Music » Critics' Picks

Voices on the Verge

Saturday, Feb. 16; Blueberry Hill's Duck Room

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Voices on the Verge might seem like a pretentious band name at first, but it's about the only moniker that accurately describes this Boston-based all-female collective, which consists of singer/songwriters Beth Amsel, Jess Klein, Erin McKeown and Rose Polenzani. Thanks to Lilith Fair stints and high-profile opening gigs for folk-rock heavyweights such as the Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco, the women have earned their stripes individually. They put their solo plans on hold, however, when the Voices start calling.

Together Amsel, Klein, McKeown and Polenzani don't break any new ground, but they nicely build on the terrain graded by obvious influences such as Joni Mitchell and Dar Williams. At once edgy and vulnerable, empowering and fragile, the music of Voices on the Verge ranges from McKeown's sly paeans to cocaine and cowboys to Klein's and Amsel's more ethereal fare. Maybe now, with the Rykodisc release of a Voices live show and a national tour, these voices are finally on the verge of something big.

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