The Hour EP
Out of Sadness, Comes Beauty
When I was first approached about the possibility of a review for an unknown (to me) artist, Sarah King, I had to admit that the mention of an involvement with Simone Felice had me suitably intrigued.
Having seen Simone more than probably any other act live over the last few years I felt this just had to be something worthy of at the very least a courteous listen.
Was it a good decision?
It was absolutely brilliant and just demonstrated that being ‘unknown’ isn’t a bar to an artist producing a superb little gem.
I will stick it into the Americana genre although you could argue it is a Country set; but who is arguing over something so listenable.
The story behind the EP is definitely sad and it certainly falls into the ‘artist bringing the sadness of her life into her music’ category. She was described as being an Americana artist to the ‘left of the mainstream’ and this EP (release date 19th March) will hopefully move her from the left to the centre!
Quoting her influences as ‘bourbon and bad decisions’ she spent around 12 months kipping in a tent around the US and UK after the deaths of her dog, her mother and her first husband; but Sarah’s desire to get her music career up and running meant an email to Simone was the star in the sky to follow.
‘Nightstand’ was the track she sent to Simone and this story of revenge after physical revenge clearly wetted his appetite and it’s the ideal sort of track he would have in his repertoire.
‘Taking the gun from the nightstand
to wait for the music to bury a body by.”
‘Not Worth the Whisky’ is another real tough track delivered in a sympathetic style that really suits her tough as teak delivery, whereas the opener ‘Poison’ is a beautiful song, with the background piano and drum trio offering the perfect level of support for a song to deal with ‘a man who won’t listen,’ – a clear reference to her very disturbed husband who suffered from PTSD resulting in his very sad suicide.
Her dreams of music and his memories of the military life at opposite ends of the spectrum.
‘Cold Hard Ground’ moves along at a slightly faster pace although still delivering a story, and the need/desire to make amends for some past misdemeanours.
‘That’s what my momma told me’ was the way to go.
The final song seems an unlikely choice; Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs;’ but stripped back to its raw sinews becomes the singers’ most intimate song, yet apparently it nearly missed the cut even though it meant so much to her after the suicide (see above).
Could she have done anything to stop him?
Could she have spotted the signs?
The questions that probably still haunt a lot of US families after Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan etc.
There was at one stage an idea to cut ‘War Pigs’ from the finished article; and the music industry is littered with these last minute changes of mind; but this change of mind is really welcome for a true song from Sarah King’s broken heart.
Definitely the dark side of Americana, but let me assure you this (to me) is a gem of an EP delivered, genuinely, from the heart.
As we are approaching normality again after what seems an eternity., how about Sarah touring UK with Simone Felice sometime in the next 12 months?
Review by Bill Redhead.