On The River Road was co-produced by T-Bone Wolk (who has worked with Shawn Colvin, Elvis Costello, and Hall & Oates) with duo songwriters Karen Savoca and Peter Heitzman. Together they have made an album with a warm wide ranging sound. Simple but lush production surrounds and supports Karen Savoca's jazz inflected vocals fit squarely into the modern female singer/songwriter mold without, thank goodness, sounding like all the others. Savoca is the percussionist and so it is not surprising that her vocals are perfectly wedded to to the underlying rythms of each track and her partner, Heitzman proves himself to be a guitar player of taste and restraint. Her songs are a bit enigmatic and so take a few listenings to absorb; not unlike the songs of Robin Holcomb, though less consciously avante. To her credit, Savoca blurs the lines between styles much as Laura Nyro has, bringing soul and funk accents to the pop/folk confessional song as in 'The Language of Love', and the final cut 'This Train'. On the other hand 'Sanctuary' is a lush song with a soft pulse that would fit perfectly on any mainstream chart while still having highly poetic lyrics. This album is that rare thing, an unknown's album that grows on you on its own merits without any hype required.
--Richard Meyer - The All Music Guide
Karen Savoca is heading for stardom. With a distinctive voice and songwriting style that's all her own, Savoca recently won First Place in Musician Magazine's Best Unsigned Band competition. The winning tune, "Language of Love," is included in On The River Road, co-produced by Saturday Night live's T-Bone Wolk.
Savoca and long time partner Peter Heitzman worked in their home studio to produce a collection of eight sensational tracks, each one a gem, lovingly crafted around the syrupy spice of Savoca's voice. Savoca's lyrical approach offers a poetic blend of the personal and the universal, and even her own obscure references are presented with an appealing and entertaining quality.
The title song, "On The River Road," opens the album with a finger-popping toe-tapping foray into city life. "Sanctuary" showcases Savoca's range and power through a haunting melody and spare production. "Eight Tons Of B-flat" provides Heitzman with a chance to show off his production skills, and while at first glance seems to be an electronic anything-plus-the-kitchen-sink approach, on second listen it's clear that Heitzman is a formidable talent in his own right, and "Eight Tons" is one of the brightest moments on the album.
The closing track, "This Train," is 6 minutes and 30 seconds of brilliance, with its lilting, melodic verses building to a kicking chorus that once again spotlights Savoca's range and energy. It's a fitting conclusion to a near perfect album and leaves the listener with little choice but to play the whole thing once more from the top.
--Gene Ira Katz, Ithaca Times (Ithaca, NY)