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While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

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Illusion's Carnival CD Cover
Image MPress Records 2002

More Rachael Sage
Interview and Reviews
Painting Of A Painting
Illusion's Carnival
Public Record

(02 July 2002) The fourth album from New York's Rachael Sage is a fifteen-track collection of new singer-songwriter favourites entitled Illusion's Carnival (MPress Records (USA) MP7272-2, 2002). The album follows several highly successful American and European tours and three previously acclaimed albums (Morbid Romantic and Smashing The Serene feature, Painting Of A Painting review). A vast American east coast and midwest tour schedule is planned to promote this stunning new album.

In addition to other awards--far too numerous to mention here--Rachael recently won the grand prize in the 2001 John Lennon Songwriting Contest and has toured with Ani DiFranco, Eric Burdon, Melissa Ferrick and played the Lilith Fair with Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Suzanne Vega and The Pretenders. Further information is available at her website.

On Illusion's Carnival Rachael departs further from earlier Kate Bush musings. The recordings are more lushly arranged, continuing the instrumental development from her most recent album Painting In A Painting. The singer's voice continues to be edgy, gracefully delivering the hearfelt sensuality of her earlier work. In addition to providing the vocal work and piano, her supporting cast of players includes Doug Yowell (drums, percussion), Matt Lindsey (bass), Jack Petruzelli (electric guitar), Jimi Zhivago (electric guitar, organ), Stephanie Winters (organ), Jeremy Adelman (trumpet), Walter Parks (backing vocals) and various others.

Vocally intense throughout, instrumentals provide the foundation for the melodies and harmonies. We especially enjoyed the rich keyboard- and brass-backed arrangements. Harmony vocals add lush texture in the choruses. The album is full of lovely piano melodies, typical of Rachael Sage's work.

Illusion's Carnival has tunes that vary from lightly rocking bluesy numbers--especially in "Marmelade"--to some faster paced numbers like "Maybe Its The Way" but never drift far from traditional singer songwriter ballads. The album's standouts include the dramatic opening number "Angel," "Before It Comes" and the heartfelt ballads "Unbeauty" and "Linger," some with familar sounding melodies from Rachael's earlier work. The arrangements in the waltzy "Look" are also certain to draw attention to the album's songwriting.

A rare combination of timeless craftsmanship and contemporary feminist sensibilities, The Village Voice described Rachael's music as "earthiness, color and emotion ... Sage has folk on the brain and piano keys for hands and is sure to put on a show sublime." In essence she is a young East Village New York woman who tours playing some of the most interesting music in rock and pop today. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. This album is worth further exploration and is certainly a must listen!

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