Her House of Sin
It all commences normally enough. An alto voice -- demure, warm, intimate --sings over the rich, acoustic textures. Then the lyrics emerge, twisting and turning into a kaleidoscopic marvel of bizarre reference points; images and allegories connected through deft word-play and the power of sheer imagination. Meet Vanessa Lowe, an artist whose seductively entertaining songs connect points hitherto unrelated: suicidal cypress trees, Mona Lisa, a prostitute and her cleaning man -- even 'that Shakespeare dude'. 'I used to have a real job/now I just sing weird songs' she sings. Indeed. After sailing straight through college and six years of grad school, Vanessa worked in one of the most responsible jobs imaginable -- as a doctor of clinical psychology. But her innate creativity was bound to change the course of her life. Vanessa, born in New York City, began playing guitar at age eight. In college she began writing songs, and in the hallowed tradition, lugged her guitar case through the streets of Greenwich Village to perform in the venerable coffeehouses. Later, living in Boston, she was influenced by the literary power of that city's burgeoning folk community. Now she resides in Berkeley, California -- which she describes as providing, '... an incredible diversity of every conceivable sort; an infinite supply of images and stories.' Her first CD, 'Her House of Sin', was collected in the prestigious FolkWeb catalog, and found a ready-made niche on Amazon.com. College radio has provided a beneficial vehicle for Vanessa. San Francisco's KFOG is also a particularly strong supporter, including her songs in regular rotation. Appearances in Bay Area colleges, clubs and coffeehouses have earned her a solid audience and she has appeared in concert at art and music festivals across the country. But her favorite venues are the most intimate ones. 'Places where I can connect,' she explains. Unequivocally prolific, her expanding catalog of songs has been culled to her current set list of approximately 45 tunes. 'I don't write songs longer than four minutes,' she offers, 'the snapshots that are destined to become my stories can be compressed neatly into that span of time.' Vanessa Lowe's music is not a sanded down, veneered or glossy surface. Rather, her brilliantly-colored songs allow their jagged lyrical edges to gleam brightly; reflected in the singular light of her emerging, luminous artistry.