As a music fan, every once in a while an album comes along so fresh, so new, so exciting in its sound that it is breathtaking – that is, it makes you want to stop what you are doing and listen to it in all of its awesome beauty and splendor.
Such was my response upon first listening to Rare Bird, the new album from singer-songwriter Sara Petite. On this, her sixth LP, Petite sounds like a 21st-century combination of so many different female Americana / country artists that it is hard to keep track. Listening to these dazzling songs, I hear elements of Patsy, Wanda, Dolly, Loretta, Emmylou, and a bevy of others.
Truth be told, much like the title of the record, Petite is that rare artist who is so original in her sound that she can’t be pinned down to any or two influences. While the music that you hear in this collection sounds familiar, it also sounds distinctive and unique.
With her superlative band backing her, Petite offers up a grand assortment of diverse songs on this LP. There are songs that sound like instant honky-tonk classics (“Feeling Like An Angel,” “Floating With The Angels”), that are blazing, irresistible country-rockers (“Runnin’,” “Crash, Boom, Bang,” “The Misfits”, Medicine Man”), that are deeply emotional classic country powerhouses (“Scars,” the titular track “Rare Bird,” “Missing You Tonight”), that are soulful ( “Keep On Moving”) and that sound like old-time gospel (“Working On a Soul”).
This album alternately made me want to sing along, dance, and yes, even cry (the titular track) and it’s my feeling that if this record doesn’t move you in some similar way, you should probably check your pulse.
At this stage in her career, Petite has refined her sound to a point where she sounds like the future of Americana / country to me in that it is a sound that is rooted in the past but is also looking forward with a singular specialness that sets her apart and should inspire younger artists to follow suit. Let’s hope they do.
Rare Bird (JTM Music) was co-produced by Sara Petite and Ben Moore and is now available on her website.