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Voices on the Verge

Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

Contemporary folk


Only release, Live in Philadelphia (2001)

See also:

Members' individual sites: Beth Amsel, Jess Klein, Erin McKeown, Rose Polenzani

Member's Ectophiles' Guide pages: Jess Klein (forthcoming), Erin McKeown, Rose Polenzani


Solo work by these artists

Covers/own material:

Songs written by the individual members plus one cover

General comments:

This band has been one of the most interesting I have seen in the past couple of years. The band consists of four female solo artists, who might be familiar: Jess Klein, Erin McKeown, Rose Polenzani and Beth Amsel. From what I understand, the band formed when the four ladies were on the "Vans, Voices on the Verge" tour of up-and-coming artists, and they started performing each other's solo works together as a group. They then released a CD under the same name, featuring songs from each artist's solo works.
     I was a fan already of Jess Klein and Erin McKeown before I discovered Voices on the Verge. But since then I have fallen in love with Rose Polenzani and Beth Amsel. And the sum of them is WONDERFUL. (

Comments about live performance:

Their live shows were fantastic! One of the main highlights was a cover of "Tainted Love," which they broke into during some tuning problems with Beth Amsel's guitar. (

Recommended first album:

Live in Philadelphia


Live in Philadelphia

Live in Philadelphia

Release info:

2001—Rykodisc—RCD 10608



Ecto priority:


Group members:

Beth Amsel—lead vocals, backing vocals, finger cymbals, shaker
Jess Klein—lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, clarinet, tambourine
Erin McKeown—lead vocals, backing vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, djembe, accordion
Rose Polenzani—lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, tambourine

Produced by:

George Howard


Voices on the Verge was a one-time collaboration between singer/songwriters who had a really good time at a round-robin show they all happened to be on and decided to take it on the road for a little while. The recording was done mainly to shut the fans up :). Due to base stupidity and lameness I never saw one of their shows, but I do enjoy the CD a fair bit. I'm not a fan of either Jess Klein or Rose Polenzani, but the presence of Erin McKeown and Beth Amsel makes their songs more than palatable. (

I highly recommend their CD. I LOVE that record, and Voices on the Verge was an incredible collaboration! It goes everywhere from pop to country, with lots of acoustic and alt-folk in the middle. Also, I HIGHLY recommend all four ladies' solo releases as well! (

The four women of Voices on the Verge are all accomplished singer-songwriters, but they blend their voices well and really sound like a group. Beth Amsel and Rose Polenzani are pretty solidly in the contemporary folk camp, Jess Klein is a bit country-tinged, and Erin McKeown ventures into blues and other scattered influences, so there's a nice range of styles on the album. There's no banter (just a short introduction and brief applause at the end) so in some ways it doesn't seem that much like a live recording. On the other hand, that makes it stand up to repeated listenings better. Of the few songs I recognize, the versions here are significantly different from the original solo recordings, which makes the disc particularly worth picking up if you're a fan of any of the four singers. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2008-12-31 20:23:51.
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