Seamless blend of roots, soul and gospel with top-notch vocals.
Many AUK aficionados will be familiar with Brigitte DeMeyers’ music through her highly regarded collaboration with Will Kimbrough, their 2017 release ‘Mockingbird Soul’ scoring 8/10 in our review, and her latest solo album, ‘Seeker’, maintains this high standard. Equal star billing goes to her distinctive and soulful vocals, and the lead role taken in the ten original songs–as co-writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist–by Jano Rix, a member of roots trio Wood Brothers, and who also appeared on ‘Mockingbird Soul’.
Arrangements are a seamless blend of roots, soul, blues and gospel, with Rix’s piano leaning at times to jazz as well, creating an atmospheric sound, combining the intimacy of a front porch and the chilled vibe of a cellar club.
A native of California, DeMeyer spent some years in Nashville, before returning to San Francisco, but retains her working relationships there, as evidenced by the fine musicians who join her on this release.
Opening track ‘All The Blue’ sets the tone, with a laid back and brooding sound, led by Rix’s percussion on shuitar, an acoustic guitar adapted to a new rhythmic role and featuring Viktor Krauss on upright bass, and JP Ruggieri on pedal steel and acoustic guitars. You can feel the heat of the cotton fields as Meyer sings “High cotton/Don’t know nothin’Never pulled no weeds and thorns/Ain’t got the worryAin’t got the hurry/Ain’t got the dark enough to see the stars”.
‘Salt of the Earth‘ finds DeMeyer in soulful mode, supported on vocals by Oliver Wood, and fine keys from Rix, while downtempo ‘Louisiana’, with Rix on piano again, has a bluesy feel prominent throughout the album, and DeMeyer taking the vocals into a gospel-infused zone.
Production takes an interesting twist on ‘Already In’, a stripped back arrangement on acoustic guitar and vocals, with the distinctive tone of the mellotron adding a subtle flavour as the track builds, and DeMeyer sings “Miss magnolia/I don’t know ya/But you hold me in your palm/Tis the hour/Diamond flower/That you got me comin’ home/Mister midnight said it just right/From the hotel Deville/Once you get the bite in you/Keep on coming back to get your fill”.
The jazz side of the DeMeyer/Rix collaboration comes to the fore on ‘Aint no Mister’, with the piano, upright bass and drums backing subtly enhanced with Rixs’ organ, while on ‘Cat Man Do’ and ‘Wishbone’ tasteful slide guitar take us back to the blues.
Throughout DeMeyers vocals are a real pleasure, drawing comparisons to Rosie Flores and the most recent release from Sonny Ozell, as well as Bonnie Raitt.
The line up is completed by Chris Wood ( upright and electric bass), Oliver Wood ( electric guitars and harmony vocals), and Alfreda McCrary (backing and harmony vocals), and also features Ted Pecchio (bass) and Kris Donnegan ( guitars).
This is definitely an album to return to – it has the feel of a set by a favourite artist in your favourite club venue.