Philly Music Column
by Jim Speese

Next Friday will be a busy day for the two singer/songwriters that make up the West Chester act known as backflipannie. In addition to a highly-coveted "Voice of America" interview and performance, the duo will appear at Canal Street Pub to open for the erstwhile Reading act Inspector 9. Just another day for backflipannie. Backflipannie's musical conglomeration is a mixture of Lynn Verdone and LoriJacobs. Verdone was born in Northeast Philadelphia and began playing music as a child. She wrote her first song for a sixth grade project. Tremendously influenced by Janis Ian, Verdone eventually played in a host of Philadelphia bands, including "Twelfth Night" and "Majic." Eventually, she joined a band called "Attitude" with Jacobs. After this band, she took a break of 11 years then set out to find Jacobs and rekindle their musical relationship. Jacobs was actually born in Allentown, but has lived in Philadelphia and Atlanta as well. She began her professional music career at age 15, and used money raised from her early gigs to pay for skiing trips. After the breakup of Attitude, Jacobs moved to Atlanta and tried to form an acoustic duo. Everywhere she talked about this idea, though, someone would say "You mean like the Indigo Girls?" Jacobs had never heard this Atlanta-based duo and would sort of look back blankly. Now she cites the Indigo Girls as a later influence, along with earlier influences like Crosby, Stills and Nash and James Taylor. Verdone and Jacobs hooked up in 1997, and have been inseparable, musically speaking, since. They released a regional CD, called "Open Cases" in 1998, and have just released a second, far more mature work, called "Life Force." The album is a fine mix of harmonies and acoustics, with a host of guest musicians playing everything from drums to sax. Says Jacobs, of the difference between the two recordings, "[On this one] we brought in our friends, basically. I like to think our music has evolved." And it has. The beauty of tracks like "The Choice" (co-written with Jacobs' friend Cindy Roehrig) is palpable. And songs like "Life Force" (by Verdone and Bethany Bates) seem to drive along a rock edge, while maintaining soft melodies over top.

 

There are glimpses of Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls here, as well as a host of other influences, that combine into something fairly original. "Life Force" is an album full of, well, the stuff of life. And, speaking of life, there's a "live" track as well. A version of the title track was recorded by Reading's own Craig Sockel during backflipannie's P-Wave performance, and it closes the album nicely.

Meanwhile, this band has played all over. And I do mean, all over. They were asked by a friend to appear at a festival in Cologne, Germany. They booked some club shows to go along with the gig, but didn't expect too much. They were quite surprised. "Everything was provided" says Jacobs. "A huge sound system, huge stage, the streets were blocked off there were stacks of speakers lining the streets." Backflipannie also played the streets of Prague during this trip, though not nearly as extravagantly. They played as street musicians, and were tossed change. "We had like a ton of these coins, and we thought we were rich" she says, only to discover, on their return to their hotel, that the total came to "about ten US dollars." The Voice of America show, which will take place next Friday, will be broadcast from Washington DC to a potential 11 million listeners in Asia. Included in the broadcast will be a Chinese interpreter. Following that broadcast, the duo will drive to Reading for it's appearance at Canal Street. All in all a busy, but satisfying day for Backflipannie. For more info on backflipannie, call 877-677-8556, or check out the website: backflipannie.com. Their new CD is available there and at Xtreme CD, Promenade Mall in Mt Penn.

LOCAL MUSIC NOTES: Appearing tonight at Tommy's Café (220 Douglass st) is Left Undone, a band garnering quite a bit of deserved attention. Also tonight, The Brass Lantern (12th and Pike) presents the Bryant Brothers Blues Brew, with Justin appearing Saturday night. Canal Street Pub (535 Canal st) presents Burning House tonight and Three Hour Tour on Saturday night. Tonight's all-ages show at Hiester's Lounge (801 Hiester's ln) features 6 Days Dead, the Psychedelic Mud Puppets, General Eclectic, Lumpy Balboa Condition and Live Alien Broadcast. Cloud Party opens for the swing of Big Tubba Mista at the Silo (route 183 in Greenfields) Saturday night.