Pegi Young – Foul Deeds
June 21, 2010
Pegi Young may not be as well-known as her husband Neil Young, but just like him, she has a talent for writing and performing good music. “Foul Deeds” offers a mix of original songs and well-chosen cover songs.
The album opens with a Will Jennings cover, Pleasing To Me. Young’s vocals have a somewhat gravely, lived-through characteristic that fit this song very well. And in a matter of speaking, that might just be one of Young’s best qualities. She knows exactly what to do vocally to bring out the best parts of the songs.
Other covers on the album are Lucinda Williams’ Side of the Road (which I would definitely mark as a highlight, in the way Young brings these lyrics to life), a brilliant rendition of Devendra Banhart’s Body Breaks as well as Blue Sunday, which was penned by Bill Boatman.
And while Pegi Young has a remarkable way of making these songs sound like they are her own, putting her own heart and soul into them, the originals don’t get snowed under. Especially title track Foul Deeds, a swaying country/folk song, is intriguing and convincing. Starting Over is a little more of a folk & roll song which sounds pleasant but doesn’t highlight Young’s strongest points. Who Knew is a little more raw and gritty, which gives Young the opportunity to lay more character in her song and with that she instantly makes this song one of the better tracks on the album. But personally I think Travelling may be the most impressive song on the album. It is not the most accessible song as it’s quite somber and maybe even reticent. But precisely because of that, the song is presented in just the right way.
“Foul Deeds” is an album that shows a confident singer and a solid songwriter. While Young’s renditions of the cover songs were very, very strong, I think it would be good to showcase more of her own work on a future release. Young knows very well what she can and cannot do and therefore knows how to play to her strengths. If she continues that trend the progression in her music and songwriting will only continue to grow.