BDM Music [Release date 17.02.17]
Brigitte DeMeyer’s last ‘less is more’ Americana release – Savannah Road (2014) – an album that transported you deep into the southern heartlands to a balmy ramshackle porch, a rocking chair and the sound of the swamps calling – was enough to have me searching her back catalogue. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Her latest offering finds Will Kimbrough (acoustic guitars, banjo, harmonica on her last two albums) elevated to co-writer and singer. Chris Donohue, who’s played on her last three albums continues to play upright bass, and in contrast to previous releases which have featured keys, drums, percussion and electric guitars, the cast list on Mockingbird Soul pretty much ends there.
So while the main ingredients of previous releases remain, Mockingbird Soul is a more stripped back effort, focusing on songs delivered with a sparse acoustic delivery. Kimbrough’s prominence also alters the dynamics with harmony vocals a prominent feature, and lead vocals shared.
So while there’s a clear chemistry as the duo plough Southern blues infused fields, Mockingbird Soul is a measured distance from DeMeyer’s ‘solo’ work. As always, her vocals are exemplary, the harmonising works well, and there’s some impeccable playing.
But for me, while there are some real highs – the opener ‘Everything’ – a delicate harmony folk/country number, the Dan Tyminski-infused ‘Broken Fences’, and the upright bass dominated title track, overall Mockingbird Soul lacks the diversity and cohesion of DeMeyer’s own releases. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
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