Vanessa Peters. Stephanie Fagan

Ms. Peters is a new name to Blabber’n’Smoke although she did get a fair amount of press around this time last year when she released The Christmas We Hoped For, a collection of Christmas songs as you might have guessed. A Texan and would be novelist she fell into the music scene when she took a gap year in Italy and stayed there teaming up with an Italian band, Ice Cream On Mondays. They split a few years back and Peters returned to Texas and recorded the Christmas album. One Kickstarter campaign later she has The Burn the Truth The Lies to offer us. With a very pleasing voice Peters delivers some jaunty sounding folky songs that disguise a sometimes bitter, careworn world. She’s at her best on No Decision where she condenses a sense of alienation and allies it with a wonderful band performance that shimmers like wet city streets reflecting neon.


In contrast to the cerebral notions of Peters Stephanie Fagan initially appears to be a bit of a good time cowgirl going by the album cover. However, and as the man said you can’t judge a book by the cover. Fagan, from South Carolina, doesn’t let a whoop or a holler escape her lips here and actually shares some territory with Peters, singing songs about lost loves and regret on Heart Thief. She has a whispery and smoky voice and the first few songs are delivered with an airy acoustic guitar and mandolin to the fore giving the album the sense and feel of early Joni Mitchell. At times Fagan dips into a bluesy mood such as on Blow with its lonesome midnight trumpet but she does best on the songs that could have come from a cowgirl, however reserved. Prodigal is a Dobro driven gospel plow while You Are The Devil allows a clattering banjo to drive it along. A very promising effort.


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