Medicine and law may well be noble professions, but I would argue that no calling is more emotionally taxing and demanding than music is. For fans like most of us, a good song can be the soundtrack to our daily lives; it can be there for our greatest triumphs and our lowest of low points, always present when we need it most and even when we can’t stand the sound of it. But for musicians themselves, these same songs represent a defined moment of self-expression that knows no parallel or comparable medium. To be able to give a piece of yourself that cannot be translated within the traditional parameters of the English language is much like the act of giving birth to a child; it takes all of the mental, physical and emotional strength than an artist has to ensure that everything goes as planned and everyone comes out safe and sound in the end. Sarah Clanton, the American south’s up and coming pop singing superstar, has never had a problem when it comes to imparting her most sacred feelings unto her fans, but in her brand new album Here We Are she takes her vulnerable style of writing to the next level and yields an intimately moving album that can sit beside pop’s greatest recordings.
Sarah Clanton has all the makings of a music legend, and in Here We Are she executes what most of us have long known she was capable of doing. Unlike some of her past records, where it seemed like she might have been holding back on the instrumental end, she completely comes undone in this latest album and lets her cello dictate the music of every song. The string arrangements are nimbly delivered with virtuosity and grandiose charm, but they in no way outshine Clanton’s vocal performance – which on its own could bring even the most discriminating and hardnosed of music fans to their very knees. I wasn’t surprised to find either of these in Here We Are, but then again I’ve come to anticipate nothing less than elegant perfection when it comes to this artist’s body of work.
She’s still got a little bit of work to do in terms of maturing the master mix of her sound as to better highlight the tenacity of her singing style and the multilayered nature of her instrumentation, but nevertheless Sarah Clanton has made an absolute masterpiece in Here We Are that I have no doubt will stand the test of time. As much as I enjoy scanning the FM dial in search of interesting new music, the sad truth is that mainstream commercial interests in pop have kept some of the better developed acts in our modern consciousness from reaching an audience that would likely herald them as folk heroes. But for someone like Sarah Clanton, who always puts the quality of her product above any desire she might have to become rich and famous, it doesn’t matter what the mainstream thinks of her and her ethos. It’s all about the music, and that’s why Here We Are is as amazing as it is.