The first striking thing about Seeker is how Brigitte DeMeyer has taken to sounding like an easier-to-comprehend Rickie Lee Jones.
And when she sings: “But when the night comes/that’s when your soul hums” on the opening “All the Blue,” a moody blend of acoustic jazz and blues, the listener will pick up on a Jonesian feel to the lyrics and music as well.
It’s a feeling that lasts throughout the entire album, and the result is something like the record Jones’ fans have been waiting for for decades now. Even the characters – the tragically hip cat on the strip in the made-in-“Dixie Chicken”’s-image “Cat Man Do;” the unnamed instigator of “Calamity Gone” – recall Jones’ style.
The music – some composed by producer Jano Rix of the Wood Brothers, some by DeMeyer – carries on the jazzy, Americana flavor of Coolsville as Rix colors the songs with shuitar percussion and his immediately identifiable drumming style. Add appearances from Oliver (slide guitar and harmony vocals) and Chris (bass) Wood, vocalist Alfreda McCrary and others and Seeker is a roots-music-lover’s dream.
“Louisiana” is a piano-driven gospel paean to the Bayou State; “Ain’t No Mister” relies on piano and acoustic bass as it channels Vince Guaraldi – it could soundtrack a grown-up “Peanuts” episode – and “Already In” takes the RLJ theme to delirious extremes as DeMeyer melds “Youngblood” with “Night Train” and sings:
“We could be anywhere, or nowhere/I could be alone/but if you’re there, on the square, I call it home.”
At 10 songs and 35 minutes, Seeker hasn’t one wasted note, no extraneous lyrics. If at times it’s derivative, it’s derived from all the right places. It’s also the first must-have album of 2021.