Plainspoken poetry adorns the strings that makeup “Strawberry Moon,” the title track from Sarah Parker’s showstopper of a new album, and its gorgeous lyricism is only a taste of what listeners can expect to find in the whole of the critically acclaimed disc. Whether it’s the opener “Sugartown” or the brooding closer “Straight from the Bottle,” Parker doesn’t waste any of these fourteen tracks trying to reinvent the wheel with her sultry voice and homespun melodies. She simply takes the country music model as we know it and reinterprets it through an erudite, modern prose that is as relatable as it is stunning and impressive.
OFFICIAL URL: https://sarahparkermusic.com/
“Keep on Movin’ (The Train Song),” “I Got to Wander” and “Even When You’re Lonely” keep our hearts pounding alongside Parker’s amidst the occasional melancholic mood projected from more somber tracks like “Rose Hill” and “Gypsy Rose.” Even when she’s down on a dirge, Parker maintains a trademark grin that we pick up on in this music via her elegant command of the lyrics. This makes “Home” and “Lonely Highway” the one-two emotional punch that they are, as it also does “29 South” and “You Can’t Tell a Heart,” though the execution is a little less progressive in the latter instance.
There’s nothing clunky about Strawberry Moon; in fact, this is one of those special records that you can put on the stereo and leave to its own devices without ever having to get up and skip over a less than satisfying track. This is Sarah Parker’s first studio effort, but it’s only noticeable when you’ve been told as much. She has so much swagger, especially in tracks like “Lonely Highway,” “Sugartown” and “Talk in This Town,” that she takes on the persona of a road-hardened country singer who has seen it all – and learned to write about in the most pristine, accessible way possible.
I’ve been following country music a lot more in the last few years than I did when I was younger, and it hasn’t escaped by attention that artists like Sarah Parker are becoming harder and harder to find nowadays. Her style isn’t tied to the same “crossover” sound that so many of her peers are sporting; she strikes me as more of a traditionalist than an experimental rookie still trying to find her place in a complex scene that is redeveloping its identity. That said, Strawberry Moon’s production is anything but old fashioned, and boasts more clarity than any other acoustic-driven piece I’ve heard this year.
Country fans all shapes and sizes will love what this record so liberally dispenses in its fourteen sparkling songs, and since this is Sarah Parker’s very first official studio album, I think that it’s vigorous, full-bodied design is all the more remarkable. Though it isn’t afraid to boldly celebrate its influences and stylistic forerunners, Strawberry Moonhas the look, feel and sound of a modern release that is completely comfortable in its own skin. I cannot wait to hear more from this young singer/songwriter, whose story has truly started in this awesome LP.