Just about to start a tour of England, Ireland and Scotland, Sara Petite will be bringing her own unique blend of country, rock and bluegrass to these shores, and that’s a treat to be welcomed. You can certainly hear the influences of early heroes Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, with her strongly accented voice making her sound very country, but the energy and commitment is pure rock’n’roll. There’s an exuberance to her music making which is highly infectious, whether it’s the high octane bluegrass tinged songs that were more in evidence on 2008’s Lead the Parade or the hard rocking country that characterises the most recent album, 2009’s Doghouse Rose.
For Doghouse Rose, Sara left San Diego to record in Nashville with Eddie Gore; there are a few well-known names amongst the large cast of players (Kenny Vaughan on electric guitar, Harry Stinson from The Dukes on harmony vocals, amongst others) but Sara’s the star. She writes really good, melody-rich songs and she sings them in a distinctive voice that seems to spring from a happy soul. The sense of fun is always there, even in the more reflective and serious songs – as if being aware of the downbeat moments is just further confirmation of how good it is to be alive.
With the very fine drumming of William Ellis driving things along, there’s a lot of electric guitar (sometimes twangy, sometimes pure rock) being woven around Sara’s voice and it’s the spirit of her music that matters rather than any one player’s ego trip. All bar one of these thirteen songs is an original, with the one cover being Harlan Howard’s He Called Me Baby. Perhaps nothing quite tops the opening song, Magnolia; Sara’s vocal is unleashed and flying and the galloping interplay of guitars and dobro is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It’s probably the highlight of the album for me, but the quality is high throughout, with a nice balance between the quieter numbers and the full tilt exuberance that she does so well. Overall this album probably just about tops its predecessor but I have to say that the song that still knocks me out is Dead Man Walking from Lead the Parade, a song that I reckon Steve Earle would be proud to call his own. Anyway, make sure you get to see her if she’s anywhere close over the next month or so and she’ll chase the last of those winter blues away for you.
Sara is playing three dates on the tour with our own Medicine Show. Rob will be recording the Full Enchilada Glasgow Show for broadcast on The Medicine Show
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