Though not exactly a household name, over the course of five albums the Michigan-born Brigitte DeMeyer has established a solid reputation for her bluesy Southern roots. Savannah Road is her sixth album and is the first she’s produced herself, a 13 strong collection of what she terms acoustic soul, 10 of the tracks co-penned by guest guitarist and harmony vocalist Will Kimbrough.
Inspired by Gregg Allman’s book, My Cross To Bear, the title track opener, featuring Kimbrough on steel guitar, sets the scene with its images of purple weeds and peach trees lining the road, the rest of the album continuing the journey through the Deep South, in terms of both music and memories. The latter take on a particularly poignant note with the bluesy slow sway Build Me A Fire which, delivered like molasses gospel and with Jimmy Wallace on backing organ, draws on her Belgian-American parentage and the hardships her mother experienced during the Second World War, while, Guthrie Trapp on mandolin, Home Ground is a wistfully tender hymn to her (and Allman’s) roots.
The essence of the South also finds lyrical expression in Simmer Right, a ‘guts and greasy’ love song built around food (gumbo, to be precise) imagery, and Conjure Woman where the narrator calls on the help of Miss Ella James, a Lafayette voodoo queen, to brew up a love potion to win her the boy in Vicksburg she’s set her heart on while the likes of the bluesy ooh oohing Lightnin’ Poor, a lazing in the sun jazzing Big Man’s Shoes and the sultry, sexual shuffle Honey Hush with its syncopated rhythm and Wurlitzer groove.
Personal tastes lean to the less bluesy numbers, the fingerpicked sparkle of the joyous love song Say You Will Be Mine with its Buckingham Nicks echoes, the cascading surprised by joy strum of Boy’s Got Soul with its lyrical reference to Chris Whitley and the closing banjo picked gospel My Somebody, but her fusion of Emmylou, Lucinda and Bonnie Raitt would sound great singing the Georgia phone directory.
Review by: Mike Davies
US Live Dates
09 – The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville, Tennessee
10 – The New Vintage, Louisville, KY
11 – Rhythm on the River, Pomeroy, IA
12 – The Southgate House Revival, Newport, KY
6 – Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
Savannah Road is Out Now (self released)
Order via Amazon