This is going to be a terrible music review of some great music.
And by terrible, I mean almost completely subjective...I'm utterly biased, I'm friends with the artist, we even sang together back in the day, and I don't think I would purposefully say anything that might make one person fewer buy one of her albums. I even think she wicked cute. But in this case, I think the bias is ok, because her music is really, really good, and even when trying to get some objective distance I think it deserves all the praise I'm going to heap on it.
So, she's Sara Shansky, a singer/songwriter from the little state of Rhode Island, but she currently hangs her hat in Austin, Texas. She's got a beautiful voice, plays a mean guitar, and pens some fantastic, poignant lyrics. Someone compared her voice to "human silk", a turn of phrase that's been stuck in my head, and that is completely apt.
If you're in a hurry and just want a taste before you go ahead and buy her album, I'd suggest jumping to her "Inertia" CD Baby page and clicking on "Thorny Roses"...man is that a great opening lick, and there's something about the tune of the first stanza that is so catchy... and the lyrics! The song describes her being torn between the call of the Northwest and Austin...
Feel the pulling of the sunI'm not even positive what "Even the ocean can not bind me to the sand" means, but I LOVE THAT LINE.
More great lines are found in Mileage, a spoken-word piece that is the final (and unlisted) track on her earlier album Stamp Mileage. It's one of this month's Front Page Picks, actually she transcribed it as a favor to me, and it's such a terrific piece, visceral and evocative.
(On an even more personal note...I mentioned singing with Sara...we were both in the group sQ, Tufts University's "other" a cappella group. It's always a bit weird when you realize that the bit of musical history that loomed so large in your personal story is just a little sidepath in some one else's artistic journey...)
So I'd recommend clicking on one of the album covers above and ordering one or both of these albums...(I'd say "Inertia", but then you'd be missing "Sweet Marmalade"...) Because finding and supporting a great independent artist is cool, because she's a friend of the Keeper of the Blender, because the music is just damn great.