Antje Duvekot is destined for greatness. It's there in the way she sings, it's in her phrasing and it's in the way she constructs a song in order to tell a particular story. She has a small girl's vulnerability and a woman's strength. And she sings in a voice that is immediately recognizable—it is an instrument of true beauty.
Her second release, The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer, delivers on the promise of her earlier work, Big Dream Boulevard. The recording is produced by one of contemporary music's finest singer/songwriters, Richard Shindell. Shindell surrounds and supports Duvekot's perfect vocals with some of the best musicians working today: Duke Levine on electric guitar, Mark Erelli on mandolin and backing vocals, Lucy Kaplansky and John Gorka on harmony vocals and Ben Wittman on drums and percussion, among others.
The CD opens with a captivating song called Vertigo, which Duvekot co-wrote with singer/songwriter Mark Erelli, who contributes mandolin and harmony vocals. It tells the story of the high wire dancer of the album's title. But it's really a metaphor for the risks one takes in life, and especially in love. Erelli shines here as well as producer Shindell on acoustic guitar.
One of the CD's best cuts is Long Way. It's a road song that takes the listener across the country from Michigan to Minnesota, Tennessee to the badlands of South Dakota, to Washington, California and the Arizona desert. It has a wonderful melody and John Gorka on superb backing vocals. It's the perfect song to take with you on the road.
Scream is about the attractive quality of opposites and the ways in which love can become destructive. Duvekot has a lovely higher range to her voice that is employed here to dramatic effect.
The recording closes with a tender children's song in Duvekot's native German called Augen, Ohren, und Herz. Here we have Duvekot, voice and guitar, and that is all we need.
Antje Duvekot possesses something that is very special in this business—a voice that is so pure and has such richness in tone that you can imagine a noisy room becoming silent the moment the first musical notes escape from her lips. Richard Shindell has recognized her unique gift in that he allows her voice and beautifully written lyrics to remain front and center. There are many great talents in the acoustic music world who lend a hand here, but it is Duvekot whom we have come to listen to. The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer takes us on a journey that has us balancing on the fine line, or high wire between love won and love lost, life lived well and not lived at all, and like a circus, you never know what to expect next. What we do know to expect are great things to come for Antje Duvekot. The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer is a beautiful work of art. Antje Duvekot has arrived!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society and Roberta B. Schwartz.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles