SARAH WHITE  |  Bluebird

CD

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    Tracks

  1. You're not Easy, you're Hard
  2. Got you Back
  3. Bluebird
  4. Bride
  5. Ask me Again
  6. Poker Night
  7. Trees Fall Down
  8. Ribbon Bow
  9. Crazy T
  10. Skirting

Sarah White lives in a postal address area outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, called White Hall. She has lived most of her life in either Virginia or West Virginia, never more than a stone's throw away from the Blue Ridge Mountains. But she isn't a hermit. She isn't a disconnected member of society living in a wood shack evading technology or a person of poor length of bone who was found under a rock and is now being pushed on you as the poster child for "the new and truly authentic," as a reminder of what American music "really" is at its roots. Sarah went to college. She lived for some time in San Francisco and has travelled the world many, many times. And maybe why her music immediately strikes a chord is that it is informed by so many, many different, disparate musical traditions. BLUEBIRD isn't a folk record, although at times it makes you feel like Sarah has in her collection Hazel Dickens' or Smithsonian-era Lucinda Williams' records. It isn't a country record, but it makes you think maybe she was raised listening to Emmylou Harris. Finally, it isn't something that comes close to what you would consider rock, although the "rock" or "pop" sections of record stores is where it will end up. Like Marianne Faithfull's BROKEN ENGLISH record, BLUEBIRD is a fish out of water. And perhaps on this record Sarah has become, in one body and mind, the communion of Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge, ala FULL MOON.

One regional reviewer wrote that on ALL MY SKIES ARE BLUE, White's first record and a collection of self-recorded songs over a three year period, "Sarah's stop-start guitar figures and lo-fi rants sound like Rebby Sharp feeding amphetamines to her four-track." BLUEBIRD, which was recorded with Christian Quick in a proper studio in Warrenton, Virginia, doesn't nearly have the same punk-lo-fi-country-hybrid edge. It is more laconic, more restrained and far more subtle in its acerbicity. When White sings "I got you back" over and over again on the song of the same title, you don't quite know where she is coming from. Was she avenged? Was there some sort of reunion? Is she happy about it? It is this kind of ambiguity, this kind of blurred identity or emotional hedging of bets, that has become White's calling card. It comes across in both the subject matter of her songs and in the trajectory of her music.

Although White played almost all of the parts on BLUEBIRD, a few other musicians stepped into the studio to help. Most recognizably, Adam Busch (of Manishevitz) contributed lead guitar on "Ask Me Again" and Amy Domingues (of Telegraph Melts) played Cello on "Ribbon Bow" and "Crazy T."

(JAG018 released: 04/17/00)

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