Winter Park / Live Music: Mississippi warm up in the Rocky Mountain winter snow
February 22, 2008
The Grand County Blues Society is pleased to announce its next concert, which features Reba Russell and Eden Brent – two women exploring classic blues with sultry vocals.
Brent, who is best known for her piano boogie-woogies and vocal ballads, learned from and played as a duo with the late Abie “Boogaloo” Ames who dubbed the star “Little Boogaloo.” She earned a bachelor’s degree in music theory but credits Ames with teaching her how to “really play.”
“Music school taught me to think,” she said, “but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie.”
She is a native of the Mississippi Delta river town, Greenville and her most recent album pays tribute to the area with songs such as “Fried Chicken.”
Her performance Feb. 29 is just one stop of many on a year-long tour promoting an album, set for release soon with the first copies available at the show.
Growing up, music was a big part of her family who “would sit around the kitchen table, pass the guitar around and sing songs together.” Her mother was a model and entertainer; her dad played guitar. Her three siblings took piano lessons and her parents talked their teacher into taking her on as a student at age 5.
Nowadays, Brent appears regularly at festivals, concerts, nightclubs and organizes workshops. Her mother and sisters, who are also songwriters, have also joined Brent to play several festivals together.
Her eclectic style with fused elements of blues, jazz, soul and pop have already been a hit in Grand County with performances at the Church of What’s Happening Now and the 2007 Blues from the Top music festival. “The Grand County Blues Society is appropriately named because the members and supporters of the Society have been perfectly grand to me,” she said. “They are avid music lovers and supporters and really go out of their way to make a chilly gal from Mississippi warm up in the Rocky Mountain winter snow.”
For the show next Friday, Brent will start off the concert with a solo set on piano, followed by a performance by the Reba Russell band.
Ultimately, the show will also include the two playing together.
With a long list of collaborative projects, this is not the first time the women have worked together. Brent and Russell work with the same recording and sound engineer, music producer Dawn Hopkins (who introduced the two) and Russell performed a couple voice tracks on Brent’s newest album.
“Reba is a great songwriter and singer, and she’s very versatile stylistically,” Brent said. “She can blend really well or belt it out, depending on what a song needs. But what makes her popular with the crowds is that she knows how to relate to a live audience and show them a good time.
“What makes her more appealing is that she’s a down-home kind of country gal who people can relate to. Yeah, she’s on stage, and yeah, she’s a diva, but she’s approachable.”
Brent said she hopes the audience “feels as big a part of the show as I am, because they are.
“I really like people. I like to think of a performance as an exchange.”
Russell hopes audiences come away from the show with “joy, smiles, chill bumps and a good dose of the Delta feeling.”
Tickets are available at Radio Shack, Smokin’ Moe’s and at http://www.grandblues.org.