one of the first to hit the ‘net, which I only know because I wanted to find out if anyone else was feeling the same way.
The Eden Brent phenomenon didn’t have the same meteoric reach as Jones’ debut but since Mississippi No. 1, Brent has won multiple Blues Music Awards and the title track from her upcoming album Aint Got No Troubles has been featured at NPR. Our little Eden is all grow’d up, no longer the girl from small town Mississippi with big dreams.
I want to stress: Eden Brent is not Norah Jones. Yes, they’re both women and they both play piano. Both have distinct voices with unique phrasing and cadences. Jones’ sound blends elements of jazz, pop standards, and country. Brent sings and plays the blues with a touch of Carole King, a hint of Aretha Franklin, and like Jones’ best songs, Brent’s original compositions sound like they’ve always existed without sounding like every song you’ve ever heard.
Maybe you’re one of those who doesn’t buy many CDs in any given year. Maybe you, like me, don’t really consider yourself a jazz or jazz-pop fan yet something magical happened with Jones’ beautiful, spellbinding debut and despite it all you rolled the dice and took a chance on it only to discover what a lovely, timeless record it was. If you rolled the dice on Jones and want to experience that same rush, Brent’s new record Ain’t Got No Troubles just might be your moment. Give this album a chance. Play it for your friends. Be the fire starter.
Ain’t Got No Troubles comes out in stores September 7.