There is a level of songwriting depth and maturity that one can only acquire the old-fashioned way: spending two decades on the road, playing thousands of shows all over the USA and Europe, sleeping on couches and floors, crowdfunding a dozen records paid for by hard-earned fans, and racking up millions of miles in cars, trains, and planes all around the world.
That depth and maturity is richly evident in Vanessa Peters’s latest album, Foxhole Prayers. In Foxhole Prayers, Peters’s already-considerable songwriting prowess has risen to its fullest stature, presented as a concise, gut-punching collection of songs composed of piercing observations of both the outside and inside worlds.
Throughout the album, Peters’s voice is lush and blissful as never before, dominating the mix and commanding the listener’s attention to every word. And that’s the point: these are big songs, full of weight and meaning, demanding to be heard - and Peters makes you feel every syllable.
Taken together, the songs on Foxhole Prayers tell two complete stories. The first story is the story found in the songs: stories of fear and hope, of pain and endurance, of romance and politics, of dark versus light. The second story is the story of the songwriter herself, because on that level, Foxhole Prayers reads like the climax of a great adventure tale in which our protagonist reaches her ultimate objective and becomes a hero.