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Rock of Ages

Power pop: Annie Moscow gets personal.
Dan Vermillion

Do people over 40 listen to the radio? Dominated by teens and twentysomethings, pop music subjects its older -- if hardly gray -- audiences to the continual angst of young love. If you're looking for a more mature take on life's relationships, consider local singer and songwriter Annie Moscow. While her influences range from Bartók to Billy Joel, from musical theater to punk, it is the Sturm und Drang of midlife that gives Moscow's music its power. She performs in Scottsdale this Friday night, backed by her husband, musician Steve Gold.

Trained as a classical pianist, Moscow partnered with her husband to write songs for performers such as Sister Sledge and Sarah Vaughan. But about six years ago, she started to write more personal songs. "I gave myself permission to write what I really wanted to say," Moscow explains.

Performing for close friends, Moscow discovered that her songs struck a deep chord with the women in her circle. "My friends would say, 'You are writing about my life,'" she recalls. "The stuff that I was writing about was going on in the lives of so many people, my peers. It just wasn't being said."

"It's All Dissipating," one of the songs on her first CD, Wolves at My Door, describes how family relationships can break down at midlife. "To the Himalayas" explores disillusionment in the search for a spiritual path. And "Buy the Bitch a Cadillac" is a theatrical, midlife tantrum put to music.

Moscow is getting increasingly serious about her own music. She's got an agent, she's at work on her second CD, and she'll be more visible on the local scene. So, is the fortysomething looking to become a rock star? "I would love to have the big career," acknowledges Moscow. "But also, I'm comfortable. I'm not willing to give up as much as I might have been when I was younger." And you can feel it in her music.

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