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Wednesday, June 9,2010

A duo's do-overs

by Rich Tupica

Since forming in Lansing over five years ago, Nervous But Excited has kept busy writing heartfelt songs, playing huge festivals and touring across the country multiple times each year.


While the duo of Kate Peterson and Sarah Cleaver is known for fun live shows, the pair also incorporates politics, ecological awareness and LGBT rights as much as possible.


“These are things we talk about more than we write about — but you can still find those ideas intermixed in our songs as well,” Peterson said. “It’s funny, because Nervous but Excited is funny and quirky; that’s what we are as people and on stage. We have a fun side. But we do want people to take the songs seriously, while having fun at the same time.”


Nervous But Excited just released a six-song EP, “Just the Two of Us (Our Duo Doing Duos).” It's a covers album of songs by famous duos from an array of genres, including “The Look” by Roxette and “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo.


“We really wanted to appreciate the other duos out there, (and) also we are really excited about being a duo,” Cleaver said. “So what better way to show that to the world than creating a duos covers record? The idea came about in early winter of last year and we only had a about a month to learn the songs, which was a whirlwind.”


Peterson said the duo made a conscious effort to mix up the track list on the new EP.


“We wanted to pick songs that span a variety of eras and genres,” she said. “We also wanted songs that would challenge us to sing harder, in different ranges and different octaves.”


But the two songwriters have not taken a break from penning originals.


"The more time we spend together, the more we write together,” Cleaver said. “Our songs definitely benefit from each other's skills and the feedback we get from each other. That’s one of the benefits we get from being in a duo and engaging in a creative process together. We challenge ourselves in our writing and do our best to continually grow, and we hope it shows.”


Peterson said their lyrics often lean toward personal relationships and, more recently, heartache.


“Everything in our songwriting comes from a really personal place within ourselves or someone close to us, or an experience that we’ve had,” Peterson said. “On the last album (“Anchors”) we had both just lost a dear friend of ours — so there are a few songs on there touching on loss, and cancer, specifically. That’s been a huge part of our writing lately, because unfortunately that has been a big part of our lives.”


Nervous But Excited


(with full band)


Michigan Pride Festival 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 12 Burchard Park in Old Town Lansing $5 www.nervousbutexcited.com

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