Event tags: Pappy's, Country, Music, Pioneertown, Pappy And Harriet's, Concert, Sara Petite, Americana
With a vocal style which
aches country, Sara Petite is not a singer out to appease the middle
ground. Having fallen straight for her voice when first hearing Bob
Harris play material from DOGHOUSE ROSE a while ago, this was an artist
that could do no wrong in my book. That 2010 album and its two
predecessors were quickly acquired and, after a brief lull, it is great
to re-acquaint with her music through this follow up release. CIRCUS
COMES TO THE TOWN is very much in a similar mould to the previous
records with a clutch of rip roaring numbers interspersing a gentler
roots sound, all characterised by that unmistakeable voice wrapping
itself around genuine country songs.
Geographically and commercially, San Diego based Sara is a great many
country miles away from the centre of the industry in Nashville,
Tennessee but this need not detract from the authenticity of the sound
emanating from her band. However with the current sea change of a more
traditional style from female performers, you never know the call may
come but in the meantime Sara isn’t going to spend any time worrying,
just plying her trade relentlessly on the west coast and the frequent UK
visits. Unfortunately these trips do seem a little low key at present
but not without hope that someone may pick up on the talent and increase
her awareness in the UK.
Weighing in with thirteen tracks just shy of forty minutes long, the
album immediately gets into its stride with a classic cheating song,
hitting all the right notes lyrically and musically. The pace of this
opener ‘Perfume’ is ramped up with the following number, the country
rockin’ ‘Movin’ On’ which metaphorically conveys the message that an
artists’ lot is to never stand still. With all but one of the tracks a
solo Sara Petite write, her lyrical brilliance is highlighted in the
third number ‘Barbwire’ , incidentally the album’s only co-write, with
the unforgettable line ‘she’s got barbwire around her heart’. Only in
country music could such explicit imagery capture the message of a song.
The thoughtful title track ‘Circus Comes to Town’ shows the more tender
side to Sara’s style and aligns a number of life issues to aspects of a
circus. No country album would be complete without the ubiquitous
drinking song and Sara truly delivers a heartfelt account of turning to
the bottle to alleviate your problems. Although the title of the song,
‘Drinkin’ to Remember’, slightly misleads its message of drinking to
forget. The up tempo guitar riffs that accompanied much of her earlier
material return with a lyrical tirade against the subject of ‘The
Master’. The retro feeling number ‘If Mamma Ain’t Happy’ is launched
with a backbeat-supported intro before developing into a foot stomping
rousing tune with a sing along gratifying chorus.
The band sparkles on ‘Scarlett Letter’ with some great guitar work
accompanying yet another melodic chorus with seems to be Sara’s forte.
While ‘Forever Blue’ shows the sombre side of her writing but still
managing to retain a memorable haunting chorus, ‘Someday I’m Gonna Fly’
is the perfect feel good response and breathes an air of optimism to the
album’s final tracks. A common trait of a lot of country records is to
have an appropriate closing number that has an element of finality to
it. ‘Ashes’ fits the model perfectly for this album and concludes a
record which will embed a fulfilling memory in your mind.
There may be a touch of sass and an acquired taste to her style but make
no mistake Sara Petite is a very fine country artist and deserves a
greater profile. CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN is a welcome addition to her back
catalogue and will do her career prospects no harm.
Joshua Tree Gateway Communities