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Music Review: Rachael Sage – The Blistering Sun

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The first thing that caught my eye about singer/songwriter Rachael Sage’s seventh album is the comic-like cover art. Beyond the cover, Ms. Sage’s latest release The Blistering Sun showcases her diverse talents as both a vocalist and lyricist. She manages to cover a little folk, blues, jazz, and pop music all in the space of thirteen tracks. Rachael’s diverse style and poignant lyrics have has been rewarded with several honors. She received the 2005 Independent Music Award for Best Folk/AAA artist and the 2005 Outmusic Award for Best Songwriter for her seventh album, Ballads & Burlesque.

The musicianship on The Blistering Sun is first rate. Sage’s passion for her music bursts through with every note she plays on the piano. The album also features Russ Johnson on the trumpet, drummer Dean Sharp, cellist Julia Kent, violinist Allison Cornel, organist Julie Wolf, percussionist Doug Yowell, guitarist Jack Petruzelli, and bassist Todd Sickafoose, all of whom help to give The Blistering Sun a wonderfully full sound.

The opening track, “Alright, OK,” has an upbeat melody. Rachael presents the lyrics in a playful way. It’s almost as if you can hear the smile on her face. She follows that with the energetic “Featherwoman.” Sage’s vocals are crisp and clear, as she sings about the fierce need for independence and individuality. On the song “93 Maidens,” Rachael sings a heartbreaking song based on the letters of Chaya Feldman, a young girl, who along with her classmates died rather than submit to the demands of the Nazi’s during World War II. “Mama where are you./ Where have you gone?/ I need you with me to drink the poison for I’m nobody’s martyr./ Only your daughter./ I’ll reach you when I reach heaven./ …I’ll meet you when I reach heaven.” Done in a fairly solemn voice, this song is pretty powerful stuff.

Throughout The Blistering Sun, Rachael Sage shows wonderfully expressive musicality and combines talented piano playing with evocative percussion and accompaniment to create an impressive piece of work. Anyone who enjoys the work of artists such as Ani Difranco, Tori Amos or Sheryl Crow should give The Blistering Sun a spin. Rachael Sage is a talented artist who wears her love for music on her sleeve.

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About Rebecca Wright