Savoca -Heitzman in Juneau

Concert Preview, Capital City Weekly, Juneau, AK 5/04

By Vanessa Orr

In the early 1908s, Pete Heitzman was visiting his hometown when he went to hear a singer playing in a band with some of his old friends. He took his guitar, sat in with the band, and instantly formed a musical and mystical bond with vocalist Karen Savoca. More than twenty years later, the duo are still going strong, traveling across the country performing their unique blend of styles.

Despite majoring in elementary education at Syracuse University, Savoca always knew that she would be an entertainer. "I've wanted to be a singer since I was a little girl," she said. "The people around me were always very encouraging, and it gave me so much pleasure that I never really considered anything else."

Heitzman traces his own musical inspiration, "My family had a tape deck, which was not nearly as common as it is now, and we would tape songs off the radio. We'd make fun of the bad songs - I was a little critic even then. It was the Beatles that made me want to play, and then as a teen I discovered blues and improvisation. I was hooked. That I was free to express absolutely any emotion I felt through a guitar was a revelation to me."

Their ability to express emotions on stage has earned them critical acclaim, with one reviewer describing them as, "a self-contained mini-band with the fearlessness of a high wire act working without a net."

"There's a wonderful feeling when you connect with an audience, " said Heitzman. "I can't really describe it, but I can tell you that it's addictive. We jump through some hoops and sleep in some bad beds to get that feeling."

In addition to their producing and performing abilities, Savoca is also admired as a songwriter. "I've been writing songs since I was in my teens, and they grew out of my love of poetry," she explained. "When I first started writing songs, I was really shy about playing them for anyone but my family and closest friends. Pete really helped me get over my shyness."

When asked what the Juneau audience can expect to see and hear at the performance, Heitzman was as unpredictable as their music, "We're going to try to give them something that they don't expect."

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