I love to see my postal person heading my way with a large stack of envelopes. As long as there are no bills among those envelopes. A large stack of envelopes usually means a fair number of new CDs to listen to and that, my friends, is one of my favorite things in the world.
Recently I received a copy of an album from an artist with whom I have no knowledge. Those albums quickly work their way to the top of my review stack and today, I took the plunge and opened up Still I Rise by a wonderful new (to me, anyway) artist, Brigitte Purdy.
A wicked harp sets up the opening song, Hoodoo. Purdy’s voice is honed to a fine edge and the song has a sweet dark side to it. I love the keys that Drake Shining plays and they mix so well with Kenny Neal’s harp. It’s a nice slice of Louisiana on what I imagine a night with a full moon. More of this, please.
Almost without a break, Purdy and the band slide into a calm, quiet number, Be The Light. Purdy’s voice softens and becomes angelic. Ayeasha Jones’ backing vocals add depth to the song. Shining’s organ playing gives it a real gospel flavor and this is the kind of uplifting song we can all use from time to time. Especially now.
They follow up with a rocking number, Home Is In My Heart. It’s a moving song that could easily get an audience up on its collective feet and head to the dance floor. They keep the tempo up and moving with My Kinda Blues. This is one fun song that boogies hard and gives everyone in the band a chance to play their heart out. Love this one and you better believe it’s going to be on a Time For The Blues very soon.
We hit the half way point of the album with the country flavored Last Time. Purdy’s voice is at her most plaintive, most expressive, and so emotional. It can cause all sorts of heartache if you’re not careful. Love the song.
Purdy gets soulful with the funky Get It Understood. This is for all those men who think they have the right to press their luck on a woman who does not want anything to do with them. Fellows, get the message, learn to take a hint, and if you can’t take a hint, take the no and move on. This is a strong addition to the #MeToo songs that are long overdue.
Her soul continues in a softer vein on If I Could. I can’t decide which incarnation of her voice I prefer, one with an edge or one with the soft purr. Fortunately, the point is moot because she’s great either way and each gets a showcase on the album.
Next up is the very emotional Lucille Don’t You Weep. Everything about this song clicks. It’s emotional, the backing vocals give it depth, and the melancholy keys build nicely over the rhythm section. The lyrics are smart and heartbreaking and the guitar work is stellar. It also sounds as if there are strings added, but those might be synthesized. Either way, it’s a good effect. Powerful number.
Next up is the aptly titled Blues Angel. On this album, Purdy has shown she certainly can sing like an angel and she handles the blues nicely without getting herself locked completely in the genre. She dabbles in a few others successfully and makes them all seem easy.
She wraps up the album with the title track, Still I Rise. Beautiful keys usher in the song and Purdy’s voice drops into an emotional whisper. The song is stripped down to the basics and that adds to the force of the song. I like this one very much.
Brigitte Purdy is a great example of discovering new talent and having them quickly become a favorite. I was unaware of her prior to receiving this album from her publicist. And I have to say, I’m glad Still I Rise arrived. She’s exploring her sound and I expect she will continue to show her versatility.
Give her a listen and I think you’ll find out why I liked this album so much, and you just might become a fan as well. You can find her website here.