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Monday, Sept. 13, 2010

Peggy James

Joan of Arc

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Playing guitar while singing in a soft, emotionally resonant voice, Milwaukee’s Peggy James adds her own touches to a familiar niche. Her music flits between rockabilly, alt-country, vintage R&B, blues and adult contemporary influences. That diversity could either be James’ strength or weakness, depending on the fate of her marketing. That said, the individual parts are strong enough on their own. With her Jeri Ryan-like comeliness, production by Jim Eannelli (just a hairsbreadth shy of national radio standards) and stealthily seductive melodic and narrative songwriting gifts, James is positioned to see whether her diverse range can bring her greater success. Listeners who enjoy Bonnie Raitt, Shawn Colvin, Neko Case and Mary Chapin Carpenter would do well to help her achieve that next step.

A CD release party takes place 8 p.m. Sept. 17 at Vogel Hall.