MUSIC | Musical duos get a little (just a little) funky at the Fitz

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I was fortunate to attend Duos: The Power of Two last Saturday night at the Fitzgerald Theater. The staff at the Fitz were welcoming; I was impressed by the theater’s classic beauty and found it intimate for its size. Performing were three sets of duos: Karen Savoca and Pete Heitzman, Peter and Lou Berryman, and Storyhill. Dale Connelly hosted the evening and showed slides of famous duos—musical and otherwise.

Each duo came out for a set before and after an intermission. Savoca and Heitzman started it off. They were laid-back and had a good groove going: Savoca on a drum and Heitzman playing guitar. Savoca’s voice was youthful, joyful, and strong. Heitzman played some complicated riffs, but he got a little too funky for me. I felt his showy guitar work distracted from Savoca’s voice.

As Lou and Peter took the stage, I began to shudder at the sight of an accordion. However, once they began to play I developed an appreciation for their accordion-and-guitar combo and their humorous songs. My neighbor said she thought Lou’s voice was like a cartoon; she sounds like the wife of Miracle Max. (My neighbor must have meant that as a compliment, since she bought their CD.) I enjoyed their “Minnesota City Song,” “Yodel as a Couple,” and my favorite, even though it made my brain hurt, “Artist Interrupted.” Their humor seemed fitting in the theater that is home to A Prairie Home Companion.

Stealing the show were Storyhill: Chris Cunningham and John Hermanson. Their voices and guitars complemented each other perfectly. I have had the chance to hear both Cunningham and Hermanson perform solo, and Storyhill is definitely a case of one plus one equaling three. Their songs buzzed with energy. Even after Cunningham experienced some guitar feedback and had to stop playing mid-song, their voices blended together beautifully enough to make up for it. I could sense the audience shared in my appreciation for their music. A few even gave them a standing ovation after their dramatic rendition of “Steady On.”

The evening was capped by Savoca and Heitzman inviting the other two duos to sing “Love is a Hammer” with them. It seemed a little forced; Cunningham and Hermanson looked like their parents made them stay and talk to some obscure relative who was over for dinner.

Javier Fischer is a third-grade teacher, a guitar hobbyist, and an unapologetic Storyhill fan.

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