Live in Philadelphia

Live in Philadelphia

by Voices on the Verge


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Live in Philadelphia

A collaboration by four emerging solo singer-songwriters -- Beth Amsel, Erin McKeown, Jess Klein, and Rose Polenzani -- Voices on the Verge banded together on the run at a live late-’98 showcase (Northampton, Massachusetts’ Iron House) and started selling out shows in Northeast venues. Recorded over the course of two nights in Spring 2000, Live in Philadelphia weaves these distinct voices into a captivating, cohesive tapestry of blues- and jazz-tinged folk, a mini-Lilith’s Fair at which the women are “trying on each other’s clothes” (as McKeown says), sharing and shaping each other’s songs with spare acoustic accompaniment and lush, beautiful harmonies. The four outstanding opening tracks -- the delicately strummed ecstatic wail of Polenzani’s hair-shirt, I-love-you-to-pieces “Heaven Release Us”; the gorgeously harmonied a capella gospel hymn to passion’s yin and yang, Maggie Simpson's “Hunger” (the only cover, led by Amsel’s pure, dusky voice); the old-time guitar swing of McKeown’s Grimm’s-tale rhythm-rhyme, “Blackbirds”; the warm-hearted, warm-voiced finger-picking-and-piano reflection on home, hurt, and hope in Klein’s “House You’re Living In” -- lay down the CD’s dark-and-light strokes of mysticism and metaphysics, spiritual and carnal love and life, in alternating-songwriter rounds. Other gems follow, including McKeown’s “Didn’t They?,” Amsel’s “Louise,” Polenzani’s Thom II,” and Klein’s “Little White Dove.” The CD’s final round begins and ends with two standouts: McKeown’s “Softly Moses,” a bittersweet Easter Sunday lament with Greek-chorus harmony and dark-serpent clarinet, and Klein’s reedily plaintive Appalachian plainsong, “I’ll be Alright.” With such a promising debut, Voices on the Verge should be on the verge of a commercial breakthrough. --Janie Matthews

Product Details

Release Date: 10/02/2001
Label: Rykodisc
UPC: 0014431060823
catalogNumber: 10608

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