home listen reviews artists a-z
Sarah Siskind


It only happens once in a while. A singer just hits you right in your heart, and you start breathing more shallowly. And you notice that you're holding on, and then you have to let go. And then it's all over but the crying.

This woman just kills me. She's got an awesome heart. And you meet people in life that do, and it's always transforming. But when some of those people have a voice that can channel that quality with such power and beauty, it's truly mesmerizing.

This very limited, hand-made (one at a time) recording is precious to me. One disc is Studio, the other is Living Room. Even Studio is very sparse, very live, incredibly intimate. It was produced by Fognode, a highly regarded undergrounder of Nashville, who also played drums, pedal steel and percussion. The Flecktones' Jeff Coffin contributes stellar moments of saxophone, flute and chimes. Dave Dawson plays synth and percussion. The archetypal artist (to me, she's like a character out of The Mists Of Avalon) plays guitar and piano and sings like she's at the Lord's right hand.

She is rare in other ways. The child of musicians, she was already writing songs at 11, and cut her first record at 14. (And if you know anyone who made a record at 14 with a title even remotely like Horizon Cries, we're keen to hear about them.) Sarah has her musical tentacles into various genres, but she has strong bluegrass roots. In fact, the first song on Living Room, "Simple Love," was cut by Alison Krauss and released on her recent CD, A Hundred Miles Or More: A Collection. 

Witness the power of the artist evidenced by the fact that the Living Room disc actually overpowers the embellished companion disc in its sheer presence. This woman is huge; she's a superstar. She's getting ready to record a new disc as this review is being written, and that will be a true event. And yet, she told me at a recent bluegrass show with her great side group Old Black Kettle (featuring powerhouse vocalists Julie Lee and Jodi Haynes, the daughter of Connie Smith) that she doesn't know if she is suited to or looking for the limelight. As far as we're concerned, she'd have to run in the opposite direction to avoid it at this point.

Get this incredible handmade disc. And buy her first one, Covered (it featured Bill Frisell; see the Puremusic review of Covered here). One of the greatest under the radar talents we've ever encountered. • Frank Goodman

return to covers      listen to clips      sarahsiskind.com  

to buy it from Sarah, try her myspace

puremusic home