Edie Brickell, Leading the Charge of the New Bohemians

updated 10/24/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

After tossing back a few Jack Daniel's at a Dallas bar, Edie Brickell decided to go for the bold. Steeling her nerves, she sidled up to the New Bohemians, a local ska/reggae trio that was onstage. "Would y'all mind if I sang a bit?" she asked. Quicker than you can say why-shucks-no-sugar-pie-honeybun, she was improvising free-spirited lyrics and had the audience clapping along. "I felt really inspired," says Brickell, who had never before sung professionally. Flip the calendar ahead three years: Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians have released an album, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, with an infectious pop energy that has pricked up critics' ears. Wrote an L.A. Herald Examiner reviewer: "They are really that rarest of discoveries, something modestly, but genuinely, new."

And not getting bigheaded about it, either. "My writing is real spontaneous," says Brickell, who in "What I Am" sings, "I'm not aware of too many things/I know what I know/if you know what I mean." Her reaction to enthusiastic reviews is equally unstudied. "It's blown our minds," she says. "We just wanted our album to make people feel good. Now it's like, 'Oh, excuse us.' "

The daughter of a pro bowler, Brickell lived with her mother, a receptionist, after her parents divorced in 1969. "Money was short and we moved every year, all over Dallas," says Edie, 22. "It was like One Day at a Time—crazy, and a whole lot of fun." Mom saved enough to help send her to Southern Methodist University, but Edie dropped out after three semesters to go Bohemian. "SMU was out of my league," she says.

Her goals now are to maintain the band's lighthearted spirit and to make sure her fellow Bohos—guitarists Kenny Withrow and Wes Martin, bassist Brad Houser, drummer Matt Chamberlain and percussionist John Bush—get the credit they deserve. "This is not about a girl and a band," says Brickell. "It's about a band and a girl."

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