3.5 out of 5 stars. This stripped-down debut collaboration should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of singer-songwriters Brigitte DeMeyer or Will Kimbrough. They have collaborated since meeting in 2009 and have shown in their own work they appreciate the concept of stripping songs and production down to its roots.
Still, this debut linking both voices along with Kimbrough’s generally acoustic (sometimes electric) guitar, stand-up bass, occasional ukulele (from DeMeyer) and Kimbrough’s harmonica with little else is a revelation of sorts. When they harmonize on the deeply emotional opening track, singing “all you are to me is everything,” (is there a more passionate statement?) it’s clear these two were made to sing together. Throughout the next 11 tracks, ten of which are originals, the duo swap lead vocals, swoop their voices together and revel in a sweet, sometimes tough set of gospel-influenced folk, blues, backwoods country and some rock and roll.
It may come as a surprise to many people, even those who consider themselves fans of the respective artists, that Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer are just now making their first album. After randomly meeting in 2009 when booked as solo artists on a Music City Roots bill, the pair quickly formed a friendship, have toured the United States and Europe extensively, and have collaborated on each other’s solo works. But Mockingbird Soul, releasing Jan. 27, is their first official work as a duo.
On the surface, they seem like a musical odd couple. DeMeyer is the California-bred late bloomer who didn’t start writing music until her mid-20s. Kimbrough is the Alabama-born long time Nashville fixture who has been shaping Music City’s modern Americana scene since the mid-’80s with groups like Will & the Bushmen, The Bisquits, Daddy, and Willie Sugarcapps as well as his production and instrumental work with everyone from Jimmy Buffett to Todd Snider to Emmylou Harris. But the pair bonded over their broad love of what Kimbrough calls “the good stuff”, ranging from Mavis Staples to Big Star to The Beatles.
Singer/songwriters Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough have known each other for at least half a dozen years and worked together on several projects since. Nevertheless, Mockingbird Soul marks their debut as a duo. In retrospect, it seems strange that the two haven’t opted for co-billing before, given the fact that they create such a supple blend when they join their voices in harmony – opening track “Everything” and the sweet and serene “I Can Hear Your Voice” being two prime examples. Or when they simply share their songwriting skills on the majority of the dozen tracks that make up this exceptional effort.
That said, the synchronicity is mostly evident in the common template they share when it comes to blues, soul and a kind of rough-hewn Americana that seems to derive from rootsier realms. The rustic trappings of songs such as “Broken Fences” and “Rainy Day” suggest a sound borne from the bayou and the grittier surroundings where original blues was originally born. And while there are mellower moments found as well – the lovely “Until Then” and the beguiling ballad “Little Easy” in particular – it’s that bluesy vibe, which is purveyed overall.
Will Kimbrough is just too talented and inspiring. I know it is irrational jealousy as I have no musical talent, and I am sure I am better at a couple things that Kimbrough is—not much market for ability to recite random facts from the backs of 70s O-Pee-Chee hockey cards, though.
Equal parts Buddy Miller, Larry Jon Wilson, and Darrell Scott, Kimbrough churns out albums of excellence and depth like few I can think of in the broad Americana world. He is a guitarist of significance, coaxing notes and moods that are, depending on the context, soulful country or rapid-fire rock. It seems like he always has a new recording out whether with one of his bands—Daddy and Willie Sugarcapps— or as a solo artist. He has produced dozens (including Fervor Coulee favourites Doug Seegers, Kate Campbell, and Todd Snider) and collaborated with more (Amy Black, Tom Russell, Rodney Crowell, Greg Trooper, Billy Joe Shaver, and Gretchen Peters) always bringing impressive qualities to projects. His songs have been recorded by Jack Ingram, Jimmy Buffett, Little Feet, and the Hard Working Americans.
It seems that every time I turn around I am dropping dollars on a Kimbrough-associated recording, and that gets expensive. I know I’m not the only one who appreciates Kimbrough as I’ve purchased Kimbrough recordings that are no longer on my shelves: to my consternation, they’ve been lent out and not returned.
No, I don’t like Will Kimbrough. I kinda love him.
I’m starting to feel the same way about Brigitte DeMeyer. Unfortunately, I had never heard of her prior to finding out she was releasing Mockingbird Soul with Kimbrough, the album shortly to be under discussion. I`ve dropped dollars on three of her albums since receiving this album for review, and I still have a number to explore—like Kimbrough, she is costing me money. Additionally, DeMeyer can sing. Man, can she sing.
Having appeared on each others’ albums and performed together, the pair have released their debut recording, one that is certainly going to be considered on many year-end, ‘best of’ lists when the time comes.
Though we didn’t even know it, we have been waiting for the new collaboration record from Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer. It has been a wait because the duo began playing together more than five years ago, and have only just now decided to make an album. And it is a low key beauty that will sneak up on you in the cold, dark, end of January. Mockingbird Soul is a collection of stunning vocal harmonies and minimalistic arrangements that would be perfectly suited to an intimate live show.
I’ve been a Will Kimbrough fan since I saw his early band Will & the Bushmen way back in the ’80s. His sharp songwriting and ace guitar playing never fails to delight, be it in the Alabama supergroup Willie Sugarcapps, or alongside Tommy Womack in Daddy, or behind the mixing board as producer for Todd Snider’s brilliant East Nashville Skyline from 2004. DeMeyer I wasn’t as familiar with but she runs in a good crowd- she toured with blues legend John Mayall, and made solo records with drummer Brady Blade and Kimbrough.
But’s it’s not until now that the two decided to put both their names on an album, and the wonderful Mockingbird Soul is the result, and it’s as good as you’d expect. The record is low-key and acoustic, with Will and Brigitte joined by bassist Chris Donohue. The sound is warm, inviting and soulful in a mix that ranges from the funky “The Juke” to “Running Round”, led by Kimbrough’s fancy fingerpicking. Chris Woods, from Atlanta’s Wood Brothers adds some nimble upright bass on “Rainy Day”, while DeMeyer and Kimbrough sing as one on the magical “Little Easy”, sounding a bit like this generations Emmylou and Gram.
The Nashville Skyline team of Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough team up for a rich and intimate pairing of sounds and souls. Brigitte sings and plays ukulele, Will sings, plays guitar and blows the harmonica and bassist Chris Donohue keeps it together with his upright bass along with some cameo appearances.
The voices meld like a rich Pomodoro sauce on the cozy “Everything” and “I Can Hear Your Love” while strings pick and grin along the Cumberland Gap on “Until Then” and “Running Round.” Kimbrough himself is folksy with an edge on “Broken Fences” and DeMeyer is bluesy alongside Kimbrough’s harmonica as she jives on “The Juke.” Donohue delivers a rich tone as the team swings easy on “Rainy Day” and the team takes you to the delta on the mossy title track. Earthy with red clay.
When a relentless mockingbird took up residence in the backyard of Brigitte DeMeyer’s Nashville home, the feathered interloper inspired an allegory. “I likened the pining and longing of my soul to a mockingbird that won’t leave you alone,” she recalls.
The subsequent song “Mockingbird Soul,” gives title to a full-length collection that DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough, longtime friends, are releasing as their first official collaboration.
Both have formidable solo careers. Brigitte DeMeyer, who is originally from San Diego, CA, is known for a string of well-regarded releases including 2014’s Savannah Road, and has toured as an opening act with Bob Dylan, Gregg Allman and John Mayall.
Kimbrough, a superlative guitarist, has collaborated as a songwriter and toured with Todd Snider, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Buffett and many others. A noted producer, in addition to recording solo projects he performs in the band Daddy with Tommy Womack, and is a member of the group Willie SugarCapps.
DeMeyer says that audiences took notice of the strong connection she and Kimbrough share. “At first I was opening for him, then I would sit in on his sets and him on mine. We meshed our sets into a duo and people were asking for the record.”
Somebody should record a remake of Delaney and Bonnie’s 1971 country-blues extrapolation Motel Shot, and I’m certain Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough could pull it off. Raised in San Diego, DeMeyer moved to Nashville in 2010 and worked with Kimbrough on a couple of full-lengths before cutting this year’s Mockingbird Soul, the duo’s first true collaboration. A Mobile, Ala., native who’s made a name as an ace Music City guitarist and exponent of self-revealing singer-songwriter rock, Kimbrough proves himself a superb blues-soul-folk accompanist throughout Mockingbird Soul — listen to how he inhabits Robin Williamson’s 1966 “October Song,” a number from The Incredible String Band’s first album. I also like the record’s “Carpetbagger’s Lullaby,” a soul tune performed as a jazz waltz. Mockingbird Soul will do until they get around to that Motel Shot remake. (Really: Think about it, guys.)
It takes a certain synergy for two artists to combine their talents and create what becomes a singular vision. singer/songwriter Brigitte DeMeyer and acclaimed instrumentalist Will Kimbrough have been friends and musical collaborators for several years, working together on and off on various projects and with other notables as well. It’s a bit strange then that Mockingbird Soul marks their first effort in tandem. Yet, in hearing the way they blend their voices, particularly on opening track “Everything” and the sweet and serene “I Can Hear Your Voice,” it’s all the more remarkable that they haven’t opted for a joint venture before now.
3 Stars. Nashville denizens DeMeyer and Kimbrough keep it simple on this modest “acoustic soul” outing, their warm vocal chemistry primarily accompanied only by Kimbrough’s guitar. The resulting living-room vibe complements DeMeyer’s sultry vocal style as well as Kimbrough’s expressive fretwork, and allows the midtempo, soul- and gospel-veined songs to breathe. Highlights include the slow-grooving title track, the New Orleans-inspired “The Juke” and “Little Easy,” “Carpet Bagger’s Lullaby.” Recommended for fans of Patty Griffin, Buddy & Julie Miller.
Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough have been singing and playing together for several years. They have collaborated on each other’s records and performed in concert as a tandem. But Mockingbird Soul marks the first time the Nashville-based musicians are co-billed on an official release.
There’s a bit more Kimbrough on this album than there has been on previous discs, but the duo remains essentially the same. DeMeyer’s rich vocals sound steeped in a Southern swampy vibe. One can feel the humidity and Spanish moss dripping from the notes. Her voice dominates when she and Kimbrough harmonize, but he provides the solid ground from which she can fly. The title track works as a fine example of this as DeMeyer praises a bird singing outside her bedroom window with an intonation that resembles the eponymous creature. Kimbrough joins in quietly as a whisper before offering a low-toned counterpoint to the higher pitched DeMeyer. He lets his guitar do most of the talking.
Brigitte DeMeyer & Will Kimbrough’s first collaborations began some 6 years ago (first on DeMeyer’s 2011 release, Rose of Jericho and Savannah Road in 2014), while continuing to forge successful solo careers themselves. Brigitte DeMeyer’s work has received very favourable reviews comparing her blues-folk-rock to early Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow with the gutsiness of Little Feat’s initial outings. She has opened for Bob Dylan and toured with John Mayall. Similarly, Will Kimbrough’s solo and band work has been championed by critics both sides of the Atlantic with vocal, lyrical and style comparisons to John Lennon, Billy Joel, George Harrison and Neil Flynn to mention just a few. He has toured and collaborated with the likes of Todd Snider and Emmylou Harris. DeMeyer and Kimbrough’s career path together has seen them hone their song-crafting skills, showcasing their talents across North America and Europe. Based in Nashville, this is their first album as an official duo and brings their love of, and influences from blues, gospel, early jazz and country music together; “the good stuff” as Kimbrough calls it. DeMeyer characterises their seamless blend as acoustic soul.
Patience proved to be a valuable tool in the creation of Mockingbird Soul, the recent co-billed album from Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough. The pair had been writing songs for several years as well as recording and touring together. Mockingbird Soul gracefully puts on display the results, the title track echoing Blues on an arrangement existing of a bass line and electric guitar notes as Brigitte DeMeyer encourages to pay attention to the quiet and hear the ‘whisper of your mockingbird soul’. Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough give low tones and hushed interpretation center stage on Mockingbird Soul. A peaceful stillness wraps around the album, Will Kimbrough providing the intention of the musicians behind Mockingbird Soul saying that ‘we kept it spare so that each instrument would have its own space to swagger around. You can hear the wood of the instruments, the lyrics. And the voices, too. That’s the living, breathing heart of it. We wanted this to be about the two of us’.
After years of writing, recording, touring and collaborating Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough join together as an official duo on Mockingbird Soul which was released on January 27th. The twelve-song collection (of which the two co-wrote ten) begins with DeMeyer taking the lead on the soothing, romantic “Everything” which is followed by the “Broken Fences” a song that spotlight the duo’s harmonies, and the funky-blues of “The Juke” which features Kimbrough’s harmonica and DeMeyer’s sultry vocals. The diverse project includes the jazz inspired old-timey feel of “Running Round” lends itself to the theme of the passage of time, the bluesy gospel-tinged title track, the glorious duet “Little Easy,” and the affecting “I Can Hear Your Voice” which tells of the ache of a parent who is physically present but whose mind has flown.
Download a full list of reviews for Rose of Jericho
The album gets off to a flying start with the fiddle-based opener One Wish. It’s best not to try to pigeonhole the CD in terms of a description because there is bluegrass, country, folk, blues, gospel and New Orleans influences (especially on the playful Alright A Comin’) throughout a varied albums. DeMeyer has written the 12 songs and good they are too, especially West Side Mama, South Side Me.
Rose of Jericho is singer/songwriter Brigitte DeMeyer’s fifth album. The sound is drenched in New Orleans style R&B missed with country blues and a whole lot of other folksy Southern ingredients that have nothing to do with her biography as the daughter of Belgian and German immigrants, who was raised in the Midwest and California. As in the case of Welch, so what? We are not determined by circumstance but by our imaginations. The dozen tasty self-penned tracks on DeMeyer’s latest release reveal she has a powerful and creative musical intelligence. She may not be authentic. She’s better than that.
Brigitte DeMeyer’s first new album since moving to Nashville from the Bay Area last year (and her fifth overall), Rose of Jericho is a delight, mining all the finest elements of Americana, blues and roots rock music while avoiding the songwriting and musical clichés that weigh down so much similarly labeled music.
A singer-songwriter who still somehow flies under the radar, each album sounds like the one to change that. Brigitte DeMeyer combines the soft beauty of Emmylou Harris with the more rough and tumble take of Lucinda Williams. It’s a rareified air, and somehow, someway, someday has to break through. Rose of Jericho could well be the album to do just that.
As the main stage shut down for another year, there was excitement in the barn with the arrival of festival favourite Brigitte DeMeyer. This lady blew me away last year with her incredible voice and laid back bluesy style. If anything I think she was even better this time around. Accompanied on (amongst other things) trombone (brilliant!) by stand in band Two Fingers of Firewater, she’s a charismatic performer, at ease with her audience. Embracing gospel, country, rock and blues amongst other genres, the songs are accomplished and stylised and that voice – well, it’s simply astonishing; moody, soulful, embracing. What a show.
Brigitte DeMeyer’s brand of Americana is gritty and direct, even as her sweetly soulful voice keeps Red Fiver Flower as lovely as it is cutting.
COUNTRY WEEKLY : RED RIVER FLOWER : 4 STAR REVIEW
Despite all those high-powered players, it’s DeMeyer’s own artistry that shines through. With an earthy soulful voice, she comes off something like Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer’s unknown sister, or perhaps like Sheryl Crow…at her finest when she delves into country soul.
NO DEPRESSION : RED RIVER FLOWER
DeMeyer’s music could be called “blue-eyed country soul”. Her strong lead vocals have a wonderful fluidity. Her strong flexible voice an effortlessly bend notes with honey-coated creativity. The arrangements lean to the spare, so the vocals and raw strength of her songs shine.