‘Riddles & Rhymes’ from Pepper Proud – original American folk(March 18, 2013)
Listening to ‘Riddles & Rhymes’ from Pepper Proud is engaging with a collection of encounters and experiences – aching simple truth, deeply felt desire and poignant longing – all meetings to savour. There’s a simple splendour to Pepper’s voice as it glides across her softly tantalizing tunes weaving its way through their natural purity.
From the opening innocence of ‘Fishing Girl’ you’re instantly hooked on her fragile vocals, the seduction continues through the move to the erudite lyrics of ‘Green Walls’ and into the powerful reflection of ‘Scene Opaque’ as Pepper takes her vocals to another level of enticement – one listen to this album and it’s going to become addictive. The effortless beginnings of ‘Wrinkled Love’ with its unadorned string introduction, takes a similar as Pepper’s lyrics move the mood towards doubtful love. The narratives can be cutting or enlightening, obscure or illustrative as they move effortlessly across a forest of emotions, bringing each alive in your mind. The sombre ‘Story of Blank’, is made all the more moving by the warm brass and piercing strings, while the lush lyrics of ‘Staged’ offers essential truths about life.
This is not just for lovers of American folk. Its reach is much wider – listen and hear for yourself.
The album features Pepper Proud guitar, vocals) Todd Gray (drums, mandolin) Paisley Gray (stand-up bass) Annie Ford (violin, viola, cello) Jon Pontrello (banjo) Jason Goessel (electric bass) Ryan Ward (harmonica) Caitlin Sherman (piano) Michael Navedo (trumpet) Charlie Craddock (shovel) and |Colin J. Nelson (backing vocals).
Reviewer: Tom Franks