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The Truth

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Album Review

Not quite as stripped-down as her 2002 full-length debut (at age 60), Precious Bryant's 2004 follow-up still retains the homey warmth and low-key charm of that surprisingly successful, double-W.C. Handy-nominated release. Adding her son Tony Bryant on bass, drummer J.D. Mark, and even a second guitarist, Jake Fussell, on two tracks doesn't undercut Bryant's honeyed but lived-in voice and restrained guitar accompaniment. An eclectic and somewhat curious mix of traditional gospel songs rearranged by Bryant, a few classic blues such as Willie Dixon's "My Babe," and even some saucy R&B covers like Denise LaSalle's "Don't Jump My Pony" and the Irma Thomas hit "You Can Have My Husband," the album nonetheless succeeds due to Bryant's delicate exuberance. She strums her electric guitar with a primitive yet melodic abandon that perfectly offsets her vulnerable vocals. The often brushed drums and hushed bass expand the sound only moderately, and some tunes revert to a solo performance. The Southern rhythmic approach is similar to, but much less aggressive than that taken by some on the Fat Possum roster, and there isn't a hint of a guitar solo in sight. The 14 compact but leisurely performed songs fly by in just under 40 minutes, just enough to entertain but not so much that the sound becomes repetitious. It's this innate sense of dynamics combined with nonchalant low-key charm that makes Bryant so special. On the title track, it feels like she is sitting next to you as she softly caresses her guitar against the effortless elegance of the song's lyrics. It is that atmospheric impression of relaxed simplicity that makes this album such unbridled and disarming fun.


Born: 04 January 1942 in Talbot County, GA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Born Precious Bussey in Talbot County, GA, on January 4, 1942, Precious Bryant has performed rural acoustic blues throughout her native state for over 30 years in a variety of settings, from the Baptist church to folk festivals to clubs and concert halls. As a female practitioner of a rapidly fading folk style, Bryant has a unique musical voice, if only by virtue of survival. Growing up in a close-knit Georgia family, Bryant was surrounded by myriad musical forms from a very young age, her mother...
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