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Holy Smokes


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Suzzy Roche (vocals, guitar, Wurlitzer piano); Maggie Roche, Jules Shear (vocals); Steuart Smith (guitar, pencil guitar, E-bow, piano, Wurlitzer piano, harmonium); Stewart Lerman (guitar, electric guitar, piano, bass, percussion); David Mansfield (guitar, electric guitar, banjo, violin, dobro); Larry Campbell (violin); Dave Douglas (trumpet); Charlie Giordano (piano, accordian); James Busby (piano); Paul Ossola (bass); Frank Vilardi (drums, dumbek); Joe Bonadio (drums, percussion).
  • Recorded at: The Shinebox, New York, New York.
  • Personnel: Suzzy Roche (vocals, guitar, piano, Wurlitzer organ, background vocals); Maggie Roche (vocals, background vocals); Jules Shear (vocals); David Mansfield (guitar, electric guitar, dobro, banjo, violin); Steuart Smith, Stewart Smith (guitar, electric guitar, wah-wah guitar, piano, harmonium, Wurlitzer organ); Stewart Lerman (guitar, electric guitar, piano, bass guitar, percussion); Jim Busby (guitar, piano); Larry Campbell (violin); Charlie Giordano (accordion, piano); Dave Douglas (trumpet); Paul Ossola (upright bass); Frank Vilardi (drums, dumbek, percussion); Joe Bonadio (drums, percussion).
  • Audio Mixer: Stewart Lerman.
  • Recording information: Shinebox, New York, NY; The Shinebox, New York, NY.
  • Photographers: Andy Cohen; Ann Marsden.
  • The youngest and most extroverted of the quirky, funny, touching Roche sisters, Suzzy Roche might have been expected to make a funnier and quirkier, but less touching solo album, if only because she often provides comic relief in the group. Instead, her solo debut is more touching and not particularly amusing (though one can imagine her getting laughs with some of the lyrics in concert), its tone set by the first two songs, "My My Broken Heart" and "Crash," both of which concern love lost. Elsewhere, Roche, always sounding restrained, constructs free-form mood pieces for the most part, full of references to more love lost and travel. The two strongest (and most direct) songs are "ABCs," which is about aging, and "Breathing," which is about her daughter. In those songs, and at times in others, she finds expressive ways to communicate emotional insights. Yet this is an oddly tentative premiere for such a seasoned performer, and not as much fun as it should have been. ~ William Ruhlmann
Professional Reviews
Entertainment Weekly (9/19/97, p.84) - "...a deceptively placid-sounding solo effort whose surface calm belies its emotional turbulence....[HOLY SMOKES] find[s] Roche confronting troublesome midlife issues with a graciously grown-up sense of acceptance." - Rating: B+

Option (11-12/97, pp.112-113) - "...her songs are sweetly wistful even as they cut through any starry-eyed romantic notions....a near-perfect slice of light, tangy folk music."
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