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Rachael Sage


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Alternative pop, with a healthy smattering of beautiful and fierce thrown in.

Status:

Most recent release, Haunted By You (2012)

See also:

The Official Rachael Sage site

Comparisons:

Ani DiFranco (compositionally), Juliana Hatfield (vocally). (meth@smoe.org)

Wendy MaHarry. (woj@smoe.org)

Marc Cohn, because I hear his influence ALL OVER her piano playing. Especially the piano opening to "Ode to a Sailor," which to my ear could be a Cohn piece. (burka@jeffrey.net)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Rachael Sage is my musical discovery of 1998. Keep an eye on this one. She's another I'm looking forward to following as her career goes on. Anyone who loves thoughtful lyrics and inventive musical arrangements needs to check this woman out. She is very up-front about her influences (Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls) and they are evident, but with Rachael Sage her whole is definitely more than the sum of those parts. Once again, I say: highly recommended. (1998)
I think each of her albums has gotten stronger as she's gone along. My favorite Rachael Sage album is whichever is the newest one. But as far as which one to start with, you certainly can't go wrong with starting with Smashing The Serene like so many of us did, and then get the others in chronological order. (2003, meth@smoe.org)

When I first got Rachael Sage I got both albums at once, and that wasn't the best way to learn to appreciate her talents. I would definitely steer people toward Smashing The Serene rather than Morbid Romantic, as the newer album is much more self-assured and interesting, and a far better introduction to her—I liked her much better after I put Morbid Romantic aside for a while and listened to Smashing The Serene.
     Now I can see why people are so intrigued with her. There are still a couple of things that don't click with me, but it's clear that she is a promising songwriter. I don't think I'll ever like her as much as Ani DiFranco (certainly at this point Rachael Sage seems arch compared to her) but Smashing The Serene is a good and fun listen. My biggest complaint about both albums is that the lyrics seem dominated by free-associative rhyming rather than sense, which makes them feel awkward to me. (Ani DiFranco also does this, but somehow with her songs it works for me.) (Neile)

Rachael Sage has said that Ani DiFranco and others have been a big influence in her musical career. When I first heard Smashing The Serene, I thought of Ani, but I also heard someone that has the talent, enthusiasm, creativity and soul to mark out a distinct place of her own.
     Sometimes when a artist gets labeled as another so and so, or the second so and so, it's difficult not only for the artist, but also the fans of the so and so artist. This seems to be the trend so far in the early career of Rachael Sage with respect to Ani DiFranco. I was a huge Dylan fan in the early days, and so many new artists were labeled the second Dylan, or the new Dylan. I resented the comparisons and sometimes would refuse to listen to the new "Dylan". Bruce Springsteen (for some still unexplainable reason to me) was labeled the new Dylan. I would not listen to him, or extend any credit to him. Later I realized there can not be a second Dylan or a second anyone. Bruce Springsteen was not the second Dylan, he was Bruce Springsteen, a unique, talented artist forging his own path.
     It's "standing on the shoulders of giants" that launch people to even greater heights. However, it takes a certain drive, determination, and talent to even make it to the giant's shoulders. To me Rachael Sage has all those qualities and more. When I first heard her, Ani flashed in my mind, and I would have lost interest pretty quick if I sensed just a shallow copy, but that was not the case. Rachael Sage will forge a distinct place of her own in the musical annals because she has all the ingredients for that kind of success. (jsutton@hrmusic.com)

I suspect this puts me in the minority, but of all her albums (and I do have and listen to them all), my absolute favorite, and the one I play most often and can't get out of my head, is still Smashing the Serene, her second album. It's folkier and less electronic than the later albums, and is generally just fabulous. To me, after that album, each successive album has gone downhill a little bit for me, with the possible exception of Public Record, which I liked a lot.
     Mind you, when I say that they've gone downhill, that doesn't mean that they're bad—every time Rachael releases something, I'm eager to buy it, because I know I'll like it—I just haven't obsessed over the other albums the way I still do over Smashing the Serene...and it's been, what, around 5 years since that came out? (burka@jeffrey.net)

Comments about live performance:

Last night I finally got to see Rachael Sage perform live. She was with her "Red Rubber Band": drummer, bassist, guitarist, and guy with accordion, melodica, and various percussion things. She herself played electric piano. The set consisted of mostly new material—apparently she's been recording lately. She did do three of my favorites from Smashing The Serene, though: "Sistersong", "Air We Share" and "Cultivate". The new songs were all wonderful, and the new album, whenever it may appear definitely has promise from what I heard. She's a charismatic and confident live performer who has a good rapport with her band. Seeing her play live adds to the songs, and I highly recommend checking her out if she plays in your area. (c. 1999,)
     Rachael and her band kicked several kinds of ass. Rachael played her electric piano and also her brand-new Wurlitzer, Rob Curto played accordion and some percussion, Steve Jagoda was the drummer, and a new guy whose name I have unfortunately wiped from my brain played bass. Great lineup. They did several songs from the new CD, as well as quite a few new ones, which was a pleasant surprise. The only "old" song in the set was the closer, "Sistersong", on which Walter Parks (formerly of The Nudes, and now an MPress Records employee) played guitar. The show itself was very polished, with two or three songs flowing into one another, and the set list had a definite flow. I commented to someone afterwards that Rachael seems to be turning into a rock star, but I don't consider that a bad thing at all. I think if this is the show she and the boys are going to be doing on their European tour, it's going to go over very well. It was a short set, alas, but the 66 minutes we did get were pure goodness. (3/01)
     She's just about to head out on tour, so this show was kind of a dress rehearsal for them. She had Dean Sharpe on drums (fans of Happy Rhodes and Jane Siberry will remember his name, surely), and Jack (dammit, I knew I'd forget his name :P) on guitar. Trina Hamlin also joined them on harmonica on a couple songs.
     They were, in a word, wonderful. They played lots of stuff from the brand-new album, Illusion's Carnival, as well as "Painting of a Painting", "Sistersong" and "Pictures They Took". It wasn't evident at all that this was their first gig as a trio—in fact, at several points it sounded like they were all set to do the jam-band thing and just go off for a while.
     Check out Rachael's tour schedule—if she's coming to your town, it's a must-see show. (4/02)
House Concert of the Year, 2002: Rachael's just so cool. And Stephanie plays such a gorgeous cello. And our house has never been decorated like that! The cats are still finding remnants of feather boas (what woj calls "Rachael spore" ;) in the corners. It was by far the most fun concert in our house this year. (12/02)
     As always it was a great set. They did mostly brand-new stuff, since Rachael is currently in the studio working on her new album. "Prolific" is fast becoming inadequate to describe that woman. :) But the songs just keep on getting better and better.... (1/03)
     Rachael gives *amazing* house concert. And then you'll be finding little boa spore and glitter on your floors for weeks afterward. ;) You (and anyone who attends—and if you live in the area and can read this, you MUST attend, it's mandatory) are going to have a wonderful time. (6/03)
     Rachael is a great live performer. If anyone in the area she's playing is thinking about going, you should definitely push that over to "definitely planning on going"! (7/03, meth@smoe.org)

just wanted to pipe in a "me too" to meredith's review of rachael's show. it was short (but all shows at arlene grocery are), but good. the best part about it was that the newer songs were fully fleshed out. i don't mind it when the prime songwriter in a band kicks everyone off-stage while she or he does a new song solo, but it's always encouraging to see something new come to full life in front of your eyes one of the first times it's played. (woj@smoe.org)

It was my first time hearing Rachael Sage's music, and i found it to be quite intriguing. I thought her new songs were the strongest in her set, which bodes quite well for her next album [Painting of a Painting]. (9/99)
     Rachael Sage took the stage in her usual flash of color and glitter. Her set seemed a bit more pumped up then I remember from a few years ago. (The first ectofest was my introduction to her.) Since then, I've gotten two of her albums and had become familiar with her work. Her keyboard and singing was accompanied by a variety of drumming from Dean Sharp, and occasionally complimented by some phenomenal improv harmonica playing by Trina Hamlin. Trina and Rachael were a great musical team, though they make a hilarious pair. The colorful, flamboyant and somewhat flighty Rachael contrasted amusingly with the Trina's earthiness. (8/01)
     Rachael got a little overshadowed by the chaos of the Creekdippers, but her show was a lot more fun! The drum, trumpet, keyboard mix was hard for me to imagine, but it turned out to be fantastic. I know what Rachael sounds like, and I know what her songs sound like, and the fact that they sounded good was expected. But the cool arrangements were an extra treat. (11/04, neal)

I myself am only lukewarm on Rachael's music, but her set was pleasant. (9/99, psfblair@ix.netcom.com)

well, I've been waiting a long time to see her live, and she did not disappoint. Mixing new stuff and tunes from Smashing the Serene, she did a fun and lively set. Particularly powerful was the song which spoke of Warsaw, which she played near the end of her set. Wow. (c. 1999, burka@jeffrey.net)

This show reminded me of how energizing a good performance can be. Thanks Rachael (and band) for such a faboo show. (3/01, paul2k@aol.com)

Recommended first album:

Painting of a Painting

Recordings:


Morbid Romantic

Release info:

1995—MPress Records—MP1818-2

Availability:

Available direct from Rachael's web site or at shows, and some online sources

Ecto priority:

An interesting pop record, recommended for Rachael's fans

Group members:

Rachael Sage—vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, keyboards, bells, tympani

Guest artists:

Jeff Pevar—guitars, mandolin, dobro
Allison Cornell—violin, viola (regular and distorted), Hammond B-3
Mike Visceglia—bass
Shawn Pelton—drums
Everett Bradley—percussion
Rob Curto—accordion
Joe Bonadio—drums, percussion
Karen Atkins—guitar
Mindy Jostyn—violin
Mark Stewart—cello
Andy Zulla—drum programming
Steve-From-Bow-Lane—guitar
Moya O'Gready—cello
Joe Bonadio—percussion

Produced by:

Andy Zulla and Rachael Sage

Comments:

This album isn't nearly as strong as her second, but it is an interesting debut. If you can get past the overproduction (which is downright reminiscent of Wilson/Phillips in places), there are definite sparks of what makes her subsequent release so wonderful. It is pretty much just for completists, though it does have a couple really standout songs on it, in particular "The Spirit We". (meth@smoe.org)

Smashing The Serene

Release info:

1998—MPress Records—MP3636-2

Availability:

Directly from Rachael's web page or at shows; or various online music outlets and U.S. stores that carry independent releases

Ecto priority:

High, especially if you like intelligent pop songs with interesting instrumentation

Group members:

Rachael Sage—vocals, backgrounds, piano, finger cymbals, music-box

Guest artists:

Rob Curto—accordion, organ, melodica, piano
Carol Sharar—violin
David Rosenberg—drums, percussion
Ben Butler—acoustic and electric guitars
Conrad Korsch—fretless Bass
Mike Visceglia—fretless Bass
Chris Cunningham—additional acoustic and electric guitars
Rob Giles & Andy Fox—additional harmonies
John Sawyer—additional harmonies
Allison Cornell—strings
Michelle Kinney—cello
Mark Stewart—cello
Joe Bonadio—tambourine/shakers
Chris Dahlgren—string bass
Lindsey Horner—penny whistle
Andy Zulla—acoustic/electric guitars
The Chutzpadik Chorus (Jenny Geiring, Karen Atkins, Jay Tausig, Vija Grosgalvia, John Wiatrak, Rob & Andy, Rob Curto, Carol Sharar, Rachael)

Produced by:

Rachael Sage and Andy Zulla

Comments:

Intelligent Ani-fied Greenwich Village pop. Instrumental twists that make you sit up and take notice, with lyrics that reward you for doing so. Very, very tasty.
     I know next to nothing about Sage save what I've been told: that she used to play at Cafe Sin-e a lot, and she used to be a professional ballet dancer. That last is obvious by looking at and listening to the disc: there are red ballet shoes as part of the collage on the back of the disc, and the songs themselves contain several allusions to dance (most notably the song "Down My Spine", which begins with the words, "All she ever wanted in this whole world /was to dance her bones away").
     Musically, the influences Sage credits in her liner notes are obvious (Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, Elvis Costello, Marc Cohn, Carole King) but she adds a fresh twist to the combination so the result is some really neat stuff. Her voice is in the Juliana Hatfield vein—woj's comparison to Wendy MaHarry is also quite apt. There is some interesting instrumentation on the album, too. Sage herself plays keyboards, and she's accompanied in turns by accordion, organ, melodica, violin, acoustic & electric guitars, fretless bass, and the requisite drums & percussion. Mike Visceglia (of all sorts of NYC fame, but probably most notably of Suzanne Vega fame) and Chris Cunningham (he's everywhere!) also make guest appearances. Just when you think a song is going to head down the path of convention, something invariably crops up to make you sit up and take notice, either musically or (especially) lyrically. The Ani DiFranco influence is most obvious in her lyrics.
So they said it was the year o' the woman
I believe it was the year of sex
Maybe this'll be the year o' the human
Maybe that would be a bit complex...
Or:
I only wanna eat candy and I hate the word nutrition
Sounds like neutral that's like nothing, that's like neither here nor there
And my body speaks to glaciers as far away as I can envision
And only ice can crack the ice or maybe diamonds if you can spare 'em
I really think lots of ectophiles will be seriously into this record. It's a wonderful album from start to finish. (meth@smoe.org)

I was just driving home from Baltimore, listening to Smashing the Serene and thinking that it's gotten a lot more—and more regular—play than Tori Amos' From The Choirgirl Hotel this year, which is intriguing to me. Another wonderful, quirky songwriter. I just bought a second Smashing the Serene as a chanukah present for my step-mom, and she's equally taken. (burka@jeffrey.net)

I've been enjoying Rachael Sage and her CD Smashing The Serene a lot lately. On first listen, I think of Ani DiFranco, but I hear someone that has the talent, enthusiasm, creativity and soul to mark out a distinct place of her own. When I listen to a CD for the first time and reach for the lyric sheet, that's a good sign that my attention has been captured, and that's how Smashing The Serene strikes me. The lyrics are thoughtful, intelligent and deserve careful scrutiny. Of course the lyrics are only part of the story, you need to listen to the music to appreciate what I would consider a genuine rising star. (jsutton@rahul.net)

There are definitely catchy tunes here that will entice the ear of many an ectophile. Check it out. (Neile)

huh. the first time i head smashing the serene, i didn't notice any Ani DiFranco-isms at all. the second or third time, i did pick up some similarities in rachael's singing and lyrical style, but they didn't seem to me to be strong enough to note. thus, i was amused to learn that rachael considers ani to be a personal goddess and even toured with her earlier this year.
     i've also come to like smashing the serene quite a bit lately. it sort of snuck up on me when i wasn't looking (or listening, as the case may be). her voice is kind of cutesy, but that doesn't bother me much. i'm still not totally sure of the music—it's light poppy stuff, but there are things going on down there which are not your usual sort of pop music. it's got hooks though and they work. (woj@smoe.org)

It hasn't grabbed me the way it has many on this list, but I hear definite potential. (Greg.Jumper@Eng.Sun.COM)

This great album was my first exposure to Rachael, and I find that I seem to enjoy it more every time I hear it. (mcurry@io.com)

I just got this album a few days ago, and I absolutely LOVE it. I listen to it, well, more than a lot. It's pretty much stayed in my cd changer and gets frequent play. I had thought about getting the album for a while. Based on ecto and Ladyslipper reviews, it seemed like something I would like. But the sound clips on Ladyslipper I listened to (granted there were only 3 30-second clips) I liked but was hesitant about. I thought her voice sounded weak and that the catchiness of the songs would wear off. Wrong! Her voice is soft, but not weak. Her songs are catchy, but they have intelligent lyrics and tasteful arrangements. And I'm really glad for the hidden track reprise of "Crack of Dawn," my favorite song on the album. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Painting of a Painting

Release info:

2001—M Press Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rachael Sage—vox, piano, Wurlitzer, additional guitar

Guest artists:

Ben Butler—guitars
Conrad Korsch—bass
David Rosenberg—drums
Joe Bonadio—percussion, drums
Stephanie Winters—cello
Tim Pierce—guitars
John Pierce—bass
Denny Fongheiser—drums, percussion
Rob Curto—organ, accordion, melodica
Carol Sharar—violin
Bruce Watson—guitars
David Piltch—bass
Andy Zulla—keyboards, programming, additional backing vox
Jo Davidson—additional backing vox, organ, and guitar
Jack Petruzelli—guitars
Mike Visceglia—bass
Rich Pagano—drums, percussion
Gary Haase—bass
Jim Roberts—hammond organ
Jenny Bruce, Amy Fairchild—backing vox
Audrey Martells—additional backing vox
Richard Hammond—bass
Kyra Bernstein—flute

Produced by:

Rachael Sage and Andy Zulla, Denny Fongheiser, Jo Davidson, Bill Fuller

Comments:

I have to exhort each and every one of you to buy it. It's been living in my car since the day after I got it, and I just can't stop listening to it. If you like what Rachael's been doing, you're gonna *love* this. Very tasty stuff. I think this new one takes the best of Rachael's first two CDs and puts them together.
     This was the first new CD I got in 2001, and it remained a mainstay in the player all year long. It's one of those albums I'll turn to in 5, 10, 15 years when I want to listen to something wonderful that I know very well. It all comes together for Rachael on this CD: the songwriting, instrumentation, arrangements and production are all top-notch. I knew instantly that this was going to be in my top 3 for the year. (meth@smoe.org)

I got my copy of Painting of a Painting on Friday, and it's already gone through several listens, and completely blows me away. I think that I can confidently say that it's going to be towards the top of my top 10 albums of the year list. It's not a departure really from the sound of Smashing the Serene, but the lyrics seem to be a bit stronger and it's just more coherent. Otherwise, much the same. (iclysdal@redmaple.yi.org)

One of my top ten discs of the year. (gordoja@optonline.net)


Illusion's Carnival

Release info:

2002—MPress Records (New York, NY 100)—MP7272-2

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rachael Sage—vox, piano, Wurlitzer, string arrangement, jingle bells, arrangements

Guest artists:

Doug Yowell—drums, percussion loops
Dean Sharp—drums, percussion loops, percussion
Matt Lindsey—bass
Jack Petruzelli—electric guitar
Jimi Zhivago—electric guitar, organ, nylon & electric guitars, moog, bass pedals, slide guitar, Hammond organ, acoustic guitar, bass, arrangements, "ahh's" on "Trampoline"
Stephanie Winters—cello
Jeremy Adelman—trumpet, flugelhorn
Walter Parks—electric guitar, background vox on "Precious Love"
Jenny Bruce—background vox, "ahh's" on "Precious Love" and "Trampoline," outro vocal ad lib on "Trampoline"
Karen Jacobson—"ahh's" on "Precious Love"
Trina Hamlin—tambourine, harmonica
Dom Richards—upright bass
Rob Curto—accordion, Hammond organ, melodica

Produced by:

Jimi Zhivago

Comments:

I think this album contains some of Rachael's most experimental and most grounded work. It finds Rachael branching out and using horns á la Ani and it also contains songs like "Unbeauty," perhaps one of her best and prettiest, kept simple with piano and cello. A welcome addition to her catalog. (JoAnn Whetsell)

The album is AMAZING. It takes up where Painting of a Painting left off and dammit, she just keeps on getting better! I could so easily hear most of these songs at the top of the charts, if the world were a just and fair place...if commercial radio sounded like this, I'd have a Z100 sticker on my car. (And besides, any record that starts off with a song written for Buffy and Angel gets bonus points right out of the gate. :)
     My top disc of 2002. This CD came out early on, but I knew upon first listen it was going to be tough to knock it from the top spot for the year. A few discs came close, but when I get right down to it, this remains the best album I heard this year. It's certainly got the staying power—it's in my car CD changer right now, in fact—and it's simply a wonderful CD, with no weak points. Rachael's songwriting just keeps getting stronger, and the production on this one is spot-on. This is a collection of songs that enter your head and refuse to leave, but that's okay because you're quite happy having them bopping around in there for days on end.
     In a just world, this record would have gone quadruple-platinum, people would be saying "Eminem who?!", and glitter and feather boas would be the fashion statements of the moment. (Or at least, "Angel" would have been played in the background of a Mutant Enemy production at some point in the current television season.) But at least I'm one of the fortunate ones to have this disc in my collection. I know I'll be treasuring it for years. (meth@smoe.org)

Easily her best work yet, in my opinion, but it doesn't seem to have ended up spending as much time in my CD player as I thought it would after the first listen. (mcurry@io.com)


Public Record

Release info:

2003—MPress Records—MP9090-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rachael Sage—vocals, piano, Wurlitzer, mellotron, voco-strings, lofi loops

Guest artists:

Doug Yowell—drums
Dean Sharp—drums
David Rosenberg—percussion
Ben Butler—acoustic and electric guitars
Walter Parks—electric guitar
Stephanie Winters—cello
Julia Kent—cello
Conrad Korsch—upright and electric bass
Mike Visceglia—bass
Richard Gates—bass
Jack Petruzelli—guitar loops and Hammond organ
Trina Hamlin—harmonica, tambourine, acoustic guitar
Russ Johnson—trumpet and flugelhorn
Allison Cornell—viola, violin
Jenny Bruce—additional background vocals

Produced by:

Rachael Sage and Andy Zulla

Comments:

One of my very favorites of Rachael's albums, and probably the one I play the most often. At first I kept playing the first 4 tracks over and over, but when I finally gave the full album a chance I got hooked on the whole thing. I could easily name half the album as standout tracks, but I'll highlight the last 2, "Someone Save Me/The Oil & the Water" and "Frost" as two absolutely gorgeous songs, indeed two of very the best Rachael has ever done. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Public Record continues Rachael's rapidly-becoming-unprecedented streak of putting out albums that simply refuse to leave my player. I don't know how she does it. One of my favorite discs of the year. (meth@smoe.org)

buy this cd! it is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (cjmacs@micronet.net)


Ballads & Burlesque

Release info:

2004—MPress Records—MP8181-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rachael Sage—vox, piano, wurlitzer, handclaps

Guest artists:

Ben Butler—guitars, electric guitar
Matt Lindsey—bass
Rob Curto—organ, accordion
Jagoda—drums
Joe Bonadio—percussion
Jack Petruzelli—bass, guitars
Jack P.—acoustic guitar
Tony Truglio—electric guitar
Mike Visceglia—bass
Jennifer Karr—background vocals (3), percussion
Patti Rothberg—guitar
Earl Patrick—acoustic guitar
Stephanie Winters—cello
Richard Gates—bass
Brian Forbes—guitars
Conrad Korsch—bass
Doug Yowell—drums, percussion
Jeff Pevar—guitars, mandolin
John Montegnese—percussion
Russ Johnson—trumpet

Produced by:

Rachael Sage (Andy Zulla co-produced track 8)

Comments:

Rachael has put out another good album, and long-time fans should definitely add this to their collection. The songs here are mostly about love in its various forms: self-love, confidence, and acceptance ("Sacrifice"), unfulfilled/lost love (the heartbreaking "Jane's Dimitri"), the complications of new feelings ("Leah"), the difficulty ("It's So Hard"), the end ("Even Love Dies").
     Overall Ballads & Burlesque is a bit mellower than her previous work, and I miss some of the punch. I guess I wish there was a little more burlesque in the ballads and a little less ballad in the burlesque.
     But Rachael's voice and piano are as wonderful as ever, the arrangements as lush (especially Stephanie Winters' cello), and the trumpets shine when they do appear. The album gets better with each listen, as the songs reveal themselves. There's more energy than first appeared. It's grown on me a lot since I first got it, and I'm really adoring it now. (JoAnn Whetsell)

A gentler, less splashy album from Ms Sage but still excellent songcrafting. (tpierceint@yahoo.com)

Such a lovely album, and I finally got to see her live, which was a treat! (Southpaw@southpaw32.com)


The Blistering Sun

Release info:

2006—MPress Records—MP6363-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rachael Sage—piano, vox, wurly, mellotron, electric harpsichord, celeste

Guest artists:

Edie Carey—background vocals (2, 11)
Doug Yowell—drums (1-4, 6-7, 11-12, 14)
Dean Sharp—drums (5, 8-10, 13)
Jeff Allen—bass (2-4, 6-7, 11-12, 14)
Conrad Korsch—bass (5, 8-10, 13)
Todd Sickafoose—bass, percussion (15)
Ben Butler—guitars (2-4, 12, 14)
Jack Petruzelli—guitars (5, 7, 9, 10)
Russ Johnson—trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 4-6, 8-10, 12, 14)
Allison Cornell—violin, viola (3, 5, 7)
Julia Kent—cello (4, 7, 9-11, 15)
Julie Wolf—organ (13, 14)
Dave Eggar—cello (3, 13)
Marianne Osiel—oboe, flute (9-11)
Rob Curto—organ, accordion (3, 4, 6, 7)

Produced by:

Rachael Sage

Comments:

So Rachael Sage's album The Blistering Sun is *finally* out today, yay!! All ectophiles should check it out. Seriously, this would be my CD of the year even if I'd never met Rachael before. It's by far the best thing she's ever done. (meth@smoe.org)

For some reason Rachael's last few albums have taken some time to grow on me, yet after they do I have no idea why I didn't love them immediately. The Blistering Sun continues this trend. Maybe because I'd heard and grown to love some of these songs in concert and so my ears weren't as open to their studio versions. Whatever, it doesn't matter now. What does matter is that I have another fantastic Rachael Sage album to listen to. The Blistering Sun reminds me most of Public Record, but there are shades of all of Rachael's previous albums, all without sounding like she's standing still. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Chandelier

Release info:

2008—MPress Records—MP4545-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rachael Sage—vox, piano, wurlitzer, harmonium

Guest artists:

Dave Eggar (The Sequins)—cello (1-4, 6, 8, 11-13)
Dean Sharp (The Sequins)—drums & percussion (4, 6, 9-11)
Russ Johnson (The Sequins)—trumpet (3, 9, 10, 12); horn arrangements (3, 9)
Todd Sickafoose—bass
Doug Yowell—drums (1-5, 7, 8)
Ben Butler—guitar (1, 2, 7)
Jack Petruzelli—guitar (3, 5, 8, 9)
Adam Levy—guitar (4, 6)
Rob Curto—accordion, organ (2-4, 7-9, 11)
Allison Cornell—violin, viola (5, 6, 8, 9, 12)
Gregory Douglass—vox (2)
Rachael Davis—vox (3, 6, 8-10, 12)
Noe Venable—vox (12)
Trina Hamlin—percussion (2, 3, 5, 8-10)
Michael Amendola—alto/tenor sax (3, 9)
Alan Ferber—trombone (3, 9)
Dorothy Scott—vox (11)
Shane Fontayne—guitar (4, 13)

Produced by:

Rachael Sage

Comments:

It's a really good record. "Beloved" is Rachael's first instrumental on a recording she's released. Featuring, among other things, Noe Venable on ethereal vocal stylings. I quite like it (though my personal favorite track on the record is still "Site-Seeing"). (meth@smoe.org)

I second that, this really is a good record. (collectedsounds@gmail.com)

My first Rachael Sage album; I bought it with Public Record. So far I quite like it. Lots of unexpected twists and turns in the songs that set them apart from standard piano-based stuff. I'm thinking in particular of "Invincible" and "Beloved," although it applies to a lot of the tracks here. I can't really compare it to any of her past work, not having heard it. Maybe that's a good thing.
     Did I mention that "Beloved" is stunning? Almost hymn-like. (lotterose @ gmail . com)

Chandelier is a delight. It reminds me of previous work (especially Illusion's Carnival and Public Record, but also Painting of a Painting), but it's fresh and shows continued growth as an artist. "Site-Seeing" is the first spoken word piece of Rachael's that I truly enjoy, and "Beloved," her first instrumental, is just gorgeous. And the other songs? They're all good too, very good. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Delancey Street

Release info:

2010—MPress Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rachael Sage—vox, piano, Wurlitzer, percussion

Guest artists:

Dave Eggar—cello (2, 4, 6-13)
Russ Johnson—trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 9, 11)
Quinn—drums (3-9, 13)
Everett Bradley—percussion (3, 4, 7, 11), background vox (7)
Will Lee—bass (5, 7)
Todd Sickafoose—bass (1, 2, 9, 12)
Conrad Korsch—bass (3, 4, 8, 13)
Mike Visceglia—bass (10, 11)
Doug Yowell—drums (1, 2, 10, 11)
Dean Sharp—drums (9)
James Mastro—guitar (3, 5, 6, 8)
Jack Petruzelli—guitar (1, 4, 5, 7, 12)
Ben Butler—guitar (2, 10, 11)
Ryan Hommel—guitar (6), background vox (5, 7)
Walter Parks—guitar (9)
John Loyd—organ (3-5, 7)
Rob Curto—organ (11), accordion (12)
Antoine Silverman—violin (7)
Allison Cornell—violin (11)
Gregory Douglass—background vox (10)
Trina Hamlin—harmonica (1, 2), percussion (2, 11)
Seth Glier—background vox (2)

Produced by:

Rachael Sage

Comments:

This album is quieter than past releases. With the exception of "Big Star," the punchy pop song about the down side of celebrity, and maybe "Hope's Outpost" and "Arrow," the songs more curl up in your lap and ask to be held rather than jumping into your arms. There is much to like; when I pick out songs to praise I end up naming almost all of them. I think though that I like the songs more individually. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Haunted By You

Release info:

2012—MPress—MP0909-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rachael Sage—all lead vocals, all piano (except 11), all Wurlitzer, Rhodes, harmonium, percussion, acoustic guitar (1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 13)

Guest artists:

The Sequins:
     Dave Eggar—cello (1, 4-12); background vocals (10)
     Russ Johnson—trumpet & flugelhorn (2, 7, 10)
     Quinn—drums & percussion (1-4, 7-10); tympani (1, 12)
Mike Visceglia—bass (1, 2, 5, 8-10, 13); background vocals (10)
Conrad Korsch—bass (3, 4)
Todd Sickafoose—bass (7)
Doug Yowell—drums (5, 6)
James Mastro—guitars (1-3, 9)
Jack Petruzelli—guitars (5, 7, 11, 12); organ & percussion (8)
Ryan Hommel—guitars (4, 7, 8, 13); background vocals (10)
Walter Parks—guitars (2); background vocals (1)
Mark Bosch—guitars (4, 10); background vocals (10)
Shane Fontayne—guitar (7)
Seth Glier—background vocals & organ (2, 13)
Entcho Todorov—violin (1, 13)
Jacob Lawson—violin (3, 11)
Victoria Paterson—violin (5, 8)
Kelly Halloran—violin (12)
David Immergluck—mandolin (12)
John Loyd—piano (11)
Trina Hamlin—percussion (7)
Jackie Guisti—background vocals (10)
Meredith Tarr—background vocals (10)
Katie Costello—background vocals (1, 6, 11)
Joshua Leonard—background vocals (10, 13)
Dar Williams—background vocals (13)
Lucy Woodward—background vocals (11)

Produced by:

Rachael Sage

Comments:

I didn't love Delancey Street as much as I wanted to. Sometimes I heard phrases, chord progressions, in the music that I recognized from other songs and worried that Rachael was running out of ideas. But I needn't have worried. She is back on top with a gorgeous new album. It's quieter overall than previous albums, less poppy, but it has a range of styles and emotions. There are moments that feel recognizably Rachael, reminiscent of phrases from previous albums (it's possible I was used to these phrases from hearing the songs live months ago), but they don't feel like rehash. Instead they feel warm and friendly, like the album, though fresh and new, is stamped with a signature Rachael-ness. I love it. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Continuing the long streak of moderately interesting Rachael Sage albums. (raschee@gmail.com)


Further info:

Rachael Sage can be contacted at spiritwe@aol.com.


Thanks to Meredith Tarr and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2013-06-09 17:54:02.
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