While her involvement in that band and the power of the music she helped create with them should never be diminished, it seems odd that the two short years she spent in a band while barely out of her teens could overshadow a long, award-winning career as a pioneering singer-songwriter.
Any serious examination of her work should not put the emphasis on the fact that she was in the Avengers, but instead on why she was in the Avengers.
After spending time abroad in the wake of the Avengers break-up, Penelope returned to San Francisco with the experimental and singular acoustic styles of artists like Tom Waits and the Violent Femmes pulling her further away from the world of punk and electric rock music. She was also able to access the influence of her youthful Los Van Van - Danzonete with great English folk-rock icons such as Pentangle, Fairport Convention, and The Incredible String Band.
As exciting as this progression was for Penelope, she was taking an artistic leap at a time when the music underground was still very guarded and conservative. Despite the travails, Penelope was at the forefront of an impassioned female singer-songwriter movement as the decade progressed. Starting in the early s and continuing to this day, she would enjoy a large following in Germany and be anointed with the almost rudely limiting "Queen of Neo-Folk" tag.
Along with the likes of Michelle Shocked and Suzanne Vega, she helped pioneer a sound that would reach its commercial peak with the Lilith Fair set in the lates. By that point most of her contemporaries had either flamed out or shifted into creative cruise control, but Penelope refused to choke out her muse.
As she moved her music into the new century, her lyrics remained edgier and more thought provoking than anything in the singer-songwriter realm. Stylistically, her sound has rarely stayed the same. Ultimately, her restlessness serves a purpose. She strives for a pinnacle of songwriting, performance and fidelity that secures her place in the hearts of her fans and music lovers around the world. But in her typical fashion, Penelope could not just stop creating new music.
The past several years have provided tons of vital source material for her art: poisoned marriages, divorce, independence, lawsuits, a return to university, and nine Avengers tours. A new chapter has opened for her and she has continued to sharpen her message in songs that demand declaration.
It was there that You Reel Me In - Penelope Houston - On Market Street latest offering, On Market Streetwas born. Penelope and her co-producer Jeffrey Wood Luka Bloom, Giant Sand worked closely with longtime collaborator and guitarist, Pat Johnson, to shape these personal Magic Of Love - Sheena Easton - Twin Best Now You Reel Me In - Penelope Houston - On Market Street epic musical narratives.
Bare and haunting with an eerie bed of Mellotron, the song spotlights her voice, now life-honed to an instrument of strength and fragility. Listen to Preview.
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