It almost seems unfair to categorize Edie Brickell as a one-hit wonder, because she is perhaps one of the more underrated talents in modern music. The wife of Paul Simon has only scored one top-ten hit with “What I Am”, performed under the moniker Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. Released in 1988 on the album Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, the single caused the album to go double-platinum, while “What I Am” itself hit number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Yet this one song, with its seeming talk-in-circles lyricism and Brickell’s sing-songy style off the beaten path of predictable melody lines, somehow struck a nerve with music fans, and apparently other musicians, as well. “What I Am” seemed to be a precursor of the Gen-X alternative of the 1990s, its attitude echoed in various ways by the likes of Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple and others.
Brickell herself went on to make several more records with New Bohemians and as a solo artist, but stayed largely under the radar for most listeners. She recently emerged again in a highly acclaimed collaboration with Steve Martin on the bluegrass album Love Has Come For You, and has been touring this year with the Steep Canyon Rangers. It’s good to see her back in action.