Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Album review: Road Less Traveled by Sara Petite

It’s not hard to fall immediately in thrall to Sara Petite’s sound. From the first (title) song of her new album, Road Less Traveled, the only possible response is a big smile, a tapping foot and a willingness to go wherever she’s taking us. There is a jauntiness to the track that is infectious, but the key is Petite’s voice: round and warm even as it delivers a wink and a nod to the listener.

This is not to suggest that the whole album runs in this vein – it does not, as Petite is a well-rounded artist who can also deliver sadness, reflectiveness and pathos, and it all clearly comes from the heart. Mind you, even the break-up song ‘Getting Over You’ has a swinging beat, so while Petite explores the end of a relationship she also sounds like she doesn’t regret it. And ‘I Will Rise’ is not a self-pitying rumble through hard knocks but, rather, a proclamation.

The musical style of these songs is swampy country: the tunes are laced with banjo, horns make an appearance, and there’s some prominent electric guitar as well. Country suits Petite – and so does rock and blues. These are all genres of music that do not support sugar-coating and Petite certainly sounds like she is not interested in anything other than the truth. Happily, she has found a way to meld them into a sound that is gloriously hers. She sounds like she belongs in an LA bar as much as a Nashville stage, and she could also sit by the side of a road with a guitar and churn out tunes for passers-by. She has a drive to communicate that goes right along with her willingness to sing from the heart, and accordingly she will find audiences everywhere.

Road Less Traveled is out now.

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