New Times article by Glen Starkey

Music The following article was posted on August 21st, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 28, Issue 4 Two husband and wife duos form a great new quartet Mark Davis and Karoline Hausted join local favorites Bob and Wendy for performance at Steynberg on Aug. 24 BY GLEN STARKEY WHAT’S IN A NAME? A new quartet featuring (left to right) Mark Davis, Karoline Hausted, Wendy Liepman, and Bob Liepman play Aug. 24 at Steynberg Gallery. PHOTO BY GLEN STARKEY Synergy—the Beatles had it. They were better artists as a group than as individuals, John Lennon notwithstanding. What causes it? How does it happen? These are things we can’t really know because synergy is a kind of magic. I recently witnessed synergy in action. A couple of weeks ago Bob Liepman of Bob and Wendy told me he and his wife had joined forces with another couple, Mark Davis and Karoline Hausted, two newcomers to SLO County, and that they were rehearsing at Bob and Wendy’s house, and would I like to come by. Yes, I would indeed. First, a little background: Mark and Karoline’s story is sort of amazing. Karoline hails from Denmark, and 11 years ago, Mark traveled there for a songwriters’ retreat, where he met Karoline. They were tasked with collaborating on a song and hence “Fallen Star” was born. After the retreat, they lost touch for eight years, but by coincidence they met again, and this time they were both single. They remembered their song, whose chorus says, “I know I got here by a star in the sky that has fallen. I watch as it burns into nothing. And I’m holding it close, the beautiful way I was haunted. That’s truly all I ever wanted.” Clearly this was a love that was meant to be. Now they’re married, and moved here several months ago from Pasadena. A mutual friend—Brett Perkins—introduced the two couples last January, and after several hikes and dinners, and over the course of considerable jamming, they started to realize there was something special happening musically between them. And they’re right. I watch intently from my perch on a chair in Bob and Wendy’s living space, where Karoline’s delicate fingers dance over her keyboard as Mark’s long hair obscures his face as he works his acoustic guitar. Bob is seated with his cello between his legs, and Wendy stands at the microphone as they work through “Witness Me,” a song Karoline and Wendy collaborated on. It’s a delicate, gorgeous song about the interdependency of the artist with the audience, with Wendy singing lead and Karoline and Mark providing backing vocals. Simply stunning. After the song, Wendy admits she’s in a really fertile period artistically, and lyrics have just been flowing out of her. The next song they rehearse, “Sunlight Support,” features Mark’s warm voice in an Americana-style song. Karoline plays delicate piano, and Bob adds cello, and let’s face it, there’s something inherently tender and somber about the cello sound, which can at times border on the morose, but in this song Bob’s cello soars and pushes the song toward optimism. “That’s a melody I wrote 12 years ago,” Mark tells me after the song ends, “but I could never finish the lyrics.” Enter Karoline and Wendy, who quickly filled out the narrative song: “You’re looking for sunlight support and I’ve been lost in the rain.” Another song Wendy and Karoline co-wrote is “Shadowlands,” about what happens when creativity goes dormant: “Where did you go when nothing would grow?” “I had this idea and she started playing this riff,” says Wendy as Karoline demonstrates on the keys. When they perform it, I marvel at how well their voices work together. After the song, Wendy makes a quip about being asked, “So Wendy, are you a songwriter?” “No, not today,” she says, expressing the elusive nature of the creative urge, but that’s clearly not the case now. All four of these musicians are on a creative tear. “I don’t know what it is about these two,” says Wendy, referring to Mark and Karoline, “but they ignited something in me.” “We feel the same way,” adds Karoline. This group, which still hasn’t settled on a name, writes literate, evocative, lovely songs, and you can hear them this Saturday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. in Steynberg Gallery. They’ll back one another on songs Wendy, Mark, and Karoline have written individually as well as perform the material they collaborated on. Prepare to be amazed by these award-winning songsmiths!