But Small Potatoes never pushes the funny business too far. The songs veer with the naturalness of unforced conversation from comedy to "1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes," a song about an American woman
who lost two sons in World War II and ends up in an elder-care facility under the care of a Japanese nurse who survived the blast at Hiroshima as a girl. Manning makes a specialty of quizzical songs of random events "The Dollar Episode," in which a sequence of passersby pick a dollar bill up from a sidewalk and then throw it back, or "Life Is an Accident." The duo's repertoire as a whole is something of an accident, too Prezioso told the Chicago Tribune that it was "the result of years of careful indecision." Various instruments make their appearance onstage, and Prezioso and Manning have done some real virtuoso songwriting; her "Waltz of the Wallflowers," a song that weaves together the interior monologues of two shy people finding their way to the dance floor, took a top prize at the Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Contest in Texas.
Small Potatoes comes to the Green Wood United Methodist Church Ann Arbor's current headquarters for bring-the-kids, have-a-brownie-and-kick-your-shoes-off, living-room-sing-along-style folk music on Friday, December 8.
[Review published December 2006]