The Benchmark for What Country Rock Should Be About in the Mid-21st Century.
I was 99.9% sure I recognised Sara’s name, so checked through my old reviews ….. nothing; so checked out the hard drive …… nothing ……. then rang Graham Anderson who runs the Jumpin’ Hot Club….. nada; he’d never heard of her either.
But by this stage I was already hooked and had the album on heavy rotation in the RMHQ office and my car too.
Why the fuss when you listen to so much music; you may well ask.
Take a quick listen to opening song Feeling Like an Angel and if this innocent looking young lady from San Diego out of (the other) Washington, doesn’t just break your heart, but win it over like you’re a hormonal teenager again; then you are reading the wrong review.
Sara has a distinctive and very individual set of vocals; which somehow sounds like the offspring of Bobbie Gentry and Tom Petty filtered through Ashley McBryde who was singing Kitty Wells songs at a party hosted in Janis Joplin’s honour.
The song itself; and the haunting backing from her band are as sure to break your heart as kitten video on YouTube will.
As the band kick up some trail dust on the next song Runnin’; the only thing missing is Sarah purring, “Are you ready boys?” as an intro.
Twang guitar? Pedal-Steel? A bass that sounds like the strings are covered in rust and a drummer who can shake the foundations when necessary, but keep time like a Swiss watch at others?
What’s not to like?
Add them to Sara Petite’s introspective, heart-rending and Insurgent Country power-ballads like Missing You Tonight, Floating With the Angels and the hip-hop inspired, tear jerker, Working on a Soul and you have the benchmark for what Country Music should be about in the mid-21st Century.
I’d love to think that I will see Sara blasting out The Misfits and/or Crash, Boom Bang at the CMA’s or the Ryman one night; but will be more than happy to be in a jam-packed Cluny in downtown Newcastle one hot and sweaty Friday night; and you will too.
I’ve got a horrible feeling that Sara Petite will be deemed ‘too Country’ for Country Radio and the CMA’s etc. so with songs like Medicine Man and the sublime Keep Moving On, in her bag, let’s claim her for Americana, Country Rock and/or Alt. Country because she’s a keeper.
When I first played RARE BIRD, the rambunctious and anthemic Scars stood out; not least because of the opening power-chords which are immediatly toned down for Ms Petite to opine;
“I’ve got Scars
I wear my tattoos on my heart
Imprinted little lessons like a tortured work of art..
Some are rough and some are faded.“
Man o’ Man; this is ‘one of those songs’ that you will come back to years and years in the future, be you man, woman or whatever …… but one lonely night, it will come back and haunt you like a dear departed loved one.
Trust me here; if this song did come on the car radio; you would have to pull over to the side so you could hear it unencumbered then scramble to find a piece of paper to write her name down on …… then missing your appointment drive straight to a Record Store to buy it.
For once I can’t say it any better than a quote on the accompanying Press Release;
Sara is as American as apple pie and Harley Davidson.
She is gritty, she is wild, she is tender with a soul of a child.
I will leave the last words to Sirius Outlaw Country Radio DJ Mojo Nixon …..
“Sara Petite can sing a buzzard off of a slop wagon!”