Jigsaw Heart

Eden Brent

Take Eden Brent to a Nashville studio and you still hear the Mississippi Delta. Recording in the historic RCA Studio A with producer/guitarist extraordinaire Colin Linden, the blues-piano songstress stretched her musical legs, ambling into soulful Americana territory. But by reaching back to Mississippi — recalling memories, old friends and all she learned from her piano mentor Boogaloo Ames — she has made her deepest, most reflective album yet.

Ames would be proud of the three-time Blues Music Award winner and her piano work on Jigsaw Heart, which takes root in the blues and flowers outward. Notoriously eclectic himself when it came to song choices, Boogaloo surely would be pleased by the breadth of styles on her new album, starting with track one, Better This Way. This original, with its achingly slow tempo and seductive fusion of blues, gospel and Nashville Sound strings, would surely have started Ray Charles to rocking left and right.

There are other heartbroken concessions to lost love here: the soul-stirring title track and The Last Time, a wistful tune with an intoxicating melody that again might earn Eden comparisons to Norah Jones. But this album is no downbeat trip. Everybody Already Knows is pure roadhouse boogie-woogie. Locomotive speeds along with a train-track beat. Opportunity is a funky electric-piano tribute to Joan Armatrading (Nina Simone and Toni Price also receive shout-outs with well-chosen cover songs).

Throughout Jigsaw Heart, we find evidence of an album born in Music City. The musicianship and arrangements are outstanding and exquisite vocals share space with sweeping strings. Blues, gospel, soul, country and R&B merge in a melting pot of sound. This is an album forged in Nashville, but it couldn’t have been made without materials collected in Mississippi and all along Eden’s journey in life and music.
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