Pepper Proud – Riddle & Rhymes
“Whisper to the ones that you want to hear you the most,” is the sage advice Pepper Proud shares on the gentile country rambler “Bus Stop,” from her debut album Riddles & Rhymes. She and producer Jason Goessi take this advice to heart throughout the thirteen song set as they apply a subtle mix of stringed instruments, light percussion and sweet harmonies to back up Proud’s demure soprano. With a voice that is reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan and Iris DeMent, Pepper Proud uses her acoustic guitar and gift of prose to navigates though a collection of folk ballads, blue grass ramblers and old timey songs with a casual ease.
She eludes that the album title comes from the Moon on the lovely waltzing “Lullaby,” a song with a real timeless quality. The Spanish tinged tango of the “Story of Blank,” is quite a little mystery that will take many listens to solve. Proud does allow herself a tiny bit of pop sensibility for the catchy sing along “Dig,” which has some splendid violin and cello from Annie Ford as counterpoint; probably the albums most commercial yet innovative track.
With all the noise being introduced into the market place these days it is very brave indeed of Pepper Proud to attempt something quiet and contemplative such as Riddles & Rhymes.
Rick J Bowen