Music

Brigitte DeMeyer: Rose of Jericho

There seems to be a fiery mix going on in her throat on almost every word she sings as she swallows, swishes, and spits out her lyrics as if she’s some kind of metaphorical wine taster.


Brigitte DeMeyer

Rose of Jericho

Label: BDM Music
US Release Date: 2011-08-30
UK Release Date: 2011-08-29
Amazon
iTunes

Remember when people used to criticize Gillian Welch as a poseur because she grew up in Los Angeles but sang American roots music with an affected Appalachian accent? Five albums later, nobody really cares. What matters is that Welch sings and plays great music. 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.

Most notable is DeMeyer’s spicy vocal delivery. There seems to be a fiery mix going on in her throat on almost every word she sings as she swallows, swishes, and spits out her lyrics as if she’s some kind of metaphorical wine taster. Take the Crescent City style “Say Big Poppa” where her voice mimics the sax that plays behind her one minute, and the two trumpets the next, without ever losing the focus on the words themselves. DeMeyer can turn straight-forward lines about a craps game (“Come on seven you’ve been gone too long \ Send me way down Esplanade where I belong \ Roll ‘em once, roll ‘em twice \ Staring down them ol’ snake eyes \ They don’t hold that last street car ‘til dawn“) into a declaration of love and lust just by her inflections. The Big Poppa of the song may be the male equivalent of Lady Luck that a woman turns to in times of need during a game of chance, but just like those masculine tributes to Dame Fortune, the feeling is no less erotic and compelling.

Even when DeMeyer goes more country and holy, as in the fiddle based and gospel inflected “One Wish”, DeMeyer uses the sound of her voice to express her sacred desire in a way that that seems borne in the flesh. This makes the consecrated feelings about the Lord into something that comes out of living in the material world. Her faith comes off as desperate, in a good way, as if this is what makes her existence worthwhile. Without belief in a higher power, she could not bear the weight of the world.

DeMeyer is ably assisted here by some of the best Americana musicians including mandolin player Sam Bush, guitarist Will Kimbrough, vocalist Mike Farris and drummer Brady Blade (who co-produced the record with DeMeyer). As a result, the playing is always tight no matter the style. This allows the listener to concentrate on what DeMeyer sings about -- and whether she’s crooning about mundane pleasures like shelling peas, sipping molasses, sheets snapping in the wind or the deeper joys of sexual love and religious ecstasy -- DeMeyer’s songs have a solid foundation in the real world of the imagination. She makes you believe she’s conveying essential truths. And she does.

8

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

Ahead of Offa Rex's Newport Folk Festival set, Olivia Chaney talked about the collaboration with the Decemberists.

I was lucky enough to catch two of Offa Rex's performances this past summer, having been instantaneously won over by the lead single and title track from the record, The Queen of Hearts. The melodious harmonium intro on the track is so entrancing, I didn't want to miss their brief tour. The band had only scheduled a few dates due in part to other commitments and perhaps limited by their already busy schedules, the Decemberists are actively touring and had their own festival in the summer while and their friend, "sublime English vocalist" Olivia Chaney, had arrived from across the pond.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image