*Say you’re a gifted vocalist who has backed artists as great and diverse as Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Phil Collins, Will Downing, Gary Taylor and Mary Mary, among others. What do you do for an encore?
If you’re honey voiced singer/songwriter Bridgette Bryant, you do your own thing, of course. Soulmate Collection, Bryant’s indy debut (www.bridgettebryant.com), is a soulful, elegant affair with a bohemian streak occasionally reminiscent of the crème de la crème of mid 1970s progressive soul.
For example, Bryant’s playful, organic-sounding “Earth Keeps Spinnin,’” effectively channels Stevie Wonder’s ’70s folky soul moments (think Wonder’s “Happier Than the Morning Sun” or “Girl Blue”), while she tears up the Emotions soul chestnut, “Key To My Heart.”
But then, the multifaceted Bryant is equally at home with the sassy, Brazilian-tinged “There Is Love” and the wistful, ethereal ballad, “When You Went Away” as she is during the downright erotic “Touch Me Again” and the euphoric, head-bobbing “So High.” Tender yet sneakily puissant, Bryant’s tangy voice sounds capable of singing anything.
Producer Tracy Carter, Bryant’s skilled, imaginative cohort, from his keyboard writes, arranges and makes wonderfully seamless work of a collection that includes no less than traditional gospel: Bryant’s powerful, moving reading of “Rolling River God was recorded live before an audience.
The Bryant/Carter collaboration is at its apex during the yearning “Soft Place,” a deliciously chordy, humping ballad that will have you lighting up the incense and simply making yourself at home in Bryant’s boutique of sassy, sexy soul.