Eden Brent

Official Website: edenbrent.com

A lifetime in the birthplace of the Blues: a riches to rags story

Blues lady Eden Brent is a piano-pounding, juke-joint hollering powerhouse. A celebrated songwriter and dynamic performer, she spent the first two decades of her career under the tutelage of Abie “Boogaloo” Ames, before winning the Blues Foundation’s Blues Challenge and bouncing onto the international scene.

Since then she lands steady honors, three Blues Music Awards among them. Her much-anticipated new album Getaway Blues presents nine original blues songs recorded live in London with a four-piece band can be found on the Yellow Dog Records label. Laid down in London. Mixed up in Memphis. Made in Mississippi.

Born in the Mississippi Delta’s literary core and its largest town, Greenville, to a family of riverboat captains and guitar pickers, Eden’s story could have been written by Eudora Welty or Tennessee Williams or any number of Mississippi’s colorful authors.

By the time she was old enough to drive a car legally, she christened the M/V Eden Brent, a working river towboat built by her family’s river transportation company. The Greenville Bridge bears the name of her grandfather Capt. Jesse who was dubbed “Riverman of the Century” by the Waterways Journal.

Her father Capt. Howard, famous for his Hank Williams renditions and grand story-telling, received the “River Legend Award” by the Seaman’s Church Institute who also named a riverboat training simulator in his honor. Mother Carole was a sharecropper turned fashion model, big band singer and “Miss Ace Records” who landed on the cover of True Detective magazine and worked at Chicago’s famed Chez Paris where she encountered Nat King Cole and members of the Rat Pack. Both of Eden’s parents
met Elvis Presley, her father in 1955 and her mother in 1956.

The Brent household overflowed with music on reel-to-reel and vinyl, all played on Jerry Lee Lewis 39’s Hi-Fi that was acquired at an IRS auction. Suppertime sparked entertainment hour with regular family sing-a-longs. Author Julia Reed remembers the home as “a soulful and far funnier version of ‘The Sound of Music,’” and refers to the family as the “von Brents.”

Eden’s hometown hosts The Mississippi Delta Blues & Heritage Festival, the oldest blues festival in the world, which she attended annually as a youngster. Through the years the festival hosted the greats, from Albert King to Denise LaSalle and from Koko Taylor to Memphis Slim. Locals, who were noted internationally, played the festival annually, people like Sam Chatmon of the Mississippi Sheiks, T-Model Ford, James “Son” Thomas, and Eugene “Sonny Boy Nelson” Powell.

The local VFW presented acts like Bobby Blue Bland while Little Milton Campbell played Nelson Street, and of course there were the annual homecoming visits by B. B. King.

Eden was in the right place at the right time, immersed in the Blues right back at its birthplace during this revival.

Eden is featured in three documentaries: Boogaloo & Eden: Sustaining the Sound; Forty Days in the Delta; and 180 Degrees: Changing Lives in the Mississippi Delta; in publications like Living Blues, USA Today and Garden & Gun; on national radio broadcasts including NPR Weekend Edition and American Routes; and is among Mississippi’s living blues legends in H. C. Porter’s touring exhibit and companion book Blues@Home.

Her music continues to delight both critics and live audiences alike.