It's been a long time since "He" (Peter Karp) left the surroundings of swampy New Jersey and the rural grit of Southern Alabama to take his equal parts "Yankee-Rebel juxtaposition", as it states in his bio, to travel across the country, bringing his unique blend of roots rock, blues, and folk music to others. His songwriting has been compared to John Hiatt and John Prine and is regarded as one of the best guitarist-piano playing songwriters in the biz. His bio also claims, "Karp repeatedly transfixes his live audiences...with impressive guitar and slide licks infused by his love of Freddie King and Elmore James".
It's also been a long time since "She" (Sue Foley) has left the safe confines of small town Canada to come to Austin, Texas at the ripe young age of twenty-one. She quickly established herself amongst the elite blues guitarist in a blues guitarist saturated Austin. She has shared the stage with many masters of the blues and Americana or roots music; artists such as BB King, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams, and Tom Petty to name a few. Since then she has gone on to cultivate her own unique blend of the blues-rock genre. After moving back to Canada from Austin, she won the prestigious Juno award for her critically acclaimed CD "Love Coming Down".
You put these two together and you get their wonderful new collaboration titled, "He Said She Said" (Blind Pig Records).
This album is, in my opinion, a brilliant concept record, born from letters and emails the two had written to one another over a one-year period. The letters were turned into songs telling the story of their experiences on the road, expressing the loneliness and the difficulties caused by being separated from friends and family while on the road.
The result is a set of fourteen tracks of some of the sexiest, steamiest, dramatic, and comedic tunes I have ever heard from two very different artists. There is chemistry here that I did not know existed when the two were separate acts, which they still are. However, they are touring and performing this "He Said She Said" concept to audiences all over Canada and the states to rave reviews. And it's no wonder. "He Said She Said" blends the styles of two very versatile performers who took two very different roads that brought them both to the same destination. It could have only been fate that these two were brought together.
The first track "Treat Me Right" is really all about a man and woman finding nothing but fault in the way the two treat each other, alternating back and forth treating the listener to a somewhat comedic argument between the two characters in the song -
"Well you broke down I don't believe what you said/that's what she said/Well you broke down I don't believe what you said/She said it again/I said, Honey I might be dull as a junkman's blade/I said, "Honey even a broke clock's right twice a day/why do you treat me this way?"
I love the interaction between the two often alternating sentences, not necessarily exclusive to just verses.
The entire record is laid out just that way, drawing us into these very personal letters and emails set to music; and oh, what wonderful music it is! Both musicians are extremely talented and are considered amongst their peers, let alone their fans, as two of the best blues guitarists around. There is no shortage of blues here but it's not limited to that. There is folk, twang, you name it, and it's here.
For instance, the very steamy and sexy "Mm Hmm" has a very jazzy element to it continuing the alternating of the different verses. The lyrics are - well, see for yourself -
"Wouldn't it be nice/to once or twice or even thrice/pick up where we left off to resume/Throwing each other around a room/Mm Hmm
"To hear your heavenly high pitched moans/followed by my grunts and groans/Closing our eyes and falling into the deep/with one eye open to watch each other sleep/Mm Hmm."
I'd have to say it's probably my favorite song of them all and not just because of the hot lyrics, but the entire arrangement itself. The addition of trombone and harmonica only add to the steaminess the tune already possesses, making it "hotter than a Georgia asphalt", as Lula played by Laura Dern expresses to Sailor played by Nicolas Cage in David Lynch's `Wild at Heart". It's that steamy.
You get the picture. This is a great record, absolutely not to be missed. Now, I only wrote about a couple tracks here. This is a concept album meant to be heard in order, tracks one through fourteen. It's all intertwined and meant to be heard just that way. `Rebel' Rod says see for yourself and check it out.