Eden Brent plays 3 tracks from Jigsaw Heart, talks about her family's Mississippi roots, and talks about her apprenticeship with Boogaloo Ames.
Also on this episode, trippy rock from Ray LaMontagne, lonesome country by The Loudermilks, original string band music from Old Crow Medicine Show, blues from Keb' Mo', garage rock from Cowbell, Canadicana from Corb Lund, and a love song from John Hiatt.
Read a review of Jigsaw Heart.
- Julia / Ray LaMontagne / Supernova / 3:21
- Quite Honestly / Loudermilk / The Loudermilks / 3:52
- Sweet Amarillo / Old Crow Medicine Show / Remedy / 3:23
- Old Me Better / Keb' Mo' / Bluesamericana / 2:57
- Never Satisfied / Cowbell / Beat Stampede / 2:21
- Buckin' Horse Rider / Corb Lund / Counterfeit Blues / 4:01
- Terms Of My Surrender / John Hiatt / Terms Of My Surrender / 3:30
Eden Brent Info
Eden Brent Interview recap
Calvin and Eden Brent talk about Jigsaw Heart being her third nationally distributed album on Yellow Dog Records. She says she did have another album back in 2003 but she says "that was back when I was just getting started and the distributor was mostly me."
Eden Brent describes her music includes a lot of boogie because her mentor was Boogaloo Ames. She says "But he was from that era of piano players that could do just about anything He knew how to roll with the punches the way some of the superstars do now. Or like the Rolling Stones or B.B. King, some of these stars we've known for 40 or 50 or 60 years. Every decade they kind of reinvent themselves. And Boogaloo was that way. So I don't know what you would call what I do. I think I'm the worst judge to describe it as anybody in the world. I just do what I like and naturally because I'm from Mississippi it has a blues base and somewhat of a Mississippi sound. You know we have a blues trail here that celebrates all the blues players from here. We also have a country music trail here that celebrates all the country music folks that contributed to that Americana style. It borrows from all the roots I grew up with. A little bit of country a little bit of blues, well maybe a whole lot of blues.
Calvin asks Eden Brent if she is still based in Mississippi and if she has any regular gigs there. She says, I'm living in Greenville Mississippi. This is my hometown. For many years people ask me why I don't move to New York. Or why I don't move to Chicago or why I don't move to L.A. Or various other places where they thought the music scene would be happening. But I really love it here. I feel like this place belongs to me and I belong to it. We've got highways that go in all four directions and we've even got an airport. Plus we're right here on the Mississippi River so I can get out of here by air, land or water. I wouldn't want to be any other place. I like to visit other places. I don't have standing engagement here. But there are local places that i grew up playing in that I like to play. We got a blues bar. And there Little O's over there in Leland that's been there since 1935.
Eden Brent talks about here family connection to the Mississippi river. My family was in the river transportation business. My grandfather was a tow boat pioneer along the inland waterways. And as a matter of fact they've names a river museum down in Vicksburg after my grandfather, Jesse Brent. And they're just about to name the bridge here in Greenville that goes over the Mississippi River. There's not that many places you can cross the Mississippi. There's Greenville here were I am. There's a place 90 miles north of here at Helena, Arkansas. And 90 miles south at Vicksburg Mississippi. And what's really really such a celebration is they're gonna be naming the Greenville Bridge after my grandfather Jesse Brent.
Eden Brent sets up "Jig Saw Heart." She says, "Not only do I come from a family not only of tow boat pilots and river people, but also musicians. If not musicians, guitar players. My daddy taught us all the three chords he knows. So all of us play at least those three chords and some of us picked up one or two others along the way. Both of my sisters have written songs lately about broken hearts. My older sister wrote a song about broken hearts and my younger sister wrote a song where she mentions the old idea of love being a game. You know when you're playing a game with somebody that you are in love with. This song came from an intellectual idea of putting those two together. That a broken heart makes a lot of pieces and love is kind of a game. And all the pieces of the game could be a jigsaw puzzle that perhaps you could put back together. .... I'm particularly proud of the initial piano riff that I weave in and out of the entire song."
[Calvin plays "Jigsaw Heart" from Jigsaw Heart by Eden Brent.]
Eden Brent sets up "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free." She says, "That is a feel feel good song. Some years ago Boogaloo and me where Billie Taylor, who wrote that song, was here in Greenville playing. I was hanging out with Boogaloo so I felt really important. [laughs] and I got a chance to meet Billy Taylor and I thought he was super cool with his big ol' glasses and he played like a dream come true. And that song, because of the freedom it represents and the longing for freedom it represents, because it was written during the civil rights movement, you know. I think the audience here in Greenville really responded to that. Because we've come a long way towards understanding each other better all different kinds of people and coexisting in a much closer, next door neighbor kind of way. So that song got such a roaring applause. It was so many years later that I discovered Nina Simone and I wanted to copy here version a little. And I had thought about doing that song for this record and what it represents. But having been such a fan of Billy's version and Nina's version too. I was trying to do something a little different with it so here's what we came up with and I really love playing this one live too."
[Calvin plays "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" from Jigsaw Heart by Eden Brent.]
Calvin notes that her cover of the song has some swing to it. Eden Brent says, "I like to do songs that everybody has a kinship with. And no matter what your situation, everyone can feel a kinship with that song."
Calvin asks Eden how Eden Brent came to know Boogaloo Ames and how he influenced her career. She says, "Boogaloo was a big hit back in the 1940's in Detroit. He'd come from the south, but like so many southerners looking for better pay and so forth he migrated north to Detroit and wound but being really celebrated up there. Not as a recording artist but as a dance band. He had his own jazz orchestra during the hey day of jazz. Then later on up into the mid 60's he worked some with Barry Gordy. I don't know when Motown started but I know he did some work with Barry Gordy. So like I said he was able to roll with the punches ad make that transition from that whole jazz sound of the 40s moved into that beautiful soul and Motown sound. Then fortunate for me, unfortunate for his wife, he fell in love with another woman who needed to move back to Mississippi to look after her aging mother. And it wasn't too long after she moved back down to Mississippi that Boogaloo followed her and he never left. So by the late 70's all the folks here in the Mississippi knew who Boogaloo was because he played at all the parties. He was celebrated in Detroit in the 40s and by the 70's he was celebrated in the Greenville Mississippi. My parents knew him before I did. The first time I remember meeting him, I think I was just 16. And being that young, it just never occurred to me that someone that cool and that much older than me... he just seemed unapproachable to me, at that age. By the time I was 19, I'd nearly become sort of a groupie. I'd go hear him and request certain songs because I wanted to hear them and sort of watch over his shoulder a bit and watch the way he was playing. Sometimes I'd request the same thing over and over and go home and try to learn it. Finally, you know. After a few failures of not being able to pick it up on my own I was bold enough to ask him to teach me. And somehow we just jived. I think naturally he was flatters. I was damn good looking back then by the way. I'm sure it must have gotten a kick that this 60 year old man that this 19 year old punk wanted to hang out with him. I looked real good hanging on his arm. We really fell in love with each other not just musically, we were also kindred spirits. We were both about the same size so we had an easy time dancing together We loved to laugh together and we'd celebrate birthdays together. So essentially when I play the piano, most everything came from him. Event though in my teenage years and even today I listened to some things that Boogaloo wasn't that familiar with. Like John Prine or Joni Mitchell or James Taylor or Jackson Browne some of these things I listened to as a teenager and young adult he wasn't that hip to. He hadn't heard that stuff before so much. He was much more familiar with the popular kinds of music. So he taught me how to play and we also had a duo. I mean it changed my career in every single way. Not only by teaching me how to play but teaching me how to be an entertainer by teaching me how to enjoy life, by teaching me that money ain't everything. He taught me like a family member would. And of course my family adored him. And he adored my family. In fact the whole town celebrated the relationship. I don't think I ever would have had a solo career beyond him dying if he hadn't taught me a lot about how to carry on without him and also if folks hadn't supported me as his duo partner long before I was really qualified to be considered that. He kind of picked me up and carried me along and showed me the ropes the whole way through until I was actually kind of qualified. "
Eden Brent goes on to talk about the Mississippi Arts Commission offers a folk art apprenticeship that supported her lessons from Boogaloo.
Eden Brent sets up "Everybody Already Knows." She says "It was in the middle of the night. I was sort of in a celebratory mood. I live in a small town where your next door neighbor knows more about you than you do. And you know, even if people are talking about you, it's never that vicious of course and the fact is And if somebody's talking about you, that means you're interesting or doing something they want to do or are already doing. [laughs] I had a lot of fun writing this and it's a wonderful tune to play live and naturally it's just loaded with licks that Boogaloo showed me how to play."
[Calvin plays "Everybody Already Knows" from Jigsaw Heart by Eden Brent.]
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