Photo courtesy of Natalie Alfaro.
The British duo-turned-trio Peggy Sue has long shied away from the ‘new folk’ label, and it’s easy to see why. Their list of musical influences spans as many genres as they do, and includes everyone from Lauryn Hill to Janis Joplin. They embody one of the potentially surprising truths about this particular London scene: its aesthetic diversity. Though Katy, Rosa, and friends (their current formation includes drummer Olly and a string section) borrow folk-designated instruments like accordions and banjos, they prefer to consider themselves a new sort of soul.
Regardless of their musical categorization, Peggy Sue is certainly soulful. Their performance at San Francisco’s quirky Bottom of the Hill (which would more appropriately be called In the Middle of Nowhere) was a rocking, rolling, rollicking blend of styles tied together by the remarkable vocal harmonies of Katy and Rosa. After a fantastic set by up-and-coming experimental pop band Pepper Rabbit (both bands, by the way, are friends of the buzzy and wonderfulLocal Natives), Peggy Sue launched into songs from their new album. Released in the US in June via Yep Roc Records, Fossils and Other Phantoms is an energetic and spirited showcase of Peggy Sue’s fantastic songwriting and unique sound. Their show at Bottom of the Hill presented a band ready for the big time: after years of performing, and tours with everyone from Mumford & Sons to the Maccabees, Peggy Sue can captivate an audience. Songs like “Watchman” and “Yo Mama” are even more compelling in their powerful live presentations; their cover of Missy Elliot’s “All In My Grill” illustrates just how far from the folk tree these talented musicians have decided to fall.
Fossils and Other Phantoms transforms the age-old pains of heartbreak into something fresh and unique; it captures the passion of the inimitable Peggy Sue. Pick up the album and check out more from the group here.
Peggy Sue cover Missy Elliot’s “All In My Grill”.