(02 June 2014) Our latest coverage of Rachael Sage includes a review of her live performance in Boston and another of her brand new EP New Destination. Rachael told us that a new full-length album, the first since 2012's Haunted By You, entitled Blue Roses can be expected this September following her summer tour. Let's begin with our review of her Boston show.
The House of Blues. Dynamic performer, Rachael Sage, appeared in top form on Sunday, June 1st to a sell-out crowd at the House of Blues in Boston, MA. She was the opening act for British jazz-pop musician Jamie Cullum. The audience was most welcoming to her classically-influenced unique sound, stage presence, and on-stage banter.
During her thirty minutes on stage, she captured the attention and hearts of the audience. Usually she has her drummer to accompany her, but Rachael was a one-woman band, utilizing her wonderful keyboarding expertise and adding her own percussive foot stomping, finger snapping pizazz to her music. She began the set with "Happiness" which has an upbeat and uplifting energy. The lyrics touch each person with "I've waited my whole life for the chance to become soulful / I've waited my whole life for the chance to become hopeful / and now you’ve followed though ..." Sitting in the balcony, Musical Discoveries editorial staff were able to clearly see her energizing treatment of the keyboard and theatricality which was a delight.
Rachael continued with "Lonely Streets" and the compelling song, "California." Switching to acoustic guitar, she performed the uptempo pop song “Big Star” from her Delancy Street album. Her sultry vocals lure in the audience to her vibrant style. The energy continued with "Trouble" written about Eric Burdon and The Animals. She mused about his aggressive stage performance and that she wished she’d have that type of energy at age 70.
She performed the upbeat "New Destination." the title track of her new EP (reviewed below). The song was inspired by Carole King’s Broadway musical, "Beautiful," and Rachael seizes the moment with a song for a close friend going through a bad breakup who needed a big pep-talk and a completely new perspective. "Blue Roses," the title track of her forthcoming album was performed to perfection, and tantalized the audience into wanting more.
Rachael concluded her set on a high note with "Hey Nah" complete with kazoo and got everyone in the room clapping, stomping and singing along. Her piano driven songs and combo of pop, folk and jazz along with her vibrant vocals create an electric atmosphere. She gets better and better, and continues to weave a tapestry of emotional perspectives with her innovative style and percussive keyboard based alt-pop music. What a great evening! -- Audrey C Elliot in Boston, MA
New Destination EP. Rachael's four track EP (MPress Records (USA) MP1118-2, 2014) is a compact collection that serves as a preview for the artist's forthcoming full length album Blue Roses. The EP showcases the singer-pianist's most confident song writing to date, merging classical, folk, pop and rock influences. Sage is joined by members of Daft Punk, Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen's bands in addition to her own touring band The Sequins.
The diverse four track EP builds on Rachael's string-heavy alt-pop and moves into a more adventurous, contemporary setting. Produced by Rachael Sage and Barb Morrison, it was recorded by Grammy Nominee John Shyloski and Grammy winner Andy Zulla. The artist's growth is not only evident in these delightful recordings but in her live performance as well.
Rachael said, "The EP's title track drew inspiration from Carole King's Broadway musical, "Beautiful," which left me inspired to write an upbeat groove-tune on piano with a classic, pop hook." The song features Rachael on keys and vocals, Barb Morrison on guitar and bass, and members of The Sequins including cellist Ward Williams and Andy Mac.
The EP also features musical contributions by longtime studio collaborators including Daft Punk drummer Quinn, cellist Dave Eggar, guitarist Jack Petruzelli, violinist (Kelly Halloran and bassist Mike Visceglia. Percussionist Everett Bradley also contributed.
After a two year recording break, we are glad that Rachael is back, clearly headed for a familiar yet new destination!