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Recording artist returns to studio

June 26, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

In her duet with Paul Simon on "Gone at Last," a gospel-leaning tune on his 1975 album, "Still Crazy After All These Years," Phoebe Snow hit the impossibly high, high notes.

Her self-titled debut album, with its hit single "Poetry Man," was released in 1974. Now, 14 years since her previous original recording, Snow is back - at last.

"Natural Wonder," with nine tracks she wrote or co-wrote, is in Hagerstown, and Snow will be here, too.

She will perform and sign her new CD at Borders Books & Music at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 29. Her tour includes stops at Borders stores in New York and Los Angeles.

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Where's she been?

Snow laughs and calls herself a "domestic diva," and although it's been awhile since she's recorded, Snow says she never stopped performing or writing. She had stockpiled a bunch of songs and calls the music on "Natural Wonder" the body of work that "stuck to the wall."

Snow says she has notebooks full of potential songs. The words always come first, something that seems to surprise her. "I'm a musician, but I had trouble with the melody," she says.

Some of the songs on "Natural Wonder" are co-written.

Although people suggested she do what many artists are doing - distribute her music herself, Snow says she's pretty much from the "old school."

"I was looking for a label," she says.

She wanted worldwide distribution, and she didn't want to have to baby-sit the deal.

Because of her early success with "Poetry Man," Snow has said she's often seen as a folk or jazz singer.

"I've always tried to sidetrack categorization," she says.

Her musical influences are many. Snow grew up in a New York City home where she heard Delta blues, gospel, Broadway show tunes, classical and Dixieland jazz.

Snow played guitar as a kid, but says she had a bad start. She tried to play it like a steel guitar, with the fret board on her lap - "like a typewriter," she laughs.

She took some lessons, and at 13, she learned how to hold it and decided the guitar was very cool - "portable instrument."

She continues to hone her vocal instrument with opera lessons she recommends to anyone who wants to strengthen and take care of his voice. "It's all about the technique," she says.

And it's about the music. "I really love music," she says. Many kinds of music. "I love Emmylou Harris," Snow says, adding that the bluegrass music of Nickel Creek brings tears to her eyes.

Her music is as diverse as her tastes.

Snow says she's experienced a lot of miracles in her life. "I've narrowly escaped some very close calls," she says.

"Survival is the lesson we all must derive from each other," Snow says.

Snow says she's an optimist. "If you really want to do something, you can."




If you go...


Phoebe Snow Performance and CD signing

2 p.m. Sunday, June 29

Borders Books & Music

17636 Garland Groh Blvd.

Hagerstown

For information, call 301-745-5897.

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