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January 30, 2016 

A Masterpiece of Noir and Southwestern Gothic by Bronwynne Brent 

One of the best collections of dark Americana songwriting released over the past several months is Mississippi-born singer-guitarist Bronwynne Brent’s Stardust, streaming at Spotify. It has absolutely nothing in common with the Hoagy Carmichael song. What it does recall is two other masterpieces of noir, retro-tinged rock: Karla Rose’s Gone to Town and Julia Haltigan‘s My Green Heart. Brent’s simmering blue-flame delivery draws equally on jazz, blues, torch song and oldschool C&W, as does her songwriting.  

The album’s opening track,The Mirror sets the stage, twangy Telecaster over funereal organ and Calexico’s John Convertino’s tumbling drums. “The mirror knows the cards that were dealt,” Brent accuses, “You were never there.” Keith Lowe’s ominously slinky hollowbody bass propels Another World, its eerie bolero-rock verse hitched to Brent’s dreamy chorus. She could be the only tunesmith to rhyme “felon” with “compellin’.” 

The unpredictably shifting Don’t Tell Your Secrets to the Wind picks up from spare and skeletal to menacingly lush, with biting hints of Romany, mariachi and klezmer music: Nancy Sinatra would have given twenty years off her life for something this smartly orchestrated. By contrast, the banjo-fueled Devil Again evokes the dark country of Rachel Brooke. “You’re just a prisoner watching shadows dance, dancing to your grave,” Brent intones, then backs away for a twangy Lynchian guitar solo. She keeps the low-key moodiness going throughout the softly shuffling Dark Highway, Hank Williams spun through the prism of spare 60s Dylan folk-pop.  

When You Said Goodbye brings back the southwestern gothic ambience, with artful hints of ELO art-rock. “When you said goodbye I knew that I would die alone alone,” Brent muses: the ending will rip your heart out. By contrast. Heart’s On Fire, an escape anthem, builds to more optimistic if wounded territory:”Well, you learn from your mistakes, sometimes the prisoner gets a break,” Brent recalls.  

Already Gone builds shimmery organ-fueled nocturnal ambience over a retro country sway: spare fuzztone guitar adds a surreal Lee Hazlewood touch. Bulletproof gives Brent a swinging noir blues background while she shows off her tough-girl side: it wouldn’t be out of place in the Eilen Jewell catalog. 

Heartbreaker leaves the noir behind for a spare, fingerpicked folk feel, like Emmylou Harris at her most morose. Lay Me Down blends echoes of spare Britfolk, mariachi, creepy western swing and clever references to the Ventures: “Distance grows between us, doesn’t that just free us?” Brent poses. She ends the album on a vividly Faulknerian note: “Guess I can’t stop drinking, not today,” her narrator explains,” You may think that I’m lonely and running out of time, but I’m not the marrying kind.” Add this to your 3 AM wine-hour playlist: it’ll keep the ghosts of the past far enough away where they can’t get to you. 

Blabber 'n' Smoke by Paul Kerr 

Bronwynne Brent Celtic Connections, Tron Theatre, Glasgow. January 31

OK, a bit late on this but for some reason this review wasn’t published when submitted originally. Given that it was Bronwynne’s UK debut and that Blabber’n’Smoke really dug her album I thought it worthwhile to revive it………

Bronwynne 'live'

A UK debut here for Mississippi raised Bronwynne Brent and before we say anything else a triumph over adversity as Brent’s initial plan to bring over her own musicians (including her producer Johnny Sangster) fell apart leading to plan B, a scratch band who only met the singer/songwriter two days before the show. So it was that Euan Burton, double bass player with Kris Drever and guitarist Jamie Sturt from This Silent Forest were recruited, given some sound files to work with and a day’s rehearsal with Brent on her arrival on Scottish soil. Credit to them and to Brent as the trio excelled on stage sounding for all the world as if they were road veterans and companions, Burton’s bass warming the songs while Sturt was a revelation, coaxing some sublime sounds from his guitar and effects board, always sensitive to the moods of Brent’s songs.

As for Brent herself she appears on her album sleeves as a bit of a flower child, an image belied by the almost American Gothic sound of her songs. On stage she seems like an amalgamation of the younger Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris, long flaxen hair and hesitant presence. She admitted to being nervous but once she started to sing, her voice, world weary and stained with echoes of Karen Dalton and at times Amy Winehouse had the house in thrall. Roaming from the dark folk of Dark Highway to tumbledown blues such as Wrecked My Mind Brent impressed as she invoked the spooky Americana feel of acts such as the Handsome Family , a feel that was bolstered by Sturt’s inventive sounds effects and guitar. A measure of the trio’s cohesion was the compelling version of Bulletproof, on Brent’s Stardust album an organ infused blues jaunt but tonight delivered in a spare manner before Sturt’s guitar sparked into life scattering aural gunshots from the stage. For a singer who was keen after the show to seek reassurance that her nervousness wasn’t too apparent one only has to point to the excellent rendition of Don’t Tell Your Secrets To The Wind delivered earlier. Mixing chanson and Calexico’s Tex-Mex style Brent was both coquettish and confidant while Burton and Sturt filled all spaces absent from the recorded version.

After this stage debut the trio headed off for a short UK tour and a Bob Harris session due to be broadcast in March. In the meantime tonight was a wonderful opportunity to catch a very fine songwriter and performer who might soon outgrow the relative confines of the bijou setting tonight.


Bronwynne Brent: Always Reaching | Jackson Free Press 


by Larry Morrisey Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Photo detail

The singer-songwriter grew up in Greenville, which exposed her to many styles of music. Her songs have a folk spine, but she also brings in elements of pop, country and blues. At the center of Brent's sound is her strong, distinctive voice that brings to life the many characters that populate her songs, including the wanderers and the brokenhearted.

Brent is the youngest child in a family of Delta music makers. Her late mother, Carole Brent, sang pop and standards with bands when she was younger, and her father, Howard Brent, is a guitarist with a bottomless repertoire of classic country songs. Her older sisters, Jessica and Eden Brent, are also accomplished musicians. Jessica spent time as a country performer in Nashville, and Jackson audiences may know Eden for her blues-based piano playing and vocals.

Music permeated Brent's daily life when she was growing up, including times when most teenagers would have gotten in trouble with their parents.

"When I'd come in late—and I was always late—Momma would never be mad. She'd always play me and my date a song at the table," she recalls.

"Not everyone's mom does that."

Brent sang with her sisters at local events while she was a teenager, striking out on a solo career when she was in her 20s. After a three-year stint in New Orleans, she moved to Austin, Texas, in July 2011, where she recorded her debut album, "Deep Black Water," which she released that year.

"I moved to Austin thinking, 'It's the music capital of the world. This is where I need to go to get noticed,'" she says. "But what I found is that there were so many musicians there."

Brent says her most recent record, "Stardust," came about after she heard a song—indie steel-guitar player Maggie Bjorkland's "Summer Romance"—on the radio. The expansive sound captivated her. Brent tracked down the song's producer, Seattle-based musician Johnny Sangster, and in May 2013, she travelled to Seattle to record "Stardust."

Sangster assembled a talented group of backing musicians for the record, including bassist Keith Lowe, who has worked with Bill Frisell and Fiona Apple, and Calexico drummer John Convertino. They quickly learned Brent's songs and created distinctive arrangements for each one on the album. Brent admits that going out west wasn't the easiest way to start work on a new record.

"I did make things complicated," she says. "I could have just made another album in Austin, but I'm always reaching for something away from where I am."

Jumpin Hot Club- Studio Live Theatre 03/02/15 



What a treat this was! First off you had the intricate songs of Canadian award winning singer-songwriter, Amelia Curran followed by The fabulous Bronwynne Brent Trio.

On establishing a wonderful report with her audience, Amelia Curran from St Johns NL spoke of her home and goodself between her wonderful songs. As in the excellent poetic tales of “Reverie” ,in “I Am The Night” and the beautiful flowing “Blackbird On Fire”. 

A singer-songwriter of deep, sometimes quirky material lots was divulged as Curran rang the changes in an impressive artistic fashion. Most comfortable when using metaphors to describe her emotions, and personal views of life Amelia soon won over those unfamiliar with her work. 

I felt Amelia was too keen to undervalue her great talent, and given a little more confidence, she could quite easily become as near as popular here as she is back home! Her style of songwriting and end product isn’t that far removed from Nashville’s Beth Nielson Chapman...

The main act, Bronwynne Brent Trio consisted of Bronwynne Brent on acoustic guitar and vocals, plus double-bass (Euan Burton) and electric guitar, harmony vocals (Jamie Sturt) & had them making their debut trip around the UK, but with performances like this it’s sure be the first of many tours. 

While her two sidemen took a little while to connect with her musically, which was partly due to them standing way to her left, they did eventually become a complete unit. By which time the audience were hooked, line and sinker with her work. 

Bob Harris for one hasn’t been slow in discovering Bronwynne's talent with the Trio doing a recording session for his show (check the BBC’s website for details) while over here. 

I understand it was Bronwynne’s first trip of any real distance outside her home State of Mississippi, which I found difficult to believe on hearing the little lady sing. Her ability to draw the listener in through her staggering range of vocals and nail a song was both a rarity and a delight throughout her show. 

Brent’s musical style not only embraces the American South as country, blues, folk and hints of jazz are tied together, but through a fine art of story-telling she took the listener into her own very special little world. 

It was interesting to hear the quiet, unassuming Brent confess to finding it hard to sit before an audience. But able to do one to ones and also talk freely with the checkout girl. But she did nothing wrong on stage and a host of things right, not least she showed great control with her voice. 

Apart from a stop you dead in your tracks voice, which boasts hints of Billie Holiday and on occasions the furrow she walks isn’t too distant from the finest tones of Amy Winehouse, Brent sounded as rural and charming as they come ! 

As for her best songs, the dark “Devil Again” and “After You’re Gone” and an irony filled “Don’t Tell Your Secrets To The Wind” was of another class. There were other excellent songs too, plus she finished with another “Fire In The Hole”. This, as Brent acknowledged the work of the late singer-songwriter, Hazel Dickens. What a talent, what a terrific find. 

Maurice Hope -( pics Charles & Juan )

Americana UK  



  • A record at its best when it’s dark

Bronwynne Brent’s latest album ‘Stardust’ truly is as an amalgamation of sounds. Brent dabbles in roots music but with hints of Marricone, a touch of spaghetti western, a sprinkling of country waltzes, and all while tackling subject matters that would not go amiss on a Nick Cave album.

In many ways ‘Stardust’ sounds like a Calexico album, but headed by Portishead’s Beth Gibbons. Considering the US Americana legends drummer appears on the record, perhaps this was inevitable.

As with Calexico, Brent is at her best when there is a sting and mystery to her music. Her voice, a fragile sounding instrument which packs an unexpected punch, really suits the spikiness of songs like ‘Don’t Tell Your Secrets To The Wind’ and ‘Bulletproof’.

When the music heads down more conventional routes, ‘Stardust’ has a tendency to meld away like any standard Americana record. Yet when she lets herself into darker places, Bronwynne Brent demonstrates a fascinating song writing talent.


American Roots UK by Mike Morrison 

Bronwynne Brent- Stardust click to view here

Whilst there is a high degree of excellence to all of Bronwynne Brent’s unusual songs, I suspect that what will stay in the memory will be her vocals. They are actually reminiscent of no one that I can think of although qualitatively and distinctively are up there with Joni Mitchell, Buffy Sainte Marie, perhaps even Nina Simone or Billie Holiday and others who are instantly recognizable. She imbues a lovely, hugely dramatic attacking quality to her vocals on every track, irrespective of content, ensuring that an intensely dramatic set of songs are never allowed to falter. 
This is a beautifully constructed, arranged and played album of modern folk songs that lean towards dark country, but it is her often mesmeric voice that adds the extra quality to the tales, consequently lifting the album way above most of her peers, at times bringing an ethereal yet at the same time intense quality to many of the songs 

            The lineup for this excellent and unusual recording is Bronwynne on vocals and guitar, Calexico’s John Convertino on drums, Keith Lowe, bass, John Rauhaus plays steel guitar, banjo and dobro on some tracks, Dan Walker, keyboards, Johnny Sangster plays a variety of guitars as well as producing the album. All of the songs were written by Bronwynne and thematically could be said to be songs about relationships and yet that would be over simplifying this albums lyrical content that delves deeply into some of the clashes that happen in and around relationships, in many ways extending the subject matter way beyond simple tales of love found and love lost. They are not your average falling in or out of love stories but the twists of fate that surround those monumental events. 

            The album kicks off with The Mirror, with its lovely slow moody acoustic guitar getting things under way before Bronwynne’s mesmerizing vocal joins in on a song that suddenly takes off with the addition of drums, bass, Hammond and twangy guitar on a quirky tale of lost love. Don’t Tell Your Secrets To The Wind is a lovely shuffling song about someone who was long ago let down by a lover. The instrumentation and the chirpy vocal belie the sadness suffered by the subject but the instrumentation is incredibly well chosen with strings, guitars, mariachi horns and accordion deepening the atmosphere. Devil Again has a lovely banjo intro that is eventually joined by twangy chiming guitar on another beauty of a song that is lifted by Bronwynne’s incredibly atmospheric, emotional vocal on the tale of dire, if unheeded, warnings to a loved one. It is a darkly atmospheric song that in some ways can be tied in to the early recorded days of rural blues. Dark Highway is another song that evokes the early rural blues days but without overtly being a blues song. There is a quite harrowing feel to this slow moody tale of someone leaving a lover. Bronwynne seems able to put an incredible depth of feeling into the structure of the music, even ignoring the lyrics (not possible!) thanks to the perfect for purpose instrumentation blend that includes cello. OnAlready Gone we are treated to a gorgeous weeping steel guitar on a tale of the end of a love affair, with the solid repetitive bass giving a perfect foundation for the guitars and Hammond, thus ensuring a perfect melodicism that allows Bronwynne’s vocal to have its full impact on an emotional song. Final mention goes to the final song on the album, Marrying Kind. There is more gorgeous pedal steel guitar, this time allied to a twangy electric guitar on a song best described by its title. Generally, it includes country instrumentation on what is thematically a country song but the mix of instrumentation, Bronwynne’s vocal performance and her lyrics lifts what could on most other albums be a ‘simple country song’ to a level way above any standard generic field. A slow and moodily poetic tale to finish what is a quite stunning album.

            Were Bronwynne not such a good songwriter, her vocals alone should ensure a rewarding (for us as well as her!) future, but her poetic, deep, thoughtful songwriting is of such quality that even at this relatively early career stage it is easy to see that she is the complete ‘package.’ 

Something Else! by Mark Saleski 

Bronwynne Brent- Stardust June 3, 2014  VIEW

The usual distraction that shows up during my listening experience — the music itself drawing my attention away from the singer’s words — is sometimes overridden by a related and perplexing phenomenon: a voice that’s so entrancing that it manages to delay the processing of the delivered lyrics. Such is the case with singer/songwriter Bronwynne Brent’s fine new album, Stardust.

When Brent sings a phrase, I experience the odd sensation that I’m hearing her voice slightly out of phase with the lyric. At the pause, everything comes back together. Now you might think that this fractures the overall effect but somehow it enhances it. There’s a slight bit of breathy roughness in Brent’s voice, a texture that it’s easy to lose yourself in. And so the complete story of a relationship gone wrong shows up a short moment after “When you said goodbye I knew that I would die alone.” This introductory line is made all the more powerful by the simplicity of the early arrangement, with Bronwynne’s voice supported only by light strings. “When You Said Goodbye” also features this devastating look back: “My lips were so soft then/and your kisses/were so very hard”. A story within a story right there.

To call Brent a singer/songwriter is to put her in a cage that just doesn’t fit. Though there are plenty of places onStardust that show her Mississippi Delta roots, the music here goes far beyond just voice and guitar. “The Mirror” does begin with just guitar and ghosty keyboards…”You have my heart/When we’re apart/I walk the night alone…” But then a full band rumba kicks in, a sort of greasy shuffle reminiscent of Rain Dogs-era Tom Waits. I don’t generally get the urge to crank up “folk” albums, if you know what I mean.

Elsewhere, we have an assortment of lovers and miscreants (sometimes in one song) showing up in a variety of musical contexts. “Lay Me Down,” a tale of yearning, is introduced with acoustic guitar, counterpointed with a nice single horn line. “Bulletproof” is a film-noir blues, sleazed up with some Farfisa organ. Invert the boy/girl relationship of “Don’t Tell Your Secrets To The Wind,” and it’s not difficult to imagine it coming from Harry Dean Stanton in an alternate version of “Paris, Texas.” The full-band slink on this one is just fantastic.
One of my favorite examples of my “lyric dislocation” thing comes during “Devil Again.” Beginning with a foreboding banjo and guitar, Bronwynne sings: “Have you ever loved someone so much/so much it hurt?”. When I return from that voice reverie, I realize that she’s completed the thought with: “Have you ever kissed the hand of death?/And held your breath?/Just held your breath?”. Devastating.

Stardust ends with “Marrying Kind,” the sort of lovely country ballad you wish were still played on the radio. It’s full of longing and regret, and almost makes you wish you could relive the delicate parts of your past. Or maybe I should just listen again; Bronwynne Brent’s voice might have distracted me.

Beat Surrender 

Bronwynne Brent- Stardust by Simon April 22, 2014 VIEW 

Really enjoying this album from Bronwynne Brent a Mississippi Delta born singer-songwriter who currently splits her time between Greenville, MS and Austin, TX.  Stardust is Bronwynne’s second album (her debut Deep Black Water was released2011) and features a dozen self-penned songs that showcase Bronwynne’s wonderful vocal which walks the line somewhere between an R’n'B chanteuse and Southern Americana belle – wonderfully emotive with detailed phrasing that really brings her words to life and perfectly fits the essence and themes of the songs, of broken hearts, disappointment, loss and betrayal “I don’t set out to write dark love songs…but I do like a minor key!” – it is after all in the sadness where the real beauty lies.

The album is out in the UK now and plans are afoot for a tour of the UK and Ireland later this year and into next, Stardust was produced byJohnny Sangster who also plays electric guitar on the album and Jon Rauhouse (Neko Case, Jon Langford, Old 97′s) also guests on several tracks playing playing dobro, banjo and pedal steel.

Folk Words by Tom Franks 

'Stardust' from Bronwynne Brent- self-penned songs with a wholly enfolding style March 26, 2014 VIEW

Following on from her debut 'Deep Black Water,' Mississippi delta native and idiosyncratic folk singer, Bronwynne Brent, now offers us Stardust - an album that takes the next rise in a flight that's destined to soar. Delivered with a wholly unfolding style that takes much from a voice alternately capable of reaching out to beguile, accuse, remonstrate and arouse, this is a collection of self-penned songs that walk between the lines of softly-engaging and fearlessly-arresting.

The reflection of memories, understanding of sorrow and personal resilience in these songs is palpable. There’s the mournful fatalism of ‘The Mirror’, the salutary lessons of ‘Don’t Tell Your Secrets to the Wind’ and the depth of understanding in ‘Devil Again’ – each serving as milestones of involvement. You have to live such sensitivities to express them eloquently. And it’s the distinctive way that Bronwynne conveys those sensations that make them stay with you. The recurring shadows of ‘Dark Highway’ or deep-seated sadness of ‘When You Said Goodbye’ expose a raw bleakness that makes no concessions to easing you into their stories.

There’s a fascinating edge to these songs. They slice with the spell of a silent blade. Before you know it the cut runs deep and you’re sharing the places, people, memories and moments.

Blabber 'n' Smoke by Paul Kerr 

Bronwynne Brent Stardust by Paul Kerr March 29, 2014 VIEW

Over the past few years it seems that the tsunami of talent that appears at the Folk Alliance International gathering in Kansas eventually laps up on our shores as promoters and distributers sign deals to release albums and set up tours in old Blighty. The first wave of 2014 is Mississippi’s Bronwynne Brent with her second release Stardust and if any that follow are half as good then we’re in for a treat.


The cover art portrays Brent as a flower garlanded hippie songstress with an ever so slight resemblance to Joni Mitchell back in the days. However one listen to her voice and thoughts of Mitchell fly out the window as Brent has an earthiness that forever eluded Joni’s rarefied atmosphere. Instead Brent has that seemingly untutored and effortless way of singing that borders on the idiosyncratic with the weight of emotion on its shoulders. Immensely attractive and engaging Brent’s voice is in the tradition of singers like Billie Holiday, Karen Dalton, Melanie and Alela Diane while at times there’s even a hint of the late Amy Winehouse on the more up-tempo numbers here.

The beguiling vocals are the entree to the album’s pleasures but Brent proves to have a way with words as she sings of loss and despair for the most part. The songs portray abandoned women, betrayed, trying to find some comfort in their inner worlds but condemned to relive their tragedies in their memories. It’s not a happy album but happily Brent has embroidered her words with some exceptionally fine music which ranges from the glacial folk noire of Devil Again to the rustbucket blues of Bulletproof and the tombstone Mexicana of Lay Me Down. She’s ably assisted in this by producer Johnny Sangster’s guitar skills whether it be twangy reverb or country picking while the drumstool is occupied by the unmistakeable cool of Calexico’s John Convertino, reason enough some might think to pick up the album. Add to this the presence of anther Calexico cohort, Jon Rauhouse on pedal steel on several songs and the album’s pedigree is impeccable. Well recommended.

Flying Shoes Review by David James Innes 

Stardust by David James Innes March 31, 2014 VIEW

Recent months have been remarkable for releases by female artists who do something a little different.

We’ve been charmed by Laura Cortese’s string-driven lushness and ear for the narrative with the release of Into The Dark and stopped in our tracks by Liz Lenten and Auburn’s dramatic genre-amalgam Nashville. Now, from the Mississippi Delta, Bronwynne Brent places her second album Stardust before us, and it too makes that ‘sit up and listen’ demand.

Bronwynne confesses that “she enjoys a minor key” and whilst that may suggest downbeat melancholy, that’s not the overall impression left by Stardust. Rather, from the torrid tales of relationships gone wrong, promises broken and emotional betrayal, Bronwynne seems to derive some sort of resilient strength and fortitude.

I keep my heart now deep inside

It left a scar I cannot hide

But I will live to love again”

she confides in us in ‘Don’t Tell Your Secrets To The Wind’, a drama-laden Jaques Brel-esque mid-album chanson, where a friend has snared her lover, the heartless strumpet.

Johnny Sangster brings the best from Bronwynne’s top class material via his production and sparing but sympathetic heavily-reverbed baritone guitar, and the arrangements are a delight, ranging from the syncopated Jerry Allison cardboard box drumming on ‘The Mirror’ to the lush, brooding strings of ‘When You Said Goodbye’.

The vocal delivery, though, is what overwhelmingly captures listener attention. From beginning to end Bronwynne bares her soul, her vulnerable resignation and wretchedness via a voice that is timeless in timbre and phrasing, recalling in turn Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee and the ill-starred Amy Winehouse, much better company to be in than some of the scoundrels who have broken her heart.

Folk Radio UK 

Bronwynne Brent – Stardust 

8 APRIL 2014



Concerns about any sort of fey dippy-hippie approach evoked by the cover on which Brent sports a flowery garland are swiftly dispensed when she launches into The Mirror, an earthy, bluesy number with twangy electric and deep acoustic guitar and a high but gritty smoky voice and delivery that’s earned her comparisons to Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and even Amy Winehouse. On the violin-laced tango chanson Don’t Tell Your Secrets To The Wind. I’d even suggest echoes of Bang Bang era Cher.

Focusing on songs about women bruised, betrayed and broken, though not always without a fire of determination, the album steers a largely bluesy course although you’ll also find a desert noir mood to Devil Again, a tequila dry Mexican edge to Lay Me Down and the backwoods folk of Dark Highway, a song with a chorus melody that’s a musical cousin to Last Thing On My Mind, while Already Gone nods to country roots.

Produced by Johnny Sangster, who also provides a wealth of reverb baritone guitar, the album also benefits from Calexico’s drummer, John Convertino, and pedal steel player, Jon Rauhouse (who does a particularly fine job on the sadness soaked Marrying Kind) as well as cello, heard to good effect on the soulful sway of When You Said Goodbye, courtesy of Barb Hunter. However, it’s Brent’s very distinctive sound and assured writing ability that marks this out from the crowd, suggesting we’ll be hearing a lot more from her in the future.


Bronwynne Brent - Deep Black Water posted by Josh Hathaway June 16, 2011 VIEW
It's become nearly impossible for me to take emerging singer/songwriters seriously with the glut of them playing coffeehouses and self-releasing haphazardly recorded "albums" independently on CDBaby and other internet outlets these days, but every once in awhile something jolts my
jaded indifference and makes me take notice.

Bronwynne Brent's Deep Black Water will dare me to suffer through well-meaning but inspiredpap hoping lightening will strike twice, and it will still be worth it; this is the kind of record music lovers hope and dream is still being made despite evidence to the contrary on mainstream broadcast and even internet outlets.

Brent's voice was strong enough to pierce my resistance but what really won me over was the way its warmth and richness wraps itself around you and adds dimension to the poetry and narratives in her lyrics. In addition to voice and talent, one thing that separates Deep Black Water from the glut of singer/songwriter records is the production and arrangements. Mike McCarthy produced the set and joining Brent on acoustic guitar are Ian McLagan (Small Faces) on organ, Brent's award-winning sister, Eden, on piano, and David Grissom (Joe Ely, John Mellencamp) on guitar.


There's something delicious about opening a record with a gentle, tender song called "Like The Thunder." It's a bold title yet everything about the song save for its heart is small and understated. "Building A Wall" is a stirring piece of countrified folk with weepy steel guitar accents. "Baby We'd Be Fine" echoes classic Carole King combined with a touch of '90s Lilith Fair singer/songwriter aesthetic. "You're The Ocean" works similar terrain and Ricky Ray Jackson adds more gorgeous pedal steel. "Love Like A Web" opens with Brent's voice and her acoustic guitar with subtle steel guitar cries lurking beneath, followed by an electric slide guitar solo that burns slowly, carrying the song to the end. The title track is simple, lovely and heartbreaking.


Adam Duritz said, "The internet is the best thing that has ever happened to music in the history of music," and he's right.  Music listeners always had to wade through teeming piles of rubbish to find the gems but had to overcome the additional obstacle of gatekeepers restricting the flow of music and ideas. The web has unleashed a torrent of underwhelming amateurs but it has also given us the power to seek out treasures. Deep Black Water is one of them.  -  Josh Hathaway

Americana Round-Up Leicester Bangs 

by Sandra G.

Bronwynne Brent – Deep Black Water (Independent)

New Orleans singer-songwriter Bronwynne Brent recorded her debut in Austin, Tx. with Mike McCarthy producing and a stellar band, including David Grissom on guitar and The Faces’ Ian McLagan on Hammond B-3.  That’s a heavyweight cast for an artist recording a debut album, but their judgement was good, and “Deep Black Water” is a super album of gothic Americana and indie folk songs. The title track is sheer perfection, but it’s not alone. “Like The Thunder” is just beautiful, a haunting pedal steel guitar snakes around Brent’s words, and “Tell Be Sweet” is a devastating love song. Fans of Jesse Sykes and Joanna Newsom should hunt a copy down.


Maverick Magazine  

Maverick Magazine by Laura Bethell VIEW
Bronwynne Brent - DEEP BLACK WATER 

Deep and sensual Americana/folk singer-songwriter—for an independent debut this is of very high quality… Bronwynne Brent is a contemporary folk singer-songwriter residing in New Orleans. Her debut album DEEP BLACK WATER explores a seamless mix of Americana and folk, with a voice that is deep and resonating. Produced by Mike McCarthy (Heartless Bastards and Patty Griffin) in Austin, Bronwynne is accompanied by Chris Maresh on bass, J.J. Johnson on drums, David Grissom on guitar, Ricky Jay Jackson on pedal steel and Ian McLagan on Hammond B-3.

Opening with Like The Thunder her glorious vocals are toned and sensual, while her songs are sensitive and compelling. The title track Deep Black Water is a beautiful song, heartfelt and sorrowful, with her folk style prominently gliding throughout. Tell Me Sweet is an acoustic mellow number, almost sorrowful about losing someone you want to stay. The sweet tones of her voice are hypnotic. Wrecked My Mind is a much cooler song, soulful and gutsy, capturing the vibrancy of her performance. Thankfully is another favourite of mine on this record— the harmonies giving it a slight edge and variation in sound to what you become used to by the end of the album. Overall this record is of very high quality for an independent debut and a very promising showcase of this inspirational and highly talented singer-songwriter.

The North Coast Journal 

Bronwynne Brent - Old Town Coffee & Chocolates, Eureka
by Mark Shikuma June 22, 2012   VIEW

It came to me by blind luck or coincidence. Either way, it was fortuitous that I found myself in Old Town Eureka on a nearly-abandoned, soggy, gray evening. Having heard the Austin-based singer-songwriter Bronwynne Brent on the radio the day before (she had made an in-studio appearance on KHUM),I was struck by her strong, distinct voice that carried a faint Irish or British lilt, and I wanted to hear her live in Old Town.  Her songs contained dark narratives of extinguished relationships. It wasn’t the straightforward heartbreak stuff. The lyrics carried a worldlier, older perspective.

The native Greenville, Miss. songwriter self released her debut full-length Deep Black Water, last year — falling under the radar of most places outside the greater Austin area. Produced by Mike McCarthy, best known for his longtime production work with Spoon, her 2011 debut sparkled with pop-influenced folk songs wrapped in a crisp, alt. country sound. Her backing band, comprised of some of Austin’s finest session musicians, included Faces keyboardist Ian “Mac” McLagan and pedal steel player Ricky Ray Jackson. Live, backed with only her guitar and harmonica, her often-melancholic songs resonated more powerfully in stark and intimate arrangements. Through her words and confident voice, the songs highlighted Brent’s eye not on a relationship’s flower, so to speak, but its thorns. In some regards, her narrators are similar to Richard Thompson’s — in their fascination, if not celebration, of characters that live on the darker side of the emotional street.
In two 45-minute sets consisting of material mostly from Deep Black Water, Brent’s self-effacing demeanor and Southern politeness often deflected any attention from the singer, per se, and allowed all the focus to be given to each song. “When the heat is on, and the storm is moving in,” she sang, in the album’s title track, “lightning is bound to burn you, like an unassuming friend. … I want to swim in your deep black water. Make me whole again.” That’s the beauty of witnessing Brent perform: You are caught off-guard, not prepared for such dark, poetic imagery being delivered by a shy, modest messenger.

Brent also peppered her set with a number of excellent covers, including Steve Forbert’s “Tonight I Feel So Far Away From Home,” Elizabeth Cotton’s classic “Freight Train” and a superb version of Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho & Lefty.” She also covered several compositions penned by her songwriting mother (two of Brent’s sisters are also singer-songwriters).

Just past the coffee shop’s large window, light rain and the last of the day’s light were coming down onto the empty gazebo. The setting served as a perfect backdrop to Brent’s double-edged lines, her subtle and adept musicianship, her resonant vocals and her depth as a songwriter.

The Jasper Local 

by Bob Covey
Jasper Local
September 1, 2013    

Bronwynne Brent admits she often feels like she doesn’t belong.

“I’m in limbo,” she said in her Mississippi drawl. “I sometimes don’t know what drives me to do this life.” Perhaps Brent is from a different time. After all, most of her songs are about love; she pines for the days when an artist wouldn’t have to worry about the complications of the internet; and she hasn’t left the U.S. since she was a little girl. “Canada’s a long way off,” she said about her impending trip to the Jasper Folk Music Festival. If Bronwynne’s southern decency and Mississippi roots begin to box the singer-songwriter in, her music quickly defies the stereotypes—and any genres that critics might try to place her in. Her progressive sound fuses the folk and blues that played on her parents’ turntables with poignant, soul spinners which make indie kids peek over their horn rims. While Brent’s voice is velvet, her backing band provides spooky guitar bends and clanky piano riffs—sounds which tumble to their own cyclone in and around the Austin music scene.

Listening to Brent is like discovering that gorgeously upholstered chair is actually meant for sitting. “The way I see it is don’t try to compare yourself with others,” she said.  


Music Review: Bronwynne Brent – Deep Black Water
By Jordan Richardson  VIEW

Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, singer/songwriter Bronwynne Brent is entrenched in the rough authenticity only those who really know can claim. Her Deep Black Water, released earlier this year, is evidence of just how much she knows.

Some have called the record “gothic Americana,” while others resort to catchalls like “indie folk” or “roots” or whatever. What this is is an exploration of soulfulness and of reality, something done with the spotlight turned away and the limelight shut off. While Deep Black Water begs to be heard, part of it feels like a private conversation we’re intruding on.

Brent doesn’t seem to care about accolades, but she’s going to get a lot of them. Her forward-thinking approach mixes in the bits of neo-soul, making the rounds today with the roots and Americana vibes of yesteryear. She rises like an angel from murky waters, rumbling all the while about damaged relationships and the threadbare shards of love.

But whilst Brent travels familiar territory, her nose for sonic splendour creates a different set of standards to live by.

Her debut record opens with “Like the Thunder,” a poignant piece of music that has her frank, sharp quality speaking candid words. “If it’s crying time, just tell me so,” she sings over soft wave of sound.

Featuring the pedal steel guitar of Ricky Ray Jackson, the drums of J.J. Johnson, the bass of Chris Maresh, the guitar of David Grissom, and the Hammond B3 of Ian McLagan, Deep Black Water doesn’t want for intricate instrumentations. Brent’s voice and guitar are gifts.

More of the “nobody’s watching” honest populates the record on tracks like the painfully gorgeous “Secret” and the beautiful “The Ocean.”

Brent’s not averse to kicking things up into a higher gear, however, with stompers like “Building A Wall” and “Wrecked My Mind.” The latter had me thinking about Amy Winehouse with a folk slant, with Brent’s sassy diction calling to mind the deceased marvel. McLagan’s splashes of Hammond B3 will take listeners to church, Lord have mercy.

An exquisite record of soul-spilling radiance, Bronwynne Brent’s Deep Black Water is well worth sinking into with both feet. The clever singer/songwriter’s debut, produced by Mike McCarthy, should be heard and heard often by those with an appreciation for goodness and beauty.