Band Name: Rachael Sage
Album Name: Ballads and Burlesque
Best Element: Honest, strong songwriting
Label Name: MPress Records (www.mpressrecords.com)
Band E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have two older sisters who, in my childhood, would play Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and Ani Difranco incessantly from their bedrooms- one across the hall and the other next to the family room (where the TV was). Over that time, I learned to appreciate the female voice and begin to understand the viewpoint of a woman. Not girls, but women- women like Rachael Sage.
After Michelle Branch hit it big and Avril followed soon after, the world of women’s music digressed in maturity and complexity- and many who fought to make a statement in the 90’s with The Lilith Fair washed out. Jewel started making dance albums, Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos stopped making good albums, Liz Phair decided she wanted a piece of the Avril pie, and Sheryl Crow, well, I’m not going there. But Rachael, she’s different. She cares about integrity, creativity, and personal control. She’s not afraid to speak out and doesn’t have to be overly sexual or disgustingly cute. She can just be honest and that gives her grace.
The song on the record that really pulls this point across is the opener, titled “Sacrifice”. The song is a beautiful, well-crafted number with piano, organ, light drums, the whole bit. But the heart of the song lies in the lyrics. “Know that these are my own two arms” is the line that begins the idea across to the listener and introduces Rachael splendidly. In this life, we have to follow what our hearts tell us and sometimes that interferes with what our parents had in mind. Rachael is making the statement that she has achieved what she set out to achieve and did it without anyone’s help. This is the bottom line of independent music and it is slowly dying. Artists like Rachael Sage keep it alive with a mixture of integrity, work ethic, and creativity.
As far as a reference point for the sound, Ani Difranco is pretty similar- but these days, it would be hard to find a female singer on the indie circuit not influenced by Ani. Rachael has enough talent and wit to avoid being a clone and is creating a legacy of great music through independent releases. I would suggest Ballads and Burlesque to anyone who wishes to hear intelligent female music again.