Saturday, January 19, 2013 @ 7:00 pm
Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library (map)
4100 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
These folks are wonderful; fun, energetic, and great musicians. They’re two of my favorite performers. Bill Staines, Singer/songwriter
Behind the humble name hides a creative couple of singer-songwriters who know a thing or two about keeping a crowd laughing, smiling, and occasionally crying. Bill Lynch, Charleston Gazette, Charleston, WV
nineteen years and a million and a half miles
Nineteen years ago, Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso, the Chicago-area duo known as Small Potatoes, decided to hit the road. “In one year, we quit our jobs, bought a house, bought a car, and became full-time folk singers—not exactly the greatest combination, financially speaking, or what most people would call a sound business model. We didn’t throw darts at a map, but we might as well have.”
They might not have had the best plan, but what they did have were great songs and musicianship, and the ability to put on a show. Eighteen years, more than a million miles, 3000 shows, and five Dodge Caravans later, they are listed as a “favorite act” by many coffeehouses, clubs and house concerts across the U.S. They have made repeat appearances at major folk festivals, including the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Walnut Valley Festival, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
From the start, they’ve called themselves eclecto-maniacs and described their music as “Celtic to Cowboy”. They say it has taken them “years of careful indecision” to come up with a mix of music that ranges from country, blues, and swing to Irish, with songwriting that touches on all of those styles and more. Their four recordings, Alive!, Waltz of the Wallflowers, Time Flies and Raw demonstrate that “indecision” can be wonderfully entertaining. They both sing, they both play guitars and an array of other instruments. They even yodel.
Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso combine cleverly witty with powerfully poignant songs, along with well chosen covers to present an unusually entertaining and involving repertoire engagingly delivered. Prezioso’s song “1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes” is one of the most outstanding songs of the past 50 years.” Rich Warren, The Midnight Special – WFMT Radio, Chicago, IL
make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em think
They don’t sound like anybody else. I like that. They lay out a blanket and every song is a picnic. Warren Nelson, Big Top Chautauqua/WI Public Radio, Bayfield, WI
These words mean a lot to us. They make us think we’re doing something right. We joke about “specificity leading to extinction” – for us, at least, we believe it really would. There are many great performers who do one thing and do it extremely well—that’s what makes them special. Not us. Actually the eclecto-maniac business began as an accident. We are absolutely no good at decision making, if someone told us we could only do one thing we’d probably implode. So we began by playing some of our favorite songs…and we do like a lot of different kinds of music. It’s become a kind of mission now, our audiences love it—no one (except for a few people in the music industry) has ever told us we bounce around too much. We figure “focus” is an overused word anyway. We still play our favorite songs. We try to write songs in all kinds of styles, but it doesn’t matter if we wrote the song or not, or if it’s an old song or a new song, or if it’s a folk song or not. There’s a lot of good music out there.
I’m a kind of an old-fashioned folksinger…you guys are new fashioned folksingers. You share something with me, in that you sing whatever songs you feel are right for you, instead of limiting yourself to you, instead of limiting yourself to your own compositions, or to one particular genre. Good way to make magic.