It's album number nine for American singer / songwriter Rachael Sage, and it's pretty much business as usual, in that she has added another excellent release to her canon of work. This time around, it's kind of a concept time as Ms Sage sets out to tell some tales of the New York streets she called home.
It's basically folk based pop-music, but with ever engaging melodies, and a way with words that paints a picture in your head as the lyrics engage with you. It's an instantly captivating record, right from the off, as 'Hope's Outpost' lulls you with some falsely optimistic music, before the story sinks home. Elsewhere, she gets as close to rock as she is ever likely to on the excellent 'Big Star' and then there's the album highlight 'Meet Me In Vegas', which catches you right in the throat.
There are a couple of cover tunes here - the Hall & Oates classic 'Rich Girl', a song so good that you can't really go wrong, as well as a take on Irene Cara's 'Fame', a nod to the fact that Ms Sage could be heard on the soundtrack to the 2009 remake of the movie "Fame". The former is the winner, but then it would be. Back to her own songs, and the other killer number is 'Everything Was Red', which uses Judy Garland and "The Wizard Of Oz" as metaphors for what seems like a troublesome relationship. Of course, I say that, but a lot of the lyrics can be interpreted any way you want them to, which is a good way of getting the listener emotionally invested in your songs.
It's a really (really) good album, the kind of thing that gives singer / songwriters a good name. The production is excellent, the musicians she's got on board are fully sympathetic with her music, and it's a record that will be returned to over and over.