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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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Chandelier CD Cover
Image © MPress Records 2008

More Rachael Sage:
album reviews | interview (April 2000)
Painting Of A Painting (2001)
Illusion's Carnival (2002)
Public Record (2003)
Ballads and Burlesque (2005)
The Blistering Sun (2006)


Rachael Sage 2008 | Photo Bill Bernstein
Photo: Bill Bernstein
Image © MPress Records 2008

 

(01 May 2008) Flamboyant NYC-based chanteuse Rachael Sage just gets better and better, and her release of Chandelier (available on iTunes May 6 and in-stores June 10 on MPress Records) is another stunning album to add to her wonderful repertoire. Her new thirteen track CD is a collection that encompasses a wide variety of emotions including love, triumph, fear and doubt, but it especially highlights the theme of fragility. Her music exudes her marvelous theatrical pop sound and in addition to her intense percussive piano-based sound, she's added lush string arrangements to boost the orchestral feel to her wonderful storytelling.

Chandelier was produced by Rachael, recorded by John Shyloski, mixed by Grammy® Winner Kevin Killen. Her album is certainly enhanced by her wonderful musicians The Sequins including: Russ Johnson on trumpet (Elvis Costello), Dean Sharp on drums (Moby), and Dave Eggar on cello (Evanescence). Some special guests on the album include guitarists Jack Petruzelli (Rufus Wainwright), Shane Fontayne (Marc Cohn) and Adam Levy (Norah Jones), as well as drummer Doug Yowell (Suzanne Vega) and bassist Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco). Gregory Douglass, Rachael Davis and Noe Venable also appear on several cuts.

In describing Chandelier, Rachael says, "it is about philosophically towing the line and focusing on what you have to do, and balancing that with your own challenges as well as helping others and those you love. It is about self preservation and strength. It is about how you can sometimes come short of hurting yourself to help those you love." The opening track, "Vertigo," emits a frenetic feel with Rachael singing about adultery and betrayal. Her dramatic style and emotive lyrics set the tone for an exciting collection of songs. She moves on to the ballad "Invincible" singing of a possible romance while at a funeral. She ponders the entire prospect of a relationship and allows the listener to follow her train of thought.

The jazzy "Angel in My View" has Rachael's signature vibrant pop-piano sound and a great toe-tapping melody. There is great energy in this track highlighted by the wonderful trumpet and sax interludes. "Angel in My View" is Rachael's first-ever UK single and is at UK radio now, as well as receiving airplay on Bob Harris' show on BBC Radio 2. "Blue Light" is a tribute to her relationship with blues legend John Lee Hooker (who died in 2001) whom she met while she was a radio DJ at Stanford University. The song's lyrics describe how to overcome difficulties through music. Rachael picks up the pace with her sensitive and poetic "My Word." "Corinne" and "Mexico" both present Rachael's expertise in telling her story with striking melodies and beautiful expressiveness.

There is an almost starry-eyed feel to "Wishbone" which examines true love. Rachael's breathy and fluid tones result in dynamic vocals accompanied by spledid violin and cello instrumentation. Lazy and sultry tones emerge in "Moonlight & Fireflies." The sound is dreamy and passionate. Intoxicating wah-wah trumpet sounds, gentle percussion and Rachael's captivating spoken word woo the listener in "Site-Seeing" with its jazz-soaked tune.

Her troubadour style comes across in "Hunger in John." Rachael's expressive style is easily seen in the jazz-infused instrumental "Beloved." This song is definitely a symphony of sound. She concludes with her title track, "Chandelier." This touching and emotive song has Rachael wearing her heart on her sleeve. The gorgeous and flowing melody certainly showcases the intimacy and fragility of life. Her aching, insightful and sensitive vocals make this track a standout.

Rachael recently performed selections from her new album at the Cyber Cafe coffeehouse in Binghamton on Saturday, April 26th. Along with her sassy and comedic banter, she mixed old and new songs into her tracklist, luring and reeling in the audience with each and every note. Rachael never fails to please with her vibrant performance. She invited violinist Jacob Lawson (Noe Venable) to perform a couple of songs onstage with her. Jacob lives in the Binghamton area and wholeheartedly joined in. Rachael later commented to Musical Discoveries that she was amazed at his musical prowess and playing along to songs he had never heard or practiced. Having a violinist joining Rachael and The Sequins would certainly be a marvelous added attraction.

Chandelier is another top-notch album by the inimitable Rachael Sage. She draws upon dramatic emotion and finds the essential images in life that strike the heartstrings. These images all reflect the heart and soul of Rachael Sage and each song segues to another level of emotive expression. She does not fail to mesmerize the listener, singing with strength and clarity, while delivering on simple piano to jazz-infused melodies to impressive symphonic instrumentation. This one's a winner.--Audrey Elliot in New York

 
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