Saturday, February 16, 2002
The lively acoustic duo, Princess Peapod, features the rich, linen-textured vocals of Michele Frimmer with the inventive harmonies and multi-layered guitar style of Dave Cook. Princess Peapod combines socially-conscious lyrics with just the right amount of crunch and groove to make for third millennium-age folk at it's best.
Dave and Michele treated us to a set of their songs that proved their talents in composition and in presentation. Our audience was charmed and excited by their broad range, their smooth harmonies and their clear, crisp lyrics.
Princess Peapod's often reflective, sometimes quirky lyrics find universal appeal in the imagination of diverse audiences. With their feet on the ground and heads in the clouds, Dave and Michele's candid performances are joyful expressions of the moment filled with bittersweet truth and persistent hope.
Dave Cook has been playing the guitar solo and in bands since age fourteen. During the past six years he has been active producing New York-based singer-songwriters. Michele Frimmer is a life-long student of classical piano and voice. She is also a trained artist and educator and devotes a good deal of time to the furtherance of art education for children as well as to her own artistic endeavors.
It was a treat to have them for their first featured appearance on our Hard Luck Café stage.
and on the same program was
Rachael Davis has been singing on-stage since she was two years old. Amazingly, although she is now only twenty-one years old, she has many more decades of stage presence and a voice that can range from soft and lilting in a folk ballad to a powerful belting one for the blues. She also treated us to a moving unamplified a cappella lament Bill Withers' Grandma's Hands that she learned from Claudia Schmidt. Her voice has strength, depth, and a multi-octave range, and she treated us to several of her own compositions. She was accompanied ably on the guitar by Brett Hartenbach, although she also performed some pieces solo, accompanying herself on her father's banjo or guitar.
Rachel demonstrated to our SRO crowd that she is a major new talent, and we hope to see her again soon.
Rachel sent us this report in her newsletter to tell us about her reactions:
"The next day (on our East coast tour) we were on Long Island at The Hard Luck Cafe. This was such a wonderful time! We were just at the beginning of the tour so we still had all our energy stored up. We were welcomed like family into this place. For a second, I forgot that I wasn't back home in the midwest! It was really special for me. The next morning, Charlie Backfish had us in his WUSB studio. Brett and I played and sang a little bit for him. He asked me about the banjo, about how it belonged to my dad before and so on . . . I did the best I could for that hour!"
Rachel was born in Lansing, Michigan, and she spent about six years of her life in Chicago before her parents musicians as well settled in Cadillac, Michigan. She has spent most of her life involved with music in one way or another - whether as the lead in three of her high school's musicals, singing with her family-based group Lake Effect, or performing solo with a few friends as special guests. In lieu of her fourth year of high school, she attended Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan which also counts among its alumni, Peter Yarrow, Anne Hills and Jewel Kilcher.
In the span of her twenty years, she has literally shared the stage with Boston based singer/songwriter Vance Gilbert, folk divas Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers, Prairie Home Companion regulars Robin and Linda Williams, jazz legends Marcus Belgrave and Winston Walls amongst others at concerts and various festivals in Michigan.
Her influences range from the jazz stylings of Ella Fitzgerald to the soulful pop vocals of Patty Griffin with many more in between ...
At twenty, she has released her debut CD, Minor League Deities, a collection of original songs featuring performances by many of the people whose musical and personal paths she has crossed throughout her life. One of those is Claudia Schmidt, who says:
Listen to Rachael:
Link to Rachael's website for more >
Our open mike tonight featured performances by Ron DiGennaro, The Tone, Glenn Pettit, Jim Caputo, Richard Barnhart, Mark Yodice, Bob Westcott, Dick Morrison, Wes Houston, and ended with a rousing finish by Little Toby Walker - just back from winning the First Prize in Memphis as a Solo Acoustic performer at the 2002 International Blues Challenge.
If you weren't here tonight, you missed one of our best programs of the year ...