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Vanessa Peters - Foxhole Prayers

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 14 / 1 / 2019



Vanessa Peters - Foxhole Prayers
Label: IDl Records
Format: CD

intro

Dallas-based singer/songwriter Vanessa Peters most powerful musical statement yet makes for essential listening


It’s only been out for just over a month in the UK but the latest album from Dallas based singer-songwriter Vanessa Peters has already picked up glowing reviews (including a 4-star rating in ‘Mojo’ magazine), most of which go into detail about the lyrical content of the ten original songs on ‘Foxhole Prayers’. Peters has never been just a run-of-the mill singer-songwriter but one of the few who create little short stories and set them to music. ‘Foxhole Prayers’ is her most topical set of songs to date and Peters, as always, with her crystal-clear delivery has never failed to get her point across. But apart from her sharp observations of what is happening in the world around us right now and since the 2016 US election there are songs that are amongst her most personal on ‘Foxhole Prayers’. ‘Foxhole Prayers’ is, at times, a very dark album but for the most part the music betrays the desperation in Peter’s lyrics. There are times when a song is taken at a slower tempo but for the most part the backing to these songs leaves the listener feeling positive; Peters has assembled a cracking team of musicians to back her on the album, and the production from Rip Rowan and John Dufilho is simply superb capturing the passion in Peters’ lyrics perfectly. So, those interested in Peters’ latest album will have read about the inspiration behind these songs in other places so we won’t dwell on that here; suffice to say that Peters is still sharp as a pin in her observations. What isn’t mentioned so often and maybe isn’t as important as her lyrical skill is the fact that while ‘Foxhole Prayers’ is an independent release on Idol Records it’s one of the most attractive you will find this year. There’s stunning artwork by Jackdaw Russell that draws you to the album even before you realize it’s the latest from Vanessa Peters. The lyric booklet is a must; although Peters’ clear, warm vocals cut through on every song the illustrations peppered throughout the booklet add to the songs and, being the storyteller Peters is this is one lyric book that can be read without the accompaniment of the music and still be powerful. Then there’s the band; although there are elements of electronica fleshing out some of the songs, in the main ‘Foxhole Prayer’ is a guitar album. Producer Rowan’s keyboards play a major part throughout, even on the opening cut, the upbeat ‘Get Started’, but it’s the nagging riffs from Federico Ciancabilla and driving bass of Andrea Colicchia that really kick the album off in style. That and, of course, Peters’ sublime vocals which are sounding stronger and more determined than ever. The vocoder-treated vocals that open ‘Before It Falls Apart’ come as something of a surprise on first listen; being such an expressive vocalist initial thoughts are as to why would that pure voice be treated in any way but by the end of the song it all makes sense and leaves the listener wishing for more of the same. ‘Fight’ is one of those songs that come from within Peters herself. Peters laying bare her thoughts on her craft. “Well, I feared failure for a long time/I suppose I still do,” Peters sings, but still she turns it around - “Get out there and fight, girl/Bring them to their knees”- pushing home the message never to give up. It’s one of the most affecting songs on the album and that one song alone is reason enough to buy the album. It’s honest, it’s real and classic Peters. ‘Lucky’ is another upbeat song; chiming guitars from Joe Reyes drive along yet another track that will leave the listener feeling positive while the title track is a chilling soundscape; “ We’re all just children hurried out of school/Holding hands and told to keep our heads low. Once more, despite the cinematic vibe created, the guitar, once again provided by Reyes, adds so much texture. The lead guitar on ‘Carnival Barker’ is from Chris Holt and again is an integral part of the overall sound. With lyrics such as “ You’ll get a circus, history told us, if you vote for a clown,” it’s pretty obvious who was the inspiration behind this particular cut. The album closes with ‘What You Can’t Outrun’ with both Holt and Reyes on guitar. The song falls just short of six minutes and it’s a stunning way to end the album. It is one of the slower tracks on the album and as Peters repeats, “I guess in the end you’re what you can’t outrun” over and over while those guitars and Rowan’s keyboards add to the melancholy created by the realisation that “The wreckage is all cleared up now/There’s nothing left of the scene, and order’s been restored/The fury died down quickly”. It’s a powerful way to end what is surely a career high for Vanessa Peters.



Track Listing:-
1 Get Started
2 Before It Falls Apart
3 Fight
4 Lucky
5 This Riddle
6 Foxhole Prayers
7 Just One Of Them
8 Carnival Barker
9 Trolls
10 What You Can't Outrun


Band Links:-
http://vanessapeters.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanessa_Peters
http://www.handful-of-sparks.de/
https://www.facebook.com/vanessapeters.music
https://twitter.com/vanessapeters



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Dallas-based singer-songwriter Vanessa Peters shows yet another side to her already impressive musical talents in combining her Americana roots with Danish three-piece the Sentimentals
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