Brigitte DeMeyer,
Something After All
(self-released, 2005)

Bay Area singer-songwriter Brigitte DeMeyer's vocals -- if ever the adjective "smoky" applied, it surely does here -- take on 11 original and other songs, mostly in a sophisticated country-pop vein, with here and there gospel, blues and rock flourishes. If Joni Mitchell's early influences had been mainstream Nashville rather than revival folk, those first albums might have sounded something like this.

Probably the current artist DeMeyer most resembles is Sheryl Crow. In my hearing, however, DeMeyer, whose record lacks the bland commercial gloss of Crowe's work, is by far the more engaging and convincing performer. Producer Brady Blade (formerly of Emmylou Harris' band Spyboy) sets it all in a warm, generally acoustic setting. Notables Steve Earle, Buddy Miller and Daniel Lanois show up at places to lend support and talent.

These are love songs, sung with grace and soul, the lyrics well crafted though not especially thematically ambitious. The one exception, the opening cut, "By & By" (written by DeMeyer and Joacim Backman), borrows the title of an old hymn and fashions from the image a kind of devotional meditation on love in both divine and earthly senses. Purely as literary ambition, it's the most interesting song on the album. But DeMeyer's singing, at once tasteful and impassioned, will likely win you over even if you long for material that transcends pop's standard subject matter.

by Jerome Clark
22 July 2006

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