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He Said She Said

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Album Review

He Said She Said is a blues album of an entirely different stripe. Guitarist and songwriter Peter Karp was in the midst of recording his excellent Shadows and Cracks. He’d written a duet, and his manager suggested Sue Foley to record the female part. The cut didn’t make the album, but it forged a friendship that was sustained by writing letters and thoughts across continents via email. Foley and Karp began to record individual records, but during a conversation, realized their letters were the basis of terrific songs, and were more relevant to their lives (personal and musical) at the moment, and so they decided to work together instead. The songs, while firmly rooted in the blues tradition, range widely, even though most of them are sung duets. There’s the uptempo, acoustic, quick-step, shuffling, country-blues of Karp’s “Hold on Baby,” with some of his brilliant slide that is an encouragement to a friend having a difficult time. Foley’s beautiful, countrified rag “So Far So Fast” is a love song confessed as secret longing that features her gorgeous fingerpicking, Nate Allen's upright bass, Mike Catapano's skittering snare, and Karp playing a rickety upright piano. There’s some electric material hereto: Karp’s rocking “Wait,” with a B-3 and an electric bassline, and the pair's guitars trading licks. “Scared” is Karp's beautiful, nocturnal, jazzy track with a horn section, with lead vocals by Foley. The sexy “Mm Hmmm” is a duet that could appear in an erotic thriller with its walking, upright bassline and sensual poetry. Foley’s closing “Lost in You” is a ballad of such tenderness and wonder, it seals the album with a kiss — especially with her nylon-string guitar playing. This is a risky and welcome recording (kudos to Blind Pig for the vision to release it) that asks modern blues fans to suspend their preconceptions and listen to the music as it evolves in this new century, and an album to make those fed up with blues clichés hear something truly and beautifully different.

He Said She Said, Peter Karp & Sue Foley
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