Thursday, 14 March 2013

'Antique pop' duo Victor & Penny breathes new life into old standards

'Antique pop' duo Victor & Penny breathes new life into old standards

It's an obscure source I have to thank for becoming aware of the singers who form the main subject of this post and I'm certainly glad to have done so. 

Hailing from the American Midwest, Kansas City musicians Jeff Freling and Erin McGrane - aka Victor & Penny - have formed a wonderful act performing songs from the 1910s, '20s and '30s in splendid style.  They've really captured the feelings of the period, as is mentioned, with their choice of songs but also proved how immediate and popular they can still be.  This is reflected in the term they have coined to describe their music - "antique pop"!  (I suppose it's as good a description as any; I've often wondered about the idea of shifting musical categories - what is classical, jazz, pop etc. relative to the passage of time?).


Regardless of how you'd define it it's certainly got a great sound about it, with both performers really acquitting themselves well in all aspects - vocals, ukulele- and guitar-playing.  Not to mention being an attractive couple, decked out in the proper clothing too!  It sounds as if they are proving popular in the States too, with two albums of songs under their belts and a hefty national tour in the offing. Obviously professionals who enjoy what they're doing, it's jolly nice to know that such music is still appreciated so much today both by artists like Victor & Penny and the listening public alike.  Good luck to Victor & Penny in 2013, say I, and perhaps we will see them come across the Pond one day in the future?


In other vintage music-related news Dutch singer Caro Emerald - who I first mentioned on this blog back in 2010 when her debut album (which has since gone five times platinum in her native Netherlands) made it on to B.B.C. Radio 2's playlist - has released her new single Tangled Up, which previews her upcoming second album The Shocking Miss Emerald due for release in May.  I think we can safely say from this performance that she is on fine form and if the rest of the album is as good then she's got another best-seller on her hands.  Have a listen and tell me what you think:

Thanks also to my listening to Radio 2 I've also had the good fortune to hear another young girl singer, this time from the UK, who is very much in the same vein as Miss Emerald - Hannah Garner, aka Miss 600. Jolly nice too, I think you'll agree!


As one final thing before I finish up this post, I feel bound to mark the passing of noted British musician Kenny Ball who passed away last week at the age of 82.  Performing with his Jazzmen he was at the forefront of the "trad jazz" movement that proved surprisingly popular in the 1960s and '70s, in 1962 even scoring a Number 2 hit both in the U.S. and Britain with his band's recording of Midnight In Moscow.  With his contemporaries Acker Bilk and Chris Barber, among others, he was instrumental (no pun intended!) in the jazz revival that began at the height of 1960s Beatlemania.  A popular musical guest on The Morecambe & Wise Show throughout the 1970s he continued to work right up to a few weeks before his death, touring the country and performing both solo and with his trad jazz peers.  He was also an Essex lad like myself, living in the same town that I did for about 10 years (and which is still only ten minutes from where I am now) and passing away at my local hospital.

Thank you, Kenny Ball, for helping to keep the music alive.

1 comment:

  1. I do like them! Thanks for sharing it. I've never understood people who think you can only listen to one kind of music. Had it said to me a few times, the whole 'but you like classical music' when the person has discovered I also have a passion for Tom Petty or Deep Purple or whoever they've heard me listening to at the time. Makes me somewhat grumpy.


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