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Karen Savoca satisfied with freedom of career

East Coast musician is Kenai bound

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2000

Freedom is what Karen Savoca enjoys most about her career.

"Everyone is supposed to want to be on a big label," she said. "But I know people with big record deals and they're miserable. They're no longer doing what they want to do. I have more freedom. Nobody is telling me what records to make or what to put on the CD cover. When it's over, it's my name on the product and I have to be happy with it."

For her, it is about both quality of music and lifestyle.

"I've spent years talking to people at big record labels. But I realized I don't care about fame so much as having the sort of life I want to have. I would like my music to grow bigger, but I feel really lucky to be making a living at this and to have the lifestyle I have," Savoca said.

Savoca will share her musical talents during a performance at the Old Town Village Restaurant in Kenai on May 18 at 8 p.m.

Savoca envisioned a musician's life for herself early on when she was composing and writing songs, as a young girl, in upstate New York.

 

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Photo by Jon Leibing

As an adult, she has recorded four albums with her partner in music and life, guitarist, Pete Heitzman.

The couple has been described as a "self-contained mini-band with the fearlessness of a high-wire act working without a net."

"On stage we read each other's minds," she said. "We each know where the other is going with the music."

The music ranges from jazz to soul then to blues, and the lyrics are as varied as well.

Poetry, narration and dialogue in character are just a few ways Savoca takes her music to new places.

She has been compared to Janis Joplin, with tones of raspy to high.

She also has the ability to split a chord and seemingly reach two or three chords at once. She can even take one of those chords and work it while keeping the others going.

"I call it hydroplaning. When-ever I do it, the people in the front row look at Pete's feet. They think he has a guitar pedal he hits to make the sound," Savoca said.

While the lyrics and music stray from normal, the duo's style also refuses to be pinned down, moving from realms of folk, while borrowing from soul, rock, African beats and country.

Savoca, who sings about the land and its people, calls her style "agriblues."

Clave Music, a nonprofit Homer group focusing on the promotion of folk music in Alaska, is sponsoring the appearance of Savoca and Heitzman.

Tickets are available at the Old Town Village Restaurant and in Soldotna at River City Books. Prices are $14 in advance or $16 at the door.



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