VANESSA PETERS – THE BURN THE TRUTH THE LIES
2012 – Self Released
Since the start of this century Vanessa Peters has been quite prolific with her songwriting, recording and touring, splitting her time between solo work and her excellent Italian band ‘Ice Cream On Mondays.’ Vanessa is a native Texan who met the band on one of her tours that took in Italy and the three albums she has made with them are as worthwhile as her beautiful solo work. That band are not used on this solo album, but the musicians she does use are as sympathetic to her songs as the former.
This lineup consists of Vanessa on lead vocals, guitar and harmonica, Joe Reyes plays guitar, John Dufilho, drums, Jason Garner on bass, Rip Rowan, keyboards and drums, with Buffi Jacobs playing cello on Favorite Day and Good and Ready. All of the songs are written by Vanessa and her trademark, high quality literacy, if anything goes up a further notch on this album.
The album probably falls into a folksy country category, a loose genre that includes many other great musicians, but what lifts her above the pack is those lyrics. It’s almost as if she has written some very good descriptive short stories and set them to music. When you add this to the fact that she has come up with some gorgeous melodies, that should normally be more than sufficient, but ally this to the fact that she is the possessor of
a beautiful, warm full of character voice and you pretty much have a combination made in heavan!
Many of the songs seem to relate the confusion that surrounds nearly every aspect of relationships and sums up the myriad of emotions and effects of various courses of action, some of it allegorical and some that seem to be stories that simply relate a strongly felt sensation or emotion. The State I’m Living In is a gorgeous song, led by a nice easy going acoustic guitar with excellent harmonies and nice chiming electric guitar on a song that tells of the raw emotion of being brushed aside by a lover. This is followed by the lovely mellow sound of No Decision with it’s
chiming guitars, harmonica intro and appealing melody on the tale of a relationship that whilst seemingly doomed carries on more through habit than desire. In some ways it conjures up a picture of a character that could have
inhabited Tom Waits ‘Nighthawks at the diner!’ Grateful is played at a much faster pace with a tremendous guitar sound on a nice philosophical depiction of life’s ups and downs and includes a gorgeous chorus, the sound of which is reminiscent of the Bangles! Good and Ready is a highly evocative slow moody story with atmospheric cello on a
tale of trying to lock away the memory of a broken heart, a song that catches the mood of someone struggling to harden her feelings, something that fairly obviously doesn’t come naturally to the character. The final song is This
Could Go Well, a tale that in many ways could be a sequel to Good and Ready. Having hardened herself against the hurt she now has another chance at love but is struggling to commit herself.
All in all a lovely album. There are plenty of skilled musicians and exceptional vocalists around but not so many as lyrically adept as Vanessa Peters.