Having spent years as a working musician, residing in Nashville was a good thing for Brigitte DeMeyer. Becoming a part of Music City’s vibrant community of artists and industry folks kept her busy, as she carved out her place living and working there, all while raising her young son. Originally from California, she commuted to Nashville for years; relocating full time was a leap of faith — one that paid off. And, while the work has been rewarding, the greatest rewards for the artist are the friendships and partnerships she maintains there. When an urgent need to move back to California came suddenly for her family, DeMeyer had to go. But her spirit keeps deep roots in the South.
DeMeyer remembers watching the roots trio Wood Brothers’ keyboardist/drummer Jano Rix play piano in Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Studio on multiple occasions. But when she heard him play behind powerhouse singer Maureen Murphy on a video recorded there, a new inspiration took hold. And now, the thought of standing by Rix’s masterful piano playing and just singing has become a reality. On her new album, Seeker, due out March 26, 2021 on BDM Music, does she ever sing.
Co-written and produced by Rix, who appeared on the DeMeyer/Will Kimbrough release Mockingbird Soul (along with Oliver and Chris Wood), as well as DeMeyer’s Savannah Road, Seeker wonderfully showcases DeMeyer’s versatility as a singer and writer, moving with ease from ethereal to greasy vocal styles. As bassist Chris Wood put it, the collaboration between DeMeyer and Rix is “like Sly Stone meets Bob Dylan.” Her emotive voice and painterly lyrics combined with Rix’s mastery of piano and rhythm create a sparkle. The chemistry between the two is solid.
The album is adorned by a family of friends: Alfreda McCrary (McCrary Sisters), DeMeyer’s best friend and godmother to her son, sings backing and harmony vocals; Oliver Wood is on electric guitar and harmony vocals; and Chris Wood shares upright and electric bass contributions with Viktor Krauss. Session players Ted Pecchio (bass) and JP Ruggieri and Kris Donegan (guitars) helped complete the backbone. “I just let everybody do what they do best,” says DeMeyer, “and I stood there and sang. The best way to make a record feel good is to be really comfortable with the people playing with you. It’s all about vibe.” And vibe is alive and well on Seeker. The result took DeMeyer to a whole different level musically.
Moving west inspired the songs. Having to find her way and rebuild after living in Nashville for so long, although from California originally, was a challenge. DeMeyer had found her place and people living in Music City. The music scene she had grown so a part of was not available in San Francisco, at least not at the same level. In addition, in the first month of returning she met with immense personal loss with the tragic death of her cousin and his daughter in a rogue wave accident in Hawaii. That, along with continual commuting across country to work and tour with longtime partner Kimbrough, a subsequent bout with pneumonia, and an equestrian accident added up to an outpouring on paper. Being a devoted wife, mother and an avid horse enthusiast is what held DeMeyer together.
Until her work with Rix began. Since then, a new and creative way to work has evolved, and the result is a refreshing new find for the artist. Chemistry, collaboration and a strong work ethic lit the way for DeMeyer and Rix. It was a two-way street for them, which DeMeyer found refreshing. “Often, art comes from struggle,” she says. “You write what you know about. I’m certainly not the first to find this out. I’m thankful for what has come my way whichever way it landed. In hindsight, it always turns in to something I can draw from creatively. And, my friends have stayed my friends no matter the distance. I was so afraid of losing that soul connection with likeminded people. The true ones have stayed true. We have found a way to make it work.” While splitting her time between San Francisco and Nashville has now become the norm for DeMeyer, the fear of the unknown has become fuel. Her searching turned into Seeker.
Track by Track:
1. All the Blue. Inspired by needing to uplift a very hardworking cowboy friend. “High cotton” refers to the wealthy and privileged, and is a Southernism, used here for those who don’t necessarily know what it’s like to struggle.
2. Cat Man Do. Pure fiction. DeMeyer conjures up a hustler with a heart who lives a cool-façade life, and while he has it down, would “drop on a dime for the right company.” Seeking love is age-old.
3. Salt of the Earth. Looking for her people. DeMeyer spells out a search for connection.
4. Louisiana. The mysterious, spooky, funky, and seductive vibe of New Orleans has long been a haunting source of inspiration for DeMeyer. This song is a tribute to this favorite city of hers. Written in Paris, France while on tour and missing the U.S. Her favorite track on the album.
5. Calamity Gone. A straight-up protest song.
6, Already In. A love song, pure and simple, for DeMeyer’s husband. You don’t have to wonder if you fit in. When someone loves you, you’re “already in.
7. Ain’t No Mister. Jazz tune. Words speak for themselves. Dude fools woman. Woman calls it out. Hindsight is 20/20.
8. Wishbone. Written when laid up with a broken ankle after an equestrian accident. Not being able to walk makes you appreciate the little things. Like being able to walk. You have to hit the bottom sometimes before you can see the top.
9. Seeker. Written when first back on California soil. Feeling totally lost, DeMeyer writes as if praying. Mostly without her community of friends. Friends who felt like kindred spirits, now 2000 miles away.
10. Roots and Wings and Bones. Dedicated to DeMeyer’s son, and to mothers all over who give up everything for their child’s well being. (The move to California for DeMeyer.) “Starry city” is in reference to the glitter of San Francisco.