Edie Brickell has a dream.
It's not to be rich, famous or even well-liked. Nor is it to save the whales, free political prisoners or feed the hungry.Surprise: She wants to be an old-fashioned mom.
Although she says she'll probably always be a performer, or at least an artiste of some sort, she says she ultimately wants something "more important" out of life.
"What's important is creating a family basis," she said in a recent telephone interview. "Family relations are more important than relations with an audience. It's something you can go home to. Something you can trust. It's not something where they're going to love you one minute and not the next."
A convenient stance, the cynic might say, given that Brickell and her band, New Bohemians, are on deck for a Sunday night stop in Utah - arguably the homeland for traditional moms.
And yet, Brickell sounds utterly serious, if perhaps a bit naive, about her family goals. And even her naivete is mitigated largely by her acknowledgment that her view of families is an idealized one, likely born from the inadequacies of her own upbringing.
"Sometimes people want to create the family they didn't have," she admits.
What kind of family did she have? She grew up in what press releases describe as a "lower-middle-class suburb" in Dallas. She lived mainly with her working mother who had divorced her father, a professional bowler, when Edie was very young. She attributes her shyness - which is evident on stage in her awkward, stiff-legged singing poses - to growing up in bowling alleys, moving frequently and being forced to attend many different schools.
Given her bashfulness, it's surprising she ever broke into a business where ostentation is a way of life. And, in fact, Brickell can only describe it as "inspiration" (fueled by a shot of Jack Daniels) that led her to make her impromptu singing debut at a Dallas night club early one morning in 1985. On a dare, she joined the British-influenced ska band called New Bohemians onstage And while she sang mainly improvised, sometimes nonsensical lyrics, the band members liked her so much they asked her to join.
Still, Brickell admits she's not entirely comfortable with the performance aspect of her chosen craft. She says she prefers writing songs to recording and touring. The main reason, she says, is that it's sometimes difficult to recapture onstage the emotion of a song she wrote years ago.
"I'm more interested in new ideas and new songs," she said.
That urge to do something different is evident on their newest album, "Ghost of a Dog," which features songs that are more up-tempo and percussive than the band's 1988 debut album, "Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars," which spawned a top-10 single ("What I Am") and was ranked the 10th best album of the year by Rolling Stone magazine.
But being different, especially after a successful album, is a risky proposition. The "if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it" philosophy dominates the pop music industry, and many bands find that forging this year's rec-ord in the image of last year's blockbuster is an easy way to financial success.
And being different has had a price for Brickell and New Bohemians. "Ghost of a Dog" peaked at 32 on Billboard's list of top 100 albums and has since disappeared from radar.
But Brickell is nonplussed. The less-stellar success of "Ghost" was not a surprise, she said, "because the first one really went on to sell more than anyone expected. It had more of a pop feel. But we felt like, `Let's not repeat ourselves.' And we knew whatever we did would sell a little."
It's perhaps the desire not to repeat herself that urges Brickell to contemplate her future family.
"I don't want to be the same," she said. "I don't like it when I have same thoughts. If I found someone who I could agree with, maybe, I would hope, I would be married in some kind of dependent relationship. I want to be a woman who has a career, but who has enough time to focus on the kids and not send them away."
Edie Brickell and New Bohemians will perform at the Capitol Theatre on Sunday, April 14. Blue Rodeo will open the show at 7:30 p.m.