Artist: Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough
Album: Mockingbird Soul
Label: BDM Music via Sony RED
Release Date: 01/27/2017
It’s all about chemistry translating to an intimate, passionate, smooth soulful groove. On this, their third album together, the two decided to use both names, for the first time, as an official duo. DeMeyer, a sultry, emotive singer who grew up in California, has found a solid match with Alabama-raised, guitar and songwriting ace Kimbrough. Both now reside in Nashville and have become close friends. You can certainly hear that closeness in this warm, acoustic album. Kimbrough, as you may know, has played with Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Todd Snider and Jimmy Buffett, among others. He works with Tommy Womack in Daddy and in the band Willie SugarCapps. DeMeyer, prior to her collaborations with Kimbrough, had solo albums propelled by the likes of Buddy Miller and Brady Blade.
Both are literature buffs and that influence plays into this effort, especially on tracks like “Little Easy” and “Rainy Day.” The latter’s rather swampy vibe is abetted by Chris Wood on acoustic bass. Oliver Wood cowrote and adds his vocals to “Carpet Bagger’s Lullaby,” one of the album’s stronger cuts. The Wood Brothers’ third member, Jano Rix, adds percussion and shuitar to “The Juke” and Micol Davis adds tambourine to the opener, “Everything.” Aside from those spots, it’s all about Brigitte’s and Will’s vocals, one ukulele spot from DeMeyer, bass from Chris Donohue and goosebump inducing blues inflected guitar from Kimbrough, especially notable on the closing tune, the Incredible String Band’s “October Song.”
DeMeyer is especially bluesy on “The Juke” and “Honey Bee.” In fact, she is downright sexy. The two readily pick up on each other’s musical strengths. DeMeyer, commenting on the last track which might as well represent the entire effort, says, “For me, that’s where our chemistry comes from when you get that vibe. It feels really good. That’s where the high comes from. I consistently get that high when playing with Will.” Kimbrough offers this on the album, “We kept it spare so that each instrument would have its own space to swagger around. You can hear the wood of the instruments. And the voices too. That’s the living, breathing heart of it. We wanted this to be about the two of us.”
You may reflect on some other influences as you listen. Apparently, “October Song” reminded Kimbrough of Townes Van Zandt and “Honey Bee,” according to Brigitte, was influenced by Lennon–McCartney’s “Blackbird.” This is back porch music. Settle in and listen intently. It will move you.