Sarah Donner – That is a Pegasus
It’s easy to know how to categorize an artist like Sarah Donner. Self-described as “a artistic cat lady” her latest release “That is a Pegasus” is one of the best releases I’ve heard is a while. Like a lot of folk lately – this one is not so dark and apocalyptic steeped in the fog of shock mind you, but rather extremely bright, uplifting and has a ring of truth to it. It’s got sold melodies and impressive musicianship – which is a rarity in today music. Not only is Donner and impressive singer/songwriter, all players are excellent musicians and their contributions to the writing and arrangement of the songs have been of paramount importance-which is to say nothing of the pervasive and contagious chemistry she has behind the guitar and microphone. There’s something about Donner – that is contagious and artistically infectious. Granted there’s nothing really experimental about these songs – just straight forward Acoustic Folk with some eccentricity thrown in. It’s a bit goofy, maybe too quirky for some, but who cares those listeners need to lighten up anyway.
The CD bursts to life with Track 1: “Signal’ which is a crisp drum lead in yielding a superlative number. It’s a great rock revival that others (like myself) will lobby hard for. Donner has a voice recalling the higher-registries well. The band has a solid look and sound that reminds me of K.D. Lang, Jill Sobule, Indigo Girls and yes Sarah Harmer. Tack 2 “”With Pride” starts with a driven intro leading well into an amazing and compelling chorus. ”The Rebuttal of Schrodinger’s Cat” we see the mood of the album spike upward as Donner really lets it all hang out on this one. Many pieces develop well into top flight melodic phrasing and thickly laced harmonies. Some tracks are more pop-inflected, all however are rock driven rather than the typical synth-pop posturing we’ve all come to expect on the radio. Despite this one can still appreciate some of the Electronic beats on “That is a Pegasus.” To me this is vintage Americana Folk with a few soul stirring melodies reminiscent of Singer/Songwriter. Sarah Donner has a lot of depth to her personality and as a result her music. All of this plays into Donner’s unique sensibility that can jar even staunch of listeners like myself. After all I am a critic and I love everything about Sarah Donner. While it’s easy enough to imagine how gripping some pieces truly are on the CD “That is a Pegasus” Is a lot of fun – like Donner herself.
It’s safe to say much of today’s Rock is made up entirely of yawning ambient beats, sparse musicianship and superficial vocals. Some of these intangibles reflect the artists themselves and the state of the music industry itself. Much of it is built of a house of cards that has become the quintessential pop persona. Where am I going with all this? Donner breaks that mold by being herself. Donner has the courage to write and sing about songs she believes in – and lets the chips fall where they may. This is indeed the premise of greatness – because with genuine artists like Donner what you see is what you get. No smoke and mirrors, just music straight from a voice a guitar and a heart, with maybe cat on the shoulder.
Rating: 4/5 Stars.
– Deborah Peeling. Approved by Cyrus Rhodes