In her new song “That’s the Way Love Goes,” from her rookie album The Woman I Am, Sarah Patrick sings of a luckless life devoted to chasing after the brighter side of the day, only to find that things can be totally changed around just by inviting the right person into her life. Delicately arranged fiddling and a quaint piano drive us along a twang-filled highway of remembrance and contemplation in the track, guided through the darkness by the light of Patrick’s warm, world enveloping vocals. It’s just a sample of the range of emotion and introspection that she’s got in store for fans and new audiences in The Woman I Am, which comes out this summer via Nashville America Records and already has a self-titled single that is rocking specialty and country radio stations from coast to coast (and probably even a couple in Canada, too). I had the privilege of listening to Ms. Patrick’s record ahead of its June release date, and although country has never been my favorite variety of music, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by some of the songs I heard on this 12-track CD.
Roots music has experienced a lot of peaks and valleys, especially since the 1960’s, and a lot of it has been at the unfortunate whim of the country music establishment. Nashville seems to have collectively decided at different points in history when it’s going to push stripped down country (ala roots, Americana and folk music) or push straight pop hybrids that shed a lot of the more bucolic influences in the genre. When we as a society get heavy into roots music, artists like Sarah Patrick tend to shine in the spotlight a lot more than when we try and convince them to polish their sound too far away from the raw power that their voices can really be capable of. Even though she has tremendous crossover appeal with pop music, courtesy of a refined production on The Woman I Am, I totally read Patrick is an old school singer/songwriter, who would do better with just an acoustic guitar, her vocals and her sly wit to carry her through each verse and chorus.
In a lot of ways, The Woman I Am isn’t the album that it could and should be to introduce us to the style and sound of Sarah Patrick. Yes, it does give us a great glimpse into how awesome of a voice she’s got and her ability to cover the standard ground that a country singer should be able to manage with a command and confidence that we find present on this album, but what’s missing is more of a focus on Patrick herself, rather than the backing band accompanying her. This is definitely an act that I would like to see in person to get a better feel for, and I hope that Patrick follows up the release of her debut with an extensive tour to get listeners into her vibe and artistic direction. Overall though, to say the future is anything other than exciting for this burgeoning country star would be completely unfounded, and I think this is likely just the beginning of her career in Nashville.