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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The complete pickPocket Ensemble albums on Aquarius Records:
Fingerpainting in Red Wine (2005)
Soul Café - Live at Strings (2006)
Memory (pickPocket Ensemble, 2010)

On November 2010, The pickPocket ensemble played yet another small venue in the Bay Area and I happened to be there. I had the chance to catch Rick Corrigan, the main composer and accordionist of this amazing instrumental combo. I wanted to interview him and mention him how much I loved his music, a kind-of-a-dream gypsy European cafe, one with lots of spices and nostalgia.

The pPE is one of those "little bands that could" that have to fight for spaces and times to express themselves. It's a shame that Sony Classical or Nonesuch records haven't got them in their artist roster. Maybe because it implies a huge risk. The pickPocket Ensemble sound makes you want to travel. To travel specifically to Eastern Europe, and get lost into landscapes and towns full of different people, with alien but somehow familiar traditions.

The band, which has become through the years a continuing changing and evolving back-up group for Corrigan's accordion, extracts melodies from Middle East and the former Iron-Courtain countries, blending them with Americana, but not enough to make them sound local. They need to explore a little bit of Polka and Bluegrass, but that's just my opinion.

Their debut album, International House Of Dreams, put the band on a tiny little spot in the Bay Area record circuit and it's a very hard to find album. A Streetcar Too Far is impossible to get unless Aquarius decides to re-release it. Corrigan suggested re-recording it and that would be a good idea too, if the new material gets included in a package with the old one.

Both albums were calling for a peak, and it was reached after painfully changing instruments, musicians and recording locations. An instrumental tale of unrequited love and passion for travel, ...If I Were A Highway took three years to make and it seems that Corrigan found a niche to hang out for a while. Fingerpainting In Red Wine, their fourth Studio Album, is another trip companion to faraway lands and introspective moods, highlighting a tune called "Renee at Ocean Beach," in which guitarist Tim Fox play a lullaby for Corrigan's daughter. As good as it gets, the pickPocket Ensemble music also calls for a major recording deal, with no restrictions nor compromises. Nowadays it might sound impossible, but...

The pickPocket Ensemble CDs are available on Bazaar Cafe, Aquarius Records, CD Baby or by emailing Rick Corrigan.


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