Despite the fact that Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough have been working together for six years and collaborated on two albums Mockingbird Soul is their first official release as a duo. There are lots of influences here; blues, gospel, early jazz, bluegrass, folk. Music that DeMeyer characterises as acoustic soul. DeMeyer has a wonderfully soulful and sultry voice that has in the past been compared to the best of Emmylou, Lucinda and Bonnie Raitt. There are certainly a couple of tracks here that bring to Bonnie to mind, not least the title track and Rainy Day, both of which typify what the album is all about; crystal clear vocals, beautifully symbiotic harmonies and sparse, minimalistic accompaniment. On Mockingbird Soul that accompaniment is restricted to Will’s favourite instrument, his vintage Gibson J-45 while Rainy Day allows Chris Wood on Upright Bass to lead the way.
That is the joy of this album. The tracks come together to make one perfectly formed whole but there are subtle variations in style and content throughout that allow Brigitte to bring a wide range of vocal styles to the album and for Will to demonstrate the talents that made him the Americana Music Association’s Instrumentalist of the Year in 2004. The musical chemistry here is a wonderful thing to behold, from the back-porch blues of The Juke with Will’s teasing harmonica to Honey Bee, a sexy, bluesy vamp that was, actually, written on a back porch, and is one of the album’s more light hearted numbers.
Brigitte and/or Will have penned or co-written all of these songs bar one Incredible String Band cover, October Song, and the whole project comes across as a labour of love. As well as the aforementioned Chris Wood, they have great support from Chris Donohue, Oliver Wood and Jano Rix. Collaborations within the country/folk/Americana genres are nothing new and some make more of a lasting impression than others. When they work, they bring great joy to the world and this duo do that in spades with this thing of great beauty.
If you are not beguiled from the very first gentle offering, Everything, a gorgeous, understated opener then this is not the music for you in which case you have stumbled into the wrong website!