Album Reviews

Peter Karp & Sue Foley – Beyond The Crossroads (Blind Pig)

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NOTE: This review also contains a review of the duo’s recent live performance at Terra Blues in New York City.

Peter Karp and Sue Foley enjoyed separate but equal successes before they met. Nothing really clicked between them, however, until they met a second time and pooled their resources. They’ve been pooling and making beautiful music together ever since.

The twosome recently released their second joint album and, happily, played it in its entirely during their first set at an intimate Bleecker Street club. After early adjustments to the sound and lighting, the show picked up and never stopped. The excellent album was penned by the two of them, with the bulk of the credits going to Karp, whose terrific blend of gospel- and rockabilly-tinged rockin’ blues (think Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton) underpin his well-constructed lyrics. Although most songs follow a fairly typical pattern (no disrespect intended), on “Chance of Rain,” Karp sings a weather report. Honest.

The album, predictably, offers a much more orchestrated sound than the four-piece that played Terra Blues’ small stage. Onstage, Karp played only guitar and resonator, although in the studio he also shoulders keyboard duties. Nevertheless, bassist Niles Terrat and drummer Mike Catapano provided all the necessary rhythm and backup vocals. Foley herself plays a mean guitar, and her razor-sharp voice brings Loretta Lynn to mind. Karp and Foley sang virtually every number as a duet, whether in creative harmony or call and response, and the connection between the two was palpable.

Their joint writing efforts, like the autobiographical “More Than I Bargained For” and “We’re Gonna Make It” shine. Independently, Karp and Foley do just fine; together, like Jagger and Richards or McCartney and Lennon, they’re greater than the sum of their parts.

– Suzanne Cadgene

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