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Antje Duvekot

Features and Radio

Feature - Brattleboro Reformer (July 15, 2006)

After years of toil, Duvekot's 'Big Dream' is coming true

Entertainment


Thursday, July 13
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.
"This is an exciting year for me. Finally, I am developing a bit of a buzz," Antje Duvekot (pronounced An-tyuh Doo-va-Kot) sounded keyed up and a bit overwhelmed in a phone exchange last week.

She could barely contain her excitement as reflected on a career very much on the upswing from the hills near Brattleboro, a town she lived in for a while before moving to Boston. She returns tonight to perform at the Sanctuary: Hooker-Dunham Theater riding a sudden wave of good fortune.

After 10 years of toiling in relative obscurity, all signs point to 2006 being the breakthrough year for the native of Heidelberg, Germany.

Duvekot just released her first studio CD, "Big Dream Boulevard," to strong reviews. Dave Marsh, the esteemed music critic and former record editor of Rolling Stone Magazine called it "a brilliant, brilliant album ... an outstanding voice, as well as a big writing talent, that combination comes along rarely."

The Boston Globe concurred, calling "Big Dream Boulevard," "The most convincing debut by any local songwriter since Dar Williams' 'Honesty Room' in 1993."

Duvekot just learned that she had been added to the lineup for the prestigious Newport Folk Festival this August, joining the likes of David Gray, The Indigo Girls, and Rosanne Cash. On top of that, she recently returned from the 35th Annual Kerrville Folk Fest down in Texas after winning the Best New Folk competition (topping more than 800 entries), joining the ranks of former winners Nanci Griffith, Steve Earle, James McMurtry, John Gorka and Ellis Paul.

Throughout our conversation, the cheerful Duvekot kept returning to the name Ellis Paul, a popular and well established pro who has taken a special interest in the young singer-songwriter. My copy of "Big Dream Boulevard" was accompanied by a note from Paul that read in part, "She is insightful, honest and truly gifted ... I plan on helping Antje get her songs out as best I can, by telling everyone I know about her music and its importance. If it moves you the way it does me, it's a gift."

Duvekot is suitably moved by the interest and praise from someone whose music drew her into wanting to join the folk circuit nearly a decade ago.

"Yeah, it is pretty amazing!" she said, barely able to contain her excitement. "He was one of my number one idols when I was a teenager. So many years after having him as an inspiration, that he actually came around to support me has really meant a lot."

Like most of Antje's growing number of fans, Paul was drawn to her songs at a live performance when she opened for him last year in Philadelphia. With the release of "Big Dream Boulevard," music lovers worldwide can now sample what amounts to a "best of" Antje Duvekot.

"I've been wanting to make a studio record for so many years now, I can't believe it is finally happening," said Duvekot. "I pretty much took the best songs I'd written to make a sound representation of the kind of songs I write."

And what kind of songs does Duvekot compose? Intriguing and emotionally complex vignettes which straddle and sometimes blur the lines between the personal ("Sex Bandaid"), the social ("Judas") and the political ("Jerusalem").

Duvekot made sure to acknowledge the support of another mentor, Seamus Egan, the mainstay of the acclaimed Irish band, Solas, who provided sympathetic production. Egan and his mates included a pair of Duvekot's songs on their well-received album of covers, "The Edge of Silence," alongside songs by icons like Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Jesse Colin Young and Nick Drake. Billboard magazine called the Duvekot's work the highlight of the record.

"Seamus has always believed in my talent and I've always wanted him as my producer," said Duvekot. "I think he is brilliant. I knew Seamus wouldn't overproduce. I think a lot of records out there take away from the personal, raw sound. Seamus did such a nice job of not standing in the way of the songs."

And it is the songs of Antje Duvekot that will ultimately determine her place in the music biz. If her work on "Big Dream Boulevard" is any indication, she will surely confirm the support of her mentors.

"I don't want to be a major label, MTV kind of star. My dream is to make music for a living and to grow. I have always had that seed of a dream inside me."

Dave Madeloni writes a weekly music column for the Arts & Entertainment section. He can be reached at madeloni@aol.com.

updated: 8 years ago