”I need a lot of help,” says Edie Brickell, the wispy-voiced songstress whose first solo album, Picture Perfect Morning, hits stores Aug. 16. ”I know when something isn’t right, but I don’t know how to make it right.”
Previously, the 28-year-old Brickell looked to her Dallas bar-band compatriots, New Bohemians, for aid. But the overnight success of their double-platinum 1988 debut, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, and the sophomore crash of their follow-up, 1990’s Ghost of a Dog, fractured the neo-hippie group, which called it quits during a band meeting on their tour bus in ‘91. ”We recognized boredom setting in,” says Brickell. Four of the other Bohemians emigrated to Seattle soon thereafter. ”The band wanted to experiment more with wild musical arrangements,” says Brickell. ”And they’re having the time of their lives, too, I hear. Probably because they don’t have me to hold them down.”
The similarly liberated Brickell soon discovered a new musical adviser when, in May 1992, she married peripatetic songwriter Paul Simon — immortalized by MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head as ”that African guy who was in the Beatles.” Simon and his longtime producer, Roy Halee, introduced Brickell to ”a big, free-thinking way of recording” and encouraged her desire to collaborate with the likes of Art Neville, Barry White, and Dr. John.
Although tinged with old-school R&B shadings (an homage to her mother’s Al Green collection), Morning’s 11 songs still bear the waifish, often ridiculed trill of the Bohemians’ doggerel hit, ”What I Am.” And Brickell — who has no plans to tour — knows that her crunchy granola image needs as much help as she does. ”I look at the music scene now and think that I don’t fit in,” she admits. ”But I also don’t care if I don’t fit in, because I’m not really interested in that right now.”