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Ticklepenny Corner

Watch Ticklepenny Corner's musical growth as they already provide a 
quick-witted and intelligent evening of musical experience!

Ticklepenny Corner
September 9, 2000
Trinity House Theatre, Detroit, MI

The phenomena of emo and alt.country is creating an upsurge of young, daring 
musicians who continue to defy musical contexts. Ticklepenny Corner is one 
of those bands coming into their own. This piano ensemble from the 
dairylands brings purpose-filled, whimsical americana fusion into a strong, 
new musical light.

Ticklepenny's tunes were carefully performed utilizing strong elements of 
old country, american folk and the occasional trip-hop beat. Reminiscent of 
early Cowboy Junkies, the tight quartet began the 18 song evening with  
"Reprise," a midwestern truck ride through a rural landscape. With the 
delicacy of Alison Kraus and the resonance of a young Margo Timmons, 
vocalist/violinist Beth Riemer painted the song with a subtle beauty. She 
was joined by her brother, vocalist/guitarist Noah Riemer, whose own smokey 
baritone contained a clouded touch of Lennie Cohen. Aaron Zorn (bass) and 
Bill Strangel (drums) provided the dexterous, steady backbone adding a 
distinct approachability. What followed was a curious tune titled "Lord, She 
Won't Have Me," penned and sung by Noah editorializing the complexities of 
mating and, therefore, a submission to a higher will. Beth then voiced the 
band's philosophy with "From My Point of View," a song encouraging the 
listener not to take Ticklepenny's words for truth but to visit their most 
trusted work, the Bible.

Ticklepenny's reverence for mystery interwined with the heartstrings of 
Beth's violin also brought about a worshipful sensibilty to their work. 
Expressive of this were such songs (both vocalized by Beth's milky alto) as 
"I Shall Never Doubt," a commitment to the certainty of love and "Beautiful 
Contradiction," a gorgeous tune about the Savior. Noah's effort, inspired by 
a quote highlighting the contrast of how Christians should show their own 
need for Christ instead showing others of their need, "Motion," spoke of 
"being a good guy" yet having the "brazen" need for grace. Each harmonious, 
hearthy dedication and admiration of spiritual authority was becoming and 
musically refined.

The cleverness of Ticklepenny's lyrics hold a drollness and maturity beyond 
their years. This was evident their story telling of such songs including 
the Willie Nelson-esque ballad of an always a bride and never a bridesmaid, 
hometown, bad girl; the saying of "The Wrong Kind of Prayers" filled with 
selfish anxt; the needless worries of time for Christmas visits ("See You'), 
a tilted yet not hobbling spinless song of romantic afterthoughts 
("Nonlovesong"), and a punk-rock dedication to a helpless wedding dancer. 
Remarkable maturity was found in such songs "Thaw," a song about not Hank 
Williams cold, cold heart but Noah's own; a blue-collar ballad of 
entertaining an inner life with hard work; and another summing up their 
album, "From the Porch," filled with jazz guitar about finding treasure and 
contentment in the ordinary things of life.

It would be difficult to define the TIcklepenny sound- the charming, 
homespun quartet resounds individuality and ecclectic americana. Quirksome 
and exaltatious, they generate grimaces and veneration within the listener. 
Ticklepenny's musical growth will be pleasing to see as they already provide 
a quick-witted and intelligent evening of musical experience.

Side Note: Opening up for Ticklepenny Corner was up-and-coming Michigan folk 
artist Ashley Peacock, who is also a close personal friend of mine. When you 
smell fava beans and know the guy is in the room, you probably can't write 
an objective review of his performance. Check him out. He'll be in your area 
soon, I'm sure.

Jessica Aguilar Walker
submitted to The Phantom Tollbooth
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