Sneaky Pete & The Fens

Sneaky Pete & The FensThe New Orleans Times-Picayune calls Peter Orr "a flat-out, hands-down superb entertainer". Since its inception in 1998, his band the Fens has set a record by getting fired the most times from Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville (for onstage fistfights, for disrespectful renditions of audience requests, and for telling some yahoo from Ohio, "Yell 'Brick House' once more and I'll brain you with this pint glass"). Orr's songs have a distinct literary air, which isn't surprising since he spent years as a freelance writer before becoming a full-time musician because writers don't get free beer at work. So far the Fens have ventured outside New Orleans to play in Mississippi, Alabama, and north Louisiana---you know, places where folks don't know who wrote "Sweet Jane." Orr also performs around the country as a solo act and as a sideman.

Easily the grimmest album ever about New Orleans and also one of the funniest, Nobody Likes Sneaky Pete by the Fens is a tuneful panorama of life wasted in bars and seedy rental rooms downtown. The city's raucous yet stoned pulse bleeds through every track, lighting up Orr's wry stories while masking the menace behind them. In style the songs range from Dixieland to vulgar '70s rock to an eerie glass-harmonica poem. Best of all, Laura Freeman turns in her finest singing since her debut solo album two years ago.

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