(02 June 2010) The mention of Delancey Street immediately brings to mind the Jewish Lower East Side of New York City. With the influx of Eastern European Jews, that historic neighborhood was filled with the emotions, yearnings and richness of Jewish identity. Singer/songwriter Rachael Sage's Delancey Street (MPress Records (USA), 2010) evokes the soul of her roots in her exciting ninth album. She weaves a tapestry of emotional perspectives with her innovative, keyboard-based alt-pop music.
Mixed by Grammy Winner Kevin Killen (Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel) and recorded by longtime collaborator John Shyloski (Stephen Kellogg, Johnny Winter), the album features her touring band, The Sequins: Quinn (Tracy Chapman, Jesca Hoop), Dave Eggar (Evanescence, Coldplay) and Russ Johnson (Elvis Costello); guest musicians include Everett Bradley (Hall & Oates), Jack Petruzelli (Rufus Wainwright), Will Lee (the Fab Faux) and Doug Yowell (Ari Hest, Dar Williams). Rachael is currently on tour, promoting her new album.
Delancey Street features insightful lyrics with Rachael's signature piano-driven style. She uses her sultry voice to create a vibrancy throughout this soulful thirteen track CD. She opens with the graceful and fast paced "Hopes Outpost." The song talks about the rollercoaster of emotions where one person walks away from a relationship much to the astonishment of the other. "There is Passion" questions whether or not the passion still exists between two people that are reaching a crossroads in their relationship. Rachael elicits a lushness and emotive feel to this soaring melody. Her honest, raw expression continues in the breathy "Brave Mistake."
The luxuriant "Everything Was Red" discusses the misgivings in relating to her sister as well as the ups and downs and consternation about how to put the past aside. Rachael is in her element with the uptempo pop song "Big Star." The path to musical stardom is always a challenge, and her song goes through what it takes to reaching that goal. The contemplative "Wasn't It You" exudes a longing yet meditative melancholy feel to this song about a long time relationship.
Rachael puts her own spin on her cover of Hall & Oates "Rich Girl." Her artsy flair comes through loud and strong in this classic song. There is a sensuous flavor to "Meet Me in Vegas" where she wears her heart on her sleeve. Her introspective lyrics continue in "How I Got By." The expressive and animated verses capture the desirous mood that Rachael excels at in her musical flourishes. This passion is displayed so well in the exquisite "Back To Earth" where she talks about an upheaval in a relationship, desperately trying to be a good friend.
The flowing melody of "Arrow" takes a retrospective look at living out her dreams and the suffering one goes through for the benefit of her art. She makes the realization that she succeeded in reaching happiness doing what she loves. The title track, "Delancey Street," opens with a lush yet tender symphonious melody. The song speaks of heartbreak where "she had my heart in the palm of her soul and she shattered it on to the concrete." Rachael's maturity as a singer is evident in her rendition of "Fame." She replaces the Broadway-esque song with sophistication and the mellowness of a woman who has the wisdom of experience behind her.
Rachael Sage has created her Delancey Street, using the sense of her Jewish roots to take the gritty, vibrancy of life and exude a provocative account of her heritage and personal experiences. There is a strong passion throughout this stirring collection of songs where Rachael is able to bowl over the listener with her seasoned renditions that all can relate to. She definitely succeeds in expressing
how where we come from shapes the paths we ultimately take in life. This insightful album is not to be missed.--Audrey Elliot in New York