Edie Brickell erupts with 'Volcano' after a decade of inactivity
April 20, 2004
BY JEFF WISSER Staff Reporter Advertisement
When she first appeared on the pop cultural horizon in 1988, fronting the band the New Bohemians and singing the hit "What I Am," the pop waif Edie Brickell informed us that, "I'm not aware of too many things/I know what I know if you know what I mean."
After a decadelong hiatus from the music business, during which she had three children with her husband, pop icon Paul Simon, Brickell has re-emerged with "Volcano," a bright, smart and infectious new record that makes clear at least one thing: Edie Brickell is aware of a good many things these days.
The 38-year-old native of Oak Cliff, Texas (the same town, she proudly points out, where the late guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan was born), is aware, for instance, of the importance that her children, ages 5, 9 and 11, and family life have assumed in her life. That's why she's embarked, kids in tow, on the "family-friendly" minitour targeting a mere 15 cities, including Chicago, for tonight's show at the Park West.
"I'm surprised at myself that I am going out during the school year, because I always said I would not," Brickell says. "But when it was offered to me, when the idea came up, I said, 'OK, see ya. I'll do it. It sounds like a lot of fun.' Everybody was supportive and my mom -- she's my baby-sitter -- and my husband will be here. We're all going to do as much together as we can."
Brickell is also aware, though, that she's been out of circulation for quite some time. And that things have changed quite a bit in that time.
"To me, it's primarily about image as far as popular culture goes. I noticed years ago, when there was a particular person on television. I happened to flip it on, and this person was so-o-o comfortable in front of the camera, doing a music video. Literally making love to the camera. And I thought, 'Wow,' 'cause I remembered my first experience making a video and how uncomfortable and awkward I felt. And I realized that I made a video and came into the music business on the cusp of MTV. So for me, music meant radio and what I heard coming out. But for the generation just after me, music meant MTV, and so they incorporated their music and their image into how they moved."
Brickell admits that her return has been somewhat daunting.
"After I said yeah, I started thinking about it and wondering if I would be entertaining enough."
One session with her backing group for the tour, though, was enough to dispel any fears.
"The band was groovin' so hard and they sounded so good that I got very relaxed and excited," she says.
An exciting new album, produced by fellow Texan and former Bob Dylan sideman Charlie Sexton, should help as well.
"He was the perfect producer for me in that he didn't kill everything with pre-production. He just played the demo for the band and then we went in and recorded it. We played it a couple of times and that was it, so it captured the spirit and the energy that I always felt was missing from my previous recordings."
As for her return to the road after an extended hiatus, Brickell suggests that she's just trying to play it straight and have a little bit of fun.
"I am trying to make a conscious effort to go out in an uninhibited manner on this tour. And have fun and express it all, how I'm feeling, while I can, while I still have a little bit of youth."