Accepting the raison d’etre of all artists is to make music what renders ‘Remembering You’ by guitarist Dee Brown that much more powerful is that it has been inspired by the sad loss of his fiancée Shaunia Edwards who passed away in 2016. Yet far from being a somber remembrance of a life lost this is an uplifting ten-track collection that underscores the joy of living. Of course those who have been with Brown for the long haul will recall his 2007 debut recording ‘No Time To Waste’ and the follow-up, ‘A Little Elbow Room’ that followed two years later. His 2014 project, the delicious ‘Brown Sugar, Honey-Coated Love’, included ‘I’m Here For You’ that he co-wrote with Shaunia who also featured on vocals. Now, ‘Remembering You’ is testimony to the fact is Brown remains here for her too.
‘Remembering You’ is his second release for Innervision Records and its mood is typified by the sunshine filled ‘Our Summer’ that includes dazzling flute from Althea Rene. In fact star contributors abound and just as Bob Baldwin adds a piano solo to the pleasingly mid tempo ‘I Will’ it is Nate Harisim who bestows wistful melancholy to ‘Beauty Within’.
Later, when Brown eases down the tempo, the result is the slow burning ‘Follow You’ that benefits from the backing vocals of Ester Todd and Winzell Kelly.
Much of ‘Remembering You’ is built around the core construct of Usher’s former musical director Valdez Brantley (who, as well as playing keyboards, co-writes eight of the ten choice tunes), sax-man Dezie McCullers, Jr. (who just happens to be the brother of Althea Rene) and drummer Ron Otis who is best known for his work with Aretha Franklin, Earl Klugh and Kem. Their powerful studio camaraderie variously informs outstanding songs such as the wonderfully zesty ‘I Want You Too’ and the first track to be offered to radio ‘Hey Baby’ which actually includes a spine-tingling vocal intro from the now diseased Edwards.
In terms of personal favorites the Brown Brantley collaboration ‘Pop The Question’ checks all manner of boxes and none more so than when it is reprised with spectacular results as a ‘d-Funk’ remix. Equally good is the vibrant ‘So Much’ but all things considered it is the poignant title cut ‘Remembering You’ that serves as a fitting conclusion to this musical celebration. It is a superb showcase for what Dee Brown is all about.