Peter Karp and Sue Foley

Peter Karp and Sue Foley
Beyond The Crossroads

Blind Pig Records

By David Wilson
June 2014

Here is one that might have slipped by you as it nearly slipped by me. I confess that I am a little on the edge about this one. I really wish I liked it more, but I like it enough for a few reasons that leave me reluctant to pass it by. There are several reasons for that.

First, these two write some of the best songs with verses direct from the heart and the gut with an honesty of expression I find compelling.

Witness these lines from “We’re Gonna Make it.”

In “Take Your Time,” the images bring the story and the feelings to life.

Then, there are the voices. Sue’s voice is unusual, not always pretty or sweet, certainly not showing a great range, but edgy, with admirable diction and interesting phrasing. Peter’s is less unique, but with a variable huskiness that can be tender or harsh. When singing solo or as a duo, they pull me right in. Sometimes their harmonies grate, and usually in that case the grating is appropriate.

Their guitar work is sharp, keyed to the message of their material, and technically impressive.

What I find distracting are the arrangements and since both Peter and Sue are listed as producers, I have to lay the responsibility for that at their door.

Here is the thing. The lyrics of these songs are of matters so personal that they beg to be shared simply and plainly in a form as honest as are they themselves. The over the top arrangements obscure the simple truths that would be better served with a simple melodic underlining. This is where a little bit less could be a whole lot more.

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